Friday, April 7, 2017

Oceans of Fun: A Kindergarten Music Program

Tonight, my 200 kindergarteners performed a music program I titled, "Oceans of Fun."  It was filled with songs, singing games, instruments, and movement.  This was the first kindergarten program in my new position, and I do have to say, it was a hit!  From the props to the costumes, everything came together for a night that brought tears to my eyes.  Here are all the details. 

The Stage

As you can see from the above picture, my colleagues and I went all out in creating this amazing backdrop.  We wanted to create an underwater picture, and I think we did just that.  To begin our decorating, I purchased dark blue and light blue plastic table cloths from the Dollar Store.  We simply bunched them up and created a wave texture to give the effect of water and waves.  

I then cut out 100 neon rainbow fish using my Silhouette Cameo machine.  I taped them to the plastic cloth to create a rainbow school of fish.  

To create bubbles, we used clear latex balloons and attached them to fishing line.  No need to blow them up with helium because they are hanging down.  This was a money saver for sure!  I also created really long strands of bubbles for the front of the stage.  

Next came the coral! I have to give all the credit for the amazing coral to the very artistic and talent PE teacher in our school. She hand-painted a large orange and pink coral onto poster boards that were taped together.  We attached dowel rods to the back and stuck them in a weighted box.  Then with the help of Pinterest, we created an abundance of coral with Dollar Store pool noodles.  

Each noodle was cut in a spiral and then pulled apart.  We stuck them in a box to make them stand up.  Another version of coral consisted of slicing the end of the noodle and placing spiraled pipe cleaners inside of them. 

To bring the coral reef all together, we crumpled bulletin board paper and taped it on the boxes and at the bottom of the main background.  We also added mesh sponges, or loofas, around the coral to give texture and color.  

Lastly, on the very front of the stage we also added more rock, fish, and coral.  Using Dollar Tree crepe paper, we twisted the paper to give a textured effect. 

The Music

Since I am in a primary school, I have 8 different classes of kindergarten students.  Therefore, during a program, each class gets on the stage for one song to be featured.  All the other remaining students stand on our Flipform risers that are angled out from the stage.  All students perform the motions and sing the songs while the one class is on the stage.  Sometimes the featured class will have something a little different than the other students in regards to movements.  

Throughout the program, I came up with a script to tie all the songs together.  Typically three to four students will speak between each song as one class is leaving from one side of the stage and the next class is entering the stage from the other side.  These parts were also spoken during transitions to reduce the audience's urge to talk.  In my past teaching position, the transitions were always the worst because the audience wanted to talk.  I hate to start a song unless it is silent, and the talking drove me nuts.  In my new position, the audience is definitely more respectful and understand audience etiquette as we live in a music/arts driven community.  The small amounts of speaking from the students drastically decreases the amount of talking during the program and allowed the program to flow smoothly.    

Here are the 8 songs I used for my ocean-themed program: 

1. Oceans of Fun by Jill and Michael Gallina 
2. Commotion in the Ocean by John Jacobson
3. Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals
4. Charlie Over the Ocean, traditional folk song
5. Going Over the Sea, Canadian folk song
6. A Sailor went to Sea, Sea, Sea, traditional folk song
7. Roundup Under the Sea, by John Jacobson
8. Shark Cage by M.C. Handel and Paul Jennings

The Costumes

1. Oceans of Fun: During this song, my students wore solid color yellow shirts and a variety of ocean creature masks.  I simply purchased a downloadable file off of Etsy for the masks.  I printed, laminated, hole-punched, and added elastic to each mask.  

2. Commotion in the Ocean:  This song was definitely my most challenging piece due to the accelerando at the end.  I was very nervous we would fall apart with the large amount of students I have singing at one time.  BUT, they did it PERFECT for our performance.  It probably is intended for upper elementary but I knew my kinders could handle it.  This song is about clownfish.  I used the same file from above to print a class set of clown fish masks.  They also wore solid orange shirts to match the theme.

3.  Aquarium:  During this performance, my students created a movement routine to show the highs and lows in the music using scarves.  They wore blue shirts and jellyfish hats made out of shower caps and curling ribbon.  They were absolutely adorable and the movement was breathtaking. I found the idea for the jellyfish hats on Pinterest.  Below is the image and link.    

4. Charlie Over the Ocean: For this performance, the students played the singing game while singing the song.  The game is similar to duck, duck, goose.  A handful of students also played a chord bordun accompaniment on the xylophones.  A student also played maracas while the students were chasing during the game.  The students wore blue shirts and large fish hats.  Here was my inspiration for the hats.  I cut out the fish from large bulletin board paper and stapled two together.  The kindergarten teacher was amazing and took time during her day to let her class paint their fish hats, too!  They turned out beautiful!  I then hole punched them and added an elastic strap to keep them on.  

5. Going Over the Sea: When searching for this traditional Canadian folk song, there are a variety of lyrics.  I wanted to incorporate pirates into my program so I combined some of the versions to create this refrain: 

When I was one, I swallowed a bun, 
Going over the sea. 
I jumped aboard a pirate ship, 
And the captain said to me. 

We go this way, we go that way. 
We go forward, we go backward, 
With a 1, 2, 3.  

Each time the first line changes with the next number.  I had 10 soloists for this song.  Each soloist sang one of the numbers.  

Here are the lines I used for the rest of the song: 

When I was two, I tied my shoe...
When I was three, I skinned my knee...
When I was four, I mopped the floor...
When I was five, I learned to dive...
When I was six, I picked up sticks...
When I was seven, I met a friend, Kevin...
When I was eight, I learned to skate...
When I was nine, I climbed a vine...
When I was ten, I started again...

For costumes, my students wore red shirts, a pirate eye patch, and a pirate hat. 

6. A Sailor went to Sea, Sea, Sea:  During this song, the class that was on stage performed the traditional hand clapping game.  They also wore sailor hats and a sailor collar.  Luckily, the previous music teacher already had a class set in our costume closet so we didn't have to make or purchase costumes for this class.  They also wore white shirts. 

7.  Roundup Under the Sea:  This song, even though ocean-themed, has a western flare.  My students wore plaid/flannel shirts with blue jeans and a cowboy hat.  We performed a simple square dance during the dance section in the music. 

8. Shark Cage:  This piece of music is originally written for recorders; however, I decided to use Boomwhackers for my kindergarten students.  It only uses four pitches, so I had 4 students on each pitch.  The remaining students created a shark routine dance.  The students wore gray shirts and shark fins on their heads.  To make the shark fins, we used bulletin border and gray card stock. This one was definitely a crowd pleaser!  

We wrapped up our evening by singing "Oceans of Fun" again.  The students did a fantastic job and the audience seemed to really enjoy their performance.  Overall the program lasted 25 minutes.  200 kindergarteners performing was a daunting task, but with the hard work, preparation, and help from colleagues, this kindergarten program was a HUGE success! I couldn't be more proud of them.