Friday, August 31, 2012

Pinterest and question...

This may seem like a silly post, and it will be short and sweet. 

If you are not on pinterest- sign up now here.

I use pinterest ALL THE TIME!!! I have gotten so many teaching ideas and links to great blogs that I would have never thought of on my own.  I was just on and saw Music Rhythm DOMINOS!!!! you match the last beat on the domino laid down with the first on one of your "tiles".  Who thinks of this great stuff??? There are great videos, activities, posters, etc.  Even if you ONLY sign up and follow music education pages, I still encourage you to sign up. 

Check out all the other ideas I got from pinterest by looking at my Music Education Board here

This is one of the greatest websites ever. I promise :) 

Topics coming up include: beginning of school review lessons (with lessons and song sheets attached) and my favorite rhythm manipulatives.  

Also- I have a 7th grade assistant now for many of my 2nd grade classes.  She LOVES music and is great singing along etc, however, she is blind.  Any ideas on what I can have her do to help me out so she isn't just sitting off to the side singing along?  Her mobility is not that great.  I will be making her a Braille Music song book of many of the songs we will be using in 2nd grade this year so she can help read the rhythms, etc. and they currently turn things into her instead of me, but I would LOVE for her to feel more involved with teaching, etc.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ASK ME sheets

So, with the "1st week of classes" done for me and my first newsletter written, I figured I would write about something that I hope to add into my newsletter this year.  They are called "ASK ME" sheets.  For each grade, in the newsletter, I am adding a section where there is a question parents can ask their children about the previous month in music.  Because we have only had one class so far, the August questions are pretty straight-foreward and based on review.   ASK MEs can be to sing a song, read a rhythm or teach a game.  I got this idea from a Lillie Feierabend workshop at Capital University a few years ago and am really excited to implement it this year.  Lillie has them as separate half sheets of paper that she sends home so the kids can then make a song book for the car by the end of the year.  I am trying to use as little paper as possible, so I am just adding them into the newsletter and then posting the songs on my website for the parents to find.  I have copied below my first newsletter of the year.  The ASK MEs are in italics and underlined. Obviously the newsletter will get more detailed as I go on, because I will have much more to say!

(Also- if you are wondering how I got the handsigns to show up, I use a font called "MUSICEDFONT" and I bought it online for $25.00.  You can download it to more than one computer once you buy it.  The link to that site is here:   It has rhythms, time signatures, articulations and handsigns.  It is GREAT!)


WOW! The first week of music has gone by so fast! As of today I will have seen all of the classes once and we are off to a great start! Everyone is doing a great job of remembering what we have learned in the past.  See below for a few specifics on each grade and something you can ask your student about! 

1st grade: In first grade we are exploring music and talking about comparatives this month- fast/slow, loud/quiet, and high low.  We are also working on moving our bodies to a steady beat , though we won’t the name for that for a while.  ASK ME to sing you Doggie Doggie! It is a fun song we learned in class this week! 

2nd Grade: 2nd grade is starting right where we left off last year- we are continuing to practice reading  qand  sdas well as the notes so and mi.  Soon we will be learning about rests and another note that is higher than so.  We are singing, dancing, and having fun!  ASK ME to sing you Doggie Doggie (a favorite game from last year) while showing you my handsigns for so p and mi i!

3rd Grade: In third grade we are also picking up right where we left off.  We already know quarter notes, eighth notes, rests, and half notes and this year we will be learning 3 more types of rhythms to read.  As for our notes, we know la, so, mi, and do and will soon be learning a note between do and mi.  Dancing, listening, singing and playing instruments are all a big part of 3rd grade music! ASK ME to sing you Apple Tree (a favorite game from last year) while showing you my handsigns for la [, so p, mi i and do y!  

4th Grade:  WOW! This was my first 1st grade class and they are getting so big!  The fourth graders are practicing many rhythms as well as starting to learn some multi-cultural songs for our big program at the end of the year.  Stay tuned for more information! Those students in Orchestra are really excited to get started playing their instruments and Miss Jencson can’t wait to hear a song!  ASK ME to sing to you AMMA LAMMA (a favorite game from last year) and teach you the hand-clap game to go with it! 

5th Grade: We are having fun getting to start out Band and Chorus this year.  In general music we are continuing our work with the scale (we have one note left to learn) and our rhythms.  Our goal this year is to learn 4 new rhythm patterns (2 sets of opposites) as well as learn lots of folk dances and even more multi-cultural songs and games!  ASK ME to sing for you MY PADDLE'S KEEN AND BRIGHT (also called the Canoe Song) and maybe even teach you the ostinato (repeated rhythm pattern- dip dip and swing, dip dip and swing…) so we can sing in two parts.  

6th Grade: Wow- veterans already! Band and chorus students are eager to get started again and in general music we are reviewing the whole scale and hoping to learn 4 new rhythm patterns (2 sets of opposites).  We will be doing lots of singing, instrument playing, and dancing. ASK ME to sing for you SHOO FLY maybe even explain the dance so we can try it out as a family!
Chorus: Stay tuned for more info! Handbooks and shirt order forms (if needed) will be coming home Wednesday for the 6th graders and Friday for the 5th.  We have a lot of fun things planned for Chorus, Orff and Glee this year! I can’t wait to get started!   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School Year Resolutions

This post is more of an accountability thing for me, but I though I would share my "School Year Resolutions" for General Music and Chorus.  Some are repeat goals, and some are new and there are 10 overall.  Feel free to share ideas, etc.

1. Music TV- have students present on the morning video announcements once a month.  Either a song they have learned with it's background, a spotlight on composers, etc.   I did this with ART in my elementary years and it was so fun to have an extra chance to be on the announcements.  I remember being Picasso in a skit and others doing a dance to encourage people to go out and vote. 

2. Music Newsletter- my school has what they call the "PawPrints" and I hope to add my own page once a month on what is happening in General Music, Chorus, Glee, and Orff including what we have learned, favorite activities, links to websites, and important dates.

3. Blog- Continue to post on the blog with pictures, lesson plans, ideas, and SMARTboard lessons at least twice a week.  

General Music:
 1.  Keep better track of all assessments I do in class.  I am great at notating grades when we do paper/pencil, but the numerous mini-assessments I do often are not always documented as well as they could be.  I want to keep a class list by my side at all times to mark the points of whatever assessment may be happening.  This could be KOOSH rhythms on the smartboard- did they read it correctly or not? Random singing checks- are they in tune, in their headvoice, etc.

2. Stay organized.  I showcased my new storage bench in a previous post and I just hope that I continue to use it, as well as type out all of my lessons, etc.  I am great at thinking of new ways to organize things, but not always so good at following through after a month. 

3. Have a listening lesson in every lesson.  I really used to be bad at making sure my students were listening to great music that they may not be exposed to otherwise.  I typically had one listening lesson a month.  I hope this year to have approximately one song a month, but be sure to listen every week to really get to know those songs.  The first week of a song may be listening and noticing the form.  The second may be reading the rhythm from the board.  Third may be adding movements to show they rhythm as it is played (same goes for melody too).  Hopefully I will have another post on great listening lessons later this year. 

4. Use the SMARTboard in every grade, in every lesson.  I am sure now that the SMARTboard in my room will be staying in my room so I can now make files for all of my songs and melody and rhythm activities.  I will only have to make visuals once instead of writing things on the board every day.

5. Connect Music to Art and other core subjects.  I specifically said Art because in my district, starting in 4th grade, they go through the major art eras which can easily be connected to Music History.  Other subjects are addressed through the song literature that I choose. 

1. Be sure to sight-read random melodies and rhythms every class.  (Sometimes seemingly random rhythms may actually be part of an unknown portion of the song).  I want my students using more solfa when they are learning to do more of them READING than learning by rote.  We have two big concerts and a musical so there will be lots of opportunities for this.  

2. Stick with my ideas for student jobs.  I keep saying I want students to be able to take attendance, roll equipment to the cafeteria or gym, pass out music, etc. but for some reason it never happens.  It needs to this year to help me go less crazy!

So anyways, those are my school year resolutions for this year.  Hopefully I stick to them, rather than have many fizzle out in a few months (as tends to happen with New Years Resolutions).  Have a Great School Year!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Attention Grabbers

Over the summer I have been finding many attention grabbers that I hope to use in my music room this year.  Some are sung, some are spoken, some are sounds.  They are used to get the classes attention (obviously) and get them quiet.  Below are my favorites:

Sung/ Musical:
1. T: Ba da da bah Bah   C: I'm Lovin' It!  

2. T: Red Robin              C: Yum                

3. Class Repeats the Following after each line:
           (from Porgy and Bess- It Ain't Necessarily So)

4. T: Claps or Chhs a random rhythm pattern, class repeats back

5. Class Repeats the following after each line
(I got this from Game Plan Grade 3- I have also heard other teachers in my building speak it):
           Ama Lama Cooma Lama, Cooma Lama Vestay,
           Oh no no no no no Veestay,
           Ennie meenie gypsy leenie, ooh ahh ooh ammie leanie,
           Atchy patchy coomie latchy, I mean You!

6. T. Na na na na, na na na na      C: Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

Non- Musical (many of these came from Pinterest!)
1. T: Hands on Top (on head)     C: That Means stop!

2. T: 1-2-3 Eyes on Me!              C: 1-2 Eyes on you!

3. T: Macaroni and Cheese         C: Everybody Freeze!

4. T: All Set?                               C: You Bet!

5. T: Hocus Pocus                       C: Everybody Focus!

6. T: Tootsie Roll, Lollipop        C: We've been talking, now let's stop!

Using things like Bells, Metallophones, Recorders, Chimes, Etc. are also a great way to get attention in the music room!

Click the link to get Animated Timers to project - These are great for group work!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Classroom Tour

I'm back! I was finishing up my Masters Degree over the summer at Capital University- Master of Music in Music Education with an Elementary Kodaly Emphasis.   I hope to now post at least twice a week with ideas, lessons, pictures, and more! I can't believe students come in just over a week for me- and that students in other places are already in school!

I figured to start the year off I would give a tour of my itsy-bitsy classroom.  I am definitely thankful I have a classroom to teach general music in, but I do with it were a little bigger ;)

One thing I am really excited for this year is my new bench seat.  I got a this set of shelves from Target, along with the cloth drawers to go inside.  I then reinforced the back with a sheet of plywood and sewed the bench seat on top.  Storage is a big deal in my room, because I am always climbing over or moving things to get materials out.  In the past, my grade level materials for the week were just lined up along the board, or on the counter... which is a great place for other grades to play them.  I am really excited to have one drawer per grade this year so that my materials for the week can be hidden away, but easily accessible.

The next thing is my "Grand Behavior" Bulletin board. I got this idea from a friend in my Grad School Classes and I love it! Puts the rules in a positive light.

The other bulletin board in my room is a "Sneaky Snake" Bulletin board- which is a great rhythm and melody activity! You have your rhythm or melody written on the snake and pull it through the grass until the entire example is covered up and memorized.

The rest of the pictures are just the areas around my room.  I have my instrument/ book wall.  I LOVE that I have enough Orff Instruments for an entire class to play, but it is so hard to get them out each class.  My room is definitely not big enough to have some out all the time.

The corner of my room has my SMARTboard and desk.  I guess it is the technology corner.  I hope to use the SMARTboard much more this year and have a lot of fun with it in every grade.  We are starting the year off with some Tik-Tak-Toe and Koosh Kwest.  I am pretty excited.

Above my desk, I am really excited for the new long shelves I have this year.  They used to be really short, and I could barely fit anything on them.  Now I have tons of room for commonly used resources and manipulatives.

Other places around the room are just storage.  Boomwhacker storage (as you can see in the Sneaky Snake Picture, , world instrument storage, magnet storage, book storage, drum storage... Storage for everything!

 I also use the double dry erase boards for A lot.  I hope to actually use them a little less this year though, and use the SMARTboard more.

Any ideas for more organization would be awesome!