So whilst the shops are already starting to stock mince pies and play Christmas albums (no joke, I heard Winter Wonderland the other day!) there's another cultural holiday coming up a little sooner that I always get excited about.
Halloween can be a controversial topic in Australian classrooms as it is not traditionally celebrated in Australia and some see the rise in Trick or Treat-ing as a sign of American influence and commercialisation.
However, I think that it be acknowledged in the music room, just the same as we would teach folk songs from any other culture- by prefacing it with an introduction to the meaning and significance behind it.
Plus, the songs are really fun!
I discovered this wonderful sewing pattern for a plush pumpkin over on the American Felt & Craft site and they come out looking a little something like this:
They are the perfect size for little hands and make for a great beat-passing accessory.
With my younger students I like to play "Let's hide the pumpkin" (sung to so mi-la so mi). One student sits in the middle of the circle with eyes closed while the others pass the pumpkin around the circle. After a chosen number of repetitions, whoever is holding the plush must sing "I've got the pumpkin" and the student in the middle has 3 guesses to work out who it was. Also great for a sneaky solo singing assessment!
You can also play Pumpkin, Pumpkin with a variety of variations. I like using it as part of my tika-tika strategy - giving my students particular actions to perform on those rhythms.
I've played variations of this game where students sing the song in a circle but facing outwards. At the end of the song they jump around to face into the circle, pulling their best Jack-O'-Lantern face. Anyone who laughs is out.
As an extension, students have to choose someone to look at when they make their face. If that same person is also looking back at them, they're both out.