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Do you ever find a folk song that you didn’t know existed, but once you did, you couldn’t believe you hadn’t ALWAYS had it? That is how Little Silver Moon is for me. I discovered it at the beginning of this year, and I am now obsessed– and so are my second graders!
Little Silver Moon (also known as Silver Moon Boat) is a Chinese folk song that teaches quarter rest. I used it at the beginning of the year with my second graders as a review, and they loved it.
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How to Teach Little Silver Moon
First off, teach the song!
Next, grab some scarves. Movement scarves are my favorite accessory in the music room, and if you haven’t discovered how amazing they are… you should. (Click here to grab them on Amazon). Sing the song and have students draw arcs (or rainbows) to show the phrasing of the song.
Talk to the students about how the moon goes across the sky in an arc, just like that!
Then we’re going to analyze the lyrics. Ask the students about these two lines:
- Why does it say “sail little moon boat to the west”?
- Why does it say “sail little moon boat while I rest”?
Next up, we’re going to sing and point to iconic notation as a review or a preview of quarter rest. I use the Google Slides presentation that is on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. It has the iconic notation with moons, and a dark moon (new moon?) on the quarter rest.
Then we are filling in the missing rhythm. You can put the rhythm on the board with a few beats missing, or you can use the printables, Google Slides, or Google Forms versions of this activity that are available in my Little Silver Moon lesson pack.
PS– Did you know that Google Forms are self grading? If you use the Forms version of this activity, it will grade them for you. Can I get a hallelujah?
You may also like: Feed the Monster Rhythm Game (includes a freebie!)
Orffestration for Little Silver Moon
For the orffestration, I like to use 4 different instruments– but start with just one or two and build it up!
- Triangle plays quarter note + quarter rest
- Egg shaker plays quarter note + barred eighth notes
- Xylophone or metallophone plays quarter note + barred eighth notes on C CG
- Windchimes play slowly throughout
You may also like: Ickle Ockle Lesson for Quarter Rest
Play a Rhythm Game!
Rhythm games are always a fun way to review and practice new rhythms.
The game Asteroid! is the perfect rhythm game for this song– it’s fun, it’s active, and it’s space themed. What could be better?
What’s better is that you can get Level 1 (quarter, eighth, rest) for FREE. Yup. Free. Isn’t it beautiful?
Here’s the basic gist of the game:
- All students have a “base”– we use their seats
- Show one of the rhythms on the board or printed out
- Students walk to the rhythm. So if the rhythm is quarter, quarter, eighth, quarter, they would do step, step, step-step, step.
- Call another rhythm
- If you hit an Asteroid! everyone goes back to their bases
- Last person back is out!
It is so much fun, and there are 4 rhythm levels so you can play it with all of your kiddos.
Extensions for Little Silver Moon
- A Short Ride in a Fast Machine: This piece is so much fun! It’s supposed to sound like a spaceship, and it really sounds like it. I tell them we are going to fly across the universe. Use your scarves and have students match the music– they’ll know what to do!
- Star Light Star Bright: Another outer space themed folk song. I love to ask kids what they wish for.
- Follow the Drinking Gourd: This song is a spiritual, so it’s a bit of a stylistic change. That being said, it’s so good, and my second graders love it. The drinking gourd is code for the Big Dipper, and the whole song is directions for the Underground Railroad! We talk all about constellations with this piece, and we read this book as well!
- The Planets: I did not use Gustav Holst’s The Planets, but it would be a great extension. My friend Jess from Music and Motivate has a video all about activities for The Planets, which you can check out here.
Alright, so that is the Little Silver Moon quarter rest lesson!
All of the visuals that you saw are from my Little Silver Moon lesson pack on Teachers Pay Teachers. This includes lesson pack includes:
- Powerpoint presentation to teach the lesson (including presenting quarter rest and the orffestration)
- Google Slides rhythm activities to go along with the song
- Google Forms Rhythm assessment
- Printable rhythm activities (perfect for a sub!)
You can also purchase any one of these individually– but if you get them in the bundle, you get over 20% off!
Have you used Little Silver Moon in your elementary music class? What are your favorite activities? Head over to @beccasmusicroom on Instagram and let me know!