This was a composing activity inspired by the Year 1 class sharing their concentric circles they painted in their classrooms this year. I asked students to explain the process they used to make the circles.
First they painted the middle circle and continued with the layers around the middle. I explained that we would use the same process for their sound circles. I gave them 4 - 5 small percussion instruments and explained there would be 4 -5 people in each group. They were to decide who would go first, second, third and so on.
Then they had to decide what instrument they would play and create a pattern to represent the sound of the instrument. They drew their circles and patterns and then practiced layering the sounds by having the middle circle play first, the second circle would join after about 4 beats and so on.
As I was observing the groups working, I noticed that one student naturally became the conductor and would give hand signs to tell the group members when to begin and when to stop.
The main skills that came out of this project were communication skills (non-verbal communication), keeping a steady beat within in the group (with all the different rhythms happening) and form (the beginning is the layering of the instruments, the middle is all the instruments playing at the same time for 8 - 16 beats and then end is deciding which instrument will stop first, second, third and so on).
Jennifer Pittaway, our Music teacher and most regular contributor, has developed a PYP Unit of Inquiry parallel planner that works for her as a specialist teacher. She is happy to share in hope that it may assist others too. Please download.
Do you ever find it difficult to connect with some Units of Inquiry? For example, Year 1's UOI How the world works with the central idea All living things have a life cycle had me stumped for ideas. I couldn't make an authentic connection right away (I'm still thinking and researching and would love ideas if you have any!). So I was at a jobs-a-like session with PYP music teachers from various schools around Singapore and we all started sharing how we plan units that are "stand alone" or not connected to the classroom's UOI. I went away from the meeting full of new ideas and developed this parallel planner with the purpose of showing how single-subjects can still plan along side of a classroom UOI by connecting with the learner profile, attitudes, concepts and transdisciplinary themes. Attached is an example of the Year 1 Unit.
Jennifer Pittaway is our Music teacher. Her creative mind is always bubbling with ideas of how to bring Music in to our Units of Inquiry. Today she shares a wonderfully simple and strikingly colorful way for children to respond to Music through Art where each individual piece contributes to a whole class art piece. Enjoy!
The Year 1 Unit of Inquiry Many different feelings and ideas can be expressed through the Visual Arts provided many opportunities for authentic integration with music. This is one of the activities we did during this unit.
Kandinsky pretty much invented abstract art back in the early 1900’s and could see colors and images while listening to music. He equated the sounds of the orchestra’s instruments with colors in the artist’s palette.
Students re-created Kandinsky's Circles while listening to classical music. Each circle is unique to what the student heard. We combined all the paintings to make two big paintings.
Jennifer Pittaway is our Music teacher. She breathes life and interest into Music sessions captivating our students imaginations and attention. We enjoy sharing and learning from each other and found her recent work with Musical Maps a great idea to share.
The Year 2 Unit of Inquiry Maps can help people find their place in this world provided many opportunities for authentic integration with music. This is one of the activities we did during this unit.
Students worked in pairs and wrote simple musical patterns or “melody maps” using non-traditional notation. They shared their melody maps with the other Year 2 classes to see if their peers could follow them by playing the melodies on the boomwhackers. Students gave constructive criticism if they had trouble reading the map.
We then discussed how musicians follow music maps everyday to discover the music they are going to play. Students learned how to follow the symbols and signs of traditional notation and transferred their original melody maps to the staff.
This is a space designed for others to contribute. We learn much from our colleagues and have asked them to share too.