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!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School Night

Tonight was Open House at the school. I didn't really know what to expect, considering I am a specialist and that my room is off the gym. I put up my choir recruitment posters and posters pointing to the music room. Thanks to the teachers telling their homerooms to come see me, my room was packed! There was a line out the door! I am very pleased with the turn out in the music room.

My information video was a big hit too since I was talking to families the entire time! Thanks to Mrs. Q's Music Blog for the idea!

Final Classroom Tour

Well, there is officially one day until the kids come!! Here are pictures of my room because I am completely done! (The only thing I added were some last minute finds at the Family Dollar)

Daily standards poster

Music Education Standards

Art Cart

Star Status Chair

Writing prompt

My desk

Teacher area

The think spot

Finally cleaned and organized

Family Dollar find

Guitar lamp (it is really bright!)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Standards of Learning

 Today, while sitting in a meeting about the new Virginia teacher evaluation system, I had a creative moment. I realized that, just like in Tennessee, I will post the national standards for music education in my room. I also decided that I would make a specific board just for the standard that is covered each day.

I wanted it to be dry erase so I laminated two poster boards, put a cute polka dot tape around the edges and applied wall decal stickers. I bought some special "teacher only" dry erase markers in cute colors that matched perfectly!

National Standards for Music Education
Poster for daily standards met during lesson

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Think Spot

I've seen it work a million times over...Time Out! That seems to be a go-to punishment and really, it makes sense. After a warning, removing the child from the situation is the logical choice (to me). So, in my classroom, we will have a time out corner. However, I'm adding a twist to it.

I'm calling the time out corner, the Think Spot. I found a cute little sign in the Walmart Dollar Bin to hang back there that says "Take It Easy".

While the student is in the Think Spot, they will have a paper to fill out. This paper allows them to reflect on the choices they have made to land them in the spot. Reflection is the only way they will understand the punishment. Here's a picture of my Think Spot worksheet:
I think this is also a good thing to put in the child's file. If things escalate and a parent must be contacted, I will have documentation of the behavior(s).

Song Index

This is a song index that I am saving for use in my classroom.

Technology is Just Great!

I just signed up to send text and email reminders to my students and their parents through It was so easy! I tested it and it works great! They even give you instructions for the parents!

When you sign up, you get a phone number to text. You are able to create a special code for the message. Otherwise, they give you jumbled letters and numbers. Once parents send the text, a reply message is generated that asks for their full name. When they reply, they are added to my subscriber list on the website. I never have to see their phone number! Safe and easy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to School Night Plans

Next week, our school hosts a Back to School night. The kids come to meet their teachers (and new teachers), drop off supplies and get back in the swing of things. I'm told there "could" be some big interest in a new music teacher! So, in hopes (and preparation) that my room is buzzing with interested kids and their parents, here are my plans.

Thanks to Mrs. Q's Music Blog for some these great ideas!

I'm really, really hoping there are people in my room! I have planned some different things to keep people busy if they happen to be talking to me.

First, I will have a movie playing on my tv in the back of the room. This movie outline what we are covering, materials the kids need, and information about chorus.

Next, I am going to have a large piece of bulletin board paper outside my door with the question, "How was your summer musical?" I am going to encourage students (and parents) to write a message and draw pictures to represent their experiences in music over the summer.

From the advice of experienced music teachers, I have created "Do Not Touch the Instruments" signs for the music room. I'm going to cover my instrument storage shelves with the signs and place them on the Orff instruments and the piano. I'm actually going to unplug the the piano, just in case. (I've ALREADY had adults in my room having a piano recital! Come on!) The temptation is just too great.

I have a rolling cart covered in cute contact paper that I am using to store the music portfolios. I am going to have all the music paperwork available for the parents here. This includes my music newsletter, recorder order form, and choir information.

As far as choir, I have a special green clipboard with a sign-up sheet attached for those students already interested in choir. With this sign-up sheet, I'm planning to get contact information from the parents to add to a emailing list so we establish communication about rehearsals, concerts, trips and general reminders.

Lastly, the thing I'm most excited about it is my QR code! Thanks to Pinterest, I found a site that allowed me to make a contact card with all my contact information. Parents with smartphones will be able to scan the QR code with a reader app and instantly save my contact information in their phone! So cool!

Here's a picture of my code. I'm going to have these posters hung around my room and outside my door.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pre-K Music Class....Check

In 11 days, there will be kids in my classroom!! I'm getting very excited, but one part of my job has me pretty uneasy...Pre-K! I don't have a lot of experience with preschoolers so I guess it's just a fear of the unknown. I've been putting off planning for a month now so today I knuckled down and did some Pre-K research and what I found was awesome!

First off, many thanks to and 
These two sites have put my mind at ease! There are so many great ideas and detailed lessons that made me realize I was over-thinking this Pre-K thing. I actually excited about teaching them now. 

I found 16 pages worth of games, songs, book and activities that I would like to use with my students. I have Halloween and Christmas covered so far and I have activities to do with the many instruments in my room. I even have a Preschool playlist on my Zune now! 

As soon as I have my Pre-K curriculum completed, I'll post that. If you ever need ANYTHING Pre-k related, check out those sites!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Classroom Reward Medals

In my classroom, I plan to have a "special helper" each week. This person will be chosen based on their outstanding behavior. They also get to sit in the Rock Star Status chair, help me hand out papers, clipboards and art supplies and run the iPod. To make it even more of a big deal, I made these medals for the helper(s) to wear.

These came from the Dollar Bins at Target! (Love it!) They came with red, white and blue ribbon. The paper inside was just a coloring sheet that I colored to match my classroom theme and I replaced the ribbon with some green ribbon from the Dollar Tree.

Here's the finished product!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Boomwhacker Music: Part 2

Here is my arrangement of Frere Jacques. This piece introduces a round and can also be used to practice eighth notes.

Boomwhacker Music: Holiday Tunes

It seems that I have gone Boomwhackers crazy! And it also seems as if I'm arranging all my classroom tunes for instruments! I figured, why order music for the Boomwhackers when I can write it exactly the way I want it. So here's what I came up with... an arrangement of Jingle Bells! I included page two if anyone is interested in using this. (By the way, I have 5 more tunes to write out just like this.)

And let me just say, this was all created using Powerpoint! Who knew!? I drew the rests with the pencil tool and grouped the circle and line shapes for the notes. The best part is when I'm ready to use this, I just start the slideshow and project it onto my board (until my smart board comes, that is).

Boomwhackers have me so excited for 3rd grade!!!!

Update: Here is my newest arrangement of Jolly Old St. Nick

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boomwhacker Mystery Game: Updated!

Here is my first composition for the Boomwhacker Mystery game! Can you guess what it is?

Update: Here are two more Mystery Songs!

Boomwhacker Brilliance!

I was searching the web for boomwhacker music when I saw a video about teaching boomwhackers with the interactive smartboard. Since I'm still waiting for mine to get here, I adapted the lesson.

I cut out colored circles that coordinate with the color of the boomwhackers. I can stick these on the white board and use them to teach beginning boomwhacker rhythms and ensemble playing. I made a set with the corresponding letter and two sets without the letter.

I also plan to use these in what I've adapted to be "Boomwhacker Mystery Pieces." I will arrange the circles in a myster order. There will be 3-4 groups and the object of the game is for the group to figure out what the mystery piece is. Once they think they have it, they will perform it for the class.

Lastly, these serve as a great way to incorporate composition into the classroom. That standard always poses a problem but using these is a great way for the students to experiment with arranging sounds in a different order and composing their own boomwhacker piece!

Magic Music Wands

While I was cleaning in my classroom, I came across some opposite signs for the early elementary grades. Opposite signs is the best way to describe it....

Anyway, I had a bunch of left over stars and popsicle sticks so I made some new "opposite signs." These can be used in Kindergarten because we study opposites in music like loud and soft, fast and slow, same and different. These are also good for informal assessment!

Once I put the stars together and added the stick, it hit me. These look like little wands! So, the name stuck.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Rock Star Status" Chair

Thanks again to Pinterest, I was crafting all day yesterday. Earlier this summer, I saw a picture of a chair that had been painted all kinds of crazy colors. I thought it would be an awesome reward in my classroom for my special helper to sit in. I've been looking for months for a cheap, wooden chair and yesterday, I finally found one!

I couldn't be too picky because these things are hard to find! I went to the local goodwill and it was the first thing I saw, sitting right next to the door. AND it was only 7 bucks!

After priming, designing and painting, we finished it. This was an ALL DAY project!

A "Rock Star Status" chair!
(I did borrow the zebra print idea from Pinterest, but everything else just happened.)
"The tackier, the better!"