Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 for 2014!

Today I am linking up with Miss Kindergarten to share my 14 favorite memories from 2014! It was a really amazing year! Stay tuned for resolutions to be posted soon! If not tomorrow than for sure by the 3rd because I need to keep myself occupied on a 4 hour plane ride back home to Ohio.

ONE: Getting engaged to the love of my life. This is technically 2013, but I got to celebrate and plan all of 2014 so I am counting it anyways ;) We to see The Nutcracker last December and when we got back home he had a hand-painted nutcracker sitting on the end table with the ring tied to it.  I LOVE The Nutcracker Ballet and collect them so he could not have proposed in a more perfect way.  It also solidified the Nutcracker themed December wedding I had been thinking about.

TWO: Being a part of MANY awesome community theater productions in the past year. From Les Mis (ensemble), to Bat Boy (Ruthie/ Ned), to Into The Woods (Lucinda), to a world premier of a children's show called "The Jester Prince" (Princess Leona) I had a ton of fun working with great directors, casts and crews.  I'm excited for my first show of 2015- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and hope to be a part of many more!

THREE: Not only was I able to be in shows, but I also got to see many wonderful performances from community theater productions like Little Shop to operas such as Carmen and ballets, of course including The Nutcracker. I love that I got to experience great art with great people!

FOUR: Being a site-leader for some amazing Christian community service camps held in Cincinnati. Week of Hope is a camp where youth groups come to serve their chosen city in a number of ways- from volunteering at food banks, nursing homes, and boys and girls clubs to city clean-up and dance camps, students learn about Jesus and have a ton of fun serving and meeting new friends from all over the country.  As site-leader I checked in every night to make sure that the college-aged camp leaders were running things smoothly and all campers were happy.  Adam and Chris did an awesome job which made my job super easy :) Learn more about Week of Hope and other GROUP mission trips HERE.

FIVE: Buying a house with my love, very close to where I work, in July. We hope to start a family soon and this house is perfect! We had a lot of fun searching for the one, painting, getting furniture, finding just the right decor, and more to make this house our home.  We still have a lot to do but it is looking and feeling more like "us" every day!

The day we moved in!

SIX: Starting my 6th year of teaching at the best place to work.  I teach grades 1-6 so I can finally say that these students are "all mine".  This will be the first 6th grade group that I will have taught all the way through elementary school and I know I will be a mess at their 6th grade recognition night.  Here's to many more years at "Our Wonderful Wilson School!"

SEVEN: Taking walks with Brad every Sunday to get breakfast.  At our old apartment there were no sidewalks so being able to walk to breakfast is a tradition I hope to continue into the new year!

EIGHT: Attending great workshops from wonderful Ohio Music Educators- from Amy Beegle to Eva Floyd I learned so much and got lots of new ideas for both my general music classes and chorus classes!  I hope to take classes this upcoming summer at CCM to learn even more!  Check out the blog post about Amy Beegle's workshop here- it was amazing! As always it is also fun to meet, learn, and bounce ideas around with the fellow music teachers in my district - we all have such different teaching styles but the same goal and I love our time together :)

NINE: I got a PTA mini grant and was able to purchase a great rug for my classroom. I have already
used it in so many ways! It has musical symbols around the edges and a giant staff in the middle.  I have used it for staff twister, sight reading, symbol search games and more! Not to mention it really helps the little ones make a circle super easily!

TEN: Having my brother SKYPE from California to teach the Special Needs class at my school all about space. He is in an astronomy grad program at Cal-Tech and I hate that he is so far away but it was great to see him interact with some of the students I work with every day.  He SKYPED three times in all during their astronomy unit and taught them all about the Phases of the moon, the life cycle of a star, and the eight planets through stories, games, and crafts. The students had so much fun and he even made the Wilson page of the district Christmas Card!

ELEVEN: In November my school passed a Bond issue which means my 56 year old school building will be rebuilt in the next 3 years along with all other buildings in the district getting a much needed renovation.  I will be so exited to not teach in a modular classroom anymore! Though I love that I can be as loud as I want, whenever I want, the students having to walk outside to get to my room is a
safety concern, not to mention annoying when it is raining/ snowing/ windy, etc.  We have already started planning for the new building and it is going to be amazing!

TWELVE: My bachelorette party, while not wild and crazy, was a super fun night.  It started with a scavenger hunt at a mall in Columbus.  The hung began with my brother handing me a clue in the car and then we met up with sisters and friends at each stop for a small gift and a clue to the next location.  Most of the locations had some significance to me: the American Girl Doll store- I loved my Molly Doll, Cheryl's Cookies- Cheryl gave a (horrible) speech at my college graduation, Barnes and Noble- I've always loved to read, Crate and Barrel- Brad and I were registered there and more. We ended up at an Irish Pub for dinner and then went ice skating and finally to Jennie's Ice Cream and a local bar for a night cap to end the night. It was so much fun- even while I felt silly running through the mall in a tutu and crown. :)

THIRTEEN: On December 28 I got married to one pretty cool guy. We had a beautiful day with many joys, laughs, (good) cries, family, and friends.  I got to wear the dress my paternal grandma wore 65 years ago when she married my grandpa  and we said our vows in the same church my parents got married in.  I also found a mink shawl in the maternal grandmothers attic and wore her cameo necklace that my mother also wore.  Some favorite moments include:

The first look with my Grandma Jo before the service.  I have wanted to wear her dress since I was little and it as really special to have her be one of the first to see me and for our AMAZING photographer to capture the moment

Crying down the aisle but getting though my vows while still being able to speak

Sitting and stepping on my veil at the same time so when I sat down for the speeches I couldn't sit up all the way and there was 5 minutes of laughing and trying to figure out how it was stuck

The dance with my dad- it was a little fast but super fun (we danced to Teach Your Children Well by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)

Brad missing my mouth and dropping the cake down my dress

Brad trying to dip me and both of us crashing to the floor instead

Of course, getting to marry and start a new chapter with my favorite guy :)

The view from the Hotel on Day 1
The view from the Hotel on Day 2
FOURTEEN: Traveling to Sedona, AZ for the honeymoon.  Day one was beautiful! We got to hike and sample some great local food.  Day two... We are getting 6-11 inches of snow!  The guy at the art gallery we visited said he hasn't seen snow like this in the 15 years he has been here! We are making the most of it though- playing words with friends, as well as getting pizza, coffee, and art (I love for my souvenirs to be art as I don't grow out of them and can display my memories at home- I have art from Africa, Utah, Hungary, and now Sedona). We are also taking lots of pictures of the breathtaking views that aren't normally covered in snow.  Hopefully we can get to the Grand Canyon on Friday and do some more hiking if the weather clears up!

What are some of your favorite memories of 2014???  Share below or if you are a blogger be sure to visit the original post and link up!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Book Club- Holiday Books

Welcome to the Tuesday Book Club!  I will be posting the 2nd Tuesday of every month  with a favorite Story book to read or sing.   There are so many great books out there that students (and teachers) love! If you are a blogger feel free to link up and share your favorite book to read/ sing to your students by following the directions at the end of the post. The linky party will always be open until the end of the month.

I just thought I would share few sentances about my favorite books to read/ sing during the Winter Holiday. 

Hanukkah Hop- By Erica Silverman with Illustrations by Steven D'Amico:  I got this at the book fair this year and it tells the story of a girl who is super excited to celebrate Hanukkah with her family.  I love this book because it hits all the major points of the Hanukkah story (Maccabees, Oil Lasting for 8 days) and ways the Holiday is celebrated (Dreidle game with Gelt, Menorah, Klezmer Band, etc.) without being too daunting for little ones.  I tend to sing it- making up a melody as I go along.  I do always sing the refrain similar to the melody of Bim-Bam, Biddy Biddy Bam because the words remind me of it.  

The Nutcracker Ballet- By Vladimir Vagin  This is one of my favorite story versions of The Nutcracker.  It is not too long but tells the story beautifully.  The students love the page with the Mouse King who has 7 Heads and the flowers dancing.  This one this year also happened to have a lot of 2nd grade vocabulary which was fun.  (Hue, Delicate, etc.)   

The Elves and the Shoemaker- This one I usually make a sound story too and we sing Cobbler Cobbler every time the Shoemaker is mentioned, play the beat on hand drums when the shoes are being made, and play jingle bells when the elves are mentioned.  Any time the Shoemaker and his wife go to sleep we also yawn.  This version has really beautiful paintings.  

Click the link below to link up and join in the Linky-party fun and share your favorite holiday books to sing or read to your class! When you Click, you will be automatically redirected to a page where you will paste in a link to your own post. Don't forget to save the picture at the top of this blog post and insert it into your own post with a link back to this page!  

Note: I am still working on my Nutcracker "Can You Hear It" Files- I am having some technical difficulties with the sound, but a Power Point Version will be posted soon for s-m, l-s-m, and d-m-s-l and hopefully d-r-m-s-l as well! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Favorite Nutcracker Activities for December- Trepak, March, and More!

I LOVE the music from The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky!  December is one of my favorite times of year in music class because I can listen to The Nutcracker all month and do so many fun activities with the various songs. It also gives me an excuse to buy more Nutcrackers for my collection. 

(This year December is also extra special because I am getting married!  My fiancĂ© proposed with a Nutcracker after seeing The Nutcracker last year, so it is only fitting we are having a Nutcracker themed wedding complete with the Pas-De-Deux played as the recessional AND a "Land of Sweets" Table at the reception.)

Here are some of my favorite ideas for the Songs from the Nutcracker.  Some are my ideas, many are shared.  If they are shared, I have done my best to provide a link to the original idea. 

***NEW IDEA ALERT*** Check out this AMAZING pop-up Nutcracker Book by Jenni Fleetwood and Illustrated by Phillida Gili.  It is the most wonderful pop-up book I have ever encountered.  It is perfect for kids with multi-layered illustrations that feature pull tabs, lift the flap, pop-ups and more.

Dont have a book? This is a GREAT, but short, synopsis on Youtube from the South Georgia Ballet. 

OK, now check out these ADORABLE felt masks I got from ETSY for the photobooth at my wedding/ classroom.  They are a little more expensive than I would normally spend using my own money for my classroom, but I just couldn't pass them up. I plan on letting kids wear them when pointing to the heartbeat at the SmartBoard, when demonstrating an activity with me (esp. the beat swords), and maybe even when acting out certain scenes of the show. 

Trepak Plate Routine:  This one I actually came up with this past Thanksgiving because my 3 year old cousin handed out plates and demanded we bang them together and sing.  I went through all my Thanksgiving/ turkey songs (Shoo Turkey, There was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Pie, Over the River and Through the Woods, No More Pie, etc.) and he still wasn't ready to be done, so I launched into the Russian Dance and had the whole family following my impromptu plate routine.

Watch the video to get a better idea of how the plate routine looks :)  I apologize for the false start at the beginning! 

Here is a Basketball Routine to Trepak as well: 

Trepak Cup Game:  This one I found on Pinterest and I love it (especially spinning the cups on their sides for the Bridge- so fun and great reinforcement for whole note if you are showing the graphic for the students).  Thanks Eric!

Be sure to also check out this blogpost from Kelly Reily that she wrote last year about Nutcracker Cup Games she did in her classroom- each class made up their own to the March- SO fun!

Now, Cups and plates can be tricky for the littlest of kiddos so for my 1st graders I use a great activity from Lynn Kleiner for Trepak where the kids are "painting their house." On the accents they are splattering the paint and then they get to rub it around, make special designs, or think about their creation during the other sections of the music.  Get more detailed info and other great listening activities by getting her awesome book: Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move!

March Beat Swords: This year I plan on using "Beat Swords" (Cut in half pool noodles) where students march to the beat, tap their swords to the beat, or sneak around (like when Fritz sneaks up on Clara to steal the nutcracker from Her).  I got this idea from Mrs. Kings Music Room and adapted it to fit with the Nutcracker March.   My first graders have just named the beat and this will be perfect for reinforcement (I don't see them in Kindergarten).

A Section: March 16 beat, Tap sword with Partner 16 beats  (2x) (tap the tips of the swords together)
B Section: March around a partner
C Section: Fast Tiptoe around the room 

Waltz of the Flowers- Simple Movement for the littles! 
Check out this fun video with simple movement to the beginning of Waltz of the Flowers. My kiddos LOVE to practice balancing on one foot! 

For other great Nutcracker Based Active Listening Ideas check out this book: Nutcracker Suite Active Listening Strategies.   It includes Lesson plans and ideas for 8 of the most popular Nutcracker Songs as well as Reproducible Activity sheets on things like The Story of the Nutcracker, The Life of Tchaikovsky, the History of some of the instruments used, the History of the Suite, etc.

In addition to listening to the songs, I also, (of course) love to share the story of the Nutcracker with my students.  The older students watch a short video every class to get them to the room so all through December it will be clips of various scenes from The Nutcracker. (I teach in a modular classroom and some students used to like to take their time getting to me so I start the 2-3 min video when class should start and they are getting to me much quicker now!) There are so many great listening maps and short clips on youtube! One of my favorites is "The Nutcracker in less than 5 minutes"  It hits on all of the important plot points and fun dances, but doesn't take class times to show!

Various versions as story books have made it into my collection over the years and just yesterday, I downloaded an app for my Ipad which has beautiful pictures called "The Nutcracker Musical Story Book". I got it for free on a special, but it is only 2.99 normally.  The homescreen is a pretty Christmas Scene and you click on ornaments to get to the various scenes if you do not want to watch the whole thing in order.  Act I is on one tree, Act II on the other.  I can't wait to show some scenes to my students because the artwork is incredible.  

Want to teach more about Tchaikovsky?? There are a lot of great ideas on TPT, but one of my favorites is the Facetime with Composers Series by Music Man of Steel.  My students LOVE these silly videos! Get them here:Facetime with Tchaikovsky

Want a great listening map or play along video? There are so many great ones on Youtube- but these are my favorites. 

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy Playalong: 

March Listening Map: 

Dance of the Line Riders: 

Trepak Dancers from SYTYCD: 

Don't forget to also check out Kodaly Corner-  Karla from C Major Learning just posted a great Nutcracker Post as well!

There are so many great ideas on pinterest as well- I made a Nutcracker Pinterest board you can check out here! There are listening maps, movement activities, lesson plans, printables, and more.  New stuff will be added as I find it as well!

Enjoy! It truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Share your favorite Nutcracker Activities below! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Favorite new S-M Folk Song- Ducks and Geese

After six years of teaching I found myself this year looking for fun, new-to-me, s-m folk songs.  I still love those that I have used in the past, but I wanted to freshen things up a bit. 

One great one I found in An American Methodology is called "Ducks and Geese (Come Home, All My Ducks and Geese)" and can be found on page 317. 

This is a call and response Hungarian Folk Song and is also featured in Folk Songs and Singing Games for Kids of All Ages.  Bought Me A Cat. Vol 2 by Jill Trinka- Pg 7.  See my post on these great resources here!

Here are the words again, since the picture is kind of hard to read

Solo:                                                          Class:
Come home all my ducks and geese.        No We Won't!                         

Why Not?                                                  'Cause Not!                              

What's Wrong?                                          It's the Wolf.

Where's he hiding?                                    In the woods.

Doing What?                                             Washing.

Where's he washing?                                 By the little river

What's he dry his hands on?                      On a kitty cats tail!

I love this song because some of the phrases are slightly unexpected by way of melody.  There are some phrases that are the typical s-m-s-m pattern, but a few are all so's except the last note (example: Where's he hiding?  is s-s-s-m  or By the little river is s-s-s-s-s-m).  We need to make sure as teachers that students are exposed so song literature with a variety of melodic patterns using the same notes (especially s-m!) and this song can help- and the game is super fun too (game directions are below)! 

*Song Note: Because the last line is a descending scale, students "dry their hands" rather than do handsigns on this line. 

In class, we have sorted the phrases of the class part- sometimes using stick notation, sometimes staff. All the phrases are on flashcards stuck to the board and the kiddos have to put them in the right order. This really gets them thinking melodically and because a few of the phrases are the same it makes it a little easier, which is great because this is usually one of the first times we have done this type of activity.  It is a great prep for later years when all the phrases are different AND I throw a red-herring card in the mix :)   I have also had students write out phrases on their lap staff using mini rubber ducks- so fun! Since each phrase is so short, most students are very successful. 

These are the duckies I use- Click the link above to get your own!

For the game, have students line up against one wall (They are the ducks and geese).  Choose one student to be the wolf and stand in the middle of the room.  The teacher is the "Old lady" or "old man" calling to the ducks and geese (you can also have students do this- great for solo singing).  At the end of the song, the Old Lady says "Come Home!" and the ducks and geese run across the room to try and get to the chicken coop without getting caught by the wolf.  If students are tagged by the wolf they freeze and all students can count who was tagged at the end.  Sometimes I have those tagged be wolves for the next round, sometimes I have them play an instrument along with the song.

*Game Note: I have found that if the "old lady" doesn't give a cue to run across the room, it is total chaos.  Students run before the song is over, etc.  Sometimes I even like to change it up so they really have to listen.  I'll say "Come Hippo" or something similar, and students know if they accidentally run before the cue, or on the wrong cue, they are out.

My students request this song all the time.  I am so glad I found it!  What are your favorite songs to teach s-m?  Sound off in the comments below!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you Bonnie from  for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  Melody Soup is a wonderful blog with so many awesome ideas! Bonnie is always posting great videos, games and more!

The Liebster Award was created to highlight blogs with growing audiences. The rules for receiving this award are:
1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and a 'shout out'.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer. (Please just answer the 11 questions I answered below!)
3. Nominate 11 people (Blogs with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. 
4. Let your nominees know and provide them with a link back to your post (so they can see the rules)
5. No nominating the person who nominated you, however send them a thank you :)
(6.) I have also read that in addition to answering the 11 questions, you should also write 11 random facts about yourself so I decided to that as well.
These are the questions that are set for me to answer...
1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I started blogging in April 2012 just for fun.  I loved reading others blogs and getting new ideas so I thought I would share my own.  Every time I started slacking, a new reason would pop up to keep going like a recommendation in TMEA magazine that my friend in Texas happened to see and told me about.  I was so excited because that when I had just started blogging!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Resourceful- I love coming up with fun ideas or just sharing resources that I find Invaluable with other teachers.  I share links to free (and paid) products, reviews, ideas and more.  It is a one stop shop for great music ed resources made written by all of the wonderful music educators out there!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?

Keep many posts going at once.  Sometimes you will have an idea for 10 posts in one day and other weeks you will feel like you have nothing to share.  At least start the posts when you come up with a great idea so you can finish later and post during those busy weeks or times when you are just having writers block.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
I love being a part of Local Community Theater Groups (usually in Musicals).  I do shows all over Cincinnati and even got my fiancĂ© to start coming to shows (and maybe help building sets).  

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
Usually only 2 or 3.  I try to post at least once a week (sometimes more, and unfortunately sometimes less.)  I have started to keep a bunch of posts unedited so that on weeks I am super busy I can just finish one up and post it quickly.  This worked really well last week when I had grades due AND a Veterans Day Concert to conduct!

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I love just sharing songs and games that my students have enjoyed.  It is always great to get new ideas from others and I thought I would share some of my own as well.  I also love to post about my favorite children's books to sing to my class- there are so many great ones out there!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My students are definitely the inspiration for my blog.  They are so adorable and it makes me super excited when I come with an idea- or find a song/ game that they REALLY enjoy. 

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
One of my favorite posts was one on games my 6th graders last year loved because they were a tough crowd! Check it out here.   All of the songs are tim-ka (dotted-eighth--sixteenth) songs but sometimes I introduce them to focus on the tone-set.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?

I have a post on all the "CUPS" activities I do in my class room (YES! there is more than just the version that Pitch Perfect made so popular) but I haven't had a chance to add videos of the more complicated cup games so it is just sitting there waiting patiently.  It will be posted soon. It will be posted soon. It will be posted soon.

10. What's your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love reading comments from others who have tried ideas or of course, when new ideas are shared in the comments.  The music teacher internet community is great!

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?

The Substitute Lesson Menus look awesome!  I hate making sub plans so I will definitely be using this idea when I go to the OMEA conference later this year. If you haven't seen them yet- look here for the free downloads and to hear more!
Here are my 11 random facts: 
1. I collect Nutcrackers and am always very excited to teach the Nutcracker Ballet to my students every year.
2. In fact, the theme of my wedding in December is "Nutcracker" complete with a coffee/ tea/ hot chocolate bar to take us to "The Land of Sweets". 
3. I just moved into a House this year and am loving the fact that I have a garage on this snowy November day!
4. I dislike cooking, but LOVE having a mixer to bake cookies, make waffles, etc.
5. I read Young Adult Dystopian Fiction when I just need a break.  I like that I can finish a book in a few hours- though I find myself getting slightly too frustrated when I accidentally pick a series where one of the books isn't published yet.
6. I love Ninja Turtles and my students think I am super cool when I wear my Ninja Turtle Leggings (you can get them here if you too love the Heroes in A Half-Shell).
7. I love the way winter looks but hate being cold.
8.  Gilmore Girls (and Greys Anatomy) on Netflix has definitely slowed my productivity in the past few weeks.
9.  I went to Hungary to study a few summers ago and wish I could go back!
10. I own too many shoes.
11.  It was a lot harder than I thought to think of 11 random facts. :)
Here are the Blogs I have nominated- Check them out- they are all great!
You may notice that some other music education bloggers have suggested these blogs too!  That is because they are totally awesome!  :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tuesday Bookclub Linky Party- There Was An Old Woman Books

Welcome to the Tuesday Book Club!  I will be posting the 2nd Tuesday of every month  with a favorite Story book to read or sing.   There are so many great books out there that students (and teachers) love! If you are a blogger feel free to link up and share your favorite book to read/ sing to your students by following the directions at the end of the post. The linky party will always be open until the end of the month.

I LOVE "There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a ...." books.

I have so many and there a few others I want to get as well.  My students love to join in and have fun as we get faster and faster through the repeated parts.  (Note: I accidentally typed "faster and fatter" at first... which could actually work for these books :-P)

I always start with "There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly" in October. I love the pictures in this one by Simms Taback and that the animals get in on the story. 

In November is always "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie".

This is a great Thanksgiving version.  I love that in this one the Old Lady eats mostly real food- just A LOT of it.  We can always have a fun discussion about favorite Thanksgiving foods and if we ever accidentally over eat.  I also love that in this one, the Lady doesn't die- just becomes a balloon in the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade.  So cute!

In December I read "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bell"- What a way to help Santa pack his sleigh! The Author, Lucille Colandro and Illustrator, Jared Lee have collaborated on MANY "There was an Old Lady" books and I hope to get a few more for my collection soon!

I also have "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Trout" which has BEAUTIFUL illustrations and "I Know a Shy Fellow who Swallowed a Cello" which a super cute musical version!

A few that I want to get include: "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat", "... who Swallowed a Chick", and "... who Swallowed Some Books"

As I said, my students, just like me, adore these books! They love to sing along and are always excited to see what the Old Lady (or fellow) will eat next.  The illustrations in all of these versions are super cute and I sing the same tune every time.  I originally heard this tune at a BYU Mens Chorus Concert, but I also love the Burl Ives version which you can hear/watch here. Note: It is up to you if you want to show this one to your students, it is an old timey cartoon where there is some cartoon violence- I just like to have it playing without the picture so the students can hear someone other than me sing. There are so many cute versions of many of these books on youtube! Check it out!

Click the link below to link up and join in the Linky-party fun and share your favorite books to sing or read to your class! Don't forget to save the picture at the top of this blog post and insert it into your blog post with a link back to this page!  When you click the link it will take you to a new page where you copy the link to your blogpost and you will be all set!

Check out some other great ideas from bloggers who have linked up!
Molly from All Star Music VA posted about "I Bought Me a Cat" and "Farmyard Beat"- great for the younger kiddos!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Favorite Technology Pins of October (and early November)

I have been pinning a lot to my Music Education Technology board lately to try to incorporate technology in many aspects of my teaching- from grading, to assessing, to fun practice games.

I have picked my 5 favorite pins to share.  Some are on SMARTboard activities, some on Ipad/ tablet apps, some are on using technology to assess students and MORE!  I gave a brief description of each but be sure to click the links to read more!

5. Composition Apps

This pin is a list of 7 free composition apps and what makes them good (or bad).  She is very detailed in her explanations and I am excited to use a few of these in my classroom soon!

4. Plickers

This one is a great way to quickly assess multiple choice questions in your classroom.  Students hold up a card (pre-assigned to them- I use their regular classroom numbers) with the correct letter at the top of the card and you can use your iPhone or iPad to instantly scan everyone's answer at once.

3. 30 Ways to Teach the notes of the staff using technology

What a goldmine of a pin! There are Interactive White Board games, Apps, Videos and more.  Be sure to check out the comments in the post as well for more great ideas! 

2. Mirroring your iPad to your computer to project the screen

The pin teaches you a few ways to mirror your iPad screen so you can easily (and wirelessly) project it. This is great for when you only have one iPad but 30 students! Project the screen and students can use your IWB to use the apps.  This one has been a life saver recently!I was kicked out of my room a few weeks ago due to a storm (I teach in a modular classroom) and was stuck teaching in the cafeteria.  Armed with only a computer/ projector card and my iPad I was able to put together a fun activity to finish out our lesson when we didn't have a board to write on.

1. Idoceo

This is the best gradebook app ever.  I may be biased but I have seen it posted on many music teachers blogs with tips and tricks (the pin is from TheYellowBrickRoad).  In this app you can easily set your schedule, add columns for grades, enter number grades or just icons, have seating charts, behavior information, video/ pictures, and more.  I don't know how I ever got along without it!

Don't forget to follow my Music Education Technology Pinterest Board to see ALL the great music ed technology ideas I have pinned.

PS.  My districts bond issue passed yesterday- YAY!  We will be getting a new school built.  What would your must-haves be if you could design your dream music room??? I have some ideas, but I am curious of others opinions as well- leave comments here or comment on my facebook page:

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Fun! Ideas for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving that can fit right into your sequence

Phew! We made it past Halloween!  Halloween is always a little crazy at my school because if they students raise enough money at their Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser (which they always do) they get to wear costumes on Halloween and have a Monster Mash Dance in the gym for an hour. This year, luckily, the dance didn't happen during specials times BUT 3rd grade did come to music directly from their dance so they were a little wound up.

I love to incorporate seasonal music into my teaching- especially when it coincides with the sequence and there are so many great things to celebrate in November that we sometimes don't focus on as much as we should.  In my school, it is required to teach a special lesson on Veterans Day so I try to incorporate more patriotic music than I normally would all month.  The chorus also performs a Veterans Day Assembly during the day for the school and then again in the evening for their Parents.  

I love to have the older grades sight-read known patriotic songs like America (My Country Tis Of Thee), and America the Beautiful and then add simple orffestrations to them. We talk about the history of the songs and more.   6th grade learned dotted quarter patterns last year and 5th is preparing them now so America  fits into the rhythm half of my lessons perfectly. 

4th Grade is currently learning about The Star Spangled Banner in their Social Studies Class so we are learning it in music as well.  We talk about the history, how to stand, the meaning of the words and more.  I also found A GREAT Star Spangled Banner Jeopardy this year that I love to review anything you could ever want to know about the song.  I got mine for free from Lorenz Music on the Poems 200th birthday this year, but if you just google "Star Spangled Banner Jeopardy" there are a lot of great options. 

For the younger ones we do some patriotic listening and moving to things like Sousa, Instrumental (and Vocal) versions of the previously mentioned songs and more. Check out this great guided listening unit made by Music with Sara Bibbee on TPT.  I also plan on doing some listening gylphs with Patriotic Music as well.  Glyphs are a great close listening activity for any age. Students color a picture based on what they hear.  Ex.  If they hear percussion they might color the Turkeys Hat Orange, but if htey do not the would color it green.  Check out some by Sew Much Music or the Bulletin Board Lady on Teachers Pay Teachers! (There are both Armed Forces Glyphs AND Thanksgiving Glyphs!) 

At the Veterans Day Assembly, the chorus always gives great information about how Veterans Day came to be, branches of the Armed Forces and more.  We sing 4-5 songs ALWAYS including The Star-Spangled Banner and the Armed Forces songs of the Branches.  During the concert, we ask Veterans to stand and be recognized when their Branches song is sung.  We also try to get pictures from family members who have served and show those in a slide show during one of the songs.  This year I bought "The Bulletin Board Lady's" Veterans Day/ Armed Forces set and the kids will be using it to give great information about the each branch.  I will also be using the set to post facts all around the school so kids can be reading them from now until the assembly next week.  There are a lot of other great Veterans Day Sets on teacherspayteachers as well.  It was hard to choose! 

After Veterans Day is over, I flip to Thanksgiving and I am always sure to do "Over the River and Through the Wood" with all grades.  Older kids sight-read it and learn an orffestration to it- sometimes even coming up with their own as a class, and I am sure to read/ sing it to the younger ones.  I love this version.  

Another book I am sure to read/ sing to the students is "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie" It is a wonderful Thanskgiving version of the classic tale and my students love to compare all the versions I have for different seasons.  Check out all my versions next week during the Tuesday Book Club! 

I also LOVE to do Shoo Turkey with 1st and 2nd.  I use it to assess solo singing after we learn it. I will either go down the line or point to a student to sing the "Yes, Mam" part.  My students LOVE to shoo the turkeys away around the room.  Be sure when doing this song you set clear expectations.  I tell my students that they can shoo the turkey anywhere in the room but once they hear the loud "Shoo" at the end of the song they must sit on their bottom right where they are to sing the next verse.  They are also told they must keep bodies to themselves and if they bump into anyone or push anyone over they have to sit out.  

I will also be using my Jack-o-Lantern stack music symbols game in November as well.  It is called Jack-o-Lantern, but really it is just pumpkins so it can be used all throughout the fall season.  Students stack 3 pumpkins- one with the symbol, one with the word, and one with the definition.  Another great activity (especially for a sub) is Color By Note activities.  There are so many Thanksgiving or Fall themed sheets out there and kids love them!

One of  my other favorite fall activities is writing on a lap staff using "Table Scatter" from target.  I got leaves and pumpkins from target for $3.00 a container.  I love to use erasers, but the plastic table scatter is extra helpful when differentiating between lines and spaces because they are see-through.  This way the students can see that the line is going through the note when the melody has notes on a line.

What are your favorite November Activities??? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tuesday Book Club Linky Party- John Lithgow Books!

Welcome to the Tuesday Book Club!  I will be posting the 2nd Tuesday of every month  with a favorite Story book to read or sing.   (... I know it's Wednesday...- my internet at home was really spotty last night due to a storm). There are so many great books out there that students (and teachers) love! If you are a blogger feel free to link up and share your favorite book to read/ sing to your students by following the directions at the end of the post. The linky party will always be open until the end of the month.

This month I decided to focus on some of my Favorite John Lithgow books-  Marsupial Sue, Illustrated by Jack E. Davis and The Remarkable Farkle McBride, Illustrated by C.F. Payne.

I just got Marsupial Sue and it is so adorable.  See a Video of John Lithgow singing the story below:

This is the story of a young kangaroo who longs to be a koala, a platypus, or anything other than a kangaroo -- until she discovers why it's best to be who she is (description from Barnes and Noble). It is an adorable song (with the music in the back of the book!) that gets stuck in your head easily but it is so cute that I don't mind.

I love this book because it teachers kids that they are awesome just being who they are!  They don't have to dress differently, or be a class clown, or be super great at math, or be a great singer to be who they are- teachers and friends will accept them no matter what.  Everyone is good at, and meant for, different things in this world- if we were all the same, how boring would that be! Get the book HERE

My other favorite John Lithgow book is The Remarkable Farkle McBride.

Click HERE to see John Lithgow reading this one (I couldn'f find this one on youtube which is why the video isn't directly embedded into the post).  He is so expressive that sometimes, I show the videos instead of reading myself to save my voice- the students love it!

This is a hilarious book with really funny pictures about a boy, Farkle McBride, who keeps trying different instruments- Violin, Flute, Trombone, and "the entire percussionist section".  He quickly masters each instrument, but then gets bored or frustrated with it and throws it away (or into a lake).  At the end it is revealed that he actually loves "Musicians All Playing Together" and he becomes a conductor and is thus finally satisfied with his musical experience.  This book is great for introducing the families of the orchestra and is really fun for the teacher to read and the students to listen to.  I always imitate the instrument sounds, yell when Farkle yells, etc and it is the most requested book in my classroom.   You can get the book HERE

Click the link below to link up and join in the fun! Don't forget to save the picture at the top of this blog post and insert it into your blog post with a link back to this page!  When you click the link it will take you to a new page where you copy the link to your blogpost and you will be all set!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rhythm Football- a Game to engage your toughest critics!

Have you ever asked students, in person or on a worksheet, what they most want to do in music- and had that one kid who says or writes "Football" just to be funny??

This year, I thought, why not turn a camp/ physical education favorite- Steal the Bacon- into a way we can practice music and "play football" at the same time??   My toughest critics (boys who LOVE phys. ed and don't really like singing all that much) LOVED this game!  

Here are the game directions:
Before Game- Print and cut out score board, game pieces, and rhythm cards.  Make score board and game pieces into magnets! Laminate Rhythm Cards for durability.

Students are split into 2 even teams and each team sits along opposite walls (walls A and C) and are numbered.  (There should end up being 2 of every number, one on each team)
D          B

End-zones are determined for each team (Walls B and D)

Teacher places 5- 10 rhythm cards in center of room between both teams.

Teacher reads a rhythm and then calls a number

The students with the number called race to find the rhythm card that was read and get it back to their end-zone without being tagged.  The teams ARE allowed to help find the rhythm pattern by pointing, cheering, etc.

I have scored this game in two ways:

If a student gets the rhythm card into their end-zone without being tagged they move their game piece 20 yards

If a student tags their opponent who has the rhythm card they advance their game piece 10 yards

First team to advance 100 yds Wins! (You could also start both teams on the 50 yard line and first to advance 50yds wins if you are short on time)

If you do not have an interactive white board, Print out Scoreboard one and make into a magnet.  Also Cut out 2 Footballs to make into magnets as well to move across the board.  Get a free interactive SMARTnotebook football field here!


*If a student gets the rhythm card into their end-zone without being tagged they get a touch down and earn 6 pts.  If the team can read the card correctly, they get their extra point (total of 7).  If the player who scored for their team can read the card accurately by themselves they can get a 2 point conversion (total of 9 points).  

*If a student tags their opponent who has the rhythm card they get a Field Goal and earn 3 pts.

*The team with the most points after a pre-determined number of rounds wins!

To keep track of the score, either draw a scoreboard on your white/ chalkboard and have a student good at math keep score or use the scoreboard provided! 

If you have SMARTnotebook you can also look up “Scoreboard” in the gallery for an easy interactive board to use.  

Scoring Example:
A rhythm is read and #3 is called.
If team "A" #3 grabs the correct rhythm and gets back to his/her end-zone before getting tagged by Team "B" #3 then team A move 20 yards OR earns SEVEN POINTS. If Team B #3 tags him/her then team B moves 10 yards OR earns THREE POINTS.
Sometimes a player will run up fast and grab it, and sometimes both players will walk around it waiting for the other person to grab it.
The Teacher can call out more than one number at a time .This is good if one set of numbers is taking to long. The caller continues calling out numbers until a team gets the rhythm back to their end-zone or is tagged.

You canget Levels 1-10 on Teachers Pay Teachers- each set is only $2.00!
Level 1 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, and quarter rest)

Level 2 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest and half note)

Level 3 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest and beamed 16th notes)

Level 4 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest, beamed 16th notes, and eighth-2 sixteenths)

Level 5 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest, beamed 16th notes,
       eighth-2 sixteenths [aka ti-tika], and 2 sixteenths-eighth [aka tika-ti])

Level 6 (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest, beamed 16th notes,
       eighth-2 sixteenths [aka ti-tika], 2 sixteenths-eighth [aka tika-ti],
       and ti-ta-ti [aka syncopa])

Level 7- (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest, beamed 16th notes,
       eighth-2 sixteenths [aka ti-tika], 2 sixteenths-eighth [aka tika-ti],
       ti-ta-ti [aka syncopa], and dotted quarter- eighth [aka tam-ti])

Level 8- (quarter note, beamed eighth notes, quarter rest, beamed 16th notes,
       eighth-2 sixteenths [aka ti-tika], 2 sixteenths-eighth [aka tika-ti],
       ti-ta-ti [aka syncopa], dotted quarter- eighth [aka tam-ti] and eighth-dotted quarter [aka ti-tam])
Level 9- Adds dotted eighth-sixteenth (tim-ka)

Level 10- Adds sixteenth- dotted eighth (ka-tim)

I have also added a 6/8 version to practice common 6/8 patterns!

Feel free to mix and match cards- I teach half note first, but I know a lot of teachers who teach 16th notes first so I did not include half notes in the 16th set and visa versa.

Want to save by getting ONE BIG file of all the rhythm cards?  Click here!

Want to play the game with musical symbols/ Vocab?  Check it out here!