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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Music Freebies I Love!

Everyone loves getting something for free!  Me too.  Now, I must admit that I spend a hefty amount of pocket change on Teachers Pay Teachers buying resources that other music educators have created so I am delighted with the occasional freebie that I find too.  Here's a list of some of my favorites.


Rap It, Clap It, Music Match It - by The Bulletin Board Lady
This is one of my favorite freebies!  I've used this with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders.  My 3rd graders did it as part of a workstation rotation as it didn't take them as long to complete the activity.  This freebie has students match the syllables of themed words with simple rhythms.  This is a jungle themed one, but there are many more to choose from.

Engine, Engine Number 9 - by Lindsay Jervis
So, I teach this song most years to my 1st graders, but this year it was even better with this freebie!  Lindsay has done the work that I was too lazy to do myself.  A cute and clever freebie for learning this song.

Where's Freddy's Pad?  (8th notes)  by Linda McPherson
This is so stinking cute!  I've used this with 1st and 2nd grades with great success.  In this interactive PowerPoint, students listen to a rhythm played by Freddy the Frog.  Then, they click on the lily pad that has the rhythm they heard.  The sound effects are so fun!  Check this one out for sure.

Rhythm Wristbands by Amy Abbott
Amy is SO clever.  Not too long ago she released several wristband products that are fun, practical and just plain genius!  Try these Wristbands for Rhythm Practice for free and then check out her other sets.

Imperial March Listening Lesson by Aileen Miracle
Aileen has many amazing freebies, but this little sample has been really useful to me for the last couple of weeks.  I've been teaching my kiddos about the music of John Williams.  The older groups enjoyed seeing the rhythmic notation for the theme and wanted to go and pluck it out on the xylophones.  Fun!

Note Duration Chart by Sara Bibee
I love everything that Sara makes!  I've found that I use this little chart for many activities in my classroom.  For struggling students this gives them the help that they need. For me it saves LOTS of kids at my desk asking questions. :-)

Zoom to the Moon (sol mi) Melody Game by Totally Tuned in Teacher
Tina has done a great job putting together a singing game that is perfect for assessment.  I love the graphics in this because it seems that it would be something that appeals to boys and girls equally.
The Adventures of Sophie Solfege -Lines and Spaces by i heart teaching music
I haven't used this yet, but only because this is something I focus on at the beginning of the year.  I am planning to add it for next year.  Angie suggests that you use bingo chips to follow along, but I think I might use the big stash of bottle caps that I use for Bottle Cap Staff activities.

Student Tracking Sheets for Workstations by The Bulletin Board Lady
I have several different ways to track students when they are working in centers.  Here are a few of the sheets that I use.

Symbol Safari Worksheets by Melody Payne
I came across this fabulous little set of worksheets while looking for something else and knew immediately that they would make a perfect addition to my workstations for 6th grade.  They come in a full color version which would be perfect for using in a private studio.
Beginning Ukulele Songs (1 and 2 Chords) by Malinda Phillips
Okay...I must admit.  I'm a string instrument impaired.  I dropped out of Class Guitar.  Twice.  I bought a ukulele one year during a snow apocalypse and gave up again.  BUT...this freebie is fabulous for people like me.  Why?  Well...if a song has 1 or 2 chords you can play it with Boomwhakers or xylophones or Autoharps!  HURRAY!  Adding these to a workstation with Boomwhackers, xylophones or autoharps is instant magic.
Tiptoe, Walk and Jump-Mini Composition by Brittany DeLaruelle
I used this little gem in a workstation with third graders.  Brittany suggests that this is useful for younger grades, by it worked well in a workstation.  I also instructed students to turn the page over and write out the notation.  Tiptoe=barred eighths and so on.
American Composers Coloring Sheets by Cori Bloom
I just love Cori's style.  So cute!  These worksheets are wonderful additions to workstation rotations for practically any elementary grade.

Favorite Folk Songs  Alabama Gal by David Row
I love these SO much!  I have a couple of sets of these and my 4th graders really like them too.  They like learning about the piece and seeing the notation and I love that when I introduce a non-David Row song that they ask if I have a PowerPoint with "all of that history stuff" on it.  *giggle*  David has many quality freebies in his store and you should check them out, but start with this gem.  He market them as bulletin boards (which I am sure are lovely) but I use them as instructional tool.  You might like Looby Loo.  (A freebie as well!)

My Musical Summer Foldable Booklet by Sara Bibee
This is a great whole group activity, but it also works a part of a workstation rotation. It asks students to reflect on their musical summer.  Great for back to school time!

Peter and the Wolf Vocal Explorations by The Bulletin Board Lady
My K-4 kids love these vocal exploration sets during workstation rotations.  I usually set them on a music stand and leave 4 or 5 different pointers for them to choose from.  I have toys, pointers from the teacher store, flyswatters, magic wands, light sabers and more that we can use as pointers.

Want to check out even more freebies?  Check out this blog linky party.  Music bloggers are listing their favorites.  Thank you to Jen from Noteworthy by Jen for hosting!


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Making May Musical Linky Party

Today I am linking up with the Totally Tuned In Teacher for a linky party.  Thanks Tina for hosting this great link-up before the next Teachers Pay Teachers sale!  Check out her blog for more blog posts featuring great products.
1.  A Resource from My Store I am Excited to Sell:  Peter and the Wolf Workstations
I love teaching Peter and the Wolf and have been combining some resources in my classroom to put together as a set of workstations.  Here it is!  In this set you get
Peter and the Wolf Color by Note  Kids love to do these and I love that they get a little extra practice identifying notes.  My older students rarely get a chance to color so they really seem to enjoy these activities. 
Peter and the Wolf Crowns  -I must admit that I love these so much that I use them more often for a small group activity or whole group dramatization than I do as workstations.  They work as a workstation though.  You may want to do some pre-cutting if your rotation time is limited. 
Peter and the Wolf Cut and Tell  -Perfect for rotating through workstations.  This worksheet asks students to read the story of Peter and the Wolf and then glue the matching pictures beside each sentence. 
Peter and the Wolf Dabber Activities  --Seriously may run my dabbers dry this year!  This dabber set ask students to match the characters with the instruments that play their theme. 
Peter and the Wolf Flap Book  -I had a parent tell me that her son loved this book SO much that has nearly worn it out!  *giggle*  I love when that happens!
Get the whole set separately at each of the links above or get the set here:  Peter and the Wolf Workstations
2.  A Resource that I am Excited to Buy:  Favorite Folk Songs Leading Ladies
It seems that I don't own EVERYTHING that David Row has in his store.  At least not yet!  LOL.  My kiddos love the songs in his Favorite Folk Song series and I love the format in which they are presented.  Although they were designed as a bulletin board, I use them as instructional tools.  Can't wait to try these.

3.  A Clipart Item on my Wishlist:  Music Kids by Dancing Crayon Designs
I don't even know what I am going to do with them yet!  :-)  Just gotta have them! 
The big TeachersPayTeachers sale is May 5-6.  Use the code THANKYOU to save 28% on most items in my store!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Make 300 Ribbon Streamers for $10

I'm cheap.  There.  I said it.  Well, maybe I should say that I'm "thrifty".  As a music teacher I am always looking for great deals on all sorts of odd things.  I've been on the hunt for rubber ducks, plastic axes, coon skins, plastic fruit, bottle caps, icing lids, cutting boards and more items that may seem a little unusual for the classroom.  When I can make one of these unique items I certainly do.

For my non-concert program this spring we are going to do an activity with ribbon streamers.  I need enough for all of my third and fourth graders and at least one of their parents.  I guesstimated about 300.  To purchase ribbon streamers, I would have to spend more than a thousand dollars!  YIKES!

Instead of that, I spent about ten bucks.  The kids love them and they are actually pretty sturdy.  I have a classroom set that I made about 7 years ago that are still in great shape.  The streamers are made from unsharpened pencils and plastic tablecloths.  Here's what to do:

1.  Call a local business and ask for a donation of unsharpened pencils.  It's advertising for them and a money saver for you.  If you can't find any you could substitute chopsticks or dowel rods.  My pencils look like money because a local bank donated them.  My older set is just a plain white pencil with no eraser. 

2.  Purchase several rectangle shaped plastic tablecloths.  I don't have an exact number for you, but I was able to make 28-35 streamers out of each one.  I wasn't very concerned that they were uniform in size, so it varied for me.  Choose several different colors for added interest and for more variety in the kinds of activities they can be used in.  These were $ .97 each at Walmart

3.  Cut the tablecloths into strips.  I folded the tablecloths so that I would be cutting the width of the tablecloth.  (This is the shorter side.)  Cutting it longways creates a ribbon that is too long for most of my kiddos.  Cut the strips about 2-3 inches wide.  It is not likely that the strips will be even and straight unless you cut very precisely.  I just called them whimsical, shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

4.  Unfold one of the strips and add a piece of tape about the same size as the ribbon on the end.

5.  Tape this to the end of the pencil with a little bit of tape hanging over.

6.  Roll the pencil toward the ribbon until it touches the other side of the tape.

7.  Roll the entire ribbon up and you have a streamer that is ready to use!

What kind of things do I do with these?  In my next blog post I'll share some ideas for creative movement with ribbon streamers.

Want some more great ideas that work for real teachers?  I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to share even more ideas with Worked for Me Wednesday.  Follow the link to see more great ideas!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Expanding Your Child's Listening Repertoire

I’m often asked if I listen to a variety of music when I’m not teaching.  I'm pretty sure some people think I only listen to children's music 24 hours a day.  *giggle*  Not so much.  The answer?  Absolutely!  I can honestly say that I like a little bit of everything.  I try to reflect this in my teaching and choose songs from a variety of genres.  Some kids aren’t sure what they like or don’t like so I want to give them a smorgasbord of choices.

My daughter is three and loves to sing and dance and listen to music.  Unfortunately for me, she wants to hear the same song over and over.  It’s not her fault.  It’s how her brain works and helps her learn.  My son did the same thing when he was younger.  If you are trying to teach your child to enjoy more than one style of music or maybe even just more than one song, make it a game!

Freeze Dance
To play Freeze Dance choose a few songs of different genres and tempos.  Play the song and dance, dance, dance with your child.  Occasionally press pause and freeze just like you were.  The poses are so silly and fun that your child will want to play all the time!  Here are some suggestions for songs to use in different genres.

“Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik” by Mozart
“Rodeo” by Aaron Copland
“Finale to William Tell’s Overture” by Rossini
“Syncopated Clock” by Leroy Anderson

“Grandma’s Feather Bed” by John Denver
“Rocky Top” by the Osbourne Brothers
“Don’t Rock the Jukebox” by Alan Jackson
“BINGO” by Merle Haggard (found on Country for Kids by Disney)

“Salt Peanuts” by Dizzy Gillespie
“Old MacDonald” by Ella Fitzgerald
“Potato Chips” Slim Gaillard
”What a Wonderful World” Louis Armstrong

“Walking on Sunshine”  by Katrina and the Wave
“Best Years of Our Lives” by Baha Men
“Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas
“Boom! Shake the Room” DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Do you have other favorites that you use with your students or children?  Let me know in the comments.  I'm always looking for new additions to my collection.
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Friday, March 6, 2015

Music Crafts Your Mind -Celebrating MIOSM

March is Music in Our Schools Month!  Hurray!  It is my favorite teaching month of the year!  Each year I plan a bulletin board that students can contribute to.  One year it was a singing paper place person.  Hundreds of them filled the hallways.  Another year we created paper t-shirts and "hung out" in the hall.  This year, I've posted a Minecraft inspired bulletin board called "Music Crafts Your Mind".


My favorite part of this bulletin board is the student portion.  I used blank templates for little blockhead avatars.  They customized them and then added speech bubbles with music positive messages.  Take a look at some from the first batch I posted.


The kids loved contributing in this fun way and it has already stopped traffic in the hallways as students and teachers pause to take a look at the Music In Our Schools Month messages.
You can get this bulletin board HERE.
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Music in Our Schools Month Staff Surveys

Hurray!  It is Music in Our Schools Month!  My favorite teaching month of the year!  One of my favorite things to do to celebrate MIOSM is to connect students with the musicality of people around them.  I've sent home music interest surveys to parents, played "find a friend who..." games where students find others that like the same kind of music that they do and I've created bulletin boards that showcase the musical backgrounds of teachers and staff members.

These bulletin boards are such a popular display that I find students and staff out staring at it all day.  Here's what I do:

1.  Send out a survey to teachers and staff members in your building.  Have them complete it a week or so before MIOSM begins so that you have time to compile the answers and create your bulletin board.  Here's a sample letter that I send out:

Dear Teachers and Staff,
March is Music in Our Schools Month.  This month long celebration of music education is facilitated by the National Association for Music Education and has been celebrated in some capacity since 1972.  The goal of this month is demonstrate the significance of music education.  Would you help me with this year's celebration?

This year I would like to create a bulletin board that showcases the musical backgrounds and/or tastes of teachers and staff in our building.  Attached is a short, 10-question survey about your musical background and current musical activities.  Please take a moment to complete this and return to me by February 20th. 

Your answers will be compiled into a brief narrative and displayed just outside the music room.  Your name will be hidden and students and staff members will have to guess who is being described.  Don't worry!  The answers will be posted too.  Look for this display in March.

Thank you for participating in this survey and for your support of music education in our school!

Mrs. King

2.  Once you have the surveys returned create a brief narrative in Word or PowerPoint that includes 2 or 3 of the survey questions.  If you work with older students, this might be a fun project for them! Here are a few examples from my last bulletin board:

3.  Next, print out the responses.  I usually cut out a small piece of cardstock or use a colored index card and lay over the name at the bottom.  Place a piece of tape at the top so that viewers can lift it and see the name of person described above.  In the picture below I created the descriptions to be display in half sheet size.  In the display below, I used a full sheet layout.
4.  Create a title for your display.  Some ideas:

  • Do You Know These Staff Members by Their Musical Identities?
  • WHOOO Knows These Owl Pride Staff Members by their Musical Pasts?
  • Celebrate Music in Our School with These Music Lovers
  • Musical Mysteries for Music in Our Schools Month

You can download a FREE copy of my survey HERE

I'd love to see pictures of your display if you decide to survey your staff for MIOSM.  You can email them to me or post them to my Facebook page. 

Happy Music in Our Schools Month!!!

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why I Teach

Today I'm sharing a list of reasons why I teach.  Like stories like this?  Please click through the entire Why I Teach Blog Hop to read more!
When I was in fourth grade I was in a car accident with my Mom and two brothers.  I broke my leg and was in the hospital for about 6 weeks or so and then at home even longer.  During my time at the hospital I had a tutor.  She was a delightful older lady that asked me questions like no other teachers had asked.  She challenged me to think about things in a new way.  She asked questions that I had NO answers to and I loved it!  I had always been a good student and loved to play school with a classroom full of imaginary students.  I even took home extra worksheets and had a chalkboard put up in my room!  I really enjoyed this one on one time.

Something changed after I had that tutor.  When I got home, my regular fourth grade teacher, Mrs.Fulton, came to my house 2 nights a week to continue my education. I loved this time.  I got to work ahead at my own pace, wrote sentences that she used as class examples and could do all the extra stuff I wanted without shame.  This was great!  I wanted to teach so that other people could be this excited about learning. 

Later in high school, I got my first "big break".   For two years in high school I got to teach music!  One year it was beginning band and the next year it was 2 months of high school choir while my teacher was on maternity leave.  I was in HEAVEN!

When my choir teacher returned she was baffled that we had learned a folk song in 3 part harmony.  It was simple, but we could do it.   It was something that she hadn't been able to make happen with this group.  She said "How did you get them to do that?"  Then I knew.  I knew for sure that day.  I knew I could do it.  I could be a teacher!

Now, with 20 years under my belt, I've realized that I have always been and probably will always be a teacher.  It may be teaching old folks to use their cell phones or little ones to tie their shoes or whatever.  I AM a teacher. 
So, why do it?
This is me at my desk.  It looks crazy doesn't it?  Elsa, noodle ponies, flowers, files, a big fan, a can of unsharpened pencils, Pinterest projects galore....  yeah, it is crazy.  And I love it.
1.  I am a teacher because I love a before and after picture.  At the end of the first year of school, each kindergartener has transformed from a shy, uncertain preschooler into a confident and successful student.  The go from just knowing their letters to becoming readers.  They go from counting to calculating.  Their growth is amazing!  As a music teacher I get to see this with every grade level, every year!  I love to see those light bulb moments.  I love to facilitate an environment that pushes kids to be brave, to be thinkers, to be amazing.  I love to see each and every one of their before and after pictures.

2.  I am a teacher because I care.  No, don't start playing the violins and no one call Hallmark.  Well...I mean...if you want, you can.  :-)  I care about my students.  I care that they get the very best music education that they can.  I care that they find their voice and become successful.
3.  I teach because I like kids.  Seriously.  I think 5 year olds and I have the same sense of humor.  People falling down?  Kinda funny.  Animals dressed as people?  Funny!  Talking vegetables? HILARIOUS!
4.  I teach because I love that kids embrace my crazy ideas with enthusiasm and an open mind.  Ride noodle ponies to learn form?  YEEHAW!  Eat Fruit Loops to learn notation?  YUM!  Sing with such sensitivity and emotion that our mothers burst into tears to show that we connect with the world around us?  Absolutely.  And sometimes we'll even do it dressed as reindeers or holding candles.
5.  I teach because I'm good at it.  LOL...that sounds a little conceited.  What I mean is that I have a combination of skills, talents and interests that make teaching less like a job and more like a lifestyle.  I could not be a construction worker.  I could not be a nurse.  I could not be an accountant.  Just not me.  However, teaching fits me like a glove.
6.  I teach because I want to live forever.  Okay, maybe not physically, but have you ever consider the impact a teacher makes on each student in her classroom?  What I teach this student may be passed on to their children and grandchildren and through countless generations.  A part of me may live on forever in a skill I teacher, a talent I foster or manner in which I connect with another little human.  That is awesome.
7.  I teach because I want to find joy in my life every single day.  The best way to find joy is to spread joy.  Welcome to my classroom.  We experience joy every day.
Now, get hopping to the next blog and be inspired!  Up next is OCD in First.
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