Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peter and the Wolf Lapbook

Today, I made an informal Peter and the Wolf lapbook to help tell the story. I am planning to decorate my room with scenery from the story so we can act it out, but I also wanted to have some pictures of the characters and instruments.

I found some great color pictures of the characters and the instruments here. They are on the last two pages. I was cutting them out today to paste on to popsicle sticks and had the idea to make it into a lapbook.

I love how each character is paired with the instrument and the music is described under the character.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

iPad Apps for the Music Room

Now that I have had time to explore the apps available, I've compiled a list of the ones I use everyday. Some are music related and some are technology related.

Music Apps -Instruments and Games
Marimba- Play a digital marimba

Recorder+ Lite- Play your recorder with the app

Rhythm Repeat Lite- This is a very cool game that works on rhythmic dictation.

Name that Note- Quiz on note names with three different difficulties. Con: You can't select a certain range.

Young Genius- LOVE this app! It has three games: instrument sound quiz, memory game, and a composer quiz. I used the sound clip quiz and the memory game during my instruments of the orchestra unit.

Productivity Apps

AirSketch Free- Allows you to connect your ipad to your projector and draw/write on your iPad to display on the screen. I use this during my middle school lecture classes for guided notes.

Remote Mouse- LOVE this app! This allows you to move away from your computer and still have control of your mouse.

Prezi- Prezis are so fun and this app lets you store all the prezis you create on your iPad, present them from the iPad and create them, or so I've read. I couldn't get the templates to load on my iPad.

Flashcards+ This app creates your own flashcards. Because I was not able to control which notes the kids were quizzed on in Name that Note, I made a set of flashcards using the notes we know. It was incredibly easy. There is even an option to add a time limit per side which makes this seem more like a game.

Recorder Olympics

Edit: See the completed wall in my classroom here!

I once attended a workshop with Paula Crider where she was talking about how she got started in music education. She mentioned that she motivated her students with something she called Band Olympics. They were able to work on developing fundamental skills while competing to make it fun.

I feel like recorder can get boring for those who are still struggling with the basics so during the spring semester my 4th graders are going to start Recorder Olympics, an idea I adapted from Paula Crider's session.

During this unit, the students will complete certain events, ranging in difficultly. They are:

Note Name Relay (naming the notes from the staff in a timed event)
Long Tones (play any note for 16 counts)
Long Tone Low C (play low C without squeaks for 12 counts)
* Special Award* Longest Note Held with One Breath

Play a C scale pattern going up
C scale pattern going down
C scale up and down

Complete "Tricky Twisters" (7 total, see below)
Perform selected echoes
*Special Award* Fastest Tongue

Play a BAG song
Play a song from memory
Play a solo for the class

There is a wall in my room dedicated to keeping track of the events and who has completed what event. At the end of the semester, if a student has completed 1/3 of the events successfully, they have earned a bronze medal. If they complete 2/3 of the events, they have earned a silver medal and all events completed earns a gold medal.

Tricky Twisters
Before Winter Break, we tested on playing a C scale pattern down. They students learned the pattern up but we have not tested on the entire scale (except for some over achievers). I created the Tricky Twisters (the name comes from "finger twisters" as I like to call them) to help get fingers and tongue coordinated while developing some muscle memory. I think this will especially help when using F natural and F sharp. Each set starts with half notes, then quarters and eighths.

Here is the link to the PDF. I uploaded it to Google Drive. Simply open and download.

Recorder Lapbook

I have been so interested in lapbooks lately that I decided to give creating one a try. This book is all about music literacy and the recorder!

Here is the link to the PDF of the lapbook. There are instructions in the file.

The students are able to decorate the front of their book or use this cover. Inside, the students can paste their complete charts and information any way they would like. I intend to leave the folder folded as is in order to maximize space for gluing the contents inside. The back of the lapbook is going to become a place for us to attach sheet music and our own compositions. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Carnival of the Animals

I am preparing for my spring semester lessons and have compiled my Carnival of the Animals resources.

Because all the classroom teachers are going to be covering the SOL requirements, I have correlated this unit with habitats and food chains, two standards in Virginia for 2nd grade


Here is my powerpoint presentation for selected pieces from the Carnival of the Animals.

The last slide of my presentation asks the students to create their own animals piece, including the animal, its habitat and the instrument that represents the animal. I am planning to display these in the hallway once they are finished.

I really like this set of videos. The entire work is available and includes the narration. You can also see each instruments being played.

I've been experimenting with glogster and I created a glog for March of the Royal Lion and Aquarium. I also love this video as a listening map for Aquarium. 

For 1st grade, I am also using Aquarium. We will read "Rainbow Fish", listen to Aquarium and watch the listening map and then create a torn paper fish for our own aquarium (blue paper) in the classroom.

Here is a packet of worksheets and coloring sheets that correspond.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nutcracker Parachute Routine

This activity has been the highlight of my lessons this week. The kids absolutely love this!!!

Here is a video of my 3rd grade class performing the routine. I taught it first without the music and then we performed it with music. They kept asking to do it again and again.

I used this with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. We finished up our lesson early in 4th and 5th so I taught it to them just for fun. They loved it too! To my surprise, 6th grade saw the parachute in my room and asked to learn it after we watched the video of 3rd grade.

This has really been tons of fun for everyone involved!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Nutcracker

December is finally here and we can finally begin The Nutcracker! I am so excited! Here are my lessons and resources for teaching The Nutcracker to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.

First, I am using a wonderful iPad app to share the story with my students. It is called The Nutcracker Musical Storybook and it is 2.99 from the app store.

The app allows you to read the story like a book or plays as a movie.

In first grade, we are studying the March and The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies. I am using the quiz from Beth's Music Notes with my 1st grade. This quiz is so great and has everything I want. Why reinvent the wheel?

In 2nd and 3rd grade, we are focusing on the dances. 2nd grade will listen to 3 dances: Chinese, Russian and Arabian. In 3rd grade, we add Waltz of the Flowers. Each grade will complete a listening assignment for the dances. Here are copies of each.

2nd graders circle their answers for musical characteristics of each dance and then draw a picture of what the music makes them think of. I love having them draw! It is always nice to see what they come up with.

 3rd graders are circling their answers also, but since we just finished our instruments of the orchestra unit, I am asking them to identify an instrument they hear. I also want them to write what the music reminds them of. This sets them up for 4th grade Listening Journals. (I only have 3rd graders for one semester each.)
 After our paperwork is complete, I have a fun parachute routine for the Russian Dance. I am going to attempt this with a 1st grade class and see how it goes.

The routine is as follows: (you can hear where the changes are in the music)

on the accent- jump
repeat 4x

rotate right
rotate left

>- jump
>- jump
>>>> -slam, slam, slam, slam

>- jump
>- jump
repeat 2x

shake left and right
4 counts from the end- parachute up and kids go under

Music in the Movies

In my middle school classes, we have written our own pop songs and studied about the evolution of rap music. Now, we are starting our last unit for the semester...Movie Music!

I am using Music Makes the Scene for some background information and worksheets. The book comes with a DVD of clips and each clip has different music. Using this, we can see how the music really does affect the scene.

Here is my Google presentation on Music in the Movies. I use this with 6th and 7th grade. After the presentation, the students complete a "Ticket out the Door". (That is why some points have **** beside them)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Rhythm Activites

For 1st and 2nd grade, I am going to attempt combining rhythms, scissors, glue and markers! Here's the premise.

I love using word rhythms. It seems as if everyone "gets it" when we talk about rhythm that way. In first grade, we are going to use word rhythms to create our own Thanksgiving dinner. We will discuss all the rhythms, color the pictures, cut them out and glue them to our plate.

In 2nd grade, we are using word rhythms to create a scene for the First Thanksgiving. I am showing a great video explaining the occasion and we are singing Pilgrims from Music K-8. Then they will complete this sheet by writing in the correct rhythms, coloring, cutting and gluing to create their scene. (I tried to scale the pictures as much as possible.)

Veterans Day Activities Pictures

My Veterans Wall is now complete! I am so pleased with how it turned out. 
Here are some pictures of the finished product.

Flags from Pre-K and Kindergarten

1st grade designed postage stamps to honor heroes

Here are stamps from 2nd grade

4th and 5th graders learned about the Star Spangled Banner.

We defined all the new words and illustrated a line from the song.

The Wall

We had 117 submissions

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Veterans Day Music Lessons

As I'm winding down my Halloween lessons, it is time to honor two holidays in November! Here are my activities for Veterans Day

For 1st grade, we are going to read Pepper's Purple Heart. Then we will discuss what a veteran is and why we have a day to honor veterans. We will then transition to discussing heroes. I want the students to give me examples of people they consider to be heroes. Once everyone has given me an example, we will each illustrate a hero on a stamp template.

I am also teaching the 1st graders My Country 'tis of Thee.

In 2nd Grade, we are discussing the story of Veterans Day. We will also discuss the lyrics of My Country 'tis of Thee and sing the song, but we are also going to illustrate a line from the song. Each student will be able to pick the line they want to illustrate and a template to do so.

In 3rd -5th grades, I will be varying the level of difficulty, but the general design of the lessons is the same. In the upper levels, we are going to discuss the origin of Veterans Day.

We are also going to watch this  video about the origin of the Star Spangled Banner. We will look at the lyrics, define new words and sing the song. I am going to let some of the students play the finger cymbals when they listen to the recording of the National Anthem. I am also doing an illustration sheet with these students. They will illustrate a line from the SSB.

In addition, we are going to play a game with songs for each branch of the military. 
The students divide into “teams” of the five armed forces branches: Navy, Coast Guard, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force. We will listen to the corresponding songs for each branch and discuss each song. 

Navy – “Anchors aweigh my boys, anchors aweigh…"  (define aweigh)

Coast Guard – “Semper Paratus, duh, duh, duh (these words help them remember the motto and the melody)
Army – “And the caissons go rolling along…" (define caisson)

Marine Corps – “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…" (listen for the leap in the melody)

Air Force – “Off we go into the wild blue yonder" (point out that the melody ascends like a plane)

After you have spent time on each song play one randomly. Have students listen for their listening clue. If they think that the march belongs to them, have them stand. They do not have to stand as a team. Their vote is individual. 

There are also some really great resources for teachers available from 

Ultimately, great examples of our student work completed during these lessons will be displayed with our "Wall of Remembrance". This idea came from Music K-8. Families are asked to submit information about veterans in their family. I am asking for name, branch of service, years served and student relationship. I will transfer this information to "bricks" to build a wall in our hallway. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Activities

12 Days of Halloween Rhythm and Lyrics Cards
Thanks to Pinterest, I found an awesome resource for Halloween from Pinamation. Since we have done word rhythms with the Pizza Love lesson, the kids should pick this up pretty easily.

The gist of game is that the lyrics and the matching rhythm patterns are hung throughout the room. The students must work together to match them up.

I loved the lyrics to this tune, so I made a slideshow for the kids to sing along with. I added pictures after each verse to help them remember the order when we could backwards through the days of Halloween.

 12 Days of Halloween Slideshow

Trick or Treat
Another game I am playing with 2nd grade is Trick or Treat rhythms. I found this game at Layton Music
This game has the student to draw a card: Trick or Treat. If they draw a trick, they must perform the rhythm. If they draw a treat, the receive a piece of candy.

There are printable cards at the website; however, I made my own cards. I colored them and wrote my own rhythm patterns, cut them out and laminated them so I could reuse them.

Trick or Treat Game Cards
(The formatting is off since I uploaded the file using Google Docs. Once you open it, download the file and open it with Powerpoint to print. Or, you can change the font and the size in Google Docs)

Halloween Games
For fun, I am going to play 2 different Halloween games with K-2: Pumpkin Walk and Pass the Pumpkin.

Pumpkin walk is similar to a cake walk. There are colored pumpkins on the floor. The students walk around until the music stops. I'll call out a color and students on that color receive a piece of candy.

Pass the Pumpkin is a steady beat game. I have a plastic pumpkin trick or treat bucket that the students will pass around. We will say this popular chant: "Pumpkin, pumpkin round and fat, turn into a Jack o'lantern just like that!" Whoever is holding the pumpkin when we finish, can reach inside and take a piece of candy.

Halloween Videos

5 Little Pumpkins

The Skeleton Dance

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything

Also, another good book for Halloween music lessons is the Skeleton Cat. It is about a cat who gets a second chance at becoming a drummer. I've been able to incorporate rhythm instruments such as sticks, shakers, and finger cymbals. The book gives great opportunities to include these instruments.

Sample page

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pete the Cat for Kindergarten

Today, I had a super successful lesson. I recently picked up the newest Pete the Cat book and it is so adorable! It's called Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes.

As you can see, this one is really music friendly. I showed them the video of the song. They really got into it, singing and dancing along. I liked showing them the video first so they could sing along when we got to the song in the story. Here's the song:

Once we heard the song, I read the book and each time we came to the song in the story, we sang it together.

Next, I showed them a Pete the Cat video of The Wheels on the Bus

We did all the typical motions for this tune, then we sang a verse without the music.  I handed out rhythm sticks and we changed the words to "The sticks on the bus go tap, tap, tap (scrape, drum, pound, hammer and roll).

This is an easy way to incorporate instruments in Kindergarten. My students are trained to sit with the sticks in their laps, together, with both hands holding them, one at each end. I tell them to keep them quiet or I'll take them back. It only took once for them to realize I wasn't joking.

To end class, they worked on a Pete the Cat coloring page. I paired a reader with a non-reader and had them work together. The worksheet had the students color Pete's shoes different colors. The shoes were labeled with the color. By pairing the students, I wasn't answering a million questions, and it gave the students an opportunity to peer teach, even in Kindergarten. They took it so seriously and it worked like a dream.

Here is the coloring sheet and the link that I borrowed from

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pizza Love

I have been struggling with 2nd grade recently. I have two 2nd grade classes who are just perfect little angels and I have two other 2nd grade classes who are little demons. It is really hard to plan for them because I can never anticipate what the evil classes are going to do!

I was searching through the Music K-8 CD's and I found Pizza Love. I remember singing this song in elementary music and when I listened to it, I remembered all the words. So I decided to create a pizza lesson for 2nd grade.

Of course we will sing the song, which I'm sure they will love. Then I am planning a rhythm pattern composition activity that I have adapted from the Music K-8 idea bank. Using pieces of pizza with note values attached, the students will make a pizza. This will be a good way to start teaching the number of beats in a measure, without them knowing it.

I've been seeing a lot of activities relating rhythms and syllables of words on Pinterest and I think those are fabulous. I made one specifically for the pizza lesson using pizza toppings. I am pretty confident that 2nd grade will be able to do this because when I talked about syllables and creating lyrics in 1st grade, the students knew exactly what to do.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Composer is Dead

I absolutely love this book! I am going to use it with my 3rd grade unit on the instruments of the orchestra.

I found the book narrated by the author on YouTube.  A college music student created these videos as a project. The book is in three parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Instrument Scavenger Hunt

In 3rd grade, we are beginning our lesson on the instruments of the orchestra and their families. Being an instrumentalist, I am really excited about this unit. Thankfully, I am fortunate enough to have an instrument from each family to demonstrate for the kids (and hopefully spark some interest in band)!

Since the instrument lesson can seem rather "hands-off", I created an instrument scavenger hunt. We will do this activity after we have covered each family. The students will travel around our end of the building to search out riddles. Once we find a riddle, as a team, we will solve it. The students will record the answer on their hunt sheet.

Here are my riddles.

1. We come as a pair, you could say that we’re twins.
We’re shiny and crash when you play us, my friend.
If you like to make noise and to march in a band,
You’ll love us ’cause we make those marches sound grand!
I’m a ____________________.

2. You can beat me and I won’t get red in the face.
I come in all sizes from snare down to bass.
All bands like to use me to keep a good beat.
As you march me along on your two little feet.
I’m a _________________.

3. I sit on the floor and you sit in a chair.
You play with a bow that’s made of horse hair.
I’m played in a orchestra, a nice wooden fellow.
My name is five letters, they call me a ____________.

4.  If you ask for keys ,you won’t get a car.
But they are black and white, on the bench sits a star.
I’m a _________________.

5. I’m played with a mallet, that’s easy to see.
And there are bars that are big and small across me.
I’m made of wood and come in different sizes.
My music makes lots of terrific surprises!
I’m a _______________.

6.  I have four short strings, but you can’t tie a knot.
I do have a bow so you can play me a lot!
I’m a  ___________________.

7.  I’m held in your hand, and sometimes I’m round.
I need you to shake me or I won’t make a sound.
I jingle and jangle with small metal pieces.
When you leave me alone, my melody ceases.
I’m a ________________.

8. I’m silver and narrow and held in your hands.
Just blow across me for you woodwind fans.
A piccolo’s my cousin, but I’m just a bit longer.
I bet you know now, or do you still have to wonder?
I’m a ________________.

9. Bugs Bunny has played me, charming that snake.
I am an instrument, a lot of work, I do take.
I am long and skinny and double of reed
My instrument is one that every orchestra does need!
I’m a ____________________

10. I am made of brass that slides up and down
If played too loud, you just might frown.
I have a low voice, this is true.
I am part of the brass, there is a clue.

I’m a _________________________

11. I am the instrument that Mrs. Butler plays
Curly and shiny, an instrument that pays.
You can see me at Christmas, on the tree
But that, my friends, is a silly version of me.
I’m a _______________________

Friday, October 5, 2012

Goin' on a Bear Hunt

Recently, I did a Kindergarten lesson on the book, "Going on a Bear Hunt." They kids loved it and have asking to play the game again and again.

First, I read the book to them. Then we watched this video from Greg and Steve. It is really awesome!

The kids acted out all the movements and got really into it. Next, we played Grumpy Grizzly. This was a total hit!

The kids sit in a circle forming a cave. One student is "sleeping" in the middle. He is the bear. While the we sang the song, the bear pretending to be sleeping. One student was the "sneaker", sneaking around the bear during the song. On the last phrase of the song, "never, ever, ever wake him UP!", the bear pops awake and tags the sneaker. Then the sneaker is the bear.

They have been asking to play this game again and again!

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!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2nd Week of Lessons

In my second week of school, I've had several excellent lessons! In kindergarten, we learned about our 4 voices! The students loved this activity. I had them sit in a circle around the rug. I told them we were on a came show called "My 4 Voices". I grabbed my light up microphone and they went wild. We talked about each of the voices: Singing, Speaking, Shouting, and Whisper. I demonstrated each of them and the kids loved my "opera voice". Once I demonstrated, we passed the microphone around the circle and each student was able to show me one of their voices.

I was worried everyone would want to show their shouting voice so I made this chart. (Bad picture, but this is all I had. I left the chart at school) Each voice has a cover, so once that voice was demonstrated, I covered it up. I was very surprised that I really didn't need the chart. I only had a few shouting voices and even then, they were mild. I had some really good singing voices and a ton of quiet whispers.

After everyone demonstrated their voice, we talked about where we use each voice. The kindergarteners did really well with this. I thought that it could possibly turn into chaos but they were really well behaved and handled it extremely well.

In 1st grade, we learned Charlie Over the Ocean. Since we are learning echo songs, this was the perfect piece. Once we learned the words, I had different groups of students help me sing the solo part. I even had some students who wanted to sing a real solo.

I added motions for the fish that Charlie caught. It helped us remember the order. We then talked about what kinds of animals live in the ocean. I used the examples with two syllables to create new lyrics. I didn't even have to explain syllables; they started explaining them to me! The kids came up with some great motions to go along with their new lyrics. 

The most successful lesson has got to be the Dinosaur Stomp. Every class has LOVED this dance! I turned it into a competition between the classes of 1st and 2nd grade. The winning classes are now posted online as their reward! I can't wait to tell them tomorrow.

I taught the dance by demonstrating each of the moves before we started the music. I turned the music on fairly quickly since the song tells the dancers what to do. We practiced it once and the I recorded it. We had a lot of fun with this activity.

It was really easy to facilitate. I placed the students in their "dance spot" and we practiced. Placing the students took extra time but when it came time to film I could see everyone. I only had to remind them to stay in their spot so the camera could see them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Dinosaur Stomp

I did the Dinosaur Stomp with 1st and 2nd grade and the kids absolutely loved it! Here is a video. Considering they just learned it today, I think they did really well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Survived!

 I survived the first two days of school! Whoo-Hoo! Everything went as planned for the most part and my "first day of music plans" went amazingly. Here's what I had planned...

Meet the Teacher Board: This was such a great piece to have in my room. I used it to show the kids who I was, but also it helped me remember what I had to tell each class about myself. They loved the pictures!

Rules Discussion: After I told them about myself, I talked about our special music room rules and the star chart. I showed them each rule and I had the students talk to me about what it meant. They did really well explaining the rules and I helped them when needed.

Oh, and they totally understood the star chart. When they break a rule, I take a star down. Their eyes got so big! I told them they can earn a star back and when they earn six stars on their star chart, they get to bring a CD or iPod and we will listen to their favorite songs. They were so excited! Adorable.

Name Game: I did this game with every grade except Kindergarten. I had each class make a circle. I started the game by telling them my name and doing a funny dance move. Then I threw out some moves for the kids to try (sprinkler, hula girl, robot, shuffle, thriller claws, moonwalk, the twist, etc.) Each student said their name and performed their funny dance move and the class repeated their name and move. It really helped me remember their names.

The outgoing kids LOVED this game and the shy ones eventually loosened up by their turn (or the end of the game).  

20 Questions: After the Name Game, I had the student sit back down on the rug and asked them if they had any questions for me and they did! I answered those and then got my basket of questions for them. I cut up 30 get to know you questions and but them in a basket. For each student, I pulled a question and had them answer it. This was also a chance for me to quiz myself on their names.

This game was really fun. The kids wanted to answer all the questions so I had to remind them not to blurt out and to only speak when it was their turn. They caught on quickly.

For the little ones, we played Freeze Dance for about 5 minutes at the end of class. I played "Call Me Maybe" since it was the first day of school and they went crazy! They were singing along! It was a huge hit. Fourth graders even liked it!