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This lesson connects melody, pitch, and rhyming words “Down by the Bay”


Language Arts, Music  


1, 2  

Title – Down By the Bay – Melody and Rhyme
By – Kym Caster
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 1-2


  • Melody (A melody can go up and down changing pitches, or it can remain the same.)
  • Rhyming words (Words rhyme because the rime part of the word is changed while the rest of the word sounds the same.)


      Entry — Students have heard RAFFI tapes and been encouraged to sing along with the teacher during several lessons.
    Exit —

    1. Students will describe the way the pitches change in the song “Down By the Bay” by Raffi.
    2. Students will sing the song “Down By the Bay” by Raffi and will move their bodies HIGH or LOW during the verses showing the highness or lowness of the pitch.
    3. Students will create and perform an original verse to the song “Down By the Bay” in groups of 2-3. Showing they understand the concepts of MELODY and RHYMING WORDS.


    For visually impaired students I would create a tactile simulation of the characters in the book. For students with language delays I would have them buddy with a more verbal student to practice the verbal presentation. You should modify as needed for your classroom of learners.


  • The book, Down By the Bay , written by Raffi and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott.


  • “Class, did you ever see a teacher eating lunch with a creature? Down by the bay?” Wait for student response.
  • Read the book, Down By the Bay by Raffi, using no musical quality.
  • “Is there another way to tell this story?” Wait for student response.
  • “Let’s use a melody! I am going to sing a note. This is the MIDDLE NOTE – we are going to sit on our chair for middle notes. This is a HIGH NOTE – we are going to stand for HIGH notes. This is a LOW NOTE – we are going to squat like a frog for LOW notes.”
  • “Now we are going to listen to the song and let’s see if we can move when we hear the notes go HIGH, LOW, and in the MIDDLE.”


  • “Now we are going to sing the song ‘Down by the Bay’ with the tape while we move our bodies HIGH, LOW, and MIDDLE to show the pitches changing and staying the same.”


    • Goal 2.4 present perceptions and ideas regarding works of the arts, humanities and sciences.
    • Goal 1.5 Comprehend and evaluate written, visual and oral presentations and works.


    • FA 1 process and techniques for the productions, exhibition or performance of one or more of the visual or performed arts.
    • CA 5 comprehending and evaluation the content and artistic aspects of oral and visual presentations.


  • INPUT: “Let’s listen again to the song ‘Down by the Bay’. I am giving you a paper like the one I have on the board.”
picture of sun                                                
picture of bird                                                                                                                                                                                                
picture of bird                                                
picture of bird                                                
water line

























picture of fish                                                
picture of fish                                                
picture of fish                                                
picture of fish                                                

The pictures didn’t show up, but I used a line for the water line, I got clip art fish (4) for below the water and 3 clip art birds above the water, and a sun in the top of the sky to represent the 8 notes in the scale.

  • “The song is going to start right on the water (on the line).”
  • “Where does the melody go next? Up to a bird? Up really high, all the way to the sun? Down to the fish? How low is the fish where the melody is?”
  • “Let’s see if we can write the words next to the object when the melody changes in pitch. Let’s all put DOWN on the line. Where would BY go?” The teacher goes through all the words in the refrain of the song as they are listed below. The students respond to the teacher’s question about “Where does it go? On the water? In the water? In the air? How high?” for each word and pitch. The teacher asks, “Is this pitch higher or lower or the same?” In this way, the teacher would constantly be checking for understanding of all of the students.
    • DOWN
    • BY
    • THE
    • BAY
    • WHERE
    • THE
    • GROW
    • BACK
    • TO
    • MY
    • HOME
    • I
    • DARE
    • NOT
    • GO
    • FOR
    • IF
    • I
    • DO
    • MY
    • MOTHER
    • WOULD
    • SAY

MODELING: The teacher shows where all of the words in the refrain go on the chart that is pictured above. The teacher has drawn the chart on the board so that is a large and visible copy of what the students are using at their own desks. This process is described above.

GUIDED PRACTICE: “Now let’s write some NEW verses to go with our song. Who can give me two rhyming words to make a verse?” Wait for student responses. “Where do the verses go on our drawing?” Students come up to the board to show where the verse words would go.


  • “When do words get written by the fish? When are words written by the birds? What is the word that tells us how HIGH OR LOW the sound is?” Wait for student response: PITCH
  • “What is it called when we put all these pitches together?” Wait for student response: MELODY or Song? (If song, then try to re-direct to melody.)


    “Now, turn your paper over. Can you make a verse for the song with your partner? Write your rhyming verse at the top of your paper. Now, make a drawing, use the water and fish, and birds, and sun like I did or make one that is your own. Where do the pitches for your verse go? Label your verse the same way we did before. How can you let us know where the high, low and middle pitches are?”

CLOSURE: In our buddy groups, we will perform our verse while displaying our visual representation of the changing pitches.

ASSESSMENT: Authentic (scored as they perform and display their visual display)

  1. 1 point for sharing in front of the class with a buddy.
  2. 3 points for drawing a pitch scale drawing with a high middle and low component (1 point for each component)
  3. 5 points for using the pitch scale to write the words.
  4. 1 point for colorful and creative.
    10 points possible
    9 or more points = A
    8 or more points = B
    7 or more points = C
    6 or more points = D
    5 points or less = I would ask the student to conference with me so that they would have a better understanding of what we had done in this lesson. I would give the student a detailed explanation to take home as homework and give the student the opportunity to re-do the assignment.

EVALUATION: Was my lesson both interesting and motivating for the students? Were all the students able to participate and learn from this lesson? How could I make this lesson more instructional and/or interesting for my students?

E-Mail Kym !

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