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Click here to share your Grade 1 melody ideas!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (by Eric Carle)
Here are some ideas that can be used for teaching so, mi & la, and for using singing voices.
1) Read Brown Bear, using so, mi & la
  so      mi      so     mi     so   so  la    so
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
so  mi  mi   so  mi  so  so  la  so
 I  see  a  red bird looking at me.
2) Sit in a circle.  Go around the circle, singing to each child:
 so mi     so mi     so  so  la   so
(name), (name), who do you see? 
The child then sings the name of the person sitting next to him/her:
so  mi   so mi   so so   la  so
 I  see (name) looking  at me.
3) Sit in a circle.  Have beanie babies, puppets, or pictures of animals.  Each child picks one animal (or teacher can hand them out to avoid arguments, etc.).  Teacher sings "(colour/animal), (colour/animal), what do you see?".  The child with that animal answers, using either the teacher's animal, or chosing another animal in the circle.
4) Brown Bear can also be used for so-mi-do:
  so      mi      so     mi     so   so  la    so
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
so  mi  mi   so  mi  so  so  mi  do
 I  see  a  red bird looking at me.
CONCEPTS: Mi-Do, singing individually, listening
Cuckoo (Saint-Saens)
- students echo-sing solfege patterns, including new note low do
- make 3 cards (do-mi, mi-mi, mi-do) with solfege written graphically (do lower than mi)
- sing one of the three patters - students guess which one
- try only hand signs with no singing - students guess
- try singing on loo with no hand signs - students guess
- play patterns on recorder or barred instruments - students guess
- play The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods - students listen for the mi-do cuckoo - close eyes and raise hands when they hear mi-do
- teach the following song (in 3/4 - slashes represent bar lines):
 ta  ta    ta     ta ta  ta      ta     ta    ta     ta-a-a
 mi  do   do     mi do  do      re     do   re     mi
Cuckoo bird / cuckoo bird / sings from the / tree /
  ta  ta z   ta ta z     ta   ta  ta   ta-a-a
  mi  do     mi do       re   do  re   do
"Cuckoo / cuckoo" / who can it / be? /
Game: Students sit in circle, one child sits in the middle & hides his/her eyes.  The "cuckoo bird" sits behind the child. The class sings the song, with the "cuckoo bird" singing "cuckoo, cuckoo" as a solo.  The child in the middle guesses who it was.
Finding Students' Singing Voices / Breath/Pitch Control Game - Pamela Rezach
  Something I've done that has really helped to find singing voices is use my "singing puppy." It's a little dalmatian stuffed animal - beanie baby size. All I have to do is bring him out when the students have forgotten to use their head voices... immediately their singing voices "appear." It's so neat! I compare using a puppy's voice to an elephant's voice. It seems to be a big help in helping the children understand all the other explanations that have been already given on this thread.
  Also, I have them talk to me in their regular speaking voices, followed by ugly speaking voices, and then a speaking head voice. We immediately go into a singing voice from that point. They say the same thing for each kind of voice. For instance, "Hello. It's a beautiful day." This has made a tremendous difference in their ability to tell the difference between their voice abilities.
  Game: One 6-8 inch ball is needed. Students sit in a circle. The first student sings any pitch s/he wants to sing on "lou." He then rolls the ball while maintaining that pitch until another student catches the ball. That student then sings a pitch. (It can be the one s/he just heard, or it can be a new one.) The rest of the class then decides if the pitch stayed the same or was changed. If changed, they tell if it went higher or lower. Then, the entire class sings the two pitches (if two different pitches were sung).
  This game helps breath control and pitch control. The process takes the pressure off those who can't match pitch (for the time being), yet makes everyone stay involved. We continue until everyone has had a turn to be the pitch giver.


First Grade Improvisation Activities - Monica Autry
  I just finished my Orff Level 1 and the clinician showed us some wonderful improvisation activities. This is one that you could use right away with first graders.

1 2 3 4 5 6 cha-cha-cha. (Question)
1 2 3 4 Now we stop. (Answer)

Transfer the speech to a body rhythm.
Transfer body rhythm to instruments.

  Set up bars in a pentatonic scale. Students improvise during the beats with numbers. Everyone plays the same rhythm on "cha-cha-cha" (end on any bar except tonic) and "Now we stop" (everyone ends on tonic). Divide up the questions and answers between instruments. You can also add unpitched instruments. It was a lot of fun and very simple to do.

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