Beat, rhythm, review, observe, discover and create

On Monday’s music classes we explored the difference between beat and rhythm. A beat is the pulse which tells the tempo, or speed of a piece of music. The rhythm is the division of that beat as performed by instruments or singing.

We analyzed the rhythm of a simple spoken rhyme and wrote it out. We spoke the rhyme and discussed how many beats were in each line of the text. Our next step was to silently think the text while we patted the beat on the floor, aiming to all end at the same time – and there’s the beat! After dividing the group into two parts, one part clapped the beat while one group clapped the rhythm of the text while we all spoke the rhyme. Then, to instruments! Claves were assigned to the rhythm and drums to the beat, to be played again while the rhyme was spoken. When the children felt solid on beat and rhythm we added triangles to accentuate the quarter notes of our rhyme.

Beat and rhythm and the difference between the two is a huge and often confusing concept. The children worked hard to master the concept and I couldn’t have been more proud of them. More importantly, their faces beamed with pride for themselves as they mastered such a difficult lesson!

In Children’s Choir this week we reviewed Blue Moon and I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing focusing on sustained notes and adding some echo parts. For some it is a thrill to go over a song and parts of a song, practicing until it is improved. For others it is drudgery. But the work must be done and soon those who dislike it will hopefully learn that polishing and smoothing edges in our songs can be great fun and quite satisfying!

This week in 4/5 Visual Arts, we had a bit of a Halloween theme using light colored pencils and plastic crayons to draw ghosts, goblins and like ilk on black and darkly-colored paper. These kids seem to have abundant information about zombies and shared with a nearly fainting teacher. On Thursday Neko’s cute and friendly chicken appeared with  scary features of it own.

The 6/7 Visual Arts students time-traveled into 1950s Sci-Fi cinema to watch the black and white movie “Them!” We closely observed the acting and filming, which was pretty good for that time and budget. We thought the giant ants where effectively creepy but kind of cheesy.  They were technically clunky compared to the special effects of today.

Why a sci-fi B-movie of yesteryear? What did the film makers and actors tell us about those times? We learned to observe and discover the cultural context of another era and   understand the significance of behaviors, ideas, and objects including period tools and technology.  Our next effort will be to create movie poster in the style of that time and genre that will excite, tell a bit of a story and still fit into the guidelines of the governing censor (the teacher). Perhaps a movie poster featuring a giant Chicken!

Next week students in Primary, grades 1/2/3, will need to wear grubby clothes in Art because it will be messy.

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