Monday, March 17, 2014

The Luck O' the Irish

Sometimes ideas strike at midnight. Literally. :)

I had planned out my lessons and had everything ready to go and then had a really rough time sleeping last night. I always revert to my night owl/late sleeper routine on long breaks so ending Spring Break did not go over well with my body's schedule. As I tossed and turned, I had a last-minute idea that ended up changing my plans a little bit and it worked out well this morning! I wish I had pictures, but it was a quick-paced lesson and I was in the middle of leading the action.

Anyway, I had already planned on having a gold coin/rainbow themed lesson to have a little fun with St. Patrick's Day today. I made pots of gold out of black cardstock and painted some leftover wooden circles that were in my craft bin. I had planned on using them for Kinder as high/low icons and for 3rd grade to earn as team points for reading syncopated rhythms.

But what came together nicely was the set-up and an add-on lesson plan for 2nd grade. They just finished a reading assessment for half note before leaving for Spring Break, but I decided to take it a step further this morning. I asked them to do some rhythm improvisation. I formed two rainbows using spots, with a large pot of gold in the middle and two smaller team pots at the end of each rainbow:
I sat in the middle with the large pot and had two team lines form down the middle. We practiced a few patterns (from the board) to the music (some Celtic/Irish folk music) and we had two rounds.

Round one: they could pick any pattern from the board to say, but they had to be ready when it was their turn. If they were ready and they could say it in rhythm with the music, they got a gold coin. They could travel down the rainbow and put it in their team's pot. (This put them at the end of the line nicely.)

Round two: the sneaky leprechaun stole their rhythms and now they had to improvise a pattern! If they could improvise a pattern using a half note, they earned another coin. If not, I usually gave them another chance at this one. They were really very good at it! Even "under pressure"! (And yes, most of them did make up different ones than the ones they said before.) I even challenged them to make up ones that were not on the board and I got some very creative answers.

Was it the luck o' the Irish? Or more likely, the amazing Feierabend workshop that I attended about a year ago with a very similar pirate-themed lesson that popped into my head and the translation just seemed to work?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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