- Students will demonstrate appropriate singing skills while performing a familiar song as a class and with a small group of four or five peers.
- Class list of familiar songs
- Chalkboard or overhead projector and blank transparency
Prior Knowledge and Experiences
- Students have listed songs they can sing as a class in their music journals or on a chart.
- Students have worked on developing specific singing skills (such as diction and posture) in previous lessons.
- Invite students to choose a familiar song from the class list posted in the room or written in their journals. Ask students to list hints and reminders for using good singing posture. List their suggestions on a transparency or the chalkboard. As the class sings thesong, have students check their own posture and then the posture of a partner.
- Ask students to suggest ways in which they might improve the class performance of the song. Record student suggestions and check for understanding among class members. Choose two of the students' suggestions (for example, "We were singing too fast" or "We need to pronounce all the words clearly") as the focus points for the next step.
- Before the class sings the song again, appoint two or more students as "Checkers," who listen as the class sings the song again. Have the students perform the song a second time, paying attention to the two suggestions for improvement chosen previously. Invite the "Checkers" to report their observations after the class performance.
- Select another song from the class list. Divide the class into cooperative groups of four or five. Ask each group to practice the song together and to coach each other on appropriate singing skills. These directions may be posted or shown on an overhead transparency for quick reference. You may also wish to give each group a resonator bell or some other instrument with which to give themselves a starting pitch.
- After a specified practice time, invite small groups to perform for each other or for the class. After all groups have sung, allow each group to assess its own performance. If students are keeping journals, encourage them to write an assessment of their own and thegroups singing ability. (Note: Having students perform in smallgroups also allows the teacher greater opportunity to assess each individual's singing ability.)
Indicators of Success
- Both the class and small groups of students perform their songs with appropriate singing skills.
- Student verbal and/or written self-assessments of their singing ability reflect knowledge of singing skills, such as pitch, rhythm, posture, timbre, diction, and tempo.
- On another day, follow the same procedures using a call-and-response song. Have individuals sing the call and small groups of students or the rest of the class sing the response. Have each student select one or more specific singing skills (for example, pitchand posture) as the focus for self-assessment.
Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music: Students sing independently, on pitch, and in rhythm, with appropriate timbre, diction, and posture, and maintain a steady tempo.
Excerpted from Strategies for Teaching K-4 General Music.