Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuesday Book Club- Night Time Stories Part II

I have written about favorite lullaby books before (find that post HERE) but I have since found more that I absolutely LOVE! Below are 3 night-time stories that have become staples in my room.


La La La: A Story of Hope
Written by Kate DiCamillo and Illustrated by Jaime Kim

I got my copy of La La La last year at the book fair and immediately had to incorporate it into a lesson. This is a "wordless" picture book (eventually it says "la la la") that is so beautiful!

“La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds — but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last.  ~ From the book description on Amazon

I love to pair this book with Clair de Lune by Debussy.  The swells in the music fit almost perfectly with page turns and the song really enhances the story, allowing kids to better understand the emotion behind the (almost) wordless book.  I have had aides crying when doing this activity and kids are always so quiet, just taking in the story and connecting with the little girl.  This is a great activity to end a class, especially on a "crazy" day (parties, field day, etc.) because it really helps to calm and center the kids before they go to another class or head home. 



Goodnight Moon
Written by Margaret Wise Brown and Illustrated by Clement Hurd


This book is a children's classic and it has now been set to music by Eric Whitacre! You can purchase on itunes or other music services, or even listen for free on Spotify! My plan for this gorgeous setting is to first listen while looking at the book and then do an exploratory movement mirroring activity with finger lights (while the classroom lights are off).  You could also use scarves in cool colors to get the floaty feel of the piece.

Hush Little Alien 
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk

This one is one of my 2 year old son's favorite night time books.  Sung to the tune of Hush Little Baby, this is a funny take on if an alien dad was singing the song to his child.

As a bonus- this is my favorite version of Hush Little Baby: It is a super cute version illustrated by Marla Frazee and my children and students both love it!

What fun Night-Time stories to you love to read in your room?? Leave a comment or a link below!

Other Tuesday Book Club posts:
Senor Don Gato
Can You Hear It?
More Night Time Stories
Holiday Books
Farm Folk Songs
Folk Song Stories
John Lithgow Books
There Was an Old Woman Books
Music Teacher from the Black Lagoon and Other 1st Grade Tales
Do You Do A Didgeridoo?

*click the pictures of the book covers to go straight to Amazon to buy these awesome books. They are NOT affiliate links.*

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ideas to Start the Year Off Right

Thank you to Pixel Garden Designs for the Digital Paper!

Alright Ya'll.  I am ITCHING to get back into the classroom.  I have loved being off with my kiddos since Spring Break but I am ready to be back singing, dancing, and playing instruments with students! My kids are ready to be Liberty Union Lions, too! Aren't they cute?
Being at a new school, I have to adjust my normal welcome back activities.  My students won't know me and my teaching style, and I won't know anything about them or what they already know and love about music.  I am hoping to learn as much as possible through some easy activities, in addition to setting expectations, so that we can start the year off on the right (dancing) foot.

I have a few ideas that I am playing around with and I will update with what I chose and how things went.  Some non-negotiables for the first lesson are: Seating Charts.  I LOVE this Organized Chaos post where she talk about leading each student to their seat and using their names to make a personal connection- rather than just reading names from a list. I will also be sure to go over procedures- disguised as fun activities- such as moving to new spaces in the room, expectations on how to take care of ourselves, others and the music room etc.  These will be practiced more and unpacked the whole first month of school so students are really clear on how we can work together to make music awesome.

Other things that I am thinking about for the first few lessons for my older kids (2-4) are:

Scavenger Hunt: Students will move around the room to find where things are, talk to me about themselves, and share what they already know about music.  Students will have 10 minutes to complete as many of the challenges as they can. Get an editable scavenger hunt google doc HERE. (Note: it will prompt you to make a copy so you have your own in your drive with out accidentally changing mine.) 

Folk Dancing: I want to get the kids up and moving with an easy dance.  This will also help us practice how to move about the room and possibly choose partners, depending on the dances chosen.  Pata Pata and Sasha are on the top of my list right now.  When we do Sasha, I plan on doing it 2x and during  the 2nd time pausing after each partner switch to answer silly questions.  I also love the singing game "Billy Billy" which is an easy introduction to a long-ways set, working with partners, and being silly!

Flipgrid Intro: Have you used Flipgrid? LOVE IT (and it is free now for everyone now)! I will be making a grid for each grade and students will be able to make a short intro video about themselves with fun facts, cool things they did over the summer, or anything else they want their peers and me to know about them! I will be making videos myself too- so the kids can learn more about me :)

7 Habits Songs: My new school is a Leader in Me School.  To help myself learn more about the 7 habits, I want to have the kids work in groups to make a short song or rap about one of the habits and how they use it in their school. 

Class Jobs: Again, connecting to Leader In Me, we will be choosing/assigning class jobs within the first month of school.  Students will be paper-passer-outers, sub helpers, materials masters, technology gurus, compliment givers, light switch operators, nurse buddies and more.  Students will have the same job for at least a quarter, if not longer. Everyone will be part of a team!

Name Games: I plan on doing a name game each class for a few weeks to really start to put faces with names.  Some of my favorites are Jump In-Jump Out and Play your Name (students "play and say" their name using body percussion and then the class echos.  We try to see how many we can string together before people mess up or forget!)

Back-to-School Stack: This is one of my favorite review games! There are 2 versions- one is great for centers- students match a musical symbol, to its name, to its definition. The other one is great to get kids up and moving to share what they know- the teacher puts the symbols on the board and splits the students into teams. A music symbol is called or a definition read and students have to race to the board and hit the correct symbol first. So fun! These games can also be done with instrument families, or even rhythms and/or solfege patterns!



I will also have a 5th grade class at the middle school and I am still learning what that will be but many of the above activities will still apply! As for the little ones, I always have students meet me at the door and we enter saying "Engine Engine No. 9"  The first week I tell a long story about a train ride- going up and down hills, into caves, etc. so students really learn the words to the chant and we end up in a circle.  We then do a name game, talk about expectations briefly and get assigned seats.  Sometimes this is all we have time for! If there is still time left, we do a game of freeze dance or follow the leader (first class- I am the leader and students mirror me but as the school year progresses students become leaders, too!).

I hope these ideas help you as you prepare to go back to school. Share one of your favorite back-to-school activities below!


Monday, July 9, 2018

New School, New Beginnings

Wow! It has been over a year since I have posted and a lot has happened! I hope to post a lot more this upcoming school year!

First- I got my Level 1 ORFF certification last summer and it was amazing (even though recorder terrified me!)- Get ready for more Orff-y things to be incorporated into my ideas here.

Second- we welcomed our 2nd child- Hazel- in March.  We love being a family of four!
Photo Credit: Chasing Love Photography

Third-  I have accepted a new job to be closer to family.  I will miss my school so much, having been there for the first 9 years of my career, but it is time to move on and I am so excited to be a Liberty Union Lion this fall!



So what am I doing this summer?  Catching up on summer reading and getting ready to feel like a first year teacher all over again with my new students.  I have been focusing a lot on relationship building in my summer PD so that I can start off on the right foot with these new, awesome, kiddos. My first few lessons will not only be about setting expectations, but getting to know my students and helping them get to know me. I plan on sharing my favorite things and having students tell me all about themselves through the use of FLIPGRID- it is now FREE for all educators (More on that in another post)! Below I will share a few books I have read (or am planning to read soon) and some easy tips to start to build relationships right off the bat!

1. Kids Deserve It-  Before I went on maternity leave this past school year, my former principal bought the entire staff this book. It is a quick read and so fun.  It really got me thinking about my relationships with students and how I can make each child feel special.  After reading, I started sending out Postcards to kids to share good news.  Parents and students loved this snail mail and I loved writing them, too.  I already bought a few lion cards to start off my new year.  With teaching music, there is no way I will be able to send a card to every single child I teach, but my goal will be to send one to a kid in each class once a month.   I also started asking students for book recommendations and it was so neat to get to know more about my students through the books they read.  One student even lent me his favorite (1 week before the baby came!) and I loved it! I will have a "What I'm Reading" sign in my new room.  Download the freebie in here.  There are 4 versions in the editable Power Point file!



2. Leader In Me-  My new school is a Leader In Me school which focuses on the Seven Habits of Successful People. See more on the Seven Habits here. I still have a lot to learn about Leader in Me and the Seven Habits, but I am excited to implement a lot of the ideas I already have into my music room- focusing first on "What am I doing, that a student could be doing?"  I plan on having jobs in each room that a student will have all year.  From paper passer-outers, to technology gurus, to sub helpers I want the music room to be a place where all students can find an opportunity to be a leader.

3. The Pepper Effect and Unleash Talent - These are both books that I have purchased and plan on reading soon.  Both focus on being creative and innovative in your teaching and helping students to be empowered to embrace their own passions and talents. I am so excited to read them both. More to come on these books later. 

What are YOU doing this summer? It doesn't have to be school related either- rest and relaxation are SO important!