A simple way to include pop music in your music lessons is with a movement activity. With my K-2 students, I like to do an activity called “Follow me.” For this, I have students follow my beat motions. I typically do a beat motion (i.e. tapping my head, tapping my shoulders, jumping up and down) for 8 beats, then move onto another motion, and students follow me. If students are comfortable keeping the beat, about halfway through the song, I ask for volunteers to lead the beat motions. Super fun!With my upper elementary students, I’ve done an activity called “Head Shoulders.” For this activity, you have six words on the board, such as “Head/ Shoulders/ Hammer/ Chicken/ Knees/ Toes.” (For hammer, students make fists with their hands and hit them on top of each other, and for chicken, students flap their arms like a chicken.) Students do each beat motion for 16 beats while listening to a song, then they do the beat motions for 8, then 4, then 2, then 1, so that each time they half the amount of the beat motions. It’s very fun at the end when we only do 1 beat on each motion! Then, they can repeat. Students can suggest new beat motions, so they have voice and choice, and you can do it again!
Then, have them read the rhythm as you read the other rhythm. You won’t be able to hear them, but you’ll just have to trust that they are reading it correctly (as, if all microphones are off, it will sound very messy!)Then, you could have them read the other rhythm with you, and then identify which song it is. You might be able to use the chat to have students vote; if you are using Microsoft Teams, you can use Google Forms to have them vote on the song title!Then, everyone could sing “Naughty Kitty Cat.” Usually, there is a chasing game, but since we’re virtual, you’d have to adapt. Instead, maybe play a solo meow game. Change the cursor to a cat, like Katie Wardrobe describes in this blog post. Then, choose three students to unmute, and share your screen. When singing, point to the first student on the first “meow,” and have them meow. Do the same on the second rest with the second student, and the third rest for the third student! Then, repeat with three more students!Lastly, to play “Seven Jumps,” you could share your screen and show a video like this, of the dance. To do the dance together, students could walk in place, then do each motion by getting out of their chair and doing that motion!Looking for lesson plans which you could adapt for virtual? Check out these sets:
The piano links to this website, the bulletin board links to the Chrome Music Lab rhythm game, the cat links to bongo.cat, the ti-ti and ta white board links to this free game by Sillyomusic, and my Bitmoji links to a Peardeck asking students what their favorite song or activity from music class is.
I’ve seen some amazing virtual classrooms shared in Facebook groups recently…everything from a virtual classroom for “Carnival of the Animals,” in which students choose an animal and then watch a video for that piece, to a winter virtual classroom, with links to several winter-themed performances. You can be as creative as you want! Wanting to know more about creating your own virtual classroom? Check out this video by Katie Wardrobe from Midnight Music, which includes information about Google Slides and virtual classrooms, and this virtual classroom template by Glitter Meets Glue.
Are you excited about all of these ideas, but still worried about student participation with asynchronous lessons? Check out this blog post, about encouraging participation in asynchronous lessons.
I hope this is helpful to you, as you create your own asynchronous lessons. Happy teaching!
In a typical music lesson, students stand in a circle with hands held. One child is chosen to be the wolf and steps outside of the circle, and three students are chosen to be trees, and step inside the circle. After the song, all students ask, “Old Wolf, are you there?” The wolf might answer, “No, I’m brushing my teeth,” or “No, I’m reading a book.” The students sing again, and the wolf comes up with another answer. After the first, second, or third time through, the wolf says, “Yes!” and chases the children until he/she tags one. The students running away from the wolf can either touch a tree to be safe, or go to another safe zone, such as the chalkboard. The child who is tagged by the wolf also becomes a wolf, and the two wolves come up with an answer for “Old wolf, are you there?”This won’t work in a virtual or socially distanced classroom, though! In my virtual lessons, I use a wolf puppet, like the one found here (note: this is a referral link.) As we sing the song (with students’ microphones off), we dance! Then, at the end of the song, we freeze. Then, the wolf (whom I name Walter) turns around, and the students start dancing again. When Walter turns back around, all the students have to freeze again…and if they don’t, Walter calls one of them out!