La Mariposa, A Bolivian folksong

This was part of a series of lessons dealing with the concept of melody. Students were introduced to several songs from South America, Japan, Europe and America. In these examples you will find lessons that are designed to enable students to work in cooperative groups in problem solving situations where they could draw upon their collective knowledge and act upon their decisions! Some of the lessons use puzzle cards that are simply iconic representation of the melodic shape and duration. While the concept of melody was the focus, the students noticed many more musical dimensions which led to creative projects dealing with musical form, expression, and timbre.

I was introduced to the puzzle card idea by Dr. Jackie Wiggins at Oakland University. See her book, Teaching for Musical Understanding for more information.

Title–La MariposaWorld music playground
Artist—Colibri  (Bolivia)
—World Music Playground
Get the complete lesson plan here: La Mariposa
YouTube Videos for Classroom Instruction: 
La Mariposa has a few different versions and lot of great YouTube videos that can be used for lesson planning for the elementary and secondary general music classroom. Here are a few of my favorites:

Learners with exceptionalities

Songs for you and me is a wonderful source for fostering inclusion in the music classroom or at home with family and friends. These beautifully designed books include songs with iconic representation that children of all abilities can use at anytime. The mobile format facilitates the ease of use. Check it out here.

Firework by Katy Perry

Expression in music through creative movement 

This song was very popular amongst my students a few years ago. In addition to just singing the song together, I created this lesson for the students to uncover how musicians use tension and dynamics in a piece of music to create expression. The lesson is divided into three parts; first the students identified the form of the song and then described the expression in each section followed by creating their own dance or creative movements based on the expression that they discovered. At the conclusion of this lesson students were then asked to replicate that kind of intensity and expression in their own compositions.

Get the complete lesson plan here:  Firework

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

For this lesson I started by having the students sing the song together several times and then aurally copy the opening ostinato, which is also prevalent throughout the song. We then covered the rest of the song using classroom instruments. The covering lessons took three, thirty minute class sessions. The final session was a performance of the song followed by activities in which students created their own riff or ostinato,  that served as a launch pad to create a new original song.

This lesson was part of a larger research project that was published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education entitled, Informal learning processes in an elementary music classroom.

Click here for a link to the abstract.

Get the complete lesson plan here:  Unwritten

Hey Soul Sister by Train

This was an infectious song that all of my students from the first through fifth grades enjoyed singing. Using classroom instruments, including ukuleles, the students spent time covering this song. They had a lot of fun and in the process they also learned about musical form.

Get the complete lesson hereHey soul sister