Thursday, January 26, 2012

Babar, To Duet or Not To Duet

We rowed Babar, To Duet or Not to Duet in December before Christmas Break.  This Five in a Row book is not one of the original Babar stories but was written by Elaine Waislass in 1992.  It has a great lesson about perseverance as well as offering many other great topics to learn about. 
Some of our activities:

-- Good Manners.  We started with this compilation of good manners.  We discussed them and K acted some of them out.  Then we looked at a list of manners from 1889.  Thank you Classical Charlotte.  While some of the rules seemed a little odd to us, K mostly noticed how strange it was that there were Capitals in Places besides those she'd Learned there should be.

--Discipline, or keeping trying when something is difficult.  We discussed Aesop's fable about the Tortoise and the Hare and watched the Disney version and the Sesame Street News Flash Tortoise & Hare Rematch.

--Potato Print Pictures. 

The kids enjoyed this; however, when I carved the potato stamps I forgot the image would be reversed when it was printed.  So I thought the notes ended up resembling tall birds more than musical notes, but they didn't seem to mind or notice.

--Water Notes.  Another fun activity we did after talking about musical notes and the subject of fractions (whole, half, quarter, etc.) was discussing how the placement of the notes on a staff signifies their pitches.  I came across an experiment where you gather 8 identical drinking glasses and fill them to certain levels to make the different notes.
Filled:  C
8/9 filled:  D
4/5:  E
3/4:  F
2/3:  G
3/5:  A
8/15:  B
1/2:  C
It was a rough approximation of the notes, but it did work.  I remembered that we had some child hand bells, and we placed the correct bell with its corresponding water glass.  K loved clanging the glasses with a spoon and making up songs.

--Orchestra.  We spent some time learning about the orchestra.  Carnegie Hall's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra was a good resource.  The games were a little to hard for K but she liked being able to click on the different instruments, read about them and hear how they sounded.  I also showed the kids my flute and played some simple songs for them.  They liked that. 
I often play classical music in the mornings before we start lessons and after learning about the instruments, especially after the next described activity, the kids were interested in identifying the sounds.  The time we spent with this definitely made them more aware of the music we listen to.  Surprisingly, T still asks about some of the instruments he hears.
Rowing Babar during Christmas concert season, I really hoped we'd be able to go hear an orchestra play.  Disappointly, we just couldn't schedule it.  Maybe we'll be able to catch a concert in the spring or even next year.  That's the nice thing about FIAR--a subject doesn't stop being interesting even after you're done rowing the book.

--Haydn's Surprise Symphony.  The beginning notes vaguely sound like Baa Baa Black Sheep and the FIAR manual suggests listening to this orchestral piece and finding the surprise.  As we watched the 2nd movement on Youtube, the kids looked for instruments they recognized from the previous day's lesson.  I turned up the volume really high so the quiet beginning sounded like an ordinary volume.  When the fortissimo came everyone was SURPRISED!

--Elephants.  It felt a little odd to be learning about elephants in the last days before Christmas Vacation, but kind of a nice break from the Christmasy hubbub, too.  This had a lot of good information.  It was interesting to learn about the differences between African and Asian elephants.  I printed out a few Google images of each and K figured out which kind they were.  We also watched various elephant footage on Youtube.

I wasn't sure if I would like rowing this book as growing up, I didn't care for the way the original Babar stories are written in the present tense.  But this book didn't disappoint--another rich learning experience.


Dana said...

I smiled today remembering K's "Little Picture Dictionary," and it's fun to see how far she's come since then!

Joelle said...

question for you - do you own this book? Our little library doesn't have it (expected), but neither does the whole Boise consortium of libraries! Wondered if it was possible for me to borrow it next year. Feel free to say no. :)