Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday - December Edition

So I know many of you enjoy my What's Happening Wednesday posts and I haven't done one in a while. I thought I'd explain why. For the past month my brain has been on over drive. This is the time of year that every day I think to myself "Why did I sign up for this?" Being split between districts means that concert season is a really crazy time of year. I mean concert season is ALWAYS crazy, you all know that, but it is extra crazy when you have two districts that do things two very different ways. Most of the time by this week I'm not if I'm going forward or backwards.

So, here is just a brief overview of what is happening all December (and what kind of started last month already):

School #1
Kindergarteners have been tested on all their voices and have started working on opposites of music. Recently my Kindergarteners were tested on the difference between fast and slow. We will continue working on opposites the next couple weeks and continue into January.

This week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

1st Grade
1st graders worked hard on quarter notes and eighth notes using multiple different song files. We just started preparation for the quarter rest, but will not have time to introduce this concept until January.

This week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

2nd Grade
2nd graders just finished working really hard on learning about half notes, half rests, whole notes, and whole rests. In fact we just finished a test on this today. To practice all of this we used a lot of these fun files:
Fun on the Farm
Bake Me a Cake
Au Claire de la Lune
Phoebe in her Petticoat
All Through the Night
The Water is Wide
Who's That
Here Comes a Bluebird
Frere Jacques

Next week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

3rd Grade-5th Grade
A couple weeks ago we were introduced to our concert material for January!

Next week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

School #2
Kindergarten-5th Grade
All grades are practicing for their big Christmas concerts on December 15.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by two fellow music teacher bloggers. First, I was nominated by the amazing Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road Blog. She is always blogging about some pretty neat stuff. I've gotten to know her pretty well the last few months through our interactions on Facebook. We have a lot in common and I can tell we are kindred spirits.

I was also nominated by Emily at Emily's Kodaly Music Blog. I wasn't as familiar with Emily's blog, but was really excited to find another music education blog. Thanks for the shout out!

At the end of this post, you'll find the bloggers that I've chosen to nominate. The following rules have been set for me, as well as for the bloggers I nominate.

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 use the set questions I've answered).
3. Nominate eleven 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 you may send them a thank you.

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
My very first blog post was written in August of 2008. This was written when I was first in college and I wrote mostly about all my crafting projects. I had just started taking up the art of crocheting for the second time. I loved making cute little animals and then the blog morphed into blog posts about all my crafting experiences. I still have that sad little blog with only 10 subscribers, but I don't really write anything on it any more. I tend to just post pics of my latest creations on my personal facebook page, since it was mostly my friends reading the blog anyways. If you love crafting like I do you can take a look at this sad neglected blog and read one of my favorite posts about one of the hats I knit my niece: Taylor's Strawberry Hat

After that blog, I did work on a partner blog with a good friend of mine. We actually attempted to knit all 60 Quick Knits! That was a very popular blog that got hundreds of views from around the world and still gets lots of views now. Even Cascade Yarn (the creators of the book) were following us and talking us up. That was honestly my inspiration to start blogging more.

So, that led me to creating this blog. I wrote my first blog post in July of 2012. (The summer before my second year of teaching.) It was then I finally felt I had enough time to start writing about my experiences as a teacher and start sharing my work with all of you. You can read my very first blog post on this blog HERE.

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Passion. I would say this word sums up my entire career as a music teacher. The whole reason I named my blog what I did is because that is the heart of what I really do. Sure, I teach rhythm, melody, improvisation, composition, instruments, singing, and dancing, but even more importantly I help kids make music memories. I would like to think I'm the music teacher that makes learning music fun. I hope that most of my students can actually remember their elementary music careers. So many of my friends don't even remember having music in elementary school. I would like to change that. I hope that 20 years from now my students can think of at least one fun or interesting thing they did in music. Even if they never play an instrument after elementary school, they'll remember the songs we sang, or the dance we learned, or the feeling they had when they first learned how to play Hot Cross Buns on their recorder.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
Try to consistently blog. This is something I'm still struggling with. It is so much easier to keep readers when you blog at least once a week or at least twice a month. If people know that you will consistently write in your blog they are more likely to check back and keep up with it.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
My current favorite past time is making resources for Teachers Pay Teachers and my classroom. Again, this isn't always something I have time for in my hectic schedule, but it is my favorite stress reliever and creative outlet.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
It honestly depends on the week. In order to get in a blog post a week it would end up being about 1-2 hours a week because of uploading pictures and re-reading my posts a couple times. So, ultimately about 1-2 hours a blog post.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy blog posts specifically about songs or activities I can use in my classroom. I especially like activities that are Kodaly or Orff based as that is how I tend to teach.

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
Normally I'm inspired by my students and how activities work in class. I'll be working on something in class and think, "this would be a great blog post"

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I think one of my favorite blog posts was when I talked about my Outdoor Music Class ideas. I like this because I think it is a rather unique subject and one of my favorite lessons. I've only really gotten to do this once, but it is definitely something I would love to repeat in the future. You can read the blog post HERE.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?
As explained earlier, I am often inspired by my classes to blog, but I will admit there are MANY MANY times I think about blogging about something but run out of time or don't have any pictures. I hate blogging without pictures. I find it so boring. Then I start a blog post intending to add pictures, but never get around to taking pictures and can't recreate the moment so I end up deleting the post. It's rather sad actually.

10. What's your favorite aspect of blogging?
I like having the record to go back to and see what I was doing and when I was doing it. I also enjoy seeing how I have grown and changed my teaching since I started this blog two years ago. I know I've improved my teaching skills and I enjoy being able to read my reflections on lessons I have done in the past.

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
From The Yellow Brick Road - I actually used her tutorial to help me make an even better header for this blog. Her tutorial was really thorough and she even helped me with a technical problem I was having. She is awesome! You can check out the first tutorial HERE.

From Emily's Kodaly Blog - I was really excited to find her Tuesday linky parties about books she uses in her classroom. I absolutely love using books in my classrooms and would have linked up if I knew about this linky party before. I especially liked this post about a cute book called Marsupial Sue. Read it HERE.

Here are the Blogs I have nominated- Check them out- they are all great!
Pursuit of Joyfulness
Music With Mrs. Dennis
Music A La Abbott
Stay Tuned!
Cara at MiscellaneousMe
Teaching Music: Tanya's Kodaly Aspiring Blog
The Totally "Tuned-In" Teacher
Sew Much Music
The Music-Go-Round
Sweet Sounds
My Musical Menagerie

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rockin' Resources Linky Party

I have been wanting to blog for quite a while. I actually was nominated for a blogging award that I'm still trying to get around to blogging about. This time of year is just crazy. I spent the last five days off traveling around and visiting family, family, and more family. I promise that once my life settles down I will get back to blogging more often.

Anyways, by now you know all about the Teachers Pay Teachers big Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale. This is my favorite day of the year! This was the first sale I was a part of last year and it is so exciting to be around again this year. My wishlist is already chalk full of fun stuff! I'm going to share three products with you that I think you should add to your wishlist: one is from my store, one is from a fellow music teachers store, and one is from an awesome clip artists store. I'm doing this as part of Music a la Abbott's Linky Part

First, from my store I would suggest adding my MEGA-Bundle Half Notes/Rests and Whole Notes/Rests Songs and Activities:

This bundle is full of all sorts of fun resources for preparing, presenting, and practicing half notes, half rests, whole notes, and whole rests. There are 10 song files with games and activities:
WaterisWide AuClairedelaLune AuClairedelaLune2 AllThrutheNight AllThrutheNight2 ShoheenSho ShoheenSho-song1 ShoheenSho-preview ShoheenSho-game FrereJacques-french FrereJacques-preview FrereJacques-preview2 FrereJacques-preview3

There are interactive and printed games:
FunontheFarm FunontheFarm-preview BakeCake-preview BakeCake-preview2

And soon there will be worksheets!

You can get all of this for an amazing price during the big site wide sale!

Second, I'm really excited to buy this product from Jena Hudson's shop:

I loved all her other glyphs and since Carnival of the Animals is a set of songs I have to teach I thought this would be a great piece to add. If you haven't used any of Jena's Listening glyphs in the past make sure you check them out.

Finally, I'm always excited to grab some fun clip art during a sale. I'm planning on buying this clip art from Whimsy Clips:

That's all for now! Have fun shopping!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 6 - How I Manage a Hectic Holiday Schedule

As I was sitting in church Sunday morning listening to the Psalm, I took a good look at the date. "October 5? That can't be right!" I thought... but it was and that means I have to introduce the Christmas concert audition process this week to the students at one of my schools. The other school is not having a Christmas concert. Instead they will have a 3-5 Winter Concert in January and a K-2 Spring Concert in April. They will then have a Christmas Sing-a-long towards the end of December, but that does not take NEARLY the amount of prep that a concert does. (As you all know)

Now after reading this you probably are wondering how I can keep everything straight. Sometimes I wonder the same exact thing, but here is kind of a glimpse into 'my world'.

My students at Bonduel Elementary always have two separate Christmas concerts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon each year. This year I decided that I am going to do a multi-cultural themed Christmas concert. I'm teaching some new songs, but also throwing in some common songs like Feliz Navidad and We Three Kings. I'm hoping this will appease my audience while still allowing me the opportunity to explore some newfound treasures. (I can tell you more about the songs we're singing and the programs I created in a couple weeks)

I have a very efficient audition process, which takes place during my music time. It includes instrument, speaking, and singing parts all in one day! I have 45 minute classes so I can fit it all in, but at the school with 30 minutes (more like 25 minutes) it normally takes two class periods. If you want to learn more about my audition process check out these two blog posts from last year:
Preparing Students for the Audition
What I Grade on for Try-outs

My students at Fairview Elementary will be continuing on with their lessons on beat, rhythm, solfege, etc. This can be ultra confusing! However, how I work it out I mostly focus on lesson planning for Fairview. Then everything I do with my students at Fairview during the concert prep months becomes my plans for Bonduel after concert season.

Week 6
The next few weeks I will be assessing students five voices. I do this with a sort of a game. I take a familiar song we know like Chop, Chop or Frog in the Meadow and I call students up to the front of the room (or the back for those shier students). I whisper in their ear the voice I want them to use for the song and they demonstrate it for the class. This helps me figure out if they understand the correct vocabulary and also that they are able to use the correct voice. It is even better because students have to then determine what voice the student used.

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:

1st Grade
After being introduced to beat and rhythm last week, students are continuing to practice seeing the difference between the two. I show students slides of songs they know with the beat and then show them with the rhythm. Students have to determine, which is which. Students this week are also starting to identify one sound beats and two sound beats (ta & ti-ti). We are focusing on the songs Bobby Shaftoe and Engine, Engine for this analysis.

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
Students are working on composing short patterns using the notes we know: ta, ti-ti, rest, and ta-a. We are practicing how to draw these rhythms with the beat. We practiced yesterday by drawing patterns up on the SMARTboard. I also drew some rhythms incorrectly and students had to find the mistakes in the rhythms. They had a lot of fun with that. Especially because I really ham it up and make it seem like I'm just 'positive' I'm right. This practice will be very handy when it comes time to do their final composition project where they use half notes, half rests, whole notes, and whole rests. From past classes I know this is something I need to take more time on. Students get that certain notes are more than one beat, but they don't always show it the correct way in their compositions.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:

3rd Grade
3rd Grade is now reviewing the whole note and will be doing a very similar practice to what the 2nd graders are doing this week. The only difference is we will add in the whole note. When students seem comfortable with composing with these notes I'll throw in the half rest and whole rest. We'll practice changing half notes into half rests and whole notes into whole rests. Then students will be ready to work on the composition they were supposed to complete in 2nd grade. I want to make sure they really understand this concept, since in 3rd grade their composition not only focuses on beats, but also throws in half beats! (Yikes!)

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:

4th Grade & 5th Grade
Students in 4th and 5th grade are learning about low so this week. They first learned about it using Scotland's Burning, but now are also practicing throwing it in to some other familiar songs. I'm surprised how much fun they are all having with the Chicken on the Fencepost game and the dance for Tideo. One of my 4th graders told their teacher "I don't know what activity I liked more!" How can that not bring a smile to your face?

Here are the activities for you to try:
Chicken on the Fencepost Game
  1. Make two circles - all students should be holding hands in their circles. They may complain about it at first, but when they see how the game works they get over it. (One inside circle and one outer circle)
  2. Pick two students to be the racers (They should close their eyes while you choose 'openings')
  3. Pick a set of hands on the outside circle and on the inside circle. These students will create an archway when the song ends, so the racers can get through to the middle (creating a kind of maze)
  4. Racers can open their eyes as the song starts and both circles walk to the beat of the song. When the song ends the students that are suppose to create arches do and the racers try to get to the middle as fast as possible.
  5. Repeat!
*Note: You can make it even harder by choosing some fake entrances. These students lift their arms creating an entry, but when someone gets close they quickly drop so no one can enter. Really fun and the kids think it is hilarious.

Here is a video of what this game looks like:

Tideo Dance
  1. Students partner up
  2. One partner creates an inside circle with their backs towards the middle of the circle
  3. Their partner lines up with them creating an outer circle with their faces towards the middle
  4. Pass one window - students on the outside move one person to their right
  5. Pass two windows - students on the outside move one person to their right
  6. Pass one window - Students on the outside move on person to their right
  7. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  8. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  9. Tideo, tideo - Students slowly swing their partner
  10. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  11. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  12. Tideo, tideo - Students slowly swing their partner
  13. Jingle at the window - All students pat their legs quickly
  14. Tideo - All students clap, clap, pat with the partner they are with
  15. Then repeat until you are lined up with the partner you started with (or whenever you want to stop)
*Note: I normally have my students repeat the dance by switching places with their partner. That way everyone gets a chance to try both parts.

Here is a video of this dance:

*Note: The version I learned of this song does the swinging partner two times, but you could do it just once like in the video

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:
  • Scotland's Burning
  • Canoe Song
  • Chicken on the Fencepost
  • Lil' Liza Jane
  • Tideo

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

13 Nights of Treats and Frights

This is just a short post letting you all know about the fun event going on, on Teachers Pay Teachers the next 13 days. 29 music teachers on TpT have decided to give away ONE freebie and mark down ONE item to 50% for a day. Because there were so many of us we decided to split it between the first 13 days of October. So, for the next 13 days (STARTING TODAY), you can grab at least 2 freebies and at least 2 items at 50% off. Below is the promo so you can see who is hosting this event each day, but to make it even easier you can just search '13Nights' on Teachers Pay Teachers, so you don't miss any days!

We all hope you are as excited as we are about this event. Click on the picture above to be immediately brought to Teachers Pay Teachers '13Nights' search.

Happy October!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday - Week 5

Here is a glimpse into my week:
This week we will continue to work on our five voices. However, this week will be more about students demonstrating and naming voices. We will do a couple examples by singing songs like we did last week, but I'll also pick students to demonstrate the voice and students will have to guess the voice used. This helps me assess how well students are actually getting this concept and how much more time needs to be spent on this. Some classes pick up on the five voices in a matter of just 3 or 4 lessons, others could take several months.

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:

1st Grade
We have kept the beat to several songs the last few weeks and now we are finally going to be introduced to following the way the words go. We are going to take a look at Cobbler, Cobbler and look at how when we follow the words we end up with long and short sounds. Not only will I be using the song files linked below, but I will also be using my Beat vs. Rhythm Presentation, which you can find a link for below as well.

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
This week students will be learning about our new note: ta-a. We will start by looking at Frere Jacques and finding all the long notes, but will then practice finding the rhythm in the other songs we know. If we have time, we'll play the half note game that is included in my Frere Jacques file.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:

3rd Grade
Will continue to review half notes. We will not only take a look at the songs they know and put the half notes where they belong, but we will also practice clapping these patterns.

I'm also doing an activity with chair beats. I got this idea from a colleague and I'm going to give it a try. I put four chairs in the front of the room and explain that each chair represents a beat. Then I arrange students in the chair to represent different rhythms. One child in a chair is a ta. Two children sharing a chair is a ti-ti. One child stretched over two chairs is a ta-a. Empty chairs are rests. I'm having students create the rhythm patterns I write on the board to fit the chairs, I'm also putting kids in chairs and having them figure out the rhythm. Hopefully this will help with some of the beats of different notes.

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:

4th Grade & 5th Grade
I'm finally past reviewing ti ta ti and we are now working on introducing low so and low la. Scotland's Burning is a great song for introducing low so and we will take a look at that this week. We are going to sing the song and start to recognize where the notes are going up and down. We will then do the same thing with the other songs that we are learning.

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:
  • Scotland's Burning
  • Canoe Song
  • Chicken on the Fencepost
  • Lil' Liza Jane
  • Tideo

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday - Week 4

Here is a glimpse into my week:
This week Kindergarten is focusing on their five different voices. (Of course we still keep the beat so we have something else to DO) The voices we focus on in music are singing, humming, whispering, calling, and speaking voice. I start out the lessons by using my different voices and having students echo. This helps them hear the voices and also gives them a chance to practice each voice.

All the songs we sing this week I'll be using the different voices for. For example we will start with just chanting Chop, Chop, Chippity Chop. Then I'll have a student pick a different voice and we will use that voice for the same song. For example if they say calling voice we will then call the whole chant. They have a lot of fun wtih this.

For She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain they will change the way the say the different sound effects. For example instead of just saying "Yum Yum!" After "We'll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes" they may choose to whisper "yum! yum!"

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:
  • The More We Get Together
  • Echoing (This is my speaking, calling, whispering, humming, or singing voice)
  • Chop, Chop Chippity Chop
  • She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
  • Frog in the Meadow
  • Engine, Engine Number Nine

1st Grade
First grade is still doing a lot of review of beat in preparation for rhythm. I'm choosing different students to come up to the board and keep the beat to several different 1st grade songs. Along with this we have several games we are playing to keep the beat.

-- Games --
Lucy Locket - Students form a circle on the floor with room around the entire circle. One student who is 'it' walks around the circle to the beat while the rest of the students pat the beat on their laps. When the song is over the 'it' drops the pocket (or object representing the pocket) in the lap of a student nearby. That student picks up the pocket and chases the student around the circle. (I'm not allowed to let them run, so they walk very quickly) If the student with the pocket catches the 'it' person they get to go back to their original place. If not, they become 'it' and the student who was 'it' takes a place in the circle. Then continue on.

Bee, Bee Bumblebee - Students sit in a circle and pass the bee (or object representing a bee) to their right on the beat. Whoever ends up with the bee on out has to leave the circle and grab a rhythm instrument. They become the beat keepers and keep a steady beat while the game continues.
(I have to give Lindsay Jervis credit for the rhythm instrument idea. I had played this game before, but didn't have anything for the kids to do when they got out so this game became a nightmare and I gave up on it. I tried it with students playing the instruments and not only did it give them something to do, but students weren't passing the bee so fast because they didn't mind if they were in the circle or not.)

Apple Tree - Students stand in a circle. One student (or you as the teacher) stands with their arms extended (almost like you are forming a bridge with an imaginary student) over the circle. Students start singing and walking to the beat. At the end of the song the 'tree arms' fall down taking one student 'out'. That student helps form a bridge with the original tree. As students get out start to form more 'trees' around the circle until all students are trees or you run out of time.
(Note: I like this game and my students request it ALL the time. The only problem is I do have a lot of students that don't follow the rules. Some want to become a tree so they purposely walk really slowly or take small steps and some don't want to be so they speed through the trees.)

William He Had Seven Sons - One student is the leader. They sit in a chair in the front of the room and keep a steady beat however they choose to. Students in their chairs follow the leader keeping the beat the same way. Student who is leading can choose one way to keep the beat or mix it up, just as long as they stay on the beat.
(The first time I play this I normally encourage them to have only one way, but once we get good at it they can pick more)

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
2nd grade is almost ready to learn about the half note. They are singing several songs with both half notes and whole notes. Next week we will actually learn about the half note and put it into some of these songs we have been singing. To prepare, this week students are coming up to the smartboard and keeping the beat to all of the songs they know. Classes also got a chance to look at the rhythm of the song, but only with pictures. They noticed how certain notes are longer than one beat. I picked a few students to play the rhythm with a rhythm instrument to help reinforce it.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:

3rd Grade
3rd grade is continuing to review whole and half notes this week. We are singing these songs (some new and some old) and then practicing keeping the beat and clapping the rhythms.

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:

4th Grade & 5th Grade
Have finished reviewing ti ta ti and have begun to work on songs that use low la and low so, since this is where we left off last year. More than likely we will not have much time after introducing low la and low so because we will have to start with concert prep in just 2 weeks! Ugh...

4th and 5th graders also learned the dance for Alabama Gal. They really like it and ask to dance it on a regular basis. :-) Here are some picks of my classes dancing:

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday - Week 3

Here is a glimpse into my third week of school:
Students are continuing to sing through the rules songs that I talked about in my post last week. We are also continuing to have experiences keeping the beat. This week I start allowing students to choose different beat motions. I always crack up at some of the choices students make for keeping the beat. We have the typical ones like clapping our hands, walking to the beat, or patting our head. But we also have some not so typical ones: shrugging our shoulders, blinking our eyes, or (a new favorite) swaying our hips back and forth.

Students this week will also continue to work on echoing short phrases. I use a lot of echo songs in the first couple months so that I can assess students ability to match pitch and echo short phrases. (One of our Kindergarten learning targets)

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:
  • No More Pie
  • Chop, Chop, Chippity Chop
  • She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
  • My Aunt Came Back
  • Engine, Engine Number Nine
  • William He Had Seven Sons
  • Frog in the Meadow

1st Grade
The goals for 1st grade are being able to keep the beat to various different songs. Thsi will prepare them for recognizing notes that are longer and shorter, which then leads into ta and ti-ti. Normally by Halloween time students are able to recognize the difference between two sound and one sound words and clap rhythm patterns for ta and ti-ti.

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
2nd graders are singing many songs with half notes and whole notes in them. In a few weeks we will learn about the half note and start working on creating patterns using quarter, eighth, and half notes. However, I'm introducing a lot of these whole note songs because we do learn about whole notes in 2nd grade, as well, and all of them use half notes, so we'll be able to practice our half notes even without learning about the whole note.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:
  • Au Claire de la Lune
  • Frere Jacques
  • Here Comes a Bluebird
  • My Father's House
  • Who's That Tapping at my Window

3rd Grade
In 3rd grade we are reviewing all the notes we already know. We are singing various songs that use half notes and whole notes since we just learned about these at the end of the year. I also love that some of these songs the 3rd graders already knew because they sing them so beautifully!

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:
  • Au Claire de la Lune
  • All Through the Night
  • Frere Jacques
  • Here Comes a Bluebird
  • The Water is Wide
  • My Father's House
  • Who's that Tapping at my Window

4th Grade & 5th Grade
4th & 5th graders just learned the Alabama Gal dance last week. It was a LOT of fun and students are hoping to be able to get to it this week, too. Because of that this will be the reward students earn if they are following directions and working hard in music class.

My 4th and 5th graders are at two different places. I have some classes that have already learned all about ti ta ti and other classes that have not. This is definitely a challenge, so the goal is to get all the classes on the same page and really understanding how to clap rhythms using ti ta ti.

To work on practicing ti ta ti rhythms I have been working on using the rhythm games provided at the end of my Alabama Gal and Shake the Papaya Down rhythm files:

Yesterday, I picked one student to come up and play the rhythm on rhythm sticks. The goal for all the other students was to decide if they did it correctly or incorrectly. Students did a pretty good job of this and even picked up on minor incorrect patterns. (For example: adding a slight rest in between patterns, giving one note not enough time or too much time) I was really proud of how respectful they all were and how no one had to feel bad if they clapped a rhythm incorrectly.

Once all my classes are ready to move on from working on ti ta ti we will begin to take a look at low so and low la patterns. (We started to work on this last year)

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday

I've decided to make a pact with myself and all of you that I will blog AT LEAST once a week. To make that happen, I'm devoting part of my Wednesday routine to writing a blog post.

This week is week 2 for me. (We normally start a little later here in Wisconsin.)

Here is a quick glimpse into my week:
I'm still going through the music rules step by step in my classroom. I only see Kindergarten once a week at one of my schools and since I'm introducing one Rule Song a week, they won't be done with all the rules until October. It is a little sad to me that I don't get to see them all more often, but it is what it is! At my other school we are on to rule #3 and will be finishing rule #4 at the end of this week. (That is one stress of working in two different districts, it is sometimes very difficult to keep everyone on track or to remember where I am with different classes)

For my rules this year I'm using Lindsay Jervis's Rule Songs, as they came with her Owl Themed Rules. You can find them by clicking on the picture below:

Kindergarten is also beginning to work on keeping a steady beat and using their singing, whispering, and talking voices. I have not labeled any of these things yet, since it is only the second week of school, but we are starting to explore these concepts. For each song we sing students keep a beat in various ways and I often let students pick different ways of keeping the beat. We keep the beat slowly and quickly.

Songs we are singing in Kindergarten this week:

1st Grade
Now that we are in the second week of school we are reviewing some of the concepts we learned in Kindergarten to prepare for learning ta & ti-ti. I'm not yet labeling ta & ti-ti, but we are singing various songs that we will eventually learn ta & ti-ti with.

Songs we are singing in 1st Grade this week:

2nd Grade
In 2nd grade we are going to be reviewing ta & ti-ti and are currently preparing for ta-a. In order to do this I have picked out some songs that use ta, ti-ti, and ta-a. We will learn these songs and become comfortable singing them through a couple days of practice. When students are able to sing the songs on their own we will then begin to look at finding ta & ti-ti in the songs. Then later, we will work on figuring out our new note. My goal is to have introduced ta-a (and possibly ta-a-a-a) by November when we start working on our Christmas concert.

Since we are singing 2 French songs, I created a story to go along with introducing these songs by saying we were all going on a trip to France. Students had to find where France is on a map and we discussed how we would get there (plane, car, boat, etc.) This was a lot of fun. It is always great to incorporate a little bit of Social Studies into music class, as well as some global awareness.

Songs we are singing in 2nd Grade this week:

3rd Grade

As you can see my 3rd graders are doing similar things in music as my 2nd graders. We also looked at the map and found France. However, the reason I'm doing these songs in 3rd grade is to reinforce ta-a and ta-a-a-a. Some of my 3rd graders got to the assessment portion of half note, whole note, half rest, and whole rest, but another section didn't get to it. This will help review this concept for the classes that did assess it and prepare my other 3rd graders for assessing it.

Songs we are singing in 3rd Grade this week:

4th Grade & 5th Grade
My 4th & 5th graders ended the year after learning about ti ta ti and just beginning to look for low so and low la. I decided we would start with a couple ti ta ti songs that actually use low so and low la for added practice, since we weren't quite ready for the assessment at the end of 3rd grade. Shake the Papaya Down and Alabama Gal were two songs they learned last year that we are now reviewing ti ta ti with. When we seem comfortable with singing these songs and with the rhythm I'll start to work on the solfege for these concepts.

Along with singing my students began to learn the dance for Alabama Gal as a fun incentive for good behavior in music class. Both my 4th and 5th graders absolutely loved doing the dance yesterday, so it will be a great way to make sure we stay on task.

*NOTE: My 4th and 5th graders are around the same level because of when I started at these two schools. These classes aren't quite at the level where I would like them to be, but we are definitely getting closer every year.

Songs we are singing in 4th Grade & 5th Grade this week:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Products for Prep - TpT Sale

For those of you that haven't heard, the big Teachers Pay Teachers sale starts on Monday and ends on Tuesday this week. That means everything in my store is 20% off and you can get an additional 10% off at check out using the promo code 'BTS14'. That means 28% saving on my entire store!

Today I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to talk about a few items from my shop that I think will help you prepare for the upcoming school year, as well as, some items I'm excited to purchase and/or use in my classroom this coming school year.

The first item I would recommend for starting out your school year is my Music Street file. This file not only includes the items necessary for a Music Street bulletin board, but it also comes with student manipulatives and the story I use for introducing these houses. I have heard many great comments from teachers that have already purchased this file, saying that it has inspired them to use kodaly in their classroom.
(Click any of the pictures to find the file on Teachers Pay Teachers)

Here is a look inside the product:

These are the manipulatives that can be used on the staff paper I added in the file. Each student can have their own staff to place the notes where they belong.
  This is a black and white version of the large house cut-outs that come with the file.

Another item I would recommend for the beginning of the school year is a new file I just added! My Rhythmic Detective game is a great game for all ages and will definitely help when reviewing rhythms at the beginning of the school year! Even though the original game only uses ta & ti-ti the games I have included will be sure to please any elementary grade level. These cards come with standard and stick notation and color or black/white versions.

I will also be adding the other rhythm concepts throughout the next couple days and I'm hoping to get them all done before the sale ends, so stay tuned for updates.

Finally, I would recommend my newest posters that I've been adding to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. These are a great alternative to a word wall or another addition. They are posters that have music vocabulary words sorted by groupings. Here are the four I have in my shop so far:
(click on any picture to see the product)

As well as items from my own store, I am very excited about the following items in other teachers' shops.

1) I would love to grab some of Amy Abbott's music inspired games. I think these would be great for use with a substitute. I especially have my eyes on the following:

(click on the pictures to view the files)
  • Music - An UNO-Inspired Treble Clef Game

  • Old Maid - A Music Version of the Classic Game

  • Go Fish! A traditional card game with General Music Classroom Instruments

2) I have my eyes on the Music Center Sets from Aileen Miracle:
  • Music Centers Set (3rd Grade)

Don't forget to use the promo code 'BTS14' when you check out or you won't get the addition 10% of savings!