Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Will You Be for Halloween?

Have I mentioned how much I love Jeff & Randy's GamePlan curriculum? I can't recommend it enough. The books are reasonably priced and provide engaging lessons that organize musical objectives logically. "What Will You Be?" is another great song/lesson from GamePlan (Grade One, p. 24). This song has a nice melody in d minor, and it works beautifully with a bordun on the barred instruments. As usual, I seem to be unable to follow a lesson exactly, so here are my changes/extensions:

1. Due to past experiences at our school, I felt that we needed to remove the word "witches" from the song. Here are our altered lyrics:
To use this image in a PowerPoint, open it, right click, copy, and then paste it into a new Ppt presentation.
2. Students pat the beat while they sing, and I add a solo turn for each student to sing into the microphone: "I'll be a _____." Then the student moves to a xylophone to play the bordun, and then rotates through the instruments. I adapt the number of instruments to the level of the class and what will make the activity run smoothly. I want to focus on the students' singing voices first, so sometimes I do not even use the xylophones during the first introduction of the song. I extend the activity on another day.

3. During another class period, I place a box of masks and animal headbands behind a large bush that is in my room, which was a prop in a play. The box could also be placed behind a piano or other large piece of furniture. One child hides behind the bush and selects a "costume" and pops out at the end of the song wearing what he/she selected. The child sings "I'll be a _____" into the microphone that is placed in a handy spot for the students to grab as they are exiting the hiding spot. I have an empty tub for them to place used items in, so no one picks the same thing. It helps to have one child selecting an item, while one is dressed and waiting to pop out. Then they are ready at the end of the song and the activity moves quicker. 

I have organized the game in different ways. I have set up xylophones and other unpitched percussion instruments in a circle and had the students move around the circle. One place has a polyspot, which indicates it is time to move behind the tree. Other times, I have simply used my regular instrument rotation, and have a certain position that goes to the bush. My barred instruments are set up in 3 rows. Children move to the right on row one, back to row two and then to the left, back to row three and to the right. When they reach the final instrument they circle around the front to the beginning of row one. I walk through the rotation pattern and call it "zig" on row 1, "zag" on row 2, "zig" on row 3, then "zooooom" around the room back to 1. The zoom is a great place to move to the bush.

I began using this lesson with kindergarten and first grade a few years ago. Now, my older children see the bush in position for the game and beg for this activity. I've promised my 3rd graders that they will get to play this year, and I'm sure they won't let me forget. This is one of those activities students will remember with fondness. Who doesn't enjoy dressing up and playing instruments? I know I do!


  1. Hi Laura,

    I love this activity! Do you know where I can find the song outside of the gameplan curriculum? Our district purchased new books the year before I arrived, so they aren't interested in spending money for something new just yet, but I really want to do this with my primary students. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    1. Christine,
      I sent you an e-mail to your school address. I hope you can find a way to invest in some of Jeff & Randy's materials, if you don't already have any. Their GamePlan books are in the $100 range for each grade. I bought one per year for a few years, so I spread the cost out. I have K-4, and I find that I use 1 and 2 the most. I'm not sure why, because they are all great.

      If you don't have any of their materials and the GamePlans are not a possibility, they also have books with about 20 Orff lessons written for a range of elementary grades for about $20. I love "3rd Rhyme's the Charm," but they are all full of awesome plans.