Thursday, June 4, 2009

INFO: Music Friday 101

I do music with my Jk and up classes every Friday and thought I would post some info on how that works. Later, I will do a follow-up post where I list the songs I covered this year and how each of them went over.

The cds I used were mostly Kidzup, Jacquot, Charotte Diamond and Kidzup with a smattering of Matt for the older classes. If I were teaching more older students, I would use Matt more, but the vast majority of my students are JK/SK and, next year there will be a pre-K class too.


1) If I never hear 'La Belle Pieuvre' again, it will be too soon Smile It's a great song, don't get me wrong. The kids LOOOOOVE it. They love it a little too much. I had classified this as a junior song, but the senior kids would not give it up and asked for it every week. So on music days, I was doing it with SEVEN classes. Every. Single. Week. Perhaps after a summer off, I will be ready to try again Smile

2) Songs with repetition are great. Je Suis Une Pizza is a perennial hit, and there is a song I found at the library called 'Dans Mon Pays D'Espagne' by Marie Martine that my senior kids enjoyed. Other good ones for repetition are B-I-N-G-O (Kidzup), Kumbaya (Matt), Jouez au Hockey and Nageons (Jacquot) and Y'a Un Chat (Charlotte Diamond).

3) I found a great Kidzup cd on that has many little kid songs they already know in English. With a few exceptions, these were the only songs I did with the JK kids. I started with Mouton Noir (Baa Baa Black Sheep) and it's a fairly long song with many verses. By Christmas, they knew ALL the words and could do it perfectly. Don't under-estimate the little ones! It'll take a few tries, but they'll learn it.

4) They love the powerpoints. I was teaching three computer classes a week in addition to the French and had little time to make new ones. That is one of my regrets about this year; I know when I did have them, it made such a difference. What I do is rip the cds onto my mini-laptop and then I can run the whole class, Powerpoints and all, off the one machine like a glorified jukebox.

5) As far as structuring the classes goes, I typically will spend the first ten minutes introducing a new song. I will always play it once through with no Powerpoints, no explanations, just straight up, and have them listen for words they know. Then we'll go back with a Powerpoint or whatever props, and go over the words, have them repeat etc. We'll practice once or twice. Then it will be request time, and they can request previous songs we have done.

6) The last five minutes, I reserve for a video. This will typically be a short Disney clip in French, usually the part from the movie with a song. I like using stuff they know in English so I don't have to deal with comprehension issues. The goal of this portion of the lesson is not for them to sing along, but rather for them to be exposed to French media and for them to begin to listen for words they know and to develop the comprehension that they DO know a lot of words and are great little French speakers! Second term, I mixed it up a little and brought in YouTube finds which did not originate in English. Bebe Lilly and Pigoo were runaway hits!

7) With my older students who know songs already from JK/SK, they asked for the music Fridays right away. With my younger kids, I began by just teaching a few songs here and there (not on a Friday) so they had one or two to work on, then introduced the formal 'music Friday' in late October (C'est L'Halloween is a good first song to introduce this type of program). This way, they had a repertoire already of a few little songs we could practice.

8) I use my music manager software to help me run things. I have all the songs loaded onto my mini-laptop, and what I did was assign each one a genre of either 'junior' or 'senior.' Then I rate the songs---unrated songs have not yet been taught, 1 star is a junior song which has been taught, 2 stars is a senior song which has been taught and 3 stars is one the whole school enjoys. I have smart playlists set up which automatically add songs to the list based on these stars. For example, my 'junior untaught' playlists has all songs with the genre 'junior.' My junior teaching playlist has all songs which are either 1 or 3 stars (i.e. the taught junior songs and the taught whole school songs). When I am prepping for the class I go through the two untaught playlists, pick the song I want and click on the appropriate star to add it to my teaching playlist.

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