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Looking for some fun and easy lessons for Cinco de Mayo? These lessons are perfect to celebrate Hispanic culture, or practice some related ideas.
I’ll keep the introduction short, so let’s get started!
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Al Citron is one of my favorite singing games for upper grades. It is a beat passing game, and it includes dotted half note.
Once you sing the song, students get into a circle. Give them something the can pass– cans, cups, rocks, bean bags, etc. The pass to the right to the steady beat.
Then, when it gets to the end of the song, they TAP right, left, right. If anyone messes up the pattern, they are out!
COVID differentiation: We did this online, where we obviously could not pass anything. Instead, we did a tap, slide pattern throughout the song, and then the tap, tap, tap at the end.
It was still a hit!
5 Beat Time Signatures
I love a good play on words, so one fun thing to do is to work on five beat measures. You know, 5 beats because it’s Cinco de Mayo…
Anyway, I have these digital 5 beat time signature activities! Each set includes four different activities– reading a rhythm, composing, filling in the missing note (with the correct amount of beats!), and 2 Truths and a Lie. The last one is my favorite– there are three different rhythms and one of them does NOT have 5 beats. Students have to determine which one is the liar.
The best thing about them? They are ready to go. Just throw them up on your board, or send them to students via Google Classroom and you’re set!
These Cinco de Mayo digital activities come in 4 different rhythm levels.
- Level 1: Quarter note, eighth notes, rest
- Level 2: Half notes, sixteenth notes
- Level 3: Syncopa, dotted half notes, dotted quarter notes, single eighth notes
- Level 4: Dotted eighth-sixteenth, triplet, sixteenth-eighth patterns
Digital Board Game for Meter
If there is one thing that I have been pumped about this year, it’s these digital board games.
During distance learning, I was seriously missing all of our fun centers games, so I decided to adapt them to Google Slides!
In this game, students “roll” a die (it’s a youtube video). The side that it lands on tells them which rhythm to add to their measure. They have to fill up the three measures on their slide– without going over.
This can be played as a group. Students take turns, and whoever fills their measures without going over first is the winner.
You could also assign it as an individual activity.
And yes– it does include slides with five four time signatures. There are different time signatures on the different slides– you have 10 different options! And yes, 5/4 is included!
If you’ve never done this dance, you need to. It is so much fun. I’ve used it with everyone from 2 grade to 5 grade, and it’s always a hit.
This is designed to be danced with machetes– obviously we aren’t going to do that, but we CAN use rhythm sticks. Students will need one in each hand. (We have also done it while teaching music via Zoom, and used pencils.)
The form is ABCABCA’
- A: Walk in a circle (or in place) tapping sticks together to the beat. Turn and go the other direction after 16 beats.
- B: Tap your sticks. They go: up, under one leg, up, under the other leg, front, back, front 3 times. (You can watch the video below to see it!)
- C: Wave one stick in the air for 8 beats, then the other one.
Dances are always easier to see, so here is a video of it. Fun fact, this is one of my college professors that I randomly came across while looking for this dance. Small world!
Color by Note
The next one is simple, but so good– color by note.
I created these color by note worksheets for Hispanic Heritage Month, but, full disclosure, I printed so many that I now just use them all of the time.
If you need a calm activity, this is it. You can access the students’ knowledge, and they get to color. It’s a win win.
Seriously. I used similar activities with my second graders, and then every class they were like, “Can we color?” And I was like…. That was definitely a test. That you are now asking to do.
But, the point is, it is a hit. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s calm… and it allows students to show what they know.
And lastly, below are a few ideas for books for Hispanic Heritage Month. Of course, it’s not an extensive list, but it is a couple to get you started. click on the pictures to view or purchase on Amazon (affiliate links– you pay the same, but I get a small commission).
What are your favorite music lessons for Cinco de Mayo? Let us know on Instagram– share on your stories and then tag me @beccasmusicroom.