Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

First Grade - Music - Lesson 1

Background Information for the Teacher

You will find that music is incorporated into many of our Core Knowledge lessons, even though it may not be formally called Music. We have planned on only two formal music lessons per month and hope that you will place them in a way that is useful for your own individual schedule. For these music lessons, we follow the guidelines outlined in the Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence for First Grade, acknowledging at the same time that they are ambitious. The guidelines and overall objectives for the children are:

A. Recognize a steady beat; move to a beat; play a steady beat; recognize accents.

B. Move responsively to music (marching, walking, hopping, swaying, etc.).

C. Recognize short and long sounds.

D. Discriminate between fast and slow.

E. Discriminate between obvious differences in pitch; high and low.

F. Discriminate between loud and soft.

G. Understand that melody can move up and down.

H. Hum the melody while listening to music.

I. Echo short rhythms and melodic patterns.

J. Play simple rhythms and melodies.

K. Recognize like and unlike phrases.

L. Recognize that music has timbre or tone color.

M. Sing unaccompanied, accompanied, and in unison.

N. Understand the following notation: quarter note; paired eighth notes; quarter rest.



Establish the basic, 3-beat rhythmic pattern for a familiar song.

Clap the 3-beat pattern.

Learn to sing the song.


Song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," words printed below.


Tell the children that fall is the climax of the baseball season and you are going to teach them a clapping game they can do as they sing a famous baseball song. Ask if anyone knows the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and can sing the tune with you. If one or more children know the song, try singing it together a few times; then begin to teach it to the rest of the class. You may have a way of teaching music already. If not, try teaching the melody first before adding the words, just using syllables like bum, bum bum bum bum, bahm, bahm, (for the first line), sung in rhythm, before adding the words.

Have the children notice that it is sometimes difficult to keep everyone singing at the same time, changing the notes of the melody at the same time, and so on. Say: One of the things that keeps songs together is the rhythm, which means the way the words and music move. You have heard rhythm in poems and in other songs. The most important thing that keeps the rhythm


First Grade - Music - Lesson 1

moving is a steady beat that runs through each song. Sometimes the beat is in a pattern of two, sometimes three, and sometimes four. Sing the song for the children and see if someone can guess which kind of pattern this song has (three beat pattern).

Next have them establish a steady beat for 1,2,3 1,2,3 by clapping their hands and always emphasizing the first beat, so it sounds more like 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3. Then, once you have everyone clapping the steady beat and always emphasizing the first beat by making it louder, put the words in like this:

1, 2 3 1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3
Take, me out to the ball -- -- game -- --
1, 2 3 1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3
Take me out to the crowd -- --
1 2 3 1 2 3 1, 2 3 1, 2, 3
Buy me some pea- nuts and cra -- cker jacks -- --
1, 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
I don't care if I ne- ver come back For it's
1, 2 3 1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3
root root root for the home -- -- team -- If
1, 2 3 1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1 2 3
they don't win it's a shame -- -- --!
1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 1 2 3
Cause it's one two three strikes you're
1 2 3 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 1 2 3
out at the old ball game!

Once the children can sing the song with clapping, have them try to sing it without clapping. Chances are the rhythm will be more ragged and they will not sing together as well without the steady beat. Ask: Can you hear the rhythm of these words clearer when you clap the 3-beat pattern? If the answer is yes, have the children establish the 1,2,3 rhythm again with clapping and then have them say the words to the song without the melody. Finally, have them sing the song again, this time with some motions suggested by the words. (eating, cheering, striking with a bat, counting with exaggerated finger motions, etc.)


First Grade - Music - Lesson 2


Review 3-beat rhythmic pattern.

Identify evidence of singing from vibration in their bodies.

Introduce concept of melody and how it moves.

Introduce a piece of classical music for enjoyment.


Words to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" from Lesson 1

A record, CD, or tape of J.S. Bach "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (instrumental version)


Begin the lesson by reviewing the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" from Lesson 1. Say: I'm going to sing a song and ask you some questions about it. Sing the song without naming it or singing the words; rather, sing the song on syllables (la or bahm are good ones). Ask the children the name of the song; then ask if anyone remembers what kind of a rhythmic pattern this song has. Give them hints if they need it (you clap the three-beat pattern with accent on first clap, then have them clap the 1,2,3 pattern, keeping steady beat as in Lesson 1).

Next, tell the children to hum the song without words so they can investigate where the sound is coming from and what in their bodies is working to make the sound. As they do this, clap the 3-beat pattern for them so they stay together. Have them do this three different times; the first time, tell them you want them to put a hand gently on the front of their necks and report what they feel. (Demonstrate the way they should do this. Then, make sure they have all placed their hands so they will feel their voice boxes, by passing among them as they sing.) When they have finished humming the song and reported to you (vibration, movement, buzzing are some of the possible responses), tell them they are feeling the vibrations from sound in the voice box.

Ask them to repeat what they just did (hum the song with hand gently placed on front of neck over voice box), and this time see whether they can feel any particular direction or movement to what is happening in their voice boxes. Some of them will report movement up and down, high and low. Tell them they are correct; that the melody of the song is moving up and down, higher and lower and they can feel that movement in their bodies.

The third time they hum the song, have someone come to the blackboard and, using chalk, draw a line which they think shows how the melody moves up and down. (It will probably be just a wavy line that moves diagonally without much precision.) Say: now you can hear it, can feel it, and see it as well. Remind them that you've talked about rhythm in poems and songs; now they know something about melody as well. Say: words help to make the rhythm and the melody clearer, but music doesn't have to have words in order to have rhythm and melody.

Tell the children you are going to play a piece for them without words that was written more than two hundred years ago by a composer named Johann Sebastian Bach, who lived in Germany. (You may want to show them on a map where Germany is and ask if anyone can tell the class what the word composer means, or you may decide simply to play the music. The objective here is simply to expose them to this piece and have them take it in as much as possible.) Make sure that everyone is comfortable. The children may want to lie or sit on the floor in comfortable positions and close their eyes as they listen.


First Grade - Music - Lesson 2


When you have played the piece, have the children open their eyes and sit up. Ask for their responses to the music they heard. Some hints for eliciting responses are:

Do you hear the melody? Can you describe something about how it moves?

Is a person singing the melody? If not, who is? Can you hear more than one melody?

Do you hear anything repeating, sounding the same thing more than once? Can you hum any of it?

Tell the chidren that there is a regular, 3-beat rhythmic pattern in this piece, but the regular beat is much slower than it was in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Play a bit of the piece again and demonstrate the slow 3-beat pattern by walking; then have the children feel it and walk it as well.

Finally, tell the children that the melody in the Bach piece they have just heard is being played by stringed instruments (mainly violins and celli--you can sketch their outlines on the board so they have a general kind of recognition), and that the strings vibrate when people play the melody on them. Remind the children how they were able to feel the vibrations in their own bodies when they were humming. Tell them they will hear more stringed instruments and learn about them and other families of instruments at a later music lesson and that they can help you by collecting pictures of any and all kinds of instruments from magazines, calendars, posters, etc. Start a folder for the pictures they bring in.