Fourth/Fifth Grades

October 12, 2013

Fourth and fifth grade students are reviewing "rhythm" (the short and long patterns of the beat) in music class.  This week, students were given four measures of simple rhythm patterns.  Then we learned "The Ghost of John song."  Students then composed a four-measure composition using the given rhythmic patterns.  These compositions will be played with the song next week.

Students composed alone or with one-two other students.  When they were finished composing, students then practiced playing their rhythms on rhythm sticks.  They did a great job composing!  I'm looking forward to hearing the compositions with the song next week.

For most lessons I have an "I Can" statement for third, fourth, and fifth grade students to write in their Special Area notebook in the "Music" section.  The statement for this lesson was, "I can compose and perform four measures of rhythm in 4/4 time."  Students draw a target that they use for self-reflection at the end of class.  This rhythm example is complete with a time signature, correct rhythms, barlines, and a repeat sign!  

Also, these rhythms make up the theme of "In the Hall of the Mountain King."  We will use these rhythms for a dictation activity with Mr. Grieg's work.  See the Home Page for more about our composer of the month, Mr. Grieg.

"The Ghost of John" version I used is from Share the Music Grade 4.

This rhythm unit is helping students prepare for playing recorders, which we will probably begin in the next grading period (November).  

September 13, 2013

This week, students created original performances about America.  See the home page for more information about this lesson!

October 8, 2013

Fourth and fifth grade classes have finished learning a dance from the Colonial American period.  We danced to Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."  Students did a great job and were good sports about dancing with each other.

May 28, 2013

As the school year winds down, we've been doing lots of reviewing and reinforcement of steady beat and singing.  My goal at this point is that students leave for summer wanting to sing and have fun with music.

Fourth and fifth grades also learned the song "Draw a Bucket of Water" like second and third grades.  We also played a simple game called "The Ball Game."  I found this activity in Music for Children: Orff Schulwerk, American Edition.

The game emphasizes steady beat through singing and passing a ball.  We started with "roll, catch," and eventually did "toss, catch."  One student sits in the middle of the circle and rolls (or tosses, or bounces, etc.) the ball to students in the circle.

While students participate in this activity, it is easy for me to document assessment results for each child.
The "I Can" statement for this lesson is simply, "I can show a steady beat."

If I notice changes in students' performance or ability to show the steady beat, I can easily mark this on the seating chart where I keep my grades.  

Students of any age enjoy this activity!

May 1, 2013

This is a late post!  So sorry.

The champion of the FRAA (Farmer Recorder Awesomeness Award) is...

Ms. Gade's fourth grade class!

This means that Ms. Gade's class earned the most "Satisfactory" and "Outstanding" grades on recorder playing tests during the tournament.

Congratulations, Ms. Gade's class!

April 19, 2013

Fourth and fifth grade classes have been composing simple pieces of music to play on the recorder using B, A, and G.

First, students composed their own four-measure piece.

Next, students worked with a partner to create an eight-measure piece using both students' compositions.

Lastly, students practiced their piece then performed for the class.

Also, the much anticipated results for the "Recorder Bracket" will be posted soon!

March 23, 2013

Let the madness begin! 

Fourth and fifth grade students are competing for the FRAA (Farmer Recorder Awesomeness Award) championship.  We have the fifth grade region and the fourth grade region.  Both are difficult brackets with a number of strong classes competing for the title.

The first round of the tournament involved the recorder post test for which students completed a performance and written assessment.  Competing classes with the highest number of S (Satisfactory) and O (Outstanding) grades will advance to the next round. 

This week's results will be announced on Monday.  Monday will also mark the beginning of round two. 

February 26, 2013

Fourth and fifth grade classes really seemed to enjoy putting together performances of Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, which is a story from West Africa.  Students drew parts out of a hat for instruments and acting roles.  We assigned unique sounds to each character and other important parts in the story.  Actors and actresses used scarves to create a simple costume.

Here is a clip of one fifth grade class's performance:

Now in fourth and fifth grade classes, we are playing recorders, and students are doing a great job so far.  Recorders can be perchased at local music stores or at  I recommend these: Yamaha C Recorder.

November 3, 2012

No, I am not a Steelers fan.  Nor am I a true fan of any other NFL team.  However, I do understand that some people--and students--have a deep, sometimes inexplicable connection with a sports team.  (Having grown up in Kentucky, I am quite familiar with those who "bleed blue" though my husband prefers the lighter, North Carolina shade.)

This week in fourth and fifth grades we sang "I'm Gonna Dance All Day" ("I Don't Care if the Rain Comes Down"), and students were given the opportunity to create their own movements to show parts of the melody (a string of connected pitches that move up, down, and stay the same) that moved up and down.  I was explaining the activity to the students while they listened attentively.

Then I thought of football.

Maybe I was having a sudden craving for a lazy day at home with background sounds of cheering fans and deep-voiced commentators speaking a language I don't understand.

I asked the students who some of their favorite NFL teams were.  Of course, we ended up with three columns of team and mascot names, and boys continued to tell me what teams were not on the board.  I don't think I ever convinced them that three columns were sufficient.

I wasn't sure at the moment where this list was heading, but the results were creative.  Students worked in small groups to create movements to the melody of the new song.  However, they were allowed to choose the lyrics they used.

The original lyrics:
I don't care if the rain comes down, 
I'm gonna dance all day...

Or revised:
I don't care if the (insert NFL mascot) lose, 
I'm gonna dance all day...

One group decided to use the "Tebow" as their up/down movement (group members knelt with head on a fist, stood with fingers on lips, then raised hands high with fingers pointing upward).

Students understood the concepts, were creating and moving and working with others, and the boys were excited about singing.  That was enough to make my week.

(No pictures or video due to camera issues that day!)

October 12, 2012

This week, fourth and fifth graders composed their own measures of 4/4 time and performed their rhythms on percussion instruments for their class.  First, we reviewed quarter, eighth, half, and whole notes.  Then students worked with a partner to compose two measures.

Some students even chose to give their compositions a title:

Students then chose a percussion instrument to play.  The students practiced with their partner, then performed for the class.

Everyone did an excellent job!  I'm looking forward to creating more music in our classes!

September 28, 2012

September 13, 2012

Hello, fourth and fifth graders!  We've been playing more music and have been moving a lot during our time together.  Do you remember what a quarter note looks like?  Do you remember what eighth notes look like?   We also played quarters and eighths on rhythm sticks while listening to this song:

Some classes have expressed an interest in seeing and learning more about marching bands.  A complete schedule of Kentucky marching band competitions can be found at the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) link on the right.  For now, I've posted a video of the Cavaliers, a Drum Corps ensemble (basically a professional marching band):

What was your favorite part?  Which instruments are your favorite?  Can you guess what instrument I played in marching band?  :)  What instrument will you play?

August 23, 2012

Gilly, gilly, good morning, fourth and fifth graders!  (Parents and guardians, see if your children remember this greeting song that we learned in class.)  The two oldest grades in the school are doing a wonderful job so far in music!  We are singing, learning how to sing correctly, moving to the steady beat, and developing into excellent musical leaders for our school.

Next week, we will continue learning about steady beat, learn a verse to a new song, and talk more about the school choir that will start in September.

August 1, 2012

What will fourth and fifth graders be learning in music this year?  See the charts below to find out what our district says fourth and fifth graders will be able to do by the end of the school year.  We may even learn and do some extra things! 


  1. Hi Mrs. Benson!!! This is one of your students. I love you and your beautiful voice!!!

  2. Hey Mrs.Benson!Its Marissa one of you 5th grade and choir students, I love you're web site and the pic on the home page of you is beautiful!!!!
    P.S. See you at choir on Tuesday!

    1. Thank you, Marissa! I'm glad you like the blog. The choir is doing a great job, and I'm glad you're in it.

  3. Hey Ms.Benson its Claire im soo excited for being the greeter for the choir performance. im hoping ill see my friends in my class!

    1. Thank you for being willing to be a greeter, Claire. You will do a wonderful job.

  4. hey Ms.Benson its Claire Im soo excited about the choir concert tonight

  5. hey Ms. Benson it's Abby i enjoy coming to choir and i am so excited to perform for the whole school in the play. you have a beatuiful voice

    1. Hi, Abby! Thank you, and I'm looking forward to the play as well. The choir is sounding fabulous!

  6. I love your blog it's very inspiring. I was actually also wondering where you bought your circle music mat from because it is amazing and would be fantastic for our school to buy one too. However I'm guessing it might be out of our reach due to shipping and postage costs but still thought I'd ask anyway. I'm a primary music teacher in Australia therefore might be a bit far but if I never the name or product code maybe a rug supplier here might be able to look it up, worth a try anyway. Thank you in advance for your time.

  7. This site is absolutely awesome. I am general music teacher for 25 years
    And loved all your updated changes to songs and games I use and love. Thank you for taking the time to put this out there for others to use!!

    1. How encouraging! Thanks so much. -Kaylee