Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday

Wish List Wednesday: All I Want for Christmas

Monday and Tuesday Teachers Pay Teachers is having a huge Cyber Monday sale! In honor of this sale, everything in my shop is going to be 20% off, plus Teachers Pay Teachers will take an additional 10% off. This means you will save 28% on everything in my store! It is a great time to put together a wishlist of items. That is why I'm joining Lindsay's & Rebecca's Wishlist Wednesday Linky Parties.

Here is what I currently have on my wishlist:

Lindsay's - Trim the Tree Rhythm Game

This time of year is so crazy, but this is such a cute game that I know I could easily throw in even during Christmas Concert preparation time. It would be a great way to keep rhythms fresh in students minds, while still practicing for the upcoming concerts.

Ink n Little Things - Winter Clip Art

I just love cute clip art and this clip art is darling!

Amy Martin's - Recorder Stations

I read Amy's blog post recently about her recorder stations and the activities she has would be really helpful with some of my beginning recorder players.

I'm also currently working on several Christmas and winter items that I'm hoping to have in my shop by Monday. Definitely stop by and check for them.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2/4 Tuesday - Concert Costumes & Color by Solfege

I have begun to love Tuesdays, just because of the 2/4 Tuesday linky party hosted by Steph!

As promised, last week, I am going to talk about how I let parents know about costuming for my concerts. After picking students for speaking parts and thinking about what I am capable of supplying for concerts and what I am not, I can let parents know what their child should wear for the upcoming concert. The sooner I can let parents know, the more prepared they can be. I hate burdening parents with costuming, but sometimes it is just not possible for me to supply all elements of the costumes.

In order to make it simpler for me and for parents, I send home slips with students about when the concert is, what part they are playing, and what they should wear for the concert. Here is my template that you can alter for your own use:

(Click the picture above to be brought to the dropbox file)

For more concert tips check out my other 2/4 Tuesday Posts - Preparing Students for Try-outs, Try-Outs, & Picking Speaking Parts

My latest work has been on creating Color by Solfege worksheets. I needed a fun way to get my students to continue practicing their solfege even during the Holiday Concert season. My little ones (2nd Grade-5th Grade) have really been enjoying this and are very excited to color the sheets next week.


If you like the Color by Solfege worksheet you should make sure to like my Facebook page HERE. I will be participating in a Facebook Frenzy through Teachers Pay Teachers the beginning of December and I will be giving away at least one Color by Solfege Christmas/winter worksheet.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Activities Like... Note Reading Stations

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' today for their We're Thankful For Linky Party. Each day they are writing about something they are thankful for as teachers. Wednesday's theme is Activities Like...

If you would like to join the fun click the link below to find their post and/or read other posts written by other teachers. I especially recommend reading Mrs. Miracle's blog posts. She has been linking with them all week!

The last couple weeks I have begun the preparation of my 4th graders for playing recorders. They already had some experience reading notes on the treble clef thanks to Freddie the Frog, Music K-8 Kids Videos, and a basic introduction in 3rd grade. However, I really wanted students to get a lot of experience with note reading before I actually put the recorders in their hands. To aid in this process, I created stations around the room for note reading (and a few for rhythm work, since that is also important for recorders).

Here are the stations with information on where to get these materials online:

1) Apples and Oranges - Word Matching Game


This is a pretty simple matching game that I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers. How it works is a small group of students sort the apples and oranges by trying to match the words on the apples with the words on the oranges. For example the apple will have the word FACE written on it and they have to find the orange card that spells face on the staff.

I have been a little creative with this station and have also come up with some other ways to use these cards. I have the students play a game of memory with them. (This is a bit more challenging, but is great for my high achieving groups.) I also have them race against each other to see who can get the most matches. You can get this original game HERE as part of a bundle. The bundle includes Sandwich Match, which I'm going to talk about next, and it also includes some other activities I use with other concepts.

2) Sandwich Match - Letter Matching Game


This game is just like the Apples and Oranges game, but instead of whole words you just match a letter. This one is a bit easier to play as memory and many of my students prefer to work at this station that way. Again you can get this HERE.

3) Classics for Kids - Treble Clef Note Reading Game


I allow students to play this on my Smartboard by taking turns identifying the note and creating the words. You can find this game HERE.

4) Ladybug Game


You can find this fun game HERE. Susan has a lot of great games and you should check them out while you are there. All you need to do is print out the pdf she created and create playing pieces. For my playing pieces I used big buttons from Walmart with cute bug stickers on them. More specific directions are on the site, but the basic idea is students pick cards from the deck one at a time and move to the closest space of the letter they choose. Whoever makes it to the end first, wins. Students should take turns and if students draw a card that says bee sting or other things like that they should follow the directions on it.

5) Fly Swatter Game


This is another game made by Susan. I have seen games like this, but how this works is you print out the cards onto cardstock. Then, one student holds up a card while the others find the correct note as quickly as possible and swat the correct answer on the poster board. (You could also write your answers on the board.) Whoever gets the note correct first gets to take over the cards and the other two students become swatters. You can find this game HERE.

6) Fall/Thanksgiving Rhythm Composition


For some rhythm work I had students working on a Fall/Thanksgiving Rhythm Composition. The top of the worksheet students figure out which note each word should get based on the amount of syllables each word has. For example they put a quarter note with corn and four sixteenth notes with cranberry sauce. After finishing the top part they can create their own Fall/Thanksgiving Rhythm and create their own rap. They fill in each blank with a word from above and add the corresponding rhythms with it. It is a fun way for students to practice their rhythms and use their own creativity. You can get this activity at my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2/4 Tuesday - Concert Speaking Parts, Frosty the Snowman

Yet again I'm going to try to join Steph's 2/4 Tuesday. I don't know if she will be holding it tonight, but I'm going to blog about my 2-4 ideas I'm using in my classroom this week and if she adds a blog post I'll link it here.

1)Picking Speaking Parts
I have been working on Holiday concert music with my students the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, I shared how I prepare students for the try-out process. Last week, I shared how I 'grade' the try-out process. This week I wanted to show how I actually pick my student speaking parts.

After try-outs last week I put all the scores into an excel spreadsheet with names of students and their scores. Here is an example of what that looks like:
Screenshot 2013-11-12 17.22.02
I had the 'Total Points' column add up the number of points for each student's speaking try-out. You can do this by putting this formula into the column =SUM(B2:D2) you should change the bolded numbers to be the actual columns and rows you want added together. For example the first student had scores in B2, C2, and D2, so your formula would be the same as written. However, the second students would have scores in B3, C3, and D3, so the formula would change to =SUM(B3:D3). This really saves you time because you don't have to add them all up yourself. (I'm a math wiz, but I still would not want to add up 96 of these...)

After putting in all the scores you can then sort your entries by the total of points each student achieved. To do this highlight EVERYTHING.
Screenshot 2013-11-12 17.22.29

Click the sort & filter button toward the top right hand corner of your screen:
Screenshot 2013-11-12 17.22.46

Click custom sort... (if you don't click custom sort it will sort automatically by name, which is not helpful.) Change the sort by to the column you want and then choose largest to smallest. It will automatically put all the high scores to the top and the low scores to the bottom:
Screenshot 2013-11-12 17.23.20

After sorting I give all the students with 12's their first pick and then move on to the 11's. As parts are given students may not get their first choice, but if they were open to any part they will get a part that is open. The trickiest part is when I get down to just one or two parts and I have 9 kids with that number of points. Then I choose based on grade level, classroom behavior, and/or random draw from a hat. Either way I try to stay as unbiased about my decisions as possible.

Next week I'll talk about how I inform parents about costuming, concert decorations, concert times, etc.

2) Frosty the Snowman

I love using books in my classroom as often as possible. That is why I was super excited to get Frosty the Snowman from the school book fair. Not only is it a cute book, but it is a great way to add visuals to the song Frosty the Snowman. My little ones are learning this song for the Holiday Concert and we have been talking about how Frosty the Snowman is actually a story. After listening to the song my students put together a 'story line' in the order it happened. Having the book today was a great way to reinforce this concept.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2/4 Tuesday - MSOTM, Rockin' Behavior Update, & More Concert Prep

Yay! Time for another 2/4 Tuesday!

1) Music Student of the Month
With October over it is time for me to update my Music Student of the Month bulletin board at Fairview Elementary.


As you can see from the picture, I have a poster for each month of the school year and two spaces. Since I teach at a small school (one of each class Kindergarten-5th Grade) I pick one Kindergarten-2nd grader to get featured and one 3rd Grade-5th Grade student. At the end of the month I post their name under the month and at the end of the year they get a special Music Student of the Month certificate for the month they were featured. It is a fun way to recognize individual students that are going above and beyond expectations on a regular basis.


If you do something similar and are looking for fun awards for each month of the year, I will be putting together a bundle of my Student of the Month decorations and awards later this month. You can watch for an update in my Teachers Pay Teachers store or back here on my blog.

2) Rockin' Behavior Update
As you can see in my prior post, here... I have been using a Rockin' Behavior clip chart to motivate my students to work hard in music class. It has been working really well so far and I have already had my reward 'parties' for about three classes. Now that it is getting farther into the year some of my classes have earned five stickers on their clips already! This means they have made 5 'tours' to the top of the behavior chart! For showing such excellent work in music I have created a bulletin board (it is actually the back of a door window) that displays these classes filled clips. After their clips get added to the board their class gets a new clip and they start the process all over again.

photo (8)

3) Concert Try-outs 'Rubrics'
I discussed in my last 2/4 Tuesday post that this week is try-outs for Holiday Concert speaking parts. This is always a difficult part of having Holiday plays (as I'm sure most of you know). Now that I'm doing try-outs for my fourth year now, I feel like I finally have a process and guidelines that work for me. This is how my try-outs are set up:
  1. About a week beforehand I prep students for the process and send home slips about the try-out process. (To read more about that go here)
  2. During music class I have students in small groups go up and perform the part they practiced on their own.
  3. I score students on the following three things: voice volume/tone quality - do they speak loud enough and clear enough, do they speak slow enough, etc, theatrical ability - do they show emphasis in the way they speak and are they willing or able to take cues from me, and reading fluency - this is also where I pay attention to if they practiced. Obviously you can't guarantee this but it is normally clear by the way the student reads and delivers their lines if they took time to look at them or not. This is NOT about how good of a reader the student is, just that they deliver the line as though they are good readers.
  4. I rate students by giving them a 1, 2, 3, or 4 in each category.
  5. If students have to sing a solo for the part they are auditioning for I have all students auditioning sing all at once. I can normally switch them around so I can hear each individual voice. They again get rated in two categories: tone - sing with a clear tone and good quality, notes - just meaning they follow the notes pretty well and are singing in tune.
  6. After all my students are 'rated' it is time to plug in the numbers and pick my parts.

I will discuss how I go about picking parts in my next 2/4 Tuesday post. However, to help you all out I am linking to the rubric I use for my try-outs HERE. Feel free to tweak it to your own delight! Please let me know how you audition for parts or choose parts. I am always looking for new ways to do things.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall/Thanksgiving Rhythm Activities (Flash Freebie!)

Wow! Was this week a long week for the rest of you? It seemed to drag on for all the teachers at my schools.

Now that Halloween is over, it is time to look forward to Thanksgiving. Are you looking for some fun rhythm activities to use with your students for Thanksgiving and fall? Well, I have a bundle of activities for ta, ti-ti, and ti-ri-ti-ri.

This bundle includes all the following:
  • Cute pictures of different fall and Thanksgiving items (from My Cute Graphics) with words typed underneath.
  • Directions for 3 different activities you can use these pictures for.
  • A composition worksheet for using ta and ti-ti
  • A composition worksheet for using ta, ti-ti, and ti-ri-ti-ri (this worksheet also comes with one that says ti-ka-ti-ka, one that says 4 sixteenth notes, and one that is blank)

These activities are great for working in small groups, station work, or even whole class work. It is a fun way for students to be creative and create their own patterns. My 3rd graders did the Halloween composition and they had a blast doing it.

All of this is FREE until Tuesday at 9:00 pm. Make sure you do not miss out on this! Also, please leave me feedback on what you think. Every comment really does make my day and helps me improve my products.

Get the bundle HERE!