3-5, Elementary Music, Games, Lessons

Al Citron: Mexican Passing Game for dotted quarter note

This month is Hispanic Heritage month! I love Hispanic Heritage month, because I love teaching lessons from different cultures, and I also love a good theme. I find themes to be the easiest way to make lessons really flow together. This year, I am sharing one of my favorite lessons: Al Citron.

Al Citron is a Mexican folk song that has a passing game along with it. It is perfect to teach dotted quarter-eighth note because those are ALL over the song.

Also, the words are nonsense, so if you totally mess them up, it really doesn’t matter.

I use this lesson with my 4th grade and 5th grade students, but you can use it where’ve it fits into your sequence!

This post includes the opportunity to get FREE Spanish fruit rhythm composition cards. If you would like to get those, plus visuals, printable worksheets, and printable lesson plans, then you can check out the product in my TPT shop. As always, you can do the lesson without the product, but it enhances it and makes a huge difference!

Looking for more Hispanic music ideas? Check out this post for a roundup of my favorites!

Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These  rhythms  manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Al Citron

  • I always start with a movement based warm up. For this lesson, we learned the A section to a dance to La Raspa (AKA the Mexican Hat Dance). After the dance, I showed them on the map where Mexico was. Then….
  • Tell the students that we are going to learn a Mexican song and game. The words are in Spanish, but most of them don’t mean anything, so it’s ok it they are not perfect.
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room
  • Teach students the words to the song (Side note: I find that teaching other languages is easiest when you split up the words one day and the melody another day.)
  • Teach students the melody by rote and have them keep the steady beat on their bodies. (These visuals are from the PowerPoint in my product. It comes in regular and stick notation!)
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Game Time!

  • After teaching the song, prep the game by having students take their right hand and keep the beat by tapping their left leg and then their right leg (this is prepping the passing motion).
  • Once students have gotten that down, change it so that the last part of Al Citron (triki triki tron) goes left-right-left.
  • Give students items they will pass during the game. Traditionally, I believe that it is supposed to be rocks, but I use cans, because that is what I use for the cup game, so I already have them ready to go.
  • Have them practice the motion in their seats first, then get into a circle. This is helpful, because even with big kids, going from mirroring to being in a circle and seeing people doing what is seemingly the opposite is a struggle.
  • Before playing the game, practice just the very beginning (Al citron) to make sure that all of the students are going the correct way (I usually do counter clockwise for everything).
  • Once everyone is going the right way, play the game! Students pass the cans to the right while singing the song. At the end, on the words triki triki tron, you switch the pattern to right-left-right. If anyone messes that up, then they are out!
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Dotted Quarter-Eighth Note

  • Once students have sung Al Citron so many times they could sing it in their sleep, we look at the dotted quarter-eighth note rhythm. I start by putting the notation up on the board and asking students what rhythms they know. We will review quarter notes and eighth notes.
  • Next, I point at the dotted quarter note and ask what they think it is. After allowing a few to try to figure it out, someone will usually say “It looks like a quarter note and a dot.” And I say, “You are exactly right! It’s a quarter note with a dot. And we call it a dotted quarter note. Think you can remember that?” And they look at me like I’m crazy.
  • I briefly explain that quarter note gets one beat and the dot gives it half, and we do the math on the board, but really I want them to think of the dotted quarter-eighth combo as having two beats all together, so I don’t stress that too too much.
  • Next, I let the students practice this new rhythm a few different ways. We are working on the pianos, so I have been giving students dotted quarter eighth note rhythms to play on the pianos during centers.
  • We have also been playing Kaboom, because it is wonderful, and my level 3 rhythms include dotted quarter notes.
  • Finally, Mexican fruit compositions! In my Al Citron lesson pack, there are composition cards where students can create rhythms with different fruit names! (Because a citron is a citrus fruit, kind of like a lemon). These composition cards are available FOR FREE in my FREE Resource Library. (Not a member yet? Sign up here! You get access to the growing free resource library PLUS practical tips + tricks in your email every Sunday morning!) There are different options for these– You can make the rhythms and play them on instruments. Make the rhythms and write them down. Or you can make the rhythms and then add melody to it (You can do B-A-G if you are working on recorder– I also have level 3 rhythms BAG flashcards too!)
FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

So there you have it– a whole lessons (or a few day’s worth of lessons) on the singing game Al Citron. Have you ever use this in your classroom? How did you use it?

Don’t forget to check out the FREE fruit rhythms composition cards here, or join the FREE resource library here!

Interested in the whole resource? You can get it here!

Happy teaching!

Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room
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3-5, Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Free Music Lesson: Bate Bate Chocolate

Do your students speak Spanish? Whether they do or not, they will enjoy Bate Bate Chocolate! I have been using this with my 2-3 grades. I find it perfect for that age (and with students who speak no Spanish) because there are very few words. Out of the few words, the students usually know how to say uno, dos, tres. Chocolate is the same in every language. So you end up with only one line that is a little bit new or different.

I picked this chant because I liked it, but my students ended up loving it too. We used it for a few activities, and I have since thought of even MORE activities that we do not have time to do. Isn’t it always the way? It’s only October and I’m already freaking out about not having enough time to get through everything I want to do.

This is partially because of my super weird schedule and me looking to see how many times I’ll see my kids before the end of the year.

The answer is not very many.

Anyway, I created a TPT resource that goes along with this lesson. It has the words, words and rhythm, and two different worksheets for the students. One of them has heartbeats, and students can fill the rhythm over top (it is just quarter notes and eighth notes, so it is actually a little too easy for second grade), and another one for students to use with their body percussion compositions (more on that if you scroll down!) Check it out here.

And as always, you can do everything without using the resource. But it’s better if you do.

Also read: Vamos a la Mar Orffestration

Free Elementary Music Lesson: Bate Bate Chocolate. This chant teaches ta and titi, body percussion ostinatos, and composition. It is great for your general music class during Cinco de Mayo or Hispanic Heritage month-- or any cold weather day, since it's about hot chocolate! Becca's Music Room

Bate Bate Chocolate

  • Show the students the words to Bate Bate Chocolate and teach it to them by rote.
  • Explain that this is a chant from Mexico that they use when they make hot chocolate—which is a pretty big deal over there.
  • Say the chant a few times, with the students copying your body percussion movements. I like to do three patterns to give them different examples. In the first one, we will change movements every beat. In the second, every two beats. And in the third, every four beat. I will point that out the patterns so that students get it in their heads.
  • Have students create their own body percussion movements patterns. They can use the worksheet included in my TPT resource. They assign each movement a color, and then color the box over that movement that color. So if the decided that clap was blue, then they would color the box over “bate” blue to show that that is a clap.
  • Have students perform their creations.
  • Transfer the compositions to actual percussion. You could have students change the body percussion to instruments. Then you could have the student “direct” the class in playing. So if blue was clap, now it could be triangle. When the student gets to a blue box, all of the triangles play.
  • Have students figure out the rhythms to the chant on the heartbeat worksheet. If you are using this with younger students (or even older students) you could have them point to the hearts as they say the chant.

Free Elementary Music Lesson: Bate Bate Chocolate. This chant teaches ta and titi, body percussion ostinatos, and composition. It is great for your general music class during Cinco de Mayo or Hispanic Heritage month-- or any cold weather day, since it's about hot chocolate! Becca's Music Room

Also, if you are looking for some sort of reward or Christmas themed party or something, a hot chocolate party would be super fun. And if you are, I would suggest this over individual packets.

Also read: It’s Raining and Que Llueva

And don’t forget to check out the Bate Bate Chocolate resources on my TPT here!

So there we go! One chant with five activities. Which one are you the most excited about? Let us know in the comment! Happy Teaching!

 

Free Elementary Music Lesson: Bate Bate Chocolate. This chant teaches ta and titi, body percussion ostinatos, and composition. It is great for your general music class during Cinco de Mayo or Hispanic Heritage month-- or any cold weather day, since it's about hot chocolate! Becca's Music Room

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