Thursday, September 20, 2012

Orff with 1st Grade!

I did it! 1st grade played Orff instruments! They even played a song!

I started off doing a lesson from Beth's Music Notes. I used the Hickory Dickory Dock lesson for low and high. Last week, we learned which direction was low and which direction was high. They loved that, so this week, they got to play their own instrument.

After we reviewed Hickory Dickory, we played an echo rhythm game. I played a simple rhythm on a tone bell and they repeated it. It took a minute for everyone to realize they had to play exactly what I played. I have been calling that game "Copy Cat."

Today I also used the characters from Mr. E's Musical Apartment with 1st grade. We didn't get into the story but I showed them the pictures of the characters I have on my board and arranged them as notes. They found the bars labeled C, D, and E. (I had only taken out B and F for Copy Cat) Then, we played C, D, E and used our syllables, tah tah ta-ah. I am really impressed with how well they did.

Speaking of Mr. E, I used it with 4th grade today. I thought they may consider it a little juvenile, but I was WAAAAY wrong. They loved it! Loved the story and loved the pictures I drew! We got out all the Orff instruments, I put "My Three Friends" from Mr. E, book 1 on the board and we played it. I'm extremely proud right now.

Here is a picture of my first graders playing Orff instruments.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Old Joe Clark

Next week, I am doing a lesson with 2nd grade on strings and we are singing Old Joe Clark. I didn't like the arrangement in the music book. I stumbled upon this and it works really well. The book's arrangement was too fast. I think this one is a much better speed. Plus, they lyrics are right there!

New Zoo Review for Pre-K

Here is a video I created for the song New Zoo Review. The song is part of the Music and Movement in the Classroom book written by Steven Traugh. Words and music are by Greg Scelsa.

I am using this video so that the students can see the animals as they are performing the movements.

Friday, September 14, 2012

5th Grade Rhythmic Dictation

Today, I tried my newest pinterest adaptation: Rhythmic Dictation. I created a template for the students to work with, copied it, and used it in my page protectors with the dry erase markers. One side is the staff and one side is now for dictation.

Here is a picture of the template. I adapted this activity from Beth's Music Notes blog. She is wonderful.

First, I asked the students to draw 4 quarter notes in the boxes. Then I told them to write in the numbers of the beats under the boxes. These were easy tasks that everyone did correctly. I had them do a few more exercises like that (for one, they drew a half note and I had them draw a line from the note extending to the last beat of the note) and then we started the dictation. Of course, I had to turn it into a game and they loved it! I would clap a rhythm and the first person who showed it to me on their clipboard written correctly got a piece of candy (That is a 5th grade reward from the classroom teachers...I'm just being consistent)

I am really impressed with how well they were listening and writing the rhythms correctly. I am very pleased with this lesson. The 4th and 5th graders love using the dry erase "boards" (page protectors). 

I haven't tried this lesson with 4th grade, but it is in my plans for next week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recorder Hero

I'm so excited because our recorders should be here Friday! The 4th graders are so antsy! They ask me about them everyday. So in preparation for the arrival of the recorders, I changed my bulletin board.

Instead of Recorder Karate, we are doing Recorder Hero (same premise, different name, some different tunes)

Here is the board. I found those file folders on clearance at Walmart for 50 cents, so I had to incorporate them somehow. I am using them to store the music and fingering charts.

Listening Journals

Today, I assigned my first listening response in 3rd grade. I showed the students a music video and had them fill out a simple worksheet to go along with it. I wanted them to tell me what they were listening to and how it made them feel. Then they drew me a picture of what the music made them think about.

This activity was really fun! The kids enjoyed it.

Here is the worksheet I used:

 And here is the video they watched:

After we finished our pictures, I went around the room and had the kids tell me what they thought of the video. I wrote their thoughts on the board and then we talked extensively about how the guitar works. They were very interested in the guitar!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


In my middle school curriculum, we are doing 3 units. The first unit is learning to write our own music. For this, I taught a mini need to know theory course and a lesson on lyrics where we analyzed a song and lyrics. I am using Jamstudio and Noteflight to actually write the music.

In order to host the music and grade it, I created a class wiki using wikispaces! This site is so great. The wiki is private and each of my students has a username and password, created by me, in order to access the site.

This is a screenshot of the wiki. The students are listed on their homeroom teacher's page and they post their compositions there. They also email the finished the product to me so I can grade it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I am so thankful everyone has loved my boomwhacker arrangements. I started teaching the concept of boomwhackers with the circles from the "Boomwhacker Brilliance" post. It helped sooooooo much. And, the kids had a lot of fun with it.

So today, we actually got to use the instruments! They did so well. I used the circles again to help get them to pay attention to the board and understand that they are responsible for the color boomwhacker they are holding. It worked out so well!

Here are the powerpoint files for the boomwhacker music I arranged. I saved and uploaded these with Google documents. Once you open it in the browser, under "file" choose "export to google presentation" to see it and save it as a presentation. You can also choose "download" to download the file to your school computer.

Frere Jacques

Boomwhacker Mystery Pieces

Christmas Boomwhacker Tunes

Here are some videos I have used, too

One Minute Boomwhacker Introduction


One Minute Boomwhacker Piece


Monday, September 3, 2012

Note Card Rhythms

I saw a picture floating around on pinterest and I've been pondering how I can incorporate it into my classroom.

Here's the pinterest picture:

I knew I could use this idea somehow, so while I was at Target yesterday, I picked up some unruled note cards for 50 cents each. 

I started writing various rhythms of one beat:, then I decided that was silly, so I added all the rhythms that we know. But, that's as far as I got. 

So, today I figured out a way we could use the note cards. I'm planning to make each student in the class (25 sets total) a pack of cards. They will include a whole note, 2 half notes, 4 quarters, 4 sets of eighths, 2 half rests, and 2 quarter rests. 

I am going to speak/clap/play a 4 beat rhythm pattern and the students will arrange their note cards in the correct order. They will use their clipboards as a lapdesk to place their arrangements and I will walk around to check them.

I can also ask for student volunteers to perform a pattern for the class to figure out. 

Very excited to try this Thursday with 4th grade!