Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th and 5th Grade, Dance Activities, Fourth Grade, Movement Activities, Multicultural Activities

All-School Dance Unit

This week, Ms. Friedmann’s music classes and Mr. Powers’ gym classes have been teaming up in the gym for a dance unit!  Some of the dances we have been learning include La Raspa (Mexican Hat Dance) from Mexico, Jibidi Ibida from France, Troika from Russia, Seven Jumps from Denmark, the Hokey Pokey, the Cha Cha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, the Bunny Hop, the Alley Cat, the Twist, and the Chicken Dance.

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5th grade students dance the Troika


3rd grade students dance La Raspa, or The Mexican Hat Dance

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2nd grade students dancing The Chicken Dance!

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1st grade students doing a mirroring exercise.

Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Composing, Fourth Grade, Instrument Activities

Fourth Graders at West are Composers!


Fourth grade students are working on a composing unit.  Students begin by drafting a composition using a plain piece of paper folded into 16 small boxes.  Each box represents one BEAT.  If a note is worth four beats, that note must take up four boxes.  Students are using xylophones and glockenspiels to work with partners to draft their compositions.  A finished draft looks like this:

Matt V Composition Draft

Students label each note with a letter on the xylophone.  The downward and upward arrows signify whether a note is a higher (smaller key) note or a lower (larger key) note.  The notes A and B do not need arrows because each xylophone has only one A and one B!

When students are finished their drafts, they then transfer their composition onto real staff paper.  The finished product looks like this:

Matt V Composition

As you can see, we only filled up four measures for our first try as a group!  The next step will be to fill up eight measures.

The final step in the process is to enter our compositions into a music writing website!  We will be using the website to transform our compositions into masterpieces!  Students have been encouraged to check out the website at home and create their own free account.  The final, FINAL product looks like this:


After we entered our composition, we were able to listen to it, it sounded awesome!  You can listen here:

We also could listen to the composition as it would sound played by other instruments, such as a trombone, a guitar, an oboe, or a violin.  Check out the Fourth Grade page of the blog soon to see additional examples of student work!