Mrs. Niu - Mrs. Rzasa -
For all information regarding the Memorial String Orchestra Program, please click HERE.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekly Review 11/26 - 11/30

I hope everyone had a great long weekend for Thanksgiving!  It's always nice to have the time to get together with family.

This was an exciting week for the students!  Here's what we were up to:

The first grade students learned a song called "Doggy, Doggy."  We first reviewed the rhythm of the song, then added solfege (using So, La, and Mi), before we added the lyrics.  Once the students mastered the song, we played a fun game with a rubber dog bone!  In the second music class this week, the students learned a new vocabulary word: tempo.  The tempo is the speed of the beat.   We learned a song called "Pass the Shoe"- and it has a fun game too!  Ask your child what happened to the tempo of that song!

Building upon skills from last year, the second graders reviewed the concept of tempo.  They also learned some new music vocabulary words that go along with it: adagio, andante, and allegro (which mean slow, medium, and fast).  We listened to "Freight Train" while moving to the beat.  Ask your child what happened to the tempo of that song!  In the second class, we continued our Conversational Solfege by decoding So, La, Mi patterns.  Then we played a silly game called "Mixed Signals.  Since Hanukkah is approaching, we read the story "Latkes and Applesauce" then learned a special Hanukkah song!

In third grade this week, the students started to learn how to read music notation!  This important skill will come in handy when we start to play the recorder in the new year.   Here are the terms we have covered so far:

  • staff (5 lines that music is written on)
  • treble clef (found at the beginning of the staff)
  • time signature (tells you how many beats are in each measure)
  • bar line (separates measures)
  • measure (where the music is written!)
  • double bar (the end of the song)
  • repeat sign (go back to the beginning!)
We learned all about the musical alphabet (ABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGAB...etc.  Only 7 letters!!), then sang a great song called "I Don't Know the Notes."  This song helps us remember the order of the lines and spaces on the staff!  Once we learned the refrain to that song, we jumped on the floor staff while singing, making sure that our feet landed in the correct part of the floor.  It was tricky, but a lot of fun.  We will be continuing to review these terms and skills every music class to prepare for our notation test (more information on that later).

The fourth and fifth grade students sang their chorus songs without sheet music for the first time this week!  Overall, they are are doing a fantastic job, but there are some songs with lyrics that are more difficult to remember.  If your child is having difficulty with the chorus songs, please encourage them to check out our Lyrics Page, and of course they can always check in with us.  We are here to help!

The students are so excited to share their songs with you and the rest of the school at our Winter Concert!  Next week we will be having our combined rehearsals on the stage, and adding fun things like movement and instruments!  We will also discuss the details of the concert with them, including concert etiquette.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekly Review 11/19-11/23

It was a short week in music this week. Unfortunately, Mrs. Rzasa and I did not get a chance to see many of our students.  Since music was only on Monday and Tuesday, we continued or added extensions to music activities that were learned from the previous week.

The first grade students added rhythm sticks to the song "Smells Like Thanksgiving." We sang the song while playing the rhythm sticks on a steady beat. It was alot of fun! Each student was also given another opportunity to tell the class what kind of food they ate or enjoyed during Thanksgiving. 

The students in second grade who did not get an opportunity to play "Five Fat Turkeys" on an Orff instrument last week performed for our class. Our instrumentalist remembered how to play the ostinatos "cook, cook" and "five fat turkeys" on the Orff instrument. The rest of the students sang the cute song. It was a wonderful performance!

Our third grade students performed "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven" for each other.  By classes, each group was assigned a verse and had to come up with creative movements for their particular verse.  We all sang the chorus together. Our third grade students were so creative that we were all smiling after each verse was performed. Feel free to ask your third grader to sing this hilarious song to you during your Thanksgiving dinner.

With just about two weeks left before our concert, fourth and fifth grade students will continue to be in full Chorus-mode!  Our Winter concert will be held on Wednesday, December 12th at 7pm! Please mark your calendar and invite your family and friends! We will not be using our sheet music in chorus anymore so please remind your child to sing and memorize their songs!

Music Homework- Don't forget to EAT, EAT and EAT!

We hope you all have wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven

Today we have a fun video to share to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit!!  Third grade students learned about verse and refrain form while singing a hilarious song called "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven." (to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean")

There are 5 verses in this song, and each was assigned to a different group of students.  Each group acted out and sang their verse in front of the class.   When we got to the refrain (also called a chorus), the whole class sang together!

Below you can watch a video of Mrs. Ferullo's class performing for Mrs. Cyr's class. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Do you know about our BRAVO Incentive program?

On each music day, classes can earn a BRAVO.  They get a "B" for entering the classroom appropriately and quietly walking to their assigned seat.   Letters "R," "A," and "V" can be earned during the class by following directions and classroom rules.  If the class lines up quietly and patiently waits for the classroom teacher they can earn the "O."  If a class earns the whole BRAVO, a sticker gets added to their chart.

10 for 10
Once a class earns 10 BRAVO stickers, they are rewarded with 10 minutes of party time at the end of their next class!  A BRAVO party is an opportunity for them to play fun music games or sing favorite songs.  The class votes on which activities they want to do the most- we have a great time!

If your child's class earns a BRAVO party, you may send them to school with an appropriate CD for us to listen or dance to.  Please do not have them bring in iPods, as they are against school policy.

This week, Mrs. Ferullo's class enjoyed their first BRAVO party of the year:

Congrats to Mrs. Ferullo's class, as well as the other classes who have recently earned 10 minutes of BRAVO party time!

Weekly Review 11/14-11/16

I hope everyone enjoyed their nice long weekend!  As a reminder, all song lyrics from class can be found on the right-hand side of the blog under each grade level :)

This week, the first grade students continued the fun Bluebird, Bluebird game from last week!  Different students had the opportunity to pretend they were bluebirds while the class sung.  We reinforced high voice and low voice during "oh, Johnny aren't you tired?"  In the new song "Smells Like Thanksgiving," we thought of and sang about delicious Thanksgiving foods.  Continuing with the holiday spirit, we read "Over the River and Through the Woods," then sang the song.  As an added treat, we also learned some sign language to perform on the words "over," "through," "grandfather," "horse," "sleigh," "white," "snow," "wind," "stings," "bites," and "go."

The second graders also sang "Smells Like Thanksgiving," but added Orff accompaniment.  Some students played the glockenspiel, and some played the xylophone. It was a lot of fun!   During the second music class they learned a song called "Five Fat Turkeys" and added 2 spoken ostinato parts. They then transferred those new parts to Orff instruments for our in-class performance!

Third grade students learned a hilarious song called "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven."  It is sung to the familiar tune "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."  We discussed verse and refrain form, then assigned each verse to a small group of students.  They worked together to come up with movement for their verse, then we performed it together!   Each group sang and performed their verse, then in between we all sang the refrain (also called a chorus) together!  

The older students are now in full Chorus-mode!  As we prepare for our Winter concert (December 12th), please remember to have your students practice the music at home!  All of the lyrics (along with some recordings) can be found on our Chorus Page.   Both fourth grade and fifth grade students have been so focused and dedicated during chorus, and we are so proud of them!  We can't wait to share all of their hard work with everyone at the concert! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Review 11/5- 11/9

 A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to our 4th grade students who did a wonderful job singing and speaking at our Veteran's Day assembly! We had about three veterans, including Mr. Marsh, who came to the assembly. Thank you for your service for our country!

In first grade, students learned about high and low sounds. Each class came up with a list of things that made lows sounds and a list of things that made high sounds. We experimented high and low sounds with our voices. Students enjoyed mimicking Mickey Mouse's "high" voice and the sound of a "low" bass drum. We applied our high and low voices as we read the famous chant, "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."

     High Voice- "Mama called the doctor and the doctor said."
     Low Voice-  "No More monkeys jumping on the bed."

We learned a song called, "Bluebird Bluebird" and played a fun game. Students became a house and had to catch the two Bluebirds. They closed the window as they sang the phrase, "Oh Johnny aren't you tired." The first graders also had to make sure that their voices went from "high to low" as they sang this phrase.

Second graders learned about the Orff instruments. They learned three different types of Orff instruments: xylophones, metallaphones, and glockenspiels. They also learned the family names: bass, alto, and soprano. Ask your second grader which instrument they had fun playing this week!

Third grade students learned a song in minor called, "The Harvest" which taught them the musical terms of: repeat, fine, and da capo fine. This song has an arrangement for Orff instruments and a recorder. We learned the glockenspiel part, which also reinforced using proper technique to hold the mallet. We will continue this activity next week with the xylophones so stay tune!

BRAVO to ALL of our fourth graders who performed at the Veteran's Day assembly on Thursday. They sang, "America the Beautiful" and "A Grateful Nation" so beautifully in tune that we saw Mrs. R tear! To those who had a speaking part, you all spoke loudly and clearly! To the rest of the fourth grade students who patiently waited while each class came up to speak, "THANK YOU!" 

We are now just a few weeks away from our Winter Concert so our fifth graders have been working very hard on their songs. We ran through "Food Glorious Food" and had solo tryouts. Thank you to those brave ladies and gentlemen who volunteered singing for a solo part! We reviewed both parts of, "Lots of Latkes" and rehearsed various parts of "Hot Chocolate." Fifth graders, your songs are coming along! Now we just have to memorize the songs so that we can add dance movements!

Have a wonderful LONG weekend! See you all on Wednesday!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekly Review 10/29 - 11/2

Well, this was certainly a short week!  We hope that everyone stayed safe during the hurricane.

In first grade students learned a new song about bats- Flap and Fly.  Bats are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep in the daytime and are awake at night.  We each decorated a bat in class (while listening to spooky music, of course!) then played a game while singing the song.  Bats were asleep while the lights were on, then a student (the Sun) turned off the lights so the bats could dance and sing!  When the sun came up, the lights were turned back on and the bats fell asleep.  Fun!

The second graders recorded their sound effects to the book Old Wind.  You can find more information - as well as some recordings to listen to - right HERE!  We also decoded 8 beat rhythms and do re mi patterns for Conversational Solfege.

Third grade students read a story called The 13 Days of Halloween...suspiciously similar to the 12 Days of Christmas- only spooky!  We sang the song in minor, and some students helped us out by holding up posters for each day.  Our favorite parts:  5 cooked worms, and the evil laugh at the end!!

This was a very important week for the fourth graders.  We met as a grade level in the cafeteria to prepare for the Veteran's Day assembly.  Not only did we sing our songs (America the Beautiful and A Grateful Nation) but students with speaking parts were able to practice their lines with the microphone.

If you have a speaking part, here are some tips:  Hold the microphone close to your mouth (without touching it), speak clearly, and a little bit louder than you would normally speak in a conversation with someone.  If you speak too quietly, the audience won't be able to hear your wonderful voice!

Fifth graders practiced the partner song in "Lots of Latkes."  It's so much fun to sing about the process of making potato latkes!  We also ran through "Food Glorious Food," and some students tried singing the solo parts.  We hope more children decide to give it a try next rehearsal!  We ended chorus by rehearsing the tricky harmony part in "The Christmas Song."

  • As we approach the concert, ALL 4TH AND 5TH GRADE STUDENTS should be practicing their music at home! This will help with memorization and confidence on each song.  Please visit the Chorus Lyrics Page to see the words, and listen to a few recordings.  

We also had the Vocabulary Parade this week.   It was so much fun to see the students in their costumes and learn more about the vocabulary words they chose!  We hope you have a fantastic fall weekend.  :)