Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Showers Bring May Shopping Sprees?

I love a sale.  I mean I really love a sale!  And if you're like me, you add items to your TpT wish list waiting for a sale to come along.

So what three items are on your wish list right now?  Here are mine:

I am a history buff.  I love to know the story behind the story.  I love resources that provide historical context to a folk song.  This looks like a great resource for teaching one of my favorite folk songs!

There are not words to tell you how much I want this resource!  I love teaching Peter and the Wolf to my little ones each year.  This mega bundle has so many options to use with students!

I love listening lessons that bring music to life.  We just finished our Patriotic Unit and this would be a great follow-up lesson with my students.

And if you're looking for a fun spring activity, why not check out my new activity using the children's book Listen to the Rain?  It's perfect to teach dynamics and reinforce mallet technique with young children.  

Oooh!  And one more thing...We're having a HUGE giveaway!  
Two lucky winners are going to win a $50 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers!  WOW!  Just follow the directions below to earn entries to this fabulous giveaway!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest runs from April 29th - May 1st!  Good luck!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Free time on iPads

I am a techie-girl.  Just like doctors, I too believe in an Apple a day (Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Apple iMac - you name it!)  When the iPad was released, I stood in line at 6:00 am to pick mine up.  (I may have also taken the day off of work.  And I may have been there at 5:00 am.)  Once I realized the iPads potential for instruction, I wanted them for my students.  I wrote countless grants to get a set of iPad minis in my room.  I really love technology.

With that said, I am not a big fan of using technology with little ones.  My kindergarten and first grade students get little time with the devices.  I feel strongly that students see themselves as an instrument first.  I want them to develop their singing voices and discover how to coordinate their bodies, movement and beat before we use instruments or iPads.

My little ones get very little time on the iPads.  Today was perhaps the second time my kindergarten students used the iPads all year during an "extra" music class.  Students were paired with a partner and given time to explore a few apps in the K-2 folder.  One of those apps is Monkey Drum.  I like Monkey Drum because students can perform rhythms that the "monkey" plays back to them. They can also create loops using one of the many melodic instruments available.

Most of what occurs when the little ones get their hands on the iPads is a lot of exploration.  Totally fine and developmentally appropriate.  I didn't expect what happened today.

The little girl you're hearing in the video is my most quiet, reserved and shy girl in Kindergarten.  I didn't know that voice existed.  I knew she could match pitch.  I knew she could keep a steady beat.  I knew she could do all the things my Kindergarten curriculum calls for, but I didn't know she could improvise a melody in that sweet little singing voice!  Wow!  I listened as she sang, completely engaged in her song world.  As I approached her, she stopped.  I asked her if she would sing again so I could record her.  The video above is a 30 second excerpt of a 2 minute clip.  

Those two minutes have me rethinking my stance on iPads for my little ones.  Not every child is going to start improvising songs, but I wonder how many more students would lose themselves in their song-imagination, if given the opportunity?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I have a confession: I am a sucker for a sale.  I'm a coupon-cutting, sale-watching, bargain-hunting, clearance-kind of girl.  Being a single-momma, every penny is pinched and then some!

So imagine my excitement for tomorrow's flash sale on TpT?  A bunch of music teachers have collaborated to offer some great new resources for spring!  And it's all on sale for $3!!!  All you have to do is go to TpT and search $3ThursdayMusicFlashSale.

Happy shopping music teachers!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mystery Pattern of the Day

If you're like me, there is so much to cover in such little time!  I try to maximize and utilize every second of my instructional time with my students.  I always felt like we were wasting time as students transitioned into the room.  I saw how classroom teachers used "morning work" in their classrooms and tried applying the same idea in mine.  I started putting up a "Pattern of the Day" on my interactive white board.  One week it was a rhythm pattern, another week, it was a tonal pattern.  As the students came in, they were instructed to try to read the pattern using solfege.  They were also tasked with identifying the meter or tonality.  Lastly, after reading the pattern, they had to improvise a new pattern in the same style as the pattern they were reading.

As I finished whatever business that needed my attention at the door, I walked to my interactive white board and invited students to read and answer questions about the pattern and lastly to improvise.  The entire activity took less than 2 minutes but it gave me and my students so much more!  It gave them a focus as they walked into the room.  It gave them the opportunity to practice their reading skills every day (whether reading notation was part of the lesson or not).   And it gave them an opportunity to improvise every day!  Those are musical muscles I want to exercise and strengthen and this simple idea of "morning work" allowed us the opportunity to do it every day.

But as time went on, the activity got stale and I needed to spice it up a bit.  This is where our "Mystery Pattern of the Day" came in.   It still gives my students the much needed opportunity to read and improvise each day, but it is kicked up a notch!  The Mystery Pattern became a pattern to listen to and identify in music class.  It could be in a song or chant.  It could be sung or chanted by another student.  It could become a forbidden pattern in class.  It became a focus point for students to actively listen and think about what they were hearing - not just listen and echo everything back to me.  

We've had so much fun playing with the Mystery Pattern of the Day in my music classroom!  I hope you will too.  Let me know how you're using the Mystery Pattern of the Day in your classroom!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring Songs & Activities

It's spring!  It was sunny and warm today!  I opened windows.  I worked in my garden.  I played with my son outside.  I haven't done that since last October!

Spring is my favorite time of year because everything feels new and shiny and exciting.  And yet I have 7 weeks of school left and that means 7 weeks of lesson plans.  You know where this is going right?  It's ok, I've got you covered!  How about some new spring songs and activities to add a little spring to you classes?  Looking for a song about butterflies, frogs, ducks and rainy days?  Look no further!  Click here to check them out!

The pack includes songs, activities, coloring sheets and interactive white board charts!  If you would like to sample one the activities, check out my freebie - Rainy Day!