I had this theme planned out several weeks ago and by the time we got to it I’d lost my enthusiasm for it. Thankfully, the kids found the enthusiasm and then some! This turned out much different than I’d originally expected, but I love that I was able to go with their interest and keep them excited about the theme!
As an introduction to our theme I showed them several videos of musical instrument families that I’d found on YouTube (see links below) and an interactive presentation I’d found on Teachers Pay Teachers.
When I first started this theme I wasn’t thinking of it in terms of families, but that was what the kids immediately latched onto. They loved the story of the String Family in this video I found:
They really got into the idea of the family aspect and acted out the story several times throughout the day.
We also gathered all of our musical instruments, listened to our Fresh Beat Band CD, and marched around the house. Then talked about what we use to be able to enjoy music (ears, listening, hearing, etc.). I then gave them each this checklist for a Listening Walk that I found on TeachPreschool.com. We took a walk to a park where we happened to find a group of families doing Homeschool! They thought it was really neat seeing other kids doing homeschool and were able to play with the youngest kids and pretend to build a campfire.
On the way home we looked at our list to see what we had not heard and tried our very best to be quiet and listen for those sounds. Unfortunately, they always scared the squirrels away before we could get close enough to actually hear them and (thankfully) we did not have any firetrucks come by. The clock was another tricky one, since all the clocks in our house are digital. If I had this to do over again, I probably would have made my own check list so that we would be more likely to hear all of the items on the list. Live and learn!
We had Speech and Dance in the morning, so when they got up from Quiet Time (Lucas actually slept, Kyla did not) they came out to find letters on all of the keys of their keyboard. I showed them music notes and told them they had letters just like the alphabet, but they only went up to g, rather than z. I then had some sheet music for them to try playing: Mary Had a Little Lamb from Homemade-Preschool. They enjoyed being able to pick out the notes, though they aren’t quite there on the rhythm yet. 😉
I tried doing a lesson using notes and pattern making, but it just wasn’t working, so I put it aside and pulled out this Instrument Family Sorting Game. I put the family names on file folders and the kids and I worked on putting the instruments into the correct family groups.
While we were doing this activity I remembered that I had a song/story by Danny Kaye called Tubby the Tuba. I pulled it up on my computer and let the kids listen to it. At first they were distracted by the fact that there was nothing for them to watch, but eventually they started to really listen to the story and enjoyed it. I pointed out to them the instruments mentioned and the sounds they made along the way. Then I saw that on the same CD there was a track called “The Little Fiddle” and even though I didn’t remember what it was I thought it was worth a shot. Sure enough, it was another story using instruments as characters. They loved it. I then went online and found a YouTube video for each of the stories, including one that is a cartoon made in the 60s, and also an entire web site about Tubby the Tuba, which was turned into a picture book (Danny Kaye was not the original performer, apparently). I printed out a coloring page from that web site that they enjoyed coloring.
These stories really seemed to grab the kids because they took the instrument cards from the sorting game and started using them to act out the stories. So fun!
Wednesday tends to be “craft” day for us. So I found two instrument coloring pages that also required some cutting and gluing practice from Homemade-Preschool. One was a Violin that required gluing on the strings and the other was a Xylophone that had them cut out the keys and glue them on in size order. I think the xylophone one would have been better if they hadn’t been in size order already on the page, but the kids did a great job of cutting them out. Lucas did glue one on out of order, but only because he ran out of room. He’s not too concerned about perfection like Kyla is. 😉 We also put together homemade kazoos using toilet paper tubes and wax paper. They didn’t last very long with Distructo Boy around, but they were fun while they lasted.
We also went to the library and were able to get several books about instruments and music that were fun to read.
Slight Pause thanks to a super busy schedule and distraction from my mom’s surgery. We did not get to any activities on Thursday thanks to being away from the house from 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM for speech, doctor’s appointment (mine), zoo school, and dinner out. Friday became a family day, Saturday was their first soccer game, and Sunday thru Wednesday I was out of town.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the lessons when I got back. Thursdays are just too busy, apparently. And Friday (once again) turned into a family day (which is great!). We did watch some Fantasia and talk about the music, but that was really it.
Starting now things are going to get trickier to plan. I’ve finally been fully approved to sub for our local school district, so I won’t be home with them every day anymore. We’ll see how this goes…