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We are now entering week three of Hispanic Heritage month lesson on my blog! This week I am going to talk about the Guatemalan folk song “Vamos a la Mar”, which means let’s go to the sea. I have been using this with my second and third graders, and they love it. I also taught the song but not the lesson to some first graders and some fifth graders, and all of the students are enjoying it!
The reason I am writing this blog is so that we can talk about instruments!
I struggle with instruments. I will not lie. I know that sounds dumb, but I have a hard time remembering to use them, and logistically knowing what I want to do with them. I have to be very INTENTIONAL about using my instruments.
And I gravitate towards the smaller, non-pitched percussion, because frankly, they are easier.
I do use my keyboards a good bit, but still not as much as I should.
I’m working on it.
So for this lesson, I have done two different options. You can use one of these, or neither of these. Either one is fine.
You can find both options in my Vamos a la Mar lesson pack. In this Google Slides lesson, students learn about the song, the translation, all about Guatemala, and it has some of the activities listed below like the improvisation activity and 6 different Orff arrangement ideas. Plus, you can use it to introduce quarter rest.
You can also grab my ocean animal composition cards in Spanish and English, which I created especially for this lesson. There are so many different ways to use them, and the kids love them.
Vamos a la Mar folk song:
I use Vamos a la Mar mostly to talk about Hispanic culture (it’s from Guatemala) and to play instruments. You could use it to present quarter rest if you’d like to as well.
Here are a few other things that I do with this song as well:
- Improvisation: We sing the song and students walk around the room, usually playing egg shakers to the beat. Then at the end, we stop, and one student says, “Let’s go to the ocean to see a _______”, and we all repeat it on our egg shakers. Then we do it in Spanish, “Vamos a la mar para ver_____”. Then we can also do it where we make patterns with the ocean animals.
- Composition: Give students ocean animal rhythm cards like these (bonus points if they are in Spanish like mine are!) and have them create their own ocean animal rhythm compositions. Then they can play them on instruments!
- Decoding rhythm: Students get into groups. They make an ocean animal pattern, and the other students in the group have to figure out the rhythm.
Vamos a la Mar Orffestration:
- You can find other ocean songs and listening selections here
- You can find other Hispanic Heritage Month activities here
Side note: When teaching Vamos a la Mar to my students, I found that they were much more successful if we learned the words one day and the melody on another day. It seemed to be a bit too much for them to do the words and the melody in one day. If your students already speak Spanish, you may not have this problem!
What classroom instruments would you use with Vamos a la Mar? Let us know in the comments!