Making May Musical Linky Party: Teacher Appreciation Week and a SALE!

Two blog posts in one day?!?! I'm on a roll. ;-)

I am so excited to be participating in the site-wide Teacher Appreciation sale this Tuesday and Wednesday (May 5th-6th) on Teachers Pay Teachers! My entire store will be marked down 20% and there will be a code you can enter in the checkout to save even more!

Thanks to Tina over at "The Totally 'Tuned-In' Teacher", I'm joining a linky party about the up and coming sale. I will blog about one product I am excited to have in the sale, one product I'm excited to maybe buy from another seller's store, and a clip art set I may purchase.

One of the products I'm excited about selling during this sale is my "Popping Good Time" time signature activity.

Recently, my 2nd grade students were presented with time signature. I will be giving them the popcorn rhythms. Each popped kernel is one measure. (Kernels for the 3rd grade level shown)

The students are going to be matching the time signatures to the popcorn. (There are full color and low color printing options for this activity. No black & white. Although you could just print the low color option using a black and white printer.)

My 3rd grade students will be doing the same activity, but they will be given the time signatures as we traditionally see in written music and must match the rhythms to the time signature. 

I love this activity not only because it's fun and the students love it, but it's also super easy to prepare and that's a plus this time of year when my energy level is starting to wane a bit. ;-)
A product from another seller's store that I'm excited about is Amy Abbott's "Pizza Pie" recorder song and activity pack.
I am always looking for new and fun activities for recorder and this file looks like it definitely satisfies both those criteria! I've been pleased with my previous purchases from Amy's store so I know this will be a great one as well.

A set of clip art I've been eyeing and will perhaps finally purchase this sale is Teaching in the Tongass' "Smiley Food Pairs" clip art set.

I've been looking at this set for a while. I was sitting in a professional development (PD) for English Language Arts (ELA) a couple years ago and created the basics to an activity to go along with an assignment we were required to do as part of the PD. I've got the fun part of this figured out, and it's been rattling around in my brain on and off since that PD day. Now I've just got to flesh out the details and try it out on my kids. ;-)

Well, there you go! Hoping you all find some terrific deals and great activities for your students this sale, and I just want to say how much I appreciate all of you who help me make my products better by providing feedback and put a smile on my face. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Don't forget to click on the pic below that will take you back to Tina's blog where you can read her post and check out all the other people who've linked up. Enjoy!

May the '4th' Be With You! in Your Music Classroom

May the '4th' is just around the corner, and, being the huge Star Wars fan I am, we will be celebrating it my my elementary music classroom with the Star Wars themed activities. (We can't forget May 5th either which is not only Cinco de Mayo, which we will be celebrating as well, but also Revenge of the '5th'!)

So excited to use my pool noodle lightsabers! I first got the idea from my son who loved making anything into a sword when he was little. My idea was refined a little more when I discovered the blog Mrs. King Rocks (you may know her as The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King) She cut the pool noodles in half. Both brilliant and duh, can't believe I never thought of that! ;-) You can find her blog post about it HERE.

Then, of course, being the perfectionist that I am, I had to take those babies one step further by wrapping the "handles" with some duct tape and electrical tape and 'voila!' I now have some awesome pretty cool light sabers.

I've had my lightsabers sitting out in my room for a while now and my students walk by and have started to ask when we are going to use them. I am almost as excited as they are! Here's what we're doing:

My kindergarten students have been practicing steady beat ALL YEAR, and they are so good. They will be using pool noodle lightsabers to keep the beat while listening to the "Imperial March". They will tap their lightsabers on the floor for the first section of the music. When the quiet part of the piece begins they will march around the room holding their lightsaber in front of the "marine-style". When the loud part returns, back to tapping the lightsabers on the floor. Of course, very careful and thorough explanation of rules and procedures will need to be in place before ANY of these activities are performed.

UPDATE: The piece below is TOO long for Kindergarten students. So I just changed where we begin so we only perform the last section of the piece. We tap our lightsabers on the floor while saying "force" on the beat, and on my cue we march around the room holding our lightsabers "marine-style".

UPDATE UPDATE: Prepare you Kindergarten students (or really any grade) with some four beat echo rhythm tapping (lightsabers tap on the floor). Quarter note= "force" Eighth notes= "jedi" For example, "force force jedi force" Big hit!

My first graders will also do this activity with a twist! A year or so ago, I stumbled onto Pedro Morales' YouTube channel. He has a few fun videos with Star Wars themes. I will be using this one:

I will probably point to the rhythms as we tap our lightsabers on the ground as it may be a little tricky for some students to keep track of where we are since they will most likely be a bit distracted by the excitement of LIGHTSABERS!

After the work part of this, we will do just like Kindergarten except students will get to be with a partner and tap the beat with a partner in the first and last sections of the piece. Of course, again, rules and procedures are vital for this activity to work.

Professor Morales has another Star Wars themed video using the theme from the Cantina. I like it because he highlights the notes when it's time to play which makes it a bit easier to follow along, but I like the sound of the Imperial March better.

For my 2nd and 3rd grade students I will be pulling out some Star Wars themed rhythm cards. I've kept the rhythms pretty easy because, you know, LIGHTSABERS! and students are going to want to try out some of their really cool moves while reading the rhythms.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I've also made these available to YOU for a FREE download! Just click on any of the pictures below to get yours. :-D  Feel free to mix and match from the different downloads to best meet your students' needs, but please keep within the terms of my TOU. Thank you so much to all of you who read my blog, follow my store, and give the great feedback that makes me smile.

Here is the file with quarter notes and eighth notes:

Here is the file with quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rest:

Here is the file with quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rest and half note:

Here is the file with quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, and half rests:

My 4th and 5th grade students have had many experiences with all these rhythms and more so I thought I'd do something a little different for them: composition.

Some of my students REALLY get into composition with body percussion, movements, props, etc. So I thought this would be right up their alley. Not only will they be composing a sixteen beat rhythmic pattern that will reinforce their understanding of rhythm and how it's written in music, but they will also be creating their own 'moves' with their lightsaber to go along with it~ I've recommended that students either work alone on this project or with only one other student partner. Not only can the movements get tricky with more than that number in a group, but, as I've said before, LIGHTSABERS! You, however, know your students better than I, so feel free to try it another way. Suggested prep and instructions on how to set up this activity are included in the download which, for Teacher Appreciation Week and Star Wars Day, is FREE for you!

UPDATE: I knew my students would like this activity, but I was not prepared for how much they'd love it. I prepared them with some of the rhythm cards from above to keep it easy. We reviewed how many beats each note value was worth and that there must be four beats in each measure, and then off they went to create with partners. We spent over 30 minutes of our 50 minute creating and writing and practicing. It was so fun! Some of the moves I've seen so far that I thought were creative were for half note=spin, rest=act like you exhausted from fighting, four sixteenth notes=pretend that your lightsabers are reacting to the blades touching (not sure if I described that clearly). I saw smiles and excitement from students that are normally very reserved or tend to have poor attitudes. This one's a KEEPER! :-D

THANK YOU all you wonderful music teachers out there who work so hard to bring the joy of music to our students and May the 4th be with you! :-)