Reading, Retelling, and Rhythm
This week we started working in a new subject area - reading. Rachel gave me a couple areas to focus on which were fluency and retelling a story. We're kind of in the phase where were just coming up with ideas, trying stuff, and seeing what works.
For retelling we talked about finding the beginning, middle, and end of a story, and using that to guide our retelling of the story. I thought this might relate in general to musical form. I talked to the students about how both stories and music have a beginning, middle, and end. We came up with some physical gestures (hands on head, hands on heart, and hands on floor) to help kids recognize and remember where they were in the story. I also wrote a very short song in three sections and presented that to the students before Rachel read to them.
Eventually we put together Rachel reading the story (a book called "Salt Hands") with me playing the music I had written. Students could use the musical cues and physical gestures to help cue them into the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Students were asked the next day to retell the story and Rachel felt like there was definitely some improvement!
Later in the week, we read a longer book about some boys who live on a farm and accidentally planted pumpkins all over town, which grew so big they took over. (Pumpkin Town!) After hearing the story, the students came up with places they thought music would fit into the story and what it would sound like. We came up with some music together and then used the music to retell the big parts of the story. I had some trouble remembering all the music we came up with, but the students always told me when I played the wrong cue. Next time I'll have to write it all down!
One moment that I knew the kids were really making connections was at the end of the story. Early in the story, the boys throw the pumpkin seeds into the wind, and they fall down on the town. The students said I should drag my fingers up and down the keyboard (glissando) to represent this. At the end of the story, the father of the boys throws some watermelon seeds into the wind and of course they fall on the town. Right away, one of the students said "We should use the same sound we had at the beginning!" (I could practically see lightbulbs over all their heads.)
We also worked on fluency with some poems. I asked students to conduct a beat and say some nonsense syllables in the rhythm of their poem. Then we read the poem together and observed if the fluency and rhythm of the poem had improved. I think for some students this helped, others seemed a little lost as we pushed the tempo to try to get the students to read a bit faster. All of this was done in a group, and I wonder if it would be worth while hearing students one on one with their poems next week. We'll see!
11/6/2015 12:19:35 pm
Great connections. I can almost hear those seeds drifting in the wind:)
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Dr. Erika Svanoe
Teaching Artist for Arts Integration Menomonie.