I use the Spotlight on Music text books at my school. They are great! I used them during student teaching and throughout the year, so I am getting used to them more and more. I use them more for the lower grades (k-3 sometimes 4). It is harder to keep the 5th graders attention with them. The songs are great and they provide a lot of pre-made lessons. One lesson I really enjoyed was the lesson on rhythm:Kindergarten book, Unit 4, Lesson 3.
I wanted my students to be able to switch back and forth between steady beat and rhythm multiple times. My students came in my classroom and we stood in a circle. The song is about bouncing a ball, so I had each of my students pretend to bounce a ball to the steady beat. Then, I picked up a real ball and started passing it around the circle to the steady beat (When the students began passing to slowly or to fast, I had the students whisper: pass, pass, pass… until we were on the beat again). Once I decided the students were able to pass on the steady beat proficiently we sat down. Each student then received their own ball. I taught them to sing the song using movements with the ball. Once they were able to sing the song from memory we began exploring the big book(page 27). We looked at the beat bars and observed they all looked the same. Then we looked at the balls above it and observed they were different heights and some of the bars had two balls over the bar. I pointed to the bars and sang and pointed to the balls and sang. Then to see if the students could play the rhythm I passed out rhythm sticks and played the “rhythm of the words”. They watched me first, then we two fingered clapped the rhythm and then finally added the sticks (only few at a time). At the end when I was sure each student could play the rhythm we changed back to steady beat! To my surprise they were able to do without a problem! Then we switched back to rhythm. Once again, they did it! So, to make it more difficult I played the steady beat on a hand drum while they played the rhythm of the words. They did a great job 😀 We moved on and did some of the other activities in this lesson, but this was my favorite!