DM-K Mrs. Young’s Class 11-10-17 (Learning do, re, and mi, using “Hot Cross Buns”)

For a printable version of this lesson, click on the image or click here. The printable version does not have all the explanation given below, so if you want more details, read this lesson plan.

  1. Welcome Song (“Delicious Music“)
  2. Nature/history/life connection: Teach the background of the song “Hot Cross Buns” in order to prepare them for learning do, re, and mi. “What is the weather like this month? Hot? Cold? What do you feel like eating when you are cold? Something warm? I do! Where do you get food when you are hungry? You go to your fridge, cupboard, or you make something. Where else can you get food? At the grocery store, farm, restaurant. What if you are at a football game? Have you ever seen someone selling food at a baseball or football game, or maybe even on the street in a big city?  A long time ago in England, people would sell food on the street. The people lived in busy cities, with the houses all built next to each other without yards, but more like apartment buildings. Sellers would call out what they had to sell to the people in their homes and on the streets. (Maybe you can remember in the movie ‘Mary Poppins’ the chimney sweeps?) Food sellers made food and carried it in a cart or over their shoulders on in a basket, and they would call out to the people on the street. The milk sellers would call out ‘Mi-o’ if they were selling milk. ‘Mi-o’ stood for ‘Milk below,’ so people inside could look out their windows and ask to buy the milk that a ‘milkmaid’ was carrying below (see ‘Life on the streets of Victoria England’ by Judith Flanders). There is a song that is called ‘Hot Cross Buns’ that is because of food sellers trying to sell their hot rolls (‘bun’ is a British word for roll) that had a cross on them and looked like this (show image) (see ‘Hot Cross Buns’). Don’t they look yummy? Ooh, I could eat one right now! I’m going to pretend I am a street seller selling hot cross buns.” (Pretend, holding a basket prop and walking back and forth calling out, “Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns for sale! One for a penny!”) “Only a penny? Wow! That’s not much money! But a long time ago it was more expensive. Pennies could buy a lot more! Would you like to learn this song? Great!
  3. Teach “Hot Cross Buns.” Sing (demo) it first, then put the lyrics sheet up next on the board and point to the words. Sing it again a third time with the children. Ask for a volunteer who would like to try singing it as a solo for everyone.
  4. Teach that the notes do, re, and mi have names and teach how to write them. “What would happen if we didn’t sing the words to this song? We could hum it, right? Let’s try.” Hum the song. “How many different sounds do you hear in this song?” Hum the 3 notes, ascending and descending. “Oh, there are 3, right? Let’s see if I can find them on my resonator bells.” Play do, re, and mi on the bells. “Each of these notes on my resonator bells makes a different sound, yes? Just like each of you has your own unique voice? Well, each of you also has a name, and each of these bells that make its own sound has a name. We call each sound a ‘note’ and each note has a different name. This note we call ‘do’ ” (etc., with re and mi). “One way we can write the names of these notes is by writing their name with letters down, like this.” (Write “do” “re” and “mi” on the board. “Another way we can write their names–this way is faster–is to just write their first letters down.” (Write d, r, mHot Cross Buns.) So if we wanted to write this whole song down, we could go like this. (Write the song on the board in solfa notation: m r d, as shown on the page.) “Sing it with me.” (Point to each note as you sing it.) “Beautifully done!”
  5. Teach that there are other ways to notate music. “We could make circles of the colors of these resonator bells, like this.” (Show Hot Cross Buns song seed sheet music page with just the colored dots, no Solfa notation on them.) “You could even just color with crayons or pens, dots on a paper, like this child did.” (Show an example of a child’s song.) “We will try writing down a song in just a minute. And you can either color dots or you can write the note names, just like I taught you. But I want to show you two more ways you can write or show music: One is by learning how to write music like this” (hold up a copy of black and white sheet music–go here). We aren’t going to learn how to write music this way this year. But you can if you want to at home or another year in school, I hope! The other way I’m going to teach you today is using your hands and no paper at all! There are signs that we make with our hands for each note on our resonator bells. For do, we make this sign” (repeat for re and mi). (For ideas on how to teach Solfa signs, go here.)
  6. Practice the Solfa signs. Practice the signs for a few minutes. Make up songs on the spot using d, r, and m. 
  7. Music composition. Allow the children to create music. Using the white board and asking for volunteers, spend a minute or two modeling how to create a song. “How do we write down a song that we have made up? That’s correct! We write down the notes using their names or coloring dots to show the notes we want to use, like this.” Pick a note and sing it aloud, writing the note name on the board. Repeat until you have created a song. Ask for 2 children to create a song up on the board. Then invite the children to go to their seats, where there are crayons and a piece of paper. Instruct them to create their own song using d, r, m. After a few minutes, ask for 2 or 3 volunteers to share their song.
  8. School Song. If you have sufficient time, practice the school song.
  9. Video Clip. If you have sufficient time, watch the clip from “Who Will Buy?” from the musical Oliver. Be sensitive to the audience you are teaching. Is this song appropriate for your class? The actual plot of Oliver could be frightening to children this age, so be sensitive to whether or not showing this clip would be good for your class.
  10. Sing Adios, Amigos.