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Pulling teeth to get older elementary students singing? Using chants may be the way to go. Chants allow students to focus on rhythm, learn music, and not have to sing. Today, we’re going over exciting chants to use in 4 and 5 grade music class.
This post is especially relevant right now. I’m writing this in early 2021, and a lot of schools are not allowing their students to sing. If they are, they are wearing masks, which is doable but makes it a bit more awkward.
You can get the lyric sheets and the rhythm (in regular and stick notation) to chants and more in the FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY. Some are the same as those below, and some are different (Some are copyrighted!) Just click here to join– the password will be sent to your email, and then you can download these and many other freebies!
Need more lesson ideas?
Click here to grab the FREE PDF Guide to Teaching Music 6 Feet Away.
Annnnd if you’re online, click here to grab the FREE Zoom Lesson Ideas PDF.
Alligator Pie is a really silly chant to work on sixteenth notes and diction. I sometimes use this with my choir to help them spit out all of the consonants.
After learning the chant and figuring out the rhythms, we make up our own version! I put a version up on the screen with a few missing pieces. We replace the words pie, die, green grass, and sky.
You could have them do this whole group, individually, or in groups. Then they can film their composition on FlipGrid!
My fourth and fifth graders love using FlipGrid.
Again with the alligators! We clearly have a theme.
This Alligator Chant was written by Beth from Beth’s Music Notes (if you haven’t checked her out, you need to!). It is super cute. We use it to work on sixteenth notes again, and we do this as a round.
If your students are struggling with rounds, chants are the way to go. Taking out the melodic element really helps them to pay attention to the rest of the piece.
A la lata al latero
This Columbian folk song is perfect to use as a beat passing game. Traditionally, the pattern is
Right Right Right Left Right
Here is a video to help you out!
You can also do movement along with it. Stand in a circle. Students go in, then out, then to the right. Next verse in, then out, then move to the left.
You can do this at the students’ seats by just having them move to the side a little bit, or even at their houses!
Here’s a short video of that.
While we’re on the subject of Colombian music, my students learned about Cumbia this year and it was so much fun! We do Musical Explorers, and this is one of the videos that we used. (Note: This is geared toward lower elementary.)
Also read: Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month
Allô, allô, monsieur
We are typically working on beats, measures, and meter in the upper grades, which makes this chant perfect. It is a traditional Canadian chant that changes from 2/4 to 3/4 to 2/4 and back and forth. You can do this piece and use it to talk about meter, beats, etc.
One thing I like to do is to cover up the time signature and have students figure out how many beats are in the measure.
We also like to use this digital roll a measure game to practice meter. Students “roll” a die. Whatever side they land on corresponds with a rhythm. They drag that rhythm to the measure. They keep rolling until they fill up the measure exactly– no extra beats!
It also has dotted eighth-sixteenth in it.
And it can be used as a ball bouncing chant.
Also read: Engagement Strategies for Distance Learning
How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?
A classic staple from our childhoods; I’m here to tell you that students still love this tongue twister!
You can use it to teach eighth-2 sixteenths, or to work on diction.
What are some of your favorite chants to use in 4 and 5 grade music class? Let us know on Instagram @BeccasMusicRoom