Monday, November 9, 2015

John Denver and Kids, it just makes sense!

I love using children's books as part of my curriculum.  I use them for teaching concepts, but some days I just want to sing with them!  The students of the John Denver and Kids series.  There are 5 total and my students asked if they would make more!!  

Halloween 2015

I've always wanted to be a princess!!
My staff decided to all be Disney characters this year, so I jumped at the chance to be Cinderella!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bulletin Board Display

I try to change my hallway display once per month so I thought I would post so far this year.

This is always a go to board for the beginning of the year and I added pics with the description for the younger students.

I have been incorporating art into the music room this year, as the students do not get an art class.  I started with a bang in September.  September 15 is International Dot Day, based on the book, The Dot by Peter H Reynolds.  This display was later accompanied by artwork from every child in the school!!  Each grade used a different medium and they loved the experience and discussions about leaving their mark on the world.  I was able to expand on the concept, discussing how musicians who have left their mark.  (Somehow I don't have a pic of the final wall.)

I love this one and the explanations (zoom in) but next time I will add pics for the little kiddos!!

Anchor charts

So... I'm not sure if anchor charts are for the students or serve as a visual reminder for me.  I love the active listening one I made and can refer to to correct or redirect students, it hangs near where I stand in the room.  The other chart reminds me what to have the kids look for when examining a new piece of music.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Music Maestro Chair!!

Each class period one students gets to be the Music Maestro.  (I draw a number and all students in each class are numbered.). That student gets to sit in the chat and control the door and lights for me!  No more fighting over who will do things!! (And yes, I have permission to use this students picture!) 

Monday, May 4, 2015

March was Music In Our Schools Month

Well, a bit late, but better than never.  My staff (ok 3/4 of them) completed surveys like the one here.  I took three statements, of music background or preference, from each staff member and posted them in the hallways with their names.  Students, staff and parents enjoyed ready the wide variety of music preferences and experiences!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Timelessness of Music

As my student teacher teaches the students about Ludwig Von Beethoven today I reflect on the timelessness of music.  Music is an ever changing and evolving medium of expression.  That being said there are pieces of music that, thanks to modern media, are interwoven into all of our lives.  As a music educator I feel it is important that students understand that songs like the theme from the Hallelujah Chorus did not "come from Spongebob".  Students and consumers alike must understand that quality music is enduring.  The Hallelujah Chorus was written in 1741 by Handel.  I ask my students, 'don't you think that it is a pretty well written piece if people still know it today'?  They generally agree.  With this realization and the fact that some students will receive no music education after elementary school, I decided to change my focus of music listening.  Each week students listen to a piece of music that they will recognize.  We always relate the time period of the piece to something they know.  For example when people had cars, electricity, or if the United States had become a country yet.  Sometimes we dance, sometimes we tap, sometimes we watch a video.  Sometimes we listen to an original interpretation and sometimes we compare that one to a modern version.  My students often ask if there is a Piano Guys version of the song!!  Today they listened to Moonlight Sonata and then to the Piano Guys Version.

Moonlight Sonata on Piano

Piano Guys Moonlight Sonata

Music Listening
I saw several ideas for SQUILT (Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time) on the internets so I took that idea and revised it to be my own.  I developed a Powerpoint of all 32 weeks of the school year including songs that the students will recognize from hearing somewhere other than school.  For example The 1812 Overture by Tchiakovsky, Stars and Stripes by John Phillip Sousa, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach, Selections from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg and Star Wars by John Williams.
The slide of my SQUILT program look like this.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


by Sharron Burch

Two weeks ago our students performed Freddie the Frog and the Mighty Metergnome.  This musical by Sharron Burch was well written, with lines, catchy songs,cute characters and lots of music vocabulary!  I have always used the Freddie the Frog Series to teach musical concepts with second grade so I decided to use the musical as well.  I was concerned about second graders learning lines but they did quite well.   
Here are a few guidelines I find helpful:
     - Listen through:  To introduce the musical, we discuss what a musical performance is and what   
       their responsibilities will be.  We then listen to the recording of the entire show with lines and 
       songs while students have a paper and pencil in front of them..  The students are to draw or write 
       ideas for the performance based on what they hear including costume ideas, dance moves, 
       scenery and more.  Some of the ideas were awesome!!
     - Height order:  I have the students line up in height order.  (We make it a game.  Can you line up 
       from tallest to shortest without any sound?)  When they have lined up I do switcharoo to move 
       kids to the correct place.  From there I put them into 4 rows (shortest in front).  By doing this I do 
       not have complaints from families that they cannot see their students when they are on the risers.
     - Speaking Parts:  I tell students from the beginning that I am looking for helpers who behave 
       well, work hard and present themselves well.  Once I have narrowed down a list of students who 
       I think will practice and learn their parts and attend the performance I speak with classroom 
       teachers to see if they feel the same about my list.  Then I send home a commitment letter.  Once 
       the students have returned their note, I give them their script with their part highlighted.
     - Script:  I always retype the script so the students names are in it, not just the character names.  
       This ensures people learn the correct lines.
     - Program:  Don't forget to include:
                             All students names (not just those with speaking parts)
                             Thank you's (even your family who spent Sunday building the Metronome)
                             Advocacy (why is music important)
                             Upcoming events
     -Display:  I put the programs and the video order forms on a table as parents enter the gym.  I 
      usually include a donation jar.  This time I also displayed all of the Freddie the Frog Books.
    - Backstage help:  I ask 5th grade students who have siblings in performance to practice a few 
      days with us and be the backstage crew for the show.
    - Photo Op: After the show I ask parents to put their chairs away and allow the parents to take 
      pictures with the props and scenery.

The performance was wonderful and later this week they will evaluate how they did!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


More Music Room Centers!!!
My students love doing centers!!!!

Each student in the group has one cup and the group must come up with a pattern to pass the cups.

Pitch Reading Practice
Picked up this little tool at the convention last week!  
Student groups for centers are right now leveled by their pitch reading capabilities.
At this center, right next to me, students can practice reading bass and treble clef.

More pitch reading fun!!  
Students use their recorder or the xylophone and play the pitches on the cards.  
Fifth graders use these cards.  Fourth grade students use other cards.

Music Madness
A board game I made years ago to practice treble clef pitch reading.

Musical Pairs
Rhythm Rockets
Artie Almeida Music Proficiency Pack

Don't Break The Ice
Music Symbols on the ice cubes.  
Students draw a term, typed on paper, and tap out the matching symbol.