In my years as a classroom teacher, I witnessed children of every age sit at the end of their seat filled with excitement when I pulled out Hands-on learning materials.
It didn’t matter if the level was kindergarten students or sixth graders if there was something they could see, touch, or play with learning the content became so much easier.
It is for that purpose that I set the goal to design quality homeschool units that produce that same result. Below I have laid the groundwork for a sound and music unit with ideas for those younger learners (Preschool-Second graders) and those bigger kids too (third through sixth graders).
AND THE BEST PART… Many of these ideas don’t require different materials, just slight adjustments or a range of reading material to make it easier on those who have multilevel or multiage homeschool groups.
To promote the highest level of learning, review key terms at the beginning of each lesson, choose an activity, and use a wrap-up before beginning the next lesson or moving on for the day.
*Printables of these terms available free to subscribers to my blog www.teachingtotwins.com* But you can make these interactive materials by writing keywords on flash cards or word strips and doing the activities below.
- Music notes
*Use pictures of clip art to demonstrate meaning.
In addition to list 1
- Culture- a group that has similar values, traditions, and behaviors important to their community.
- Rhythm -sound pattern in music
- Rest -a period of silence within music, or a note that means silence.
- Symbols- a song or image that represents the special meaning of something else.
In addition to list 1 & 2
- Compose- to write
- Dynamic- in music this means to have a range of volumes from loud to soft
- Improvise- to create on the spot
- Duration- for the entire length of the song until the end.
Let them move! Come up with actions that children can do in response to vocabulary words. If you say dance, they demonstrate a dance, for the sound they can put their hand to their ear and lean like they are listening. When you say music notes, they can skywrite (use their index finger to write in the air) music notes. They can model beat, by clapping rhythmically. Say the word, and let them demonstrate their learning. If you need ideas, leave a comment below, I’d be happy to provide more actions for these terms. Some can be tricky like rest. In music, this means silence so a good action can be putting the index finger to their mouth like they are telling someone to be quiet.
Letter of the Week Craft
For younger learners, Tie learning back to the letter of the week M is music. I kept my craft simple for this unit, I grabbed some music paper for 49 cents and we cut out an M and pasted it on.
Use, borrow or make instruments to be used to help form an understanding of the keywords in the unit. For more advanced learners talk about how instruments are used differently to show emotion. Often times when something is happy the music is composed to be upbeat and fast. Sad songs are often slower. Play a game where you read a passage and they have to model using the instruments whether the person in the story is happy or sad. You can read one paragraph or page at a time, and they can compose a beat that matches the emotion of the story.
Focus on a particular cultural group. Learn how their music is different or unique. Focus on how it is composed. Let children make a small poster with a symbol of that culture (flag, marking, or picture). Allow them to learn and form a presentation on their cultural group’s music. This is a great way to pull reading comprehension and writing targets into your homeschool curriculum. Ask questions about the texts or books used. (IDEAS: Native American, Irish, Scotland, Mexico, The Netherlands, Hawaiian etc)…You local library will be a huge help in this project.
Seek live music opportunities locally, especially those that offer cultural education and exposure. Do an internet search for city events;you can often find live performances are fairs, festivals, and park events. My children love seeing live performances and nothing is more beneficial to their understanding.
Journey Throughout time
Learn about a time period of music (don’t forget to pull in those keywords). Make the day all about that time period. Encourage dress up, play, pretend performances, draw pictures of that time period. Use the writing activity below after:
I couldn’t believe it, I had traveled back in time to __________ during ___________. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Have them write about what they saw, how the music was, how people danced, etc.
Books for sound and music unit
- Pete the Cat
- Just a little music by Mercer Mayer
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreac
- M is for Melody by Kathy Wargin
- Ella Fitzgerald by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- Passing music down by Sarah Sullivan
- To be a Drum by Evelyn Coleman
Don’t forget to do a wrap up activity
Example: Today I learned…
I hope you have fun with sounds and music.
Dani Wilson holds degrees in child development and early childhood education, as well as master degrees in education and curriculum development. She is a certified reading specialist, experienced classroom teacher, and curriculum consultant. After the birth of her twin babies this year, Dani added Mom to her daily roles. She is happy to share her knowledge, resources, and positive attitude on the misadventures of parenting on her site www.teachingtotwins.com. Dani gives special thanks to her husband, who supports her in pursuing all her dreams.