Sunday, October 13, 2013

Skin and Bones

There are so many fun fall and Halloween songs, that it is impossible to find time to fit them in to my lesson plans. However, there are a few favorites that I absolutely must make sure to include, and "Skin and Bones" is one of them. It is a wonderful opportunity for the children to experience a song in a minor key, and they love the surprise ending. (Another favorite is "What Will You Be for Halloween?" You can read more about it in my previous post by clicking here.

Our textbook series (Silver Burdett Making Music, 2nd Grade) has a good sound track for this song, and sometimes I'll use it for a dramatic, spooky-fun activity that the students beg for year, after year. I typically begin using this activity with my second graders. I turn the lights off and have the students scatter around the room and lie down on their backs with their eyes closed. As the song plays, I hide a vibraslap behind my back and quietly walk around the "graveyard," making sure that I pass near each student. At the end of the song, on "Boo!" I play the vibraslap near an unsuspecting child, and the class erupts in shrieks and giggles. I try to pick a child that I know will not be upset by the loud sound, and so far, it has worked.

I like to extend the song with an instrumental accompaniment. I created the following PowerPoint slides to help them learn their part:
Sometimes we use silly words to help us prepare and remember which bars to play, or when to play the triangles. For instance, in the pattern for this song, we sing, "Eggs & Bacon," "Eggs & Cookies," "Eggs & Bacon," "Ching" (for the triangle part). Since the left hand remains on one bar and the right hand moves to its next door neighbor, it can be a little confusing for students, at first. We practice on our thighs prior to moving to the instruments.

When I notice students struggling at the instruments, I tell them that they can focus on their left hand until they are ready to add the other. They feel so proud when they are able to play it successfully.

We also add triangles on the rests. You can finish with a vibraslap and everyone playing their triangles or any two pitches on the barred instruments on the word, "Boo!"
I'm not sure what took me so long, but I recently had the idea to add a photo of a xylophone with the bars marked in my PowerPoint presentation. Now I can stand and point to the bars on the screen, which is large enough for everyone to see. As a visual learner, I can't believe I just now thought of it. I know a lot of people use visuals of barred instruments to demonstrate, and I've even put glockenspiels under my document camera before, but this is SO much easier. Ha!
If you prefer to do a cross-over bordun, you might prefer this instrumental part:
All of these images are jpeg files directly from a PowerPoint, so you should be able to copy them and paste them right into your own presentation, if you would like to use them.

The clipart and clipart frames are from My Cute Graphics, which has a wealth of adorable clip art appropriate for classroom use.

Have a Spooky Halloween!