Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fun with Trains and Grade 1 Composition!

I love doing my train themed unit with my grade 1-3 classes!  I collect my songs from various sources.

I love the Game Plan series by Kriske and Delelles! Two songs that I include in my unit for grade 1 are "Engine, Engine" and "Little Red Caboose".

Click HERE for more information about the book. If you haven't already started collecting these books and manipulatives... you need to!

The song that we spend several lessons on however is "Train Song" from "An Orff Mosaic from Canada", edited by Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming. My American friends- you need to get this! Canadian friends- most of you already have it! It's a staple for sure! Click HERE to check out this collection of songs!

Here is what my grade 1 classes do with "Train Song"
To extend our piece, my grade 1 students each composed a non-pitched percussion B section to play with our Train Song. First the class decided on instruments that they thought could simulate sounds a train would make. They decided on claves, hand drum, shaker egg, maraca, and sand blocks. 

In order to compose their music, students were given a "My Instrument Train" sheet that included train tracks. I pre-cut different coloured train cars and each student had to choose 4 to glue on to their train tracks. They then had to glue a white square on top of each coloured square. 

Each train car represents 4 beats. Students got to choose one instrument to draw in each train car (measure). They could repeat instruments, create a pattern, what ever they wanted. The only rule is that only one instrument could be drawn in a train car. 

Hahaha... this composition is shaker egg, maraca, shaker egg, maraca.

After completing the compositions, students each received an instrument and we played some of the children's rhythm trains! Playing the instrument trains was great practice for tracking, concentration, and beat. 

Next class, we will be organizing a rondo with out Train Song, by using the grade one compositions as B, C, D, E, etc. sections!

- Steph


  1. Hahaha love the Maraca of mine?? lol

  2. what page is the song on? I'm having a difficult time finding the song.

    1. Hi Amy,
      I was using so many Train songs that I made a mistake! The Train Song is actually in An Orff Mosaic from Canada. I have updated my post accordingly. I also used Engine, Engine and Little Red Caboose from Game Plan during our Train Unit. I hope this helps! Sorry about the confusion! And thanks for bringing it to my attention!