17 October, 2010

Fall and Halloween music, and Halloween books

As a part of our Fall study, we learn all about trees:  the parts of a tree, the job of each of these parts, types of trees, and of course we focus quite a bit of our time on leaves.  I tell the children that much of this learning involves them acting as "scientists" and also "visual artists."  Our classroom scientists and artists have done some excellent investigative work and have made lovely Fall projects!  (Here is a post about a few of those projects.)  In working on developing the children's multiple intelligences, we also have done some work on investigating Fall through music.

This past week, we started our musical Fall journey with the music of George Winston.  I especially love Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  I just think of fluttering fall leaves when I hear it.  I also like Treat Street which sounds like leaves blowing around merrily, on a blustery day.  (You can listen to these songs online at iLike.com or on George Winston's site, here.)  Here is our Fall fairy, kindly holding our dancing scarves.

On Monday I played Cast Your Fate to the Wind, during our half hour arrival time.  (This is when the children have free time with toys.)   Later I played it again at Circle, and I told the children to "listen to the fluttering leaves."  I demonstrated how to walk along our balance beam with one of the scarves, making it flutter.  They were anxious to try it out too!  Here are their little feet, fluttering along the line.

Our other music activities this week included a couple of Halloween songs, Skin and Bones and Stirring My Brew.    The children love singing these and of course, especially love the "BOOs" at the end!

And of course, we listened to the creme de la creme of Halloween songs, In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.  The first time I played this, it was at Circle time.  I told the children to sit in a tight circle and I turned off the lights.  Then, as the song played, I sneaked around the outside of the circle.  I took detours to hide and peek out from behind bookshelves etc.  I made it as dramatic and funny as I could, and the children seemed to love it!  At the end of the song, there are some very emphatic notes (I'm sure they have a musical term, but embarrassingly I don't know what it is) and I pretended to turn the children into frogs.  Hilarity and much hopping ensued!  Then we listened to the song again, and as we did so,  I tapped each child on the head to follow me and form a line of scary witches creeping around the classroom.  Next week I will let individual children lead "the line of witches." I like this activity as a sort of introduction to classical music because it is so obviously a "scary" song.  I think it makes hearing other classical music and imagining what scenarios are taking place in it, easier.

And last but not in any way least, here are some of the marvelous Halloween books we have been reading!  I remember my mother reading The Humbug Witch to me when I was a child.  I loved it, and I have yet to meet a young child who doesn't.  The "surprise" at the end is so marvelous!

Our class also seemed to really enjoy Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor.  I am pondering a project for later this week with pumpkin spice playdough.  I think I will have the children roll it into pumpkin shapes and then have it "roll away" (like the pumpkin does in the story.)  I am thinking about  little experiments:  how to make it roll fastest, furthest, or not roll at all.  Hmmmm.  I'll post more on this project once it is completed.

Good luck with all of your Halloween preparations!  Until next time, boo!

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