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???