I Gotta Feeling: Here’s an intervention for some emotion work! I started out with the chorus from the song “I Gotta Feeling” and went around to each student asking how they were feeling that day. For example, “Henry has a feeling / that today is an okay day / that today is an okay day / he’s feeling” Then I had printed out some pictures of emojis that would address a variety of emotions. I had multiple copies of each one so that students could pick the same one as someone else if that’s what matched how they were feeling that day. Then, as you might guess, we played the different emotions on the drum. We talked about how each one would sound, and how that corresponded with our physiological response to emotions (of course, I did not use terminology even remotely close to that, haha). Each person had a chance to solo on the drum to represent their emoji. Then I busted out a blues song that filled in each feeling that the students selected and asked them what they do when they feel that way and put it in the song!
Chord Progressions: So. My hope with this one was that we could do mash-ups as a class one day, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that. Anyway, I started by teaching the students how to build chords. Instead of going into specifics about key signatures and roman numerals, I just taught them how to build them with half steps. I printed out worksheets with pianos on them (just like how I used to draw them on my theory tests), so they could count half steps to make major and minor chords. After we practiced this a little bit, I had them get into groups to make their own chord progressions using C, d minor, e minor, F, G, or a minor. Then they had to write down the note names that would belong in the chords that they chose. It was definitely a challenge to explain to them the concept of chords, and how a C major chord involves multiple notes. I actually talked with Stephenie about how it would’ve been good to have something for them to manipulate, like legos or play-doh to physically stack the notes on top of one another, but I never got around to doing that with them. Now, this intervention lasted a few days. After they made their chord progressions, I wheeled the keyboard into class so they could play them for one another! Since they were in groups, they split up playing the chords so one person didn’t have to play three notes at once. This took some time for them to practice. I also let them choose beats from the keyboard and write short lyrics to rap over what they were playing if they wanted to. Once they had some time to practice, they performed for the class! Always a nice opportunity to talk about respecting others and being a good audience member when their peers are performing in front of everyone.
Credit: This source was very helpful in designing a simplified way to teach chords.
Guess The Song: Some classes had earned days where they got to pick what we did in music the next day. It’s nice to come in with something light and fun every once in a while. This Guess The Song game formatted by decades. I wrote (and colored in) 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, and Current on pieces of white paper. I then laid these on the floor and when it was someone’s turn, he or she tossed a crumpled up piece of paper (Ideally it would’ve been a bean bag, but ya gotta improvise sometimes) and whichever decade it landed closest to was the decade that the song selection would be from. I tried to pick very popular ones from each decade. If you would like the list of songs that I used for each decade, leave a comment and let me know! I actually also did a Guess The Song game with number categories. My supervisor found these great large foam dice at Five Below, and the students would roll to determine the level of song I would play. Rolling a 1 would be a Level 1 song, which is one I considered “easy,” and the difficulty increased all the way up to 6. The songs I chose for this game were generally pop songs from the last few years or so.
– Arianna (: