Monday, September 30, 2013

New Look... More to Come!

I have been inspired by some cool looking teachers blogs to update the look of my blog. I really like coding and creating images, so I didn't want to just go get a free look off the internet. Instead I have been working on my blog layout piece by piece. I am really happy with how it is turning out.

Some new features:
  1. Links to connect you to some of my social media sites.
  2. Signature
  3. Background
  4. Blog title
  5. Blog button with script to add to YOUR blog. (If you have a blog button (for a music educator blog) feel free to comment to this post and I'll add it to my blog buttons.)
  6. Search this blog
  7. Follow by email

If you get a chance check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freebie Friday - In the Woods

As part of Mrs. Q's Freebie Friday I am offering the following Freebie:
I recently created an adorable file for the song In the Woods (also known as The Green Grass Grew All Around). If you are unfamiliar with it you should check out Beth's Music Notes blog post HERE. The version I sing has a few changes in lyrics, but the melody is the same and you can get the general idea.

I sing this song with my 1st graders and they absolutely love it. It is great for practicing singing short phrases and echoing. To make the song even more fun, after a few times of singing it without visuals I add the SMARTboard file for fun pictures. I recently updated it with cute pictures from My Cute Graphics.

In order to share this with you I have uploaded it as a SMARTnotebook file, a powerpoint, and a pdf. If you do have a SMARTboard I have already linked up each page, so you just click on the last lyric of each page to continue with the song. If you have a PDF or powerpoint you flip the page and they go in order. I'm sharing all these files through Dropbox, and I don't think you'll have a problem downloading them, but if you do please let me know! (Click on the picture to get the link to download the file)

Powerpoint Version:
Powerpoint Version
Follow this link ->
PDF Version:
PDF Version
SMARTnotebook file:
SMARTboard file
Please let me know if you use this file with your students and things that you liked or disliked about this freebie. I'm always looking for ways to improve! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2/4 Tuesday - Rockin' Behavior + Some Books I Love

I'm totally on a roll with my blog posts. If only I could be like this all the time! :)

The first thing I'm using this year that seems to be working so far is my new Rockin' Behavior chart:

This idea is not a new one and is posted all over Pinterest, but there aren't a lot of teachers who have given ways to use this in a music room, so I kind of came up with my own way of using it.

First, instead of each student I just have the classroom teachers name. I keep track of all the expected and unexpected behaviors of my students during the class time on the board. This is just a chart with a smiley face and sad face and I post tallies as I go through class. Students know not to ask for tallies and that sometimes they won't get tallies for a while and then might get a bunch of tallies all at once.

If at the end of music class they have more expected points than unexpected points one student gets to clip the class up, to choose a student I just go straight through the seating chart so I know everyone will eventually get a turn. (If they have NO unexpected points or just one or two, I will sometimes let the class clip up two times.)


Along with clipping up they get to earn tickets towards a reward day. Depending on the color the class lands on they earn or lose tickets at the end of each music class. You can see from my chart they get extra tickets for getting all the way to the top. I do NOT reset this each week, but instead keep their clip where it is. When they get to the red I add a sticker to their clip and put it back on the green to restart. When the class gets five stickers I give them a new clip and post their filled clip on a Wall of Fame. :)

A couple things I would change about this:
  1. I would make it so you get to earn a ticket each time your class clips up and lose a ticket every time your class clips down. Otherwise, you have problems like classes being on orange and having to clip down to yellow. Do they still get tickets?

  2. This system works just perfect for my classes that only have music once a week, but for my classes that have music twice a week I should have almost added more to the top. I have some classes that have super days each day and so after one week they can already be to the top of the chart.

The other thing I want to share are some books by Iza Trapani. I don't know how many of you have seen them, but they are wonderful for the end of a music class. I actually have all my Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade classes end with a book or songtale each day. This is a great way to get my students to refocus before going back to their classroom teachers. Otherwise, sometimes music class gets a little wild and crazy (but the good kind, where there IS learning) and I feel terrible sending them back to their classroom teachers all wound up. Iza Trapani's books are based on popular folk songs, but she adds her own twist with new verses. Some of my favorites are below. Click the pictures to see where you can buy them on Amazon:


Monday, September 23, 2013

Manipulative Monday - Music Time Signature Pies

Yay! Not only two blog posts in a row, but I'm also joining my first Link Party! Music teachers are so cool! :)

Honestly, I wish I used more manipulatives in my classroom. I'm hoping reading all these posts will inspire me to actually go for it and do it. I also have to do a better job of looking out for some of those cool finds like the erasers I saw in Lindsay's blog.

Instead, one manipulative I have used for time signatures are these music pies I created. Each pie represents a measure in 4/4 time. The black one is the filler for students to create their own measures:

Then, I have several colored pies for the different notes my students know. I cut each one along the dotted lines so that the pieces only fill up the amount of the measure they take up. Here are a few examples of my music note/rest pies:



This allows my students to create their own measures and see how they fit into the measure. This is great for kids that really need a visual or are more kinesthetic in nature. When working on a short composition students can check their work by putting the pieces together. If there are too many beats they know they have to fix something. If they have extra space in their measure they know they need to add another note.

For those that are interested they were added to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and are completely FREE! Just print them, cut them, laminate them and you are ready to go! Please let me know if you use them and how they worked for you.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Being SMART with a SMARTboard

I am glad to say that I'm back to blogging. I really wish I was better at staying on top of my blog and being really consistent about blogging. I know it is frustrating to follow a blog that is inactive for several months and then suddenly posts again. I'm really trying to work on that. If any of you strong bloggers have any suggestions about being consistent I would love to hear them!

I was going to post beautiful pictures of my current classroom arrangements, but unfortunately my laptop has died. I do not currently have the funds to get a new one, so until then, you will only be seeing pictures from my phone, ipad, and computer screenshots. (Sorry!)

Instead, I wanted to talk about my current goal as an educator this year. I am lucky enough to have a SMARTboard at both schools I teach at. I use my SMARTboard EVERY day in my classroom, but my goal for this year is to really use my SMARTboard in the most interactive way. Instead of just projecting lyrics, videos, etc. I want to make interactive lessons using my SMARTboard that tie into our district standards and benchmarks. So, the last couple weeks I have spent HOURS working on SMARTboard files to share with my students. They aren't all finished. (I'm kind of adding to them as I teach.) However, I do have one that I finished this summer for Bee, Bee Bumblebee. Check out some of the highlights of this file below:





The goal for each is to teach the standard or benchmark by getting students up to the board. For pages with beat or rhythm, I call students up to actually point to each bee. It is great to see the kids reaction to these cute files and to know that my time was well spent. I'm hoping these files will really help reinforce concepts, as well as, get kids excited about the songs we are learning.

And the even more exciting news! I finally opened a Teachers Pay Teachers Store and you can get this file there! I'm currently working on a bunch of other files, but am not finished and ready to upload them. Here are some to look forward to seeing:






Hope you enjoy the sneak peak and if you like what you see, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Hope you are all as excited for the new school year as I am! :)

P.S. All Graphics used are from My Cute Graphics. Her graphics are amazing and free!