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Gearing Up for Level III and a Sale!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! A special thank you to those who have fought to defend our freedom especially my grandpa and brother in law.

I have just completed my tonic solfa for all of the required songs from my Kodaly Level III packet. I am gearing up for a very busy two weeks starting June 2nd!

I am also very excited that several of my students will be participating in the WSU Kodaly Children's Choir Camp. I look forward to folk dancing with them, watching their rehearsals with the AMAZING Elaine Quilichini, and performing with them on our joint concert on June 14th.

I don't expect I will be adding much of anything to my store between now and the the end of Level 3, but I do have a long list of things I am hoping to get accomplished before the school year begins.

I do have a few products that may be helpful as you go through your planning. If you are a new(ish) teacher like me, you probably sit down and go through your concept plans, and yearly/monthly/lesson plans to see what went well, new ideas you have for next year, and ways to improve teaching all your concepts.

When I get done with level three I am going to make grade level binders. I will divide the binder into concept sections. Each section will include a concept plan, repertoire list, song materials, and lesson plans. I think having things a little more organized will help me move more effectively through the concepts and that I will like having everything I need for each concept together while planning.

Here are a few products on my TpT store that could help you with that:

Binder covers- I have several different colors (black, hot pink, red, blueberry- if you would like another color, I'd be happy to custom one for you!). Some are by grade level like this:

Some are by concept like this:

(Click on the pictures to see them in my store!)

I think I am going to use the grade level ones for this year and see how it goes, but I may use the concept ones as dividers.

I have also created these binder covers to organize your materials in whatever way works for you! Organize by grade level, concept, yearly plans, lesson plans, plus lots of extras! This is only available right now in the gray chevron print. I figured that this would be the most printer friendly, but if you would like another color, just let me know!

A few page examples. Use as binder covers or as dividers.

So how do you spend your summer? Planning, taking college courses, traveling, spending time with the family? We are currently 3 1/2 hours away from home at my in-laws with our 10 month old little girl. She's been such a good traveler!

Just one more thing- this weekend through Monday, May 27th, my entire store will be 10% off for Memorial Weekend. Take advantage of the sale to stock up on goodies for next year and to ease your summer time planning!

Last day & Creating a Music Room Story Corner {Part 1}

Yesterday was our last day with kiddos and we ended our awards ceremony  with a school wide Harlem Shake. All the kids thought that was pretty fun.

Today, I am so busy cleaning, organizing, and re-purposing many things in the music room.

Some of the things in my room I have just left from when I took a job at my school two years ago. I didn't go through everything and didn't know whether to keep things or get rid of things. In general I have a really hard time throwing things away. When my mom downsized to a smaller house I had a hard time going through everything to see what I should keep and get rid of.

Our PE teacher who is quite the opposite helped me go through my cabinets and part with many, many things this morning.

One thing I have not used is our record player and records. I have everything I need on itunes. I don't bother with CD players. I love having anything I would ever need to play at the click of a button, but the records and record players are some of the things that I am keeping in storage. You just never know! I also have a record converter, so I figure I better hang onto everything until I really get the chance to go through it all.

I had a huge metal shelf that housed all of these records. It was taking up a lot of space in my room and preventing me from having enough room to make a dedicated Story Corner (more on that in a bit).

I should have taken a picture of the really old dusty records that were hanging out, totally untouched, but I forgot. Here they are all stacked in the cabinet though:

I replaced all these records with my collection of children's books, which I like to use a lot of in my primary grades, and probably even more next year with the addition of Pre-K and kindergarten music. 

I can't wait to bring the rest of my books from home to add to my collection! I haven't had the space to put them, so I usually just take the books I need to school with me and bring them home when I'm done.

Now to the Reading Corner...
I would love to have a permanent reading corner in my room with a chair for me and either a big rug or carpet squares for each kid. So I will be on the lookout this summer for a rocking chair or something cute that I could put over there. Right now when I read a story, it's "Ok, come find a spot on the floor" since my kids usually sit in chairs and I just like to have them all gathered up by me for reading and singing stories.  I think that it will help students to have a designated "spot" to go to for story times.

I would really love to find a cool chair like this for my reading corner: 

or this:

I will have to keep my eyes open this summer for things to complete my story corner and keep you updated!
Let me know if you have something similar in your music classroom! I would love to see pictures!

Now if I could just find a new home for my old record, cassette, and cd tower...  it really is very nice, just not practical since I'm all hooked up through my laptop now, and it sure does take up space.

Have a great summer!

End of the Year

At the end of the year, I enjoy wrapping things up by saving a day or two to sing and play the kids' favorite songs, games, and stories. You know how you have the kid who asks you every time they see you "Mrs. Jervis, are we going to play Closet Key today?" and you always have other things planned, well I think it is more than ok to let them re-live their most exciting musical memories. I even let them pick songs/games/books from previous years. I display our favorite books where they can be seen and explain  that it is going to be a students' choice day. I call on several quiet hands and we make a list of possibilities on the board. After we have a good assortment, I have the kids close their eyes and vote for two favorites. We start with the game/activity that has the most votes and go from there. Most classes have time to play 3-4 games in 30 minutes, it just depends on the activities.

It is fun for me to see what they remember. Some students picked games all the way back from October!

With every class they really seem to be amazed how many songs/games/books we did throughout the year, and they really just scratched the surface.

It makes for a really great review of the songs and concepts from throughout the year.

Another thing I do with my first graders to review the comparatives (Fast/Slow, Loud/Soft, High/Low) is a little End of the Year Comparatives Quiz.

I put it up on my Teachers Pay Teachers store as a flash freebie. For those who may not know, a flash freebie is free for a certain amount of time. You can take advantage of this free PDF today (5-14-13).

 Here is a list of the songs/chants that I use that correspond with the clip art above and an answer key.

"Two Little Stars" is an altered poem. I might use the Bella part and my pink star manipulative for number 8. Find the poem here.

"Mortimer" is a book that I use for loud/soft. The kids just love Mortimer. This book is great for loud/soft, fast/slow, high/low and vocal exploration, but I bring it out specifically for preparing loud/soft.
You can buy it on Amazon here:

I've also included a blank one in case you have different songs you would like to use in the download from my store.

What kind of activities do you do to wrap up your year?

Materials for Teaching Tika-Ti

I've just finished another bundled set of materials! You can check out the Songs and Materials to teach tika-ti bundle here.

I am trying to get my 4th and 5ht graders caught up on the Kodaly Sequence, but it is definitely a process since reading rhythms and solfege is brand new to them. I am hoping to present tika-ti by the end of the year (eek, we are getting down to the wire!). 

Here are some fun songs and resources from my collection for tika-ti (or whatever you call it in your rhythm language).

Here's a short sample of one PDF slides from one of the songs:

Presenting tika-ti! (I also made slides to say tiri-ti, tipi-ti, ta-ka-di, duda-de) Let me know if you have yet another way to say this rhythm and I would be happy to make revisions to fit your rhythm language

I also have a very fun rhythm game and printables that are included in this set.


You can see more details about the Skipping Rope Song here.

The songs and flashcards from this set are also sold separately on my TpT store.

Maypole Fun

When I took the job at my school two years ago, I inherited this fantastic maypole:
Apparently the maintenance people (who are amazing!) at our school made it a few years ago. The pole is a really thick pvc pipe. The ribbons are attached to a rotating bike wheel at the top. Even though it rotates, the ribbons still create a fantastic weave! Usually sand bags are placed over the boards at the base, but we could not find them. The must have walked away for something else.

Last year I did not get the maypole out because I had no clue how to do it or teach it and it seemed incredibly daunting last year. This year as May drew nearer I knew that I wanted to try it. I started researching maypole dancing.

Here were some helpful links:

And here is a link about making your own:

1. Have every student stand beside a ribbon
2. Demonstrate how to hold the ribbon (in your hand farthest away in the maypole,using your other hand to guide the ribbon over and under). I had everyone facing clockwise. Our ribbons were long enough that I told my kids that they should have a "tail" hanging down from their hand. We practiced how to make the tails longer or shorter so that the ribbons would not touch the floor.
3. The first time through we just walked in our circle. We may sure not to pass anyone and keep ourselves evenly spaced. Once I could see that was successful, we would turn and go the other way, then we would try the same thing with skipping feet.

4. Then we would number off (1, 2) and I would have my 2's (blue in picture below) stay put and my 1's (greens) got to weave in and out the 2's. I would call "under" and "over" and I modeled what that would look like for both ones and twos. Starting out we moved very slowly and I would wait til all my ones had progressed one space before I would give the next call. In a few of my classes I would have a student who would move ahead of my instructions and it would mess up the weave and we would have to restart. After that, everyone listened perfectly because the really wanted to be able to create the weave and unweave it correctly. 

My first graders were even able to do this weave! Here's a picture from one of my third grade classes. Sorry it's not the best quality but it gives you an idea. I didn't have enough kids for every ribbon, so I wound the extra ribbons around the maypole before we started the song so they would be out of the way. You can see them below the weave in the picture (blue and orange ribbons). 

Here is a link to some other weaves you could try: 

The music I used to accompany our maypole dancing was from the Amidons CD that I already owned. I did not buy any specific music for the maypole, but I just used an instrumental reel and it worked perfectly.

In other news, this week is Teacher Appreciation day, and Teachers Pay Teachers is celebrating with a site wide sale starting on May 7th. Everything on the site will be at least 10% off and most teachers are throwing a sale on top of that so some stores can be up to 28% off (mine included!). This would be a great time to get  stocked up before summer to help with your yearly planning. 

So hop on over and check out my store. Sale prices will show up on May 7th, but you can always get your wishlist ready. Of if your wishlist is already full and you have just been waiting for a great sale, your wait is almost over!

You can also check out my newest item, Charlie (Over the River to Feed My Sheep): Slides for teaching tika-ti - friendly to whatever rhythm syllables you use! Just click on the picture below!

Mother's Day Cards from the Music Room

This will be my first Mother's Day as a mommy! 

Being a mom is definitely life changing. I never knew how much I could love someone. I never knew what it  was really like to lay down your own wants, needs and desires for the needs of someone else (hello 2 AM feedings! - thankfully Ellie is now sleeping through the nights most of the time). 

I definitely have less time to devote to lesson planning and creating for my classroom than I had before I became a mom, and sometimes it can be hard to find the right balance so that you are giving the right amount of attention to both your children, spouse and your kids at school.

Do any of you that have small children have any advice for moms who keep their teaching job?

I am very glad that I am still teaching, I think it is where I am supposed to be. I think I would go crazy if I were home all day. When I do get home though I like to spend that time with Ellie and not planning lessons. How do you balance kids and job?

In honor of Mother's Day, I also posted some sweet little cards that your kiddos can make for mom that also help to practice ta, titi and ta rest.

Check them out here: