Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday!

Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a Site-Wide Sale TODAY (Wednesday February 25, 2015)!!!! I have joined up with Mrs. Miracles Music Room to share 3 things I am excited about for the sale- a product I made, a product I am going to buy, and a clipart set I love! Be sure to click over to her blog to see more what more Music Education Bloggers are looking forward to buying and selling! Most sellers stores (including mine) will be 20% off and you can get an additional 8% off using the code HEROES in the checkout.

The product I made was put together this past week when I had a "9 day weekend" because we had an entire week off of school for Holidays, Snow-days, and Cold days.  Because the weather was so miserable- I was thinking SPRING!

HELP MY GARDEN GROW is a matching game for students.  There are 2 versions posted now: a Music Symbols version and an instruments of the orchestra version.  In the Music Symbols version, students match the symbol (SUN) to the musical term (Watering Can) to the definition (Flower). There are 26 music symbols in the set as well as 7 common tempos.   In the orchestral instruments version the students match the Family of the orchestra (Sun) to the instrument name (Watering Can) the a picture of the instrument (flower). There are 24 common orchestral instruments included in the set. Also included in each file are larger suns made of each symbol and instrument picture to play games like the "fly swatter game" where you out the suns and the teacher calls out a vocab word or instruments and the students race to swat it first.  Check them out and if you like the spring version be sure to look at the other seasons too- Jack-o-lantern Stack for Autumn, Do You Wanna Build a Snowman for Winter, and even Stacks of Love for Valentines Day!

Help My Garden Grow: Orchestral Instruments Normally $3.00

Help My Garden Grow: Music Symbols Normally $3.50


The product I want is the musical interactive notebooks being sold by The Yellow Brick Road.  I have some tough 6th grade classes this year that are really just not into singing and dancing.  I have decided to try a different approach for the 2nd half of the year and start interactive notebooks with them so that they are still learning vocab and history, etc- just in a different way from the other classes.  They will still be singing but there will be more "notebooking" for more individual accountability.  Check out the sellers blogpost on how to use interactive notebooks in the music classroom HERE. Taken from the product description: 
"This interactive music notebook is a great tool for assessing [4th grade] music students while encouraging creativity and ownership of learning. These interactive notebooks feature notebook pages, which define music vocabulary and concepts, just as you might see in a standard textbook. These are followed by interactive pages, which contain drawing prompts, writing prompts, tracing pages, cut and paste activities, and more. The interactive pages allow students a chance to apply and synthesize their knowledge in a personal and creative way."
I am looking to buy the 4th grade version and the middle school version but she has them for grades K-3 as well AND they can be bought in a bundle! Each version ranges in price from $6-$9 depending on the number of pages and they are all FULL of great stuff.  Check out the 4th grade version HERE and if you want to see other grades- there are links in the product description! 
Screenshot of some preview pages!

The Clipart I am most looking forward to getting is more frames/ borders to help make my products more fun and unique.  I do a lot of vocal exploration products and keep using the same frames and brackets over and over.  I haven't picked any out yet, but I will sure be looking hard tomorrow! There are so many to choose from! 
I also love this bug set from FROM THE POND.  A lot of the clip art I use for school programs, school newsletters and sometimes products, comes from this store.  Check it out HERE.

Friday, February 20, 2015

OMEA General Music Overview- Part 1

Wow, what a cold day!  I have not been at school all week! We had Presidents' Day off, then 2 snow days, and now were on the 2nd "cold" day with temps in the negatives and wind chills around -25 (at least they were this morning).

Since I am at home today, I figured it was time to recap my Ohio Music Education Association Conference workshops.  This will just be an overview of the many workshops I attended with a few ideas I got, some encouraging quotes, and links to the presenters publications if they have them. Overall it was a great conference and I was really happy I went, even though it was super cold and snowy in Cleveland.  I wish I could be going to the OAKE conference later this year, but I just don't have the funds for a flight.  Hopefully it will be a little closer to Ohio soon! 

Part 1 will focus on Dawn Sloan, Susan Brumfield  and Brent Gault- the more typical general music stuff like centers, singing game, movement in the classroom, etc.
Part 2 will focus on David Holland (Classroom Drumming master) and Sarah Hasseler (chorus ideas!) and will be coming soon!

The first workshop I went to was on Music Centers given by Dawn Sloan.  A lot of the info I already knew but she definitely had some good tips and ideas.  I am really excited to download some of the apps she mentioned like: Sound Recall, Simon Music, Note works and more.

I also really want to order some shape drums because Dawn had a great composition activity for rhythm stations where you have 1 or 2 beat cards that go with the shape drums and the students make up a 4-8 beat pattern where they have to work together to make a beautiful composition. A quarter note might be printed on a triangle, square and circle.  Same with eighth notes and 16th notes, etc. The rule is that students can only play what is represented by the cards they picked so if they want more than one person to play at once- be it the same or a different rhythm- they have to write out the patterns using the cards accordingly.

She also reminded me that I really need to make BUSTED- a rhythm game where students choose a popsicle stick from a jar in the center.  Each popsicle stick either has a 1 beat rhythm on it (ta, ti-ti, tika-tika, etc) OR the word BUSTED.  Students take turns pulling sticks and reading the rhythm that their cards make.  If they read the rhythm wrong or pull BUSTED all their sticks go back in the center.  The student with the most popsicle sticks at the end wins.  The pin comes from the Stay Tuned Blog- check it out! 

Susan Brumfield had some great ideas about circle games, folk dancing, and gave us some great folk song history.

One of my favorites was her tip to have students practice what will now be a key phrase in my music room "Turn Your Way".  We all know that circle games with changing partners can be tricky because you can't just say "turn to your right" or "turn to your left" but if students practice "turning their way" over an over it doesn't matter who their partner is for this round, they will know which way to turn when it is time.   She also talked about the "Freeze Frame" when teaching the Grand Right and Left- another tricky folk dance move. When you are teaching the dance have students "freeze frame" right as they connect to a new partner so they can see who they are now with, what hand is connected to who, and where they are going. Another thing to help with this is to use colored bracelets ala "livestrong" and have everyone wear theirs on their RIGHT HAND and then alternate colors (blue and red, etc.) so that students always know their right hand and know that they should always be connecting to a person with the opposite color they have.

Another big talking (or singing!) point was text improv- such as new verses for Ida Red (Ida Red, Ida White- She's the prettiest girl in sight... etc).  She also mentioned that if students accidentally change the melody while improvising text- talk about it! Mention to the class that it was different and ask how?  Let these things happen organically and go with the flow.

I also loved that she told us about Pour Quoi and why the song is called that.  A "Pour Quoi" (or WHY?) Story is an origin story- for example about how an animal became the way it is "How the tiger got it's stripes" or why something came to exist "why there is lightning and thunder" and the song is a perfect example of that.  She made a super cute story bag (made out of brown lunch bags) with birds inside each pocket to help tell the story and did some more text improv with this song.

Adding harmony during a game was also something that seems to make so much sense- but I had never really thought of.  While we were playing a game called "Mrs. Macaroni" after every few rounds (really would be a different lesson in my situation) she had a different group of people sing harmony with the song.  She started with the boys singing a bass line on do and low so (they sang do until it "didn't sound right"), then added the girls singing mi and fa to fit with the chordal structure of the song and finally added that anyone wearing boots could switch to singing all so's so we had 4 parts if you include the melody. It sounded awesome, the game was still happening, and it is a super easy way to incorporate harmony into a lesson. 

One of my other favorite moments was singing "Shalom, Chaverim" in cannon while walking in concentric circles (one for each part). It was so beautiful, I almost started crying. I have already since done a concentric circle round since in 3rd grade and can't wait to do it in my 5th and 6th grade chorus rehearsals.

Susan Brumfields workshops had so many great ideas that I was really excited to check out her publications: First We Sing, Over the Garden Wall: Songs and Games from England, and Hot Peas and Barley-O: Songs and Games from Scotland. She is so thorough with why a song is a good song, where it comes from, how it can be used, etc.  These books will be an invaluable resource.

Brent Gault gave many ideas for movement in the general music room and some other great ideas in his Kodaly in the General Music Classroom sessions.

During his movement session he gave 3 goals of movement: Highlighting a musical element, providing a channel for creativity, and enhancing the musicality of a piece of music.  He was always making sure that we, even as music teachers, were moving musically rather than like robots.  We did movement to a 12 bar blues (different motion on each chord) and then in the same fashion we did movement to the Surprise Symphony.  I had done the blues activity before but never though of doing the same type of activity with classical music.    Each time we did movement, we started with a body and brain warm-up doing things like body signs, yes no repeat (students repeat exactly first AND then have to say opposite of teacher- if teacher says yes, students say no, etc.)  We then moved to non-locomotor movement and finally to locomotor.  He has the trick of having students move their body on simple rhythms and only their hands on more complicated (tika-tika and faster).

Even in his other workshops, we were almost always moving- whether it was just walking the beat while the teacher was singing a new song or keeping the beat in different places.   We did a great song called "Sail Away" where he used a combination of movement, powerpoint slides and rote singing to teach the form.  We ultimately ended up walking the beat and doing the "hand jive" on the A section, and then keeping the beat in 4 places (the students hand jive) during the B.

OMEA was great refresh and it made me excited to go back and teach.  I wish I would have ha school this week to use more of them.  Click HERE for OMEA General Music Overview- Part 2.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Five Favorite Pins of February

Today I am linking up with Aileen Miracle to share my 5 favorite pins of February.  Be sure to check out Aileen's blog to read about her favorite pins and the favorite pins of many other great music teacher-bloggers out there!  Click the title of each pin to be taken to the pin itself or the website it links to and be sure to follow me on pinterest- I have MANY music education boards from classroom organization, to rhythm ideas, to instrument families, and more. :)

1. Concert Curtain Decoration
I had been having trouble thinking of how to decorate the gym/ auditorium for my spring concerts this year, as 5th and 6th grade are on the same night but with different themes.  I then came across this pin and LOVE it!  My themes this year are "Under the Sea" for 5th grade and "Music through the Ages" for 6th and I think this idea can incorporate both beautifully! I plan on making the treble clef and lines of the staff in different shades of blue and then hanging music symbols, fish, and more!

I had heard about these before and kind of forgot about them but I hope to make a class set soon.  I LOVE that they have pockets to hold ledger lines and the notes.  So easy and the notes "stick" to the staff.  Right now I have plastic boards or laminated paper staffs and while it is fun to use table scatter or silly erasers as notes, it is tricky to store all of that in my room.  Felt staff sets could be stored easily and I could even make themed notes if I got really ambitious. 

Note: There are 2 links in the title.  I use Hand-staffs all the time for quick assessment but these two ideas make it much more concrete for students.  Just pointing to a finger may be abstract for some students, so using a glove with a floating note AND posting a hand on the board at the edge of the staff might really help students to understand. 

I just did an Instrument Families review unit with my 6th graders and this was a super fun way to get them excited about it.  This file is also editable so if you want to add in your own questions you can.  I was also super excited about the website this was pinned from because Ashley Queen has a lot of great stuff that you can download and use FOR FREE shared on her blog as well as a great Teachers Pay Teachers store

What a fun pin!  I am always looking for ways to update my SMARTfiles so that my students aren't always doing the same thing over and over with the SMARTboard.  This blog post by Cherie Herring teaches you how to use the magic pen to spotlight a section of a file (the rest of it darkens) to bring focus to a specific element on the page, enlarge a section of a file, and use fading ink.  Not only does she teach you how to use the Magic Pen and Fading Ink, but she discusses the frustrations music teachers might have and how to overcome them.  

I was really excited about finding all of these pins! Thanks to Aileen at Mrs. Miracles Music Room for hosting the linky party! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Book Club- Night Time Stories

I just thought I would share a few of my favorite night time/ lullaby story books! If you have a favorite lullaby book and activity OR just another favorite book, be sure to link up! Instructions are at the end of the post.

Time For Bed by Mem Fox:

Get it HERE. This is a great lullaby for the littles as it shows many baby animals getting sung to before bed.  For example, "It's time for bed little deer, little deer.  The very last kiss is almost here."  I sing it using a melody from the 4th grade Game Plan book.  (Starts on Low La with a tone set of l, d r m and is in 6/8!)

I bring it back in grade 3 when we are working on low la and they sight read the pattern, and then I read the book again to them as a "throwback"- too bad I can only say "Throwback Thursday" to one class :) After that we do the melody with body signs (low la= knees, do is hips, re is waist, mi is shoulders).  Once they are really good at the solfa and melody, I have the students make up their own verse either using their own animal such as: It's time for bed little fox, little fox, listen to the song from the music box OR they can finish the sentence at the end of the book "The Stars on High are shining bright..."  This is a way to work on sentence parts like subject, predicate, verb, etc. - yay cross-curricular connections! I get some good ones with that sentence like "The stars on high are shining bright, the man in the moon ate cheese tonight" or "The stars on high are shining bright, so close your eyes make a wish tonight."  I allow students to be as silly as they want as long as it isn't gross or violent. 

My kiddos really love this throwback and once I have all of their sentences we take a day to illustrate them and make them into a class book to share with the younger grades during music class or book buddies (when 3rd pairs up with 1st once a week to read together). 

Note: This one also comes in a Spanish/ English version!

Another favorite night time book is: When You Wish Upon a Star performed by Judy Collins, Paintings by Eric Puybaret, Music by Ned Washington, and Lyrics by Leigh Harline.  Get it HERE

This is a BEAUITFUL BOOK with the song you recognize from Pinocchio.  It comes with a CD, performed by Judy Collins. The CD also includes her performing The Other Side of my World and All the Pretty Horses (Hush-a-bye).  The pictures are so whimsical and depict children from all over the world wishing, hoping and dreaming.  My students love to just sit and listen and this book is requested often.  Great for when they are a little wound up and need to calm down before heading back to class.

And finally: This is one I found with my astronomer brother in mind.  He had been Skyping the special needs 5th graders in my school from his Grad School apartment at Cal Tech when the kids were learning about Space.  He taught them all about the planets, the phases of the moon, and the life cycle of the star.  For each he read a book and then did some activities.  When we were looking at books for the life cycle of a star we came across this: The Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle by Henry Reich and Zach Weinersmith.   This book sets verses to the same tune we all know and love, but all of it is full of facts about the life cycle of a star, black holes, why stars twinkle and more.  You can get the song on I-Tunes OR the book HERE.  Next year I plan on making an orff accompaniment to it to throw in if we have extra time during the weeks students are doing their astronomy unit.

I would love for you to link up and write a post about your own favorite book to read or sing and how you incorporate it into your classroom.  It can be a night-time book- or not! There are so many great books out there! If you don't have your own blog, feel free to comment on your favorites as well!

To link up: Copy the Tuesday Book Club picture from the top of the post and put it at the top of your blog post.  Be sure to link the picture back to this post!   Once your post is written and published, click the link below and copy the url where asked and then you are all set!  The link-up will be open til March 1, 2015- but of course you can comment after that! I will be sure to keep all links live by re-copying them into the main post so that even after March you can get all the great ideas!

Pursuit of Joyfulness