What's On Your Desk? December Linky Party

Before I make any confessions, I must thank Mrs. Tanenblatt for hosting this linky party!

I love my room. I feel so lucky to have my room.  It's a great space that is full of areas to make music, move, and sing. I feel it's an important part of students' music making to have a clean and organized place to create.

That being said, I will admit my desk is a bit of a resting place for everything that either needs a temporary place to sit or things I don't want to lose. I can be very absent-minded at times. Also, I don't really work at my desk.  I have another computer desk where I have my desk computer and laptop where I do most of my work. That one is not nearly as interesting though. :-)

So, here we go in all it's currently cluttered glory. I hope to get rid of some of the clutter now that my Winter Concerts are over AND because you all are seeing it at its absolute worst but, in all honesty, not too from its regular state. :-p

I ALMOST took a moment to put a watermark on this beauty and then I remembered that probably not too many people would want to claim this as their own. Ha! ;-) 

Woops. Just noticed I haven't changed out my calendar to December yet. :-p Good thing I only currently need it to count down the days to Winter Break! (WOOT!)

You can see my desk calendar on which I put some velcro and slapped it on our fuzzy walls. You can also see where I will be posting the information for my Spring Concerts (magenta and purple papers) for students to be able to reference. I also have some cute little papers under the concert papers on which I put sticky notes of things I need to do.

These pics were taken last week as I was trying to get the last things ready for my 1st-3rd Winter Concert and trying to make sure things were set up for the substitute I was going to have as I set up for the practice/concert.

Above you have a closer look.  You can see my students' folders that they use for papers, worksheets, quizzes, music, etc.  I have them out for the substitute who was doing Cori Bloom's "Peter and the Wolf Listening Journal and Fact Sheets" (Follow the link to read a little more about that and find a link to Cori's store.) Apparently, according to the sub, it all went very well!

You can also see my bursting file folders with short formal assessments for different classes, and permission slips and contracts for my 4th & 5th Grade Honor Choir students.

I am so lucky to get a bit of a budget each year, and I bought the hand bells pictured a few years ago. My students in the Honor Choir performed a hand bell piece with them, and we are also doing some treble clef reading practice over the next couple weeks while playing some Christmas Carols.

Here's a close up of the other side. Again you can see the folders I use with my 3rd-5th students. I have a pic of my kids (from when they were little and cute) on there. You can also see my blue concert programs, my signs to help parents know where to take different grade level kids, tape to mark where students sit, and wire/wire cutters/scissors for my decorations.

You can also see the soprano ukulele I use in class. My 5th grade students have an ukulele concert in the Spring and we've already begun practicing. I do not tape or mark ukuleles in any way (personal preference) so it takes students a little longer to remember chords and how to move between them. So we start as of about a month and a half ago! :-) We've learned C, Am, and we just learned F and practiced moving between F and C. This particular group of students are doing pretty well this year! :-)

So there you go. No, not the tidiest at the moment, but that's what my space looks like at concert time.  Now that I am publishing this for all the world to see AND I have some "free" moments,  I will be cleaning this space.  Maybe I'll even do some "After" pics now that you have the "Before" pics. ;-)

Rockin' Resources Linky Party

Before I write anything more, I MUST tell you about the HUGE Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale happening on TpT! My entire store is going to be 20% off and if you add the code "TpTCyber" when you are checking out, you'll save even more! Follow the link in the picture above and you'll go straight to my store. :-)

Thanks so much to Amy Abbott of Music a la Abbott for hosting this linky party! You can find her blog by clicking on the pic above. Before doing so, I hope you stay a while and read about some of the Rockin' Resources I'd like to share over at Teachers Pay Teachers. :-)

This is a brand new game for your students available now in my store! If you have students that are reviewing or practicing music symbols in your classroom, this is a perfect winter-themed Memory game for your students.

The next product I'd like to share is the Peter and the Wolf Fact Sheets and Listening Journal by Cori Bloom. I purchased this product not too long ago and have set it up as a lesson for my 3rd-5th grader students when I am gone this week. With a bit of prep on my part and instructions for a non-music substitute teacher, students will not only be reading about, listening to, and writing about what they hear, but then they will get to compare and contrast with what they've written with their classmates.

Finally, the last product I'd like to highlight is not a music product in its complete form but will help me with some of the projects I have in the works. Dancing Crayon always puts out attractive clip art that I can count on for high quality and clear pictures. They have many music clip art products to choose from, but what I especially like about this particular product is that it has recorder clip art that is appropriate for both younger and older students.

Hopefully, you've seen something you like! Don't forget to take the link above to check out some other great products that will be on sale this Monday and Tuesday!


4th and 5th Grade Experiments, the New Arts Standards, the Common Core, and MORE!

Over this past summer, I began really delving into the new National Music Standards.  They can be found HERE if you feel so inclined to peruse them yourself. :-)

One of the many things I noticed in going through the new Arts Standards is that the teaching required is a lot more deliberate and thought out, which is just good teaching, but I think it sometimes helps to have it written in black and white.  I also noticed there is much more thought on the students' part and students talking about and justifying why they may think one thing or another in music class.  This idea goes right along with what my school has been doing over the last couple of years in the general classrooms with the Common Core Standards.

As I've been wrapping my mind around these standards, I discovered I've been doing many of the things outlined in the Arts Standards already, but I decided I could connect with these and the Common Core a little more without losing the integrity of the music lesson. I decided to test out this idea with my 4th and 5th grade students, and include some writing in all this as our new state test requires A LOT more writing AND I knew some of my quieter students would never express their ideas out loud.

We started off small and easy as this was a project from the beginning of our school year and an experiment on my part too!

I took two weeks to do this as I just like breaking things up so students have it percolating in their minds. I have found that students understand concepts better if we just do a little here and a little there over a longer period of time than when I have tried to go hard core and do everything in one lesson. (Yes, I have done this. Not good teaching in some cases, I know. :-( )

Here is a link to the music we used courtesy of Good Times Music on YouTube. The piece is called "La Bastringue".

This piece is AB repeated.

As a class, we performed a combination of body percussion and dance on A all together.

The B section is where students got to use their creativity! They were partnered with the student/s of their choice to make a group of 2 or 3.  They created an eight beat body percussion/dance piece that would be repeated four times.

Some students stayed pretty basic in their movements. Others got REALLY creative! :-D

No judgment on my part was made as to what students performed.  Every one of my students is at different levels of ability and comfort when it comes to movement and their partners. My only requirements were that the movements safe, that they could be counted to the beat, and that they weren't just the same movement the WHOLE time. (I always have a few who try to do that last one. ;-) )

I gave students a just few minutes to create this sections, and then we performed it as a whole with the music.

After performing, each student received a piece of paper and pencil and worked with their partner/group to write down their body percussion. It took students a little while to write down what they had performed as it took a little creativity to describe the movements they had performed! :-)

I loved what this particular group did!  These boys had so much fun performing their B section! The written words just don't do it justice but that's all I can show you. . .

As you can see there is some additional writing down at the bottom where this particular group member writes about the B section. In the second week we did this activity, I had students revisit what they had written the first week, and they were able to practice it briefly just to get it back in their heads.  We performed a couple of AB repeats with the music. Then, they were to evaluate what they had written/done originally. For example: Did the actions work well with our counting of the beats? Do we like what wrote last week? Why do we dislike or like what we created previously? What could we possible change to make better/less confusing/a little more involved/etc for our group?

If they desired, they were given some time at this point to change what they had created and practice their new section.

If students chose NOT to change their B sections, they were asked to write and justify why they chose to keep it the same. The group pictured above decided they really liked their original B section so they kept it the same and you can see, although it was very simply,  in their one sentence they did justified why. It really was a fun B section! :-)

The group pictured below, chose to change their B section.

This group kept their B section very simple and decided to change it to something different. They had felt the other movements were confusing so they changed it and they explained why they changed it.

After we performed the piece again with the new B sections, some classes had time where they were able to compare the old B section with the new B section. They were asked to write down what worked, what didn't work, and why they liked the original or the new B section better.

The group above did have some time to do this part. I just had students use scratch paper in this experiment. As it worked, I will have nicer/more structured papers next time. ;-)

Overall, the students all did wonderfully on this first mini project!  Some kept it simple and others got very complex and involved. It was neat to see some of their ideas, and where they discovered they liked their original B or when they found their new B section was better/worse.

If we had a bit more time built into this activity, I think I would have taken it one step further and had some volunteer student groups perform their B sections for the class with the students watching explain what they liked/didn't like in writing and why. That would have satisfied more of the new standards! 

Maybe next time. ;-)

I have to say that when I first read the new Arts Standards, I was a bit skeptical as they did not outline the basics of good music teaching as the former standards did, but I feel now that when these different sets of standards are used together, great music teaching can happen. :-)

***If you have any additional insight into this lesson and ideas how I could improve it even more, I'd love to read about it in the comments below!!! :-D***

Note: I plan to, when I have some more moments, to reference the Arts Standards and Common Core Standards that I satisfied in these mini-movement lessons.

Bee Bee Bumblebee: Voice Exploration and Movement Activity

This past week my Kindergarten and 1st grade were especially wiggly! I don't know if it was because of the full moon that happened this past week or because this was our first full five day week.  I can only speculate. . .

As I was going through the lesson I had planned with them, it was clear that I needed something different.  Their brains were not focused on what we were doing, and if I didn't pull out a trick of the trade soon, my students who tend to get themselves in trouble if they are not thoroughly involved WOULD soon begin to entertain themselves at their neighbors expense.

Thankfully this observation and then following action all happened in about 30 seconds as soon as I noticed fidgeting. Across the room, I had noticed my tote of puppets. (Yes, I have an entire tote. I was at CostCo a few years ago where I'd always look at the toys and spotted these! I don't recall the exact price now, but they were somewhere along the lines of $2 a piece. STEAL! :-D)

I am preparing high and low in Kindergarten and we're just about to label "so" and "mi" in 1st grade. This idea supported both! :-D

This is certainly not an original idea. I probably learned about it at a conference or observing other master teachers. I don't recall. Wherever it came from, the idea came--I threw out the next activity--and we did this!

I introduced the activity by singing the first part of "Bee Bee Bumblebee" repeated. I had students listen to the song once more, and I explained as they now sang the song a very special friend was going to come visit them. (I needed time to get the puppets! You could certainly change the intro of this activity if you wanted. This is just what popped in my head. It worked, and I used it with every class I did this activity this past week.)

While students sang, I grabbed my bee puppet, put him on my hand, and had him "dance" as I came back to students.  When students were done singing, he went back into his hive (the crook of my arm).  I explained that when we sing the song our friend Bee would come out to "dance". Incidentally, his dance would match the way the pitched moved.

Next, I asked what sound bees make when they are flying around looking for nectar to take back to their hives to turn into honey. After various answers, I told students we were going to help Bee as he flew around looking honey. First we would sing to him when he came out of the hive and then as he flew around we would "buzz" higher if he moved higher and "lower" when he flew lower.  When he went back into his hive we would stop buzzing.

My super cute Cal Toys Brand Bubble Bee Hand Puppets.  I purchased these at CostCo a few years back and unfortunately haven't found them anywhere else for a good price. These have lasted and I hope they continue to last because I love them!

Students loved this! BUT I wanted them to move even more! (I'm not kidding--they were all really wiggly!)

Next I had the students become bees after we sang the song. They would fly up and down as they buzzed while matching Bee. When he went into his hive, students sat down.

Finally, I chose a student to come up. Fortunately, I have two bee puppets so I gave them the one I've marked for students. I love my students, but I draw certain lines when it comes to sharing especially with the viruses that are already floating around out there!

After this ability to wiggle about for a few minutes, we were able to get back to our lesson that while still full of movement activities was more structured than what they could handle at the time.

Hope this idea maybe helps you fill a moment where your students need that little more relaxed movement moment! :-)


Simple Stuff: The Mighty Binder Clip

Thanks to Jennifer over at The Yellow Brick Road for hosting the linky party I am participating in today! In this blog post I'll share one simple thing I use in my classroom all the time!

Today, I am going to write about four ways I use. . .

Courtesy: Wikipedia
I. love. these things! They are so useful for so many things! When I get a hold of one from, let's say, something that somebody sent to me, I do not let it go. They are like gold in my little world!

Here is how I use them in my classroom:

1. Cable Catcher

I'm sure many of you have seen this via Pinterest, but if you haven't let me introduce you to the beauty of the cable catcher. :-D

Courtesy: LifeHacker
I don't know about you all, but I always have a million cords kicking around (at school and home) that plug into different electronics. I don't always need these cords plugged in the devices, and I hate digging around behind my desk when I finally DO need to use one of these cords. These make my life a little less crazy.  Although. . . I DID see a little LEGO guy holding some cords not too long ago and I want to add at least one of those just for fun. :-)

2. Hanging File Folder Assistant

I haven't used this one yet as I haven't been able to get into my classroom for the year, but I have a couple of file cabinets that I keep all sorts of things in. I like to separate my different files into sections so I have all alike things together.

I don't know about your cabinets, but mine only have one or two adjustable dealios (I don't know what they're called) per drawer. I have more things than that that I'd like to keep separate!

I found this idea through Pinterest and can't wait to try it out!

Courtesy: LifeHacker

Plus, those metal separator things are a pain to move!

3. Calendar (or other things) Hanger

My school is not so keen on paint, nails, etc in the way of customizing our rooms to make them inviting for students. In fact, just getting things to adhere to some of the walls (stone that is extremely uneven) is a nightmare and consists of me cleaning up/hanging back up stuff that has fallen off almost every day. Not even the mighty sticky tack or glue gun is successful in conquering those particular walls! :-P

THANKFULLY not all my walls are made of this material but hanging something like a calendar or a printable that I'd like to change out periodically is still challenging.

Here is a great idea I have found that will be a the "cure all" to at least the problem of being able to hang things I'd like to change out. Or at least I'm going to find out if it works this year!

Courtesy: Imperfect Homemaking

Couple of command hooks on the narrow strip of wood that runs around my room (hopefully I'll be able to get in soon and take pics for you all to see), some binder clips, and voila! I've got an easy to change out wall hanging that won't make a bunch of holes in the wood! 

4. Custom Clips

There are certain weeks of the year where I have lots of piles of assessments to grade or writing assignments to read. While I am starting to have my 3rd-5ths bring a two pocket folder to contain some of these papers and to start practicing responsibility for middle school, I will still have other papers from my PK-2nds. 

I am really horrible about having students turn in papers and then I just move them to my desk as I rarely have a moment to look at things until after school. Sometimes things happen after school (mommy commitments, staff meetings, committee meetings, duty, etc) and I don't look at papers again until the next day or the day after!

I have no problem knowing which papers go with which grade, but as to which papers go with which class? Not so good. I've tried putting post-its on them, but sometimes the post-its come off and I have to spend more time thinking "okay, which class is Suzy in this year?" or looking up each class for a certain grade to find where she goes. (My poor kids. Some of them stay in 3rd grade IN MY MIND for numerous years and I can never remember which class they are currently in.)

These were a life saver last year!

Courtesy: I am a Craft Addict

While these particular ones are not mine, this is where I got the idea. Mine are not so fancy. They're just your standard black and I used stickers and wrote on them instead of the fancy printed out/modge podged clips like she did. You should be thankful that I used her pic instead of mine. My energy to fancify and cutify everything only extends so far. ;-)

They have worked wonders and not only keep my papers organized, but also serve as another tool to help me know whose class "little Suzy" is currently a part of! :-)

I'm sure there are a thousand (maybe not but certainly a lot) more ways to use binder clips in your classroom. Here's mine. I'd love to read about yours! 

And that's my simple stuff for today. Enjoy!

Products For Prep: A Look at Preparing for the New School Year

Today, I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room's blog in talking about "Products for Prep"!

With the school year lurking around the corner (I'm still in a bit of denial that summer is almost done), it's time to start thinking about where I left off with my students and what I need to be doing to get students where I'd like them musically for this year.

Before I start telling you about some of the things I've been working on and wishing for this summer, I want to tell you about the site-wide sale starting tomorrow on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Everything in my store will be marked down 20% AND when you add the code "BTS14" in the checkout, TpT will give you another 8% mark down! I'm looking forward to getting some of the things that have been sitting on my wishlist waiting for this sale. :-)

Now back to prep. . .

As I said, I have been in denial that it's almost that time of year, but I do have some things I've been preparing for my students.  Some of them are available in my store, and some I've found elsewhere.

It is never too early to get my 4th grade students working on the treble clef staff. In our District, this is the year that students play recorder, and I like to have them feeling secure in their understanding of the staff before I put the playing of the recorder and the reading of the staff together.

Last year, my 3rd grade students began to learn some of the notes on the recorder (we got to B, A, and G) and I started the staff as well but we never put the two together.

This year we are going to begin with treble clef staff activities to review and one of the activities I'm going to use is my Dragon Letters activity I recently posted in my store!

This group of pages has numerous suggested activities for your students to review and practice the treble clef while also having fun! I also included all pages in black and white as I know printing in color is a luxury some school districts do not have for teachers.

This group of pages pulls double duty as I also included pages for your students learning about line and space numbers!  I, personally, think it's so important students understand line/space numbers as well as the letters so we can have an intelligent musical conversation when discussing a line or space note they are unsure of. 

Another group of pages I am making sure are ready for my students right off will be my Old Mister Rabbit song to review quarter note and eighth notes with my 2nd graders.

I've actually gotten these all printed up and laminated as I used them with my Kinders last Spring in an ABA form experience where they used the pictures to create a rhythmic B section. They loved it!

For my 2nd grade students and their review, we will use the pages with the vegetables linked to the standard notation of quarter note and eighth notes so my 2nd grade students will be able create rhythms and review the standard notation they learned last year in 1st grade. 

If you can't tell, I love things that can pull double duty! It makes my prep and to-do list a little less clogged. 

Now an idea that I've been throwing around and preparing that is NOT in my store!

Toward the end of last year I purchased and laminated these super cute paper manipulatives I picked up at Dollar Tree.

I think I need to put my children to work with the cutting! ;-)

I was thinking that students could use these to do some creating of four beat rhythms like "Milk-Milk-Cookies-Milk" or "Scissors-Scissors-Glue-Glue". Awesome, right? 

Then I had a "D'Oh!" moment and you are now going with me on the ride through the conversation I've had with myself on this: I realized (AFTER laminating things separately) that I don't like when my pictures don't match the syllables/notes I'm trying to prepare. For example, "cookies", in my opinion, needs to have two cookies to show those two syllables. Then came the wonderful post by Jennifer over at The Yellow Brick Road with her Rhythm Monsters idea. 

Credit: The Yellow Brick Road
Idea saved! I already use fuzzies for melodic writing. I don't know why I didn't think to use them for rhythm!

Now, after my first grade students (who will be presented with "Ta" and "Titi" about a month into school so this is another prepare acitivity) create their four beat rhythms, they can place one fuzzy on "milk" or "glue" and two fuzzies on "cookie" or "scissors". My need for students to see one item or two items that equal the sounds is satisfied! 

Finally, something I've had my eye on and will probably snag tomorrow from Cori Bloom's Rhythm and Bloom store!

I love her listening mini-lessons! Our school is really pushing for our students to have more experience with writing and justifying answers. I've purchased a couple other sets of her listening lessons and really enjoy the variety of genres represented. I also like that her questions make students think but are also appropriate for students from the 4th grade on up. Finally, I like that while they can be shorter lessons, they also have the potential to be fleshed out and discussed more in depth. 

I've been using them as a short starter for my 4th and 5th grade classes, but these could also be appropriate for a sub day with a little extra preparation by leaving instructions of musical terms used in the questions, etc. I'm hoping she comes out with more soon! :-)

Well, I hope these ideas give you an insight on some things that are available for you as you prepare for this coming school year whether you're still in denial, like me, or you are starting up soon!

Either way--enjoy! :-)

Music Teacher Giveaway!

If you haven't read or heard about the Music Teacher Giveaway yet, then I feel really special being able to tell you about it!

This HUGE Music Teacher Giveaway includes 26 music teachers who have gathered together five giant and different bundles of products from their stores to give away to five lucky winners. Perfect for this time of year as we prepare to enter another school year! It starts this Friday, July 25th and runs through Sunday, July 27th.

So excited for this one as I've seen what's in these different bundles!

Aileen Miracle over at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room gives a wonderful explanation of how to join the different giveaway groups in her blog post that can be found HERE

I am participating in one of the K-2 groups, and Lindsay Jervis over at Pursuit of Joyfulness gives a wonderfully detailed look at ALL the items included in this particular giveaway group at this blog post HERE

This link will take you to Lindsay's FB page where you can enter to win our particular bundle!

If you are wondering what I have included in the bundled for the giveaway, you can read about it HERE (in this blog post ;-) ).

Since we are doing a K-2 bundle I chose to include activities to prepare, present, and practice So-La-Mi. I love these particular products as one can use them in both 1st and 2nd grades quite easily. Four of the six items I am including as my part of the bundle are currently for sale individually in my store. With the first four, you can click on the picture if you'd like to see them in my store. The last two will be uploaded and made available to everyone after the giveaway.

 Number 1 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

In this group of printable pages, students will have the opportunity to match snowflake melodies with the word/letter S-M-L card you show or vice versa. You can also print off large or small versions of the cards for a fun memory game where students sing the melody to the cards they turn over and try to find the match!

A great group of activities that will keep your student busy reading & singing S-M-L on a three line staff ANY TIME this winter season!

Number 2 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

In this game, students will sing So, Mi, and La on a five lined staff while also reading simple treat rhythms using quarter note and barred eighth notes.

Students gain points for how accurately their group is able to read the treat melodies. The team with the most extra treats for their cup of cocoa wins!

This PDF file is set up with hyperlinks the teacher can click on to progress through the presentation. Instructions for the set up of the game and directions to play are included in the slides.

Number 3 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

Your classroom will be able to practice their understanding of S-M and S-L-M on the staff with this colorful activity.

With the no-prep feature, you can open this file in Adobe Acrobat, choose the page/s you want to review/practice with your students, project the pages onto your whiteboard and have a quick and fun Valentine's or sweet candy-themed activity ready to go!

With the prep part of this activity, there are many pages available to print for use in your music classroom. Pages can be used to reinforce SM or SML on the staff, practicing high/low in lower grades, use as flashcards, or even as an assessment tool.

Number 4 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

In this game, students will sing So, Mi, and La on a five lined staff while also reading simple gold coin rhythms using quarter note and barred eighth notes.

Students gain points for how accurately their group is able to read the gold coin melodies. The team with the most gold coins from the pot of gold wins!

This PDF file is set up with hyperlinks the teacher can click on to progress through the presentation. Instructions for the set up of the game and directions to play are included in the slides.

These next two items will be brand new to my store this coming week! I am thrilled to be able to share them with you all. Here is a tiny preview of what I've got prepared for you all. :-)

Number 5 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

I love the clip art for this file, and my students love playing the game I use for this song. So many giggles and such excitement! Can't wait to share it with you this next week!

Number 6 included in my part of the Giveaway Bundle

I saved my favorite for last! I am really loving the way this song and activities file has come together, and it just keeps getting bigger! I have wanted to do this song for a while but just couldn't find the right clip art (I was very picky about the wolf.). Then I found this set and the file has pretty much put itself together. Again, SUPER FUN game you may or may not know that goes with the song and a great addition to your classroom repertoire and activities. I am just giddy about releasing it next week after the giveaway!


~and GOOD LUCK!~ :-D

Five Favorite Pins of July

Thought I'd link up with Aileen Miracle over at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for her Five Favorite Pins linky party! :-) 

I have to say that I've been quite active on Pinterest the past couple weeks (not always with my school/business boards). It's been a two part activity: 1.) to find ideas for this coming year, and 2.) to avoid having to plan for this coming year. ;-)

Needless to say, I need to get back into school mode.

Although, I've been using Pinterest as a way to avoid planning, I've also found LOTS of great ideas that I am going to be using in my classroom.

Without further ado, here are five of my favorites!

Favorite Pin #1

I like to do a lot of small group activities in my classes. It gives students a chance to work together, use their creative juices for "good" ;-) and I always think it's great for students to assist each other in the learning process.

Sometimes, however, I don't like the time it takes to pass out supplies for small group activities. After all, every minute in music is precious.

Then I happened across this:

A brilliant music teacher put together these "toolkits"!  I love it! I might change out slightly what's included as I'd like students to only have what they need to work with. I could see many of my students getting distracted by all the goodies included in the baskets above. I say this as I know that even I would get distracted if I were handed a container with fun things like these. :-) 

The best thing about this Pin is that I found some PERFECT containers for this at one of our local Dollar Store. Perfect size, perfect price, and pretty bright colors. I bought six. :-D

Favorite Pin #2

Cup games are all the rage right now with the movie Pitch Perfect and the song Cups/When I'm Gone coming out not too long ago. 

I am looking forward to learning this and trying this out with my upper grade (4th/5th) students this coming winter.

Favorite Pin #3

With the beginning of the school year inevitably coming our way, I always take a moment to review mentally what worked and what could be tweaked as I prepare for the new year.

For all my fellow Star Wars fans out there, I was directed to this while participating in the #elmused chat on Twitter. Correct me if I'm wrong readers and fellow Twitter-ists?, but I believe the next elementary music ed chat is Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8pm CST. I've learned so much from other teachers and it's fun to talk with others that have the same passion as you. :-) Technology is awesome.

Anyway, back to the pin. One teacher, Elizabeth Nystedt, has created this "Jedi Code of Conduct" for her classroom. Love it for the Star Wars-themed Music Classroom!

Favorite Pin #4

Ran across, quite by accident, the dance and percussion group from Israel called Mayumana.  Loved some of their performances and then noticed on YouTube that there were quite a few tutorials to perform some of their body percussion pieces.

I'm thinking I will use this with my 5th grade students in the Spring when they are starting to get antsy and middle school-y.  I'm thinking I might use the A and B sections as is and perhaps have students experiment with form in small groups and come up with a C section.  Ideas still in the infant stages with that one. . .

Favorite Pin #5

Lastly, I posted this on my Facebook page as I was so excited when I found it!  The website this book is on has a whole bunch of elementary age books that can be projected.

Inevitably, I have at least one student who complains about not being able to see the pictures. Doesn't matter if I say I will show them when I'm done reading the page OR if I slowly show the book across the class as I am reciting the book. To be fair, some of my books are smaller than I'd like.

BUT with this website, you can look up to see if they have the book you'd like, project it using your computer/projector/SMART Board, enlarge it to full screen and voila!-- no complaints. :-)

So there you go! Hopefully you have found some information/ideas you can use in this linky party. I know I have. :-)


The Week of the Cherries!

This is the woman I can "blame" for my past Thursday-Monday. She's my mother. :-)

She taught me the ins and outs of canning growing up as we had a HUGE garden my father maintained (but we weeded). So growing up we'd do all sorts of canning: peaches, plums, pears, corn, beans, pickles, relish, raspberries, tomatoes, tomato soup-- you get the picture.

I have continued canning now as an adult and parent. I love that I am in charge of what is in my food, and, for the most part, I know exactly what's in it. So needless to say I couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to harvest so FREE cherries!

This is a picture of the two and half gallon buckets we filled the first day:

The Beginning of Cherry Madness
The second day we were able to pick even more! It was crazy how much this poor neglected tree produced!

Here is a partial picture of my (almost) end result:

The END of Cherry Madness
I couldn't back up anymore without all my empty jars and cherries I jammed later showing up in the background. :-P  I can't wait for all the cherry pie, adding cherries to smoothies, pureeing cherries for a cherry syrup for pancakes, and we are already enjoying some of the cherry jam from one of the containers that didn't quite have enough to process.

Now what does ANY of this have to do with a music blog, you say?

With cherries "on the brain" I have created an activity just like my S'mores activity except with cherries! I'm thinking I'll use it at the beginning of 1st grade when we are reviewing our iconic notation.

**This item will be FREE for download on TPT when I hit 300 followers on TPT!!!**  

As of today, I am only five away. :-) 

(You can get to my store through the link HERE and all you have to do is click on the "Follow Me" right under my name located next to my picture. By doing this, you will not only be informed when I upload new products, but you will also be available to receive any follower-only freebies I send out.)

**UPDATE: 07/02/2014 We made it! Enjoy this product for free download until 07/03/2014!**

As I said before, this is set up just like my S'mores rhythms I used with my Kindergarten students last school year. If you are interested in reading about and downloading the S'mores Rhythm packet, you can do it by clicking HERE.

I SO love the pretty red color!

I am going to have my students read the single cherries as "Mmm" and the connected cherries as "Cher-ries". My up and coming 1st  grade students have already had many experiences with iconic rhythms. So they are used to reading rhythms using all sorts of different words, sounds, etc. that I come up with. You. of course, could adapt this to whatever your students say. :-)

We will also read these using unpitched percussion instruments like triangles, woodblocks, drums, sticks, etc.

When we get to the composition part of our experiences with the cherry rhythms, I decided to include a full sheet for composing

AND a half sheet option

After my experience with the full sheet s'mores rhythms and having them take up a good portion of both sides of the hallway that is available for me to use and using TONS of paper, I liked the idea of a half sheet option.

With my S'mores activity, it worked really well to have a container of one sound in a beat already cut out and another container of two sounds in a beat already cut out set up at the front of the room. My students do have chairs so I sent them up a few at a time to choose which combination of pictures they wanted. Then they would return to their chairs that they used as a desk.  This worked really well. 

I did the same with crayons. Students chose one crayon at a time to color their creation. When they were done, they would go back up and choose another one.  

I was fortunate enough to get lots of glue sticks, but I found that many Kinders wanted to make sure that every. single. bit. of the paper they are gluing is covered in glue. That took too long for me. So I kept some sticks with me and started to quickly help those that had to wait. Students passed off their glue sticks when they were done to others that needed them.  They were very helpful and concerned that everyone had a chance to use the glue. :-)

I hope you like this activity as much as I do! I can't wait to make it available to all you when I hit the big 3-0-0! :-)