Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Pirate Year-Long Theme for Recorder

Submitted by Christopher L. Saraga , Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Idea posted 2004-12-17

Part One - Before the treasure was stolen:

My theme this year is pirates. I have my third through fifth graders divided into houses, and now they are also divided into ships (i.e., H.M.S. Telemann, H.M.S. Handel, H.M.S. Corelli, and H.M.S. Vivaldi).

I have a treasure chest filled with jewels, rings, and coins. Each house/ship has a treasure chest. Large gems (the ones mentioned above) are worth 100 points, rings are worth 75 points, small gems (which I found at the 99-cent store) are worth 50 points, and coins are worth 25 points.

Each house has a ship's call. I randomly play the call on my recorder and if the house correctly recognizes their call and stands, I award them one of the gems or rings.

Their treasure chests are getting full, and the houses/ships are getting a little too proud of themselves. Little do they know that some pirates will be in town and will steal all our treasure! We will then go on a year-long adventure to reclaim our treasure.*

Our first stop will be the Isle of Doom. The pirates who stole our treasure left some of it on the Isle of Doom guarded by the Spiders of Doom. (I went hog-wild buying Halloween decorations this year and ended up buying some poseable spiders). As we make our way to shore and come to the Isle of Doom, we must play the "doom music" on our recorders (low D and low E: d e d - d e d - d e d - d e d - [ta ta ta-ah, ta ta ta-ah, ta ta ta-ah, ta ta ta-ah]: BAG and C D' have been a review for my fifth graders).

Each Spider of Doom will have a treasure bag filled with gems, rings, and coins. In order to earn the bag, the selected house must perform a certain task (i.e., play a selected passage on the recorder, perform the steps to a dance, read a passage of music and tell me what the notes are and their note values, sing a song, etc.). If the house is successful, then the spider is defeated, and they win the bag of treasure.

I plan for our ships to visit Spain (using SeƱor Don Gato), China and Japan, the Middle East, and Latin America. These pirates get around!

I hope that music is a fun and exciting experience for these kids. I only see them twice a week for 30 minutes each, and I always have more planned than I accomplish!

Part Two - After the treasure was stolen:

*Most of the classes now realize that their treasure chests were stolen. One Eye Angus, King of the Barbary Pirates, stole the chests. He left a note telling the students that if they ever want to see their treasure again, they will have to go the Isle of Doom and match wits with the creatures that lives on that island.

So, we travel back to the Isle of Doom and fight the creatures to get some of the treasure back.

The fifth graders have been working on playing C' - A and G - E (sol mi). Then, I choose one student from each ship/house to pretend that my arm is a snake. (I wrap my hand in one of my green dancing scarves.)

By playing the notes C, A, G, E (in any order) they have to charm the snake. I award 50 points to the house if one of the students can play a successful charm. (A successful charm consisted of finger control, pitch, tone, timbre, and breath control.) The snake continues to hiss until it is under the control of the charm.

I told the students to practice those notes at home, because they just might come in handy as we travel to the Isle of Doom. I plan on having the students attempt to charm other creatures in order to get back their treasure.

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