menu   home About Me My Classroom Guest Post Workshops Guest Post

Top 10 Things I want to do this SUMMER

I am linking up with top TPT seller, Deanna Jump, to bring you the top 10 things I want to do this summer.

1. Spend time with my family. My daughter, Ellie, is at such a fun age. I want to enjoy every moment with her and my hubby, Ben, who will also be off all summer as he is a 6-12 band teacher.

2. Learn to play guitar. Ben got me a guitar for Christmas and I am sad to say that it hasn't made it out of the case much. I'd love to be able to accompany some of my folk songs on guitar, especially some of the dances and song tales/long songs.

3. Go to VEGAS! Ben and I are taking a trip to Vegas along with my sister in law! This will be our first trip away from Ellie, but she will be in great care with her grandparents who I am sure are eagerly awaiting the trip! While we are there I will be attending the first ever TeachersPayTeachers conference, sight seeing, and going to a few shows!

4. Present two workshops for my district- I will be teaching a beginning blogging workshop and an advanced Teachers Pay Teachers workshop in my district. If you live close to Haysville, KS, you can register here for either workshop. 

I taught a beginning TPT workshop back in January. If you would like to get started as a seller on TPT, you can check out my presentation here:

5. Celebrate Ellie's 2nd birthday! I can't believe that this little girl is going to turn 2 years old at the end of July. Time just feels like it is slipping through my fingers.

6. Sit in on some of the Kodaly Levels classes. I completed my Kodaly Levels Certification training at WSU last summer, but I am hoping to pop in with some candy and words of encouragement for the people taking their levels this summer and hopefully get a refresher on some of the Level 1 things. I took Level 1 in 2011 and sometimes just getting a refresher on some of the games or steps in the sequence would be SO helpful.


^^^ These lovely teachers will be completing their Level 3 this summer!

7. Plan for next year. Each summer I try to give myself the best head start I can on the school year. My school will be adding full time kindergarten (3 sections) so I will have them added to my schedule 3 times a week per class and I will also be adding PreK to my schedule once a week. I need to sit down with my American Methodology and Yearly Planner and crank out lots of lesson plans!

8. Create more resources to use in my own classroom and for TPT! I admit it, I am totally addicted to creating things to use for my students and I just love that other teachers want to use them also! 
I don't want to give it all away but I am hoping to create more "Ready Set Print!" Kodaly quick assessment/worksheet pages. What I love about these is that they are FAST- we're talking less than five minutes, but really get to the heart of whether or not the kids are getting the concept.

9. Take Ellie on a mini-vacation. We've never stayed overnight with Ellie anywhere except my in-laws, but we are contemplating taking a short trip up to Kansas City or something. Just a way to get all of us out of the house. Ellie is like her mommy, we both get a little stir crazy if we are cooped up too long!
Looks like I will have to check out this blog post for some ideas! If you are in the Kansas City Area please comment below and let me know of some 2 year old friendly things to do in the KC area!

10. Find fun things to do around Wichita with Ellie. My secretary is so sweet. She printed out a list of fun, free things to do with a toddler around town. It includes all of the summer library story times, toddler swim times at the YMCA, and more! I haven't been able to find the link for the print out she gave me but here's another list for Wichita parents!

What's on your summer "to do" list?

Design My Music Room Contest

Every summer I spend so much time thinking about how I am going to decorate my music room for the year. I spend hours (probably days or weeks) on Pinterest scouring through music bulletin board pictures and classroom organization idea. 

I loved my room design and bulletin boards this year. I kind of went with a bird theme!
Click on the picture above to see my MUSIC room rules posters and songs in my store.

Click here for bulletin board cut outs, lettering counts, and instructions.

Have you ever day a great idea for your music room decor, but just don't have the time or know how or resources to put it together? Well next year may be your lucky year.

I am so excited to announce a "Design My Music Room Contest!

What it entails:
A few lucky people will receive a music classroom kit (bulletin board layouts, letter counts, posters, instrument labels, solfege hand signs, anything you can think of that you need to decorate your room) designed by yours truly absolutely free!

How to enter:
Comment below with the following:

1) Room theme- choose a theme for your room. It could be based off a quote like mine was this year ("The woods would be very silent..."- don't choose this or birds since that was my theme from last year!), or it could be a more generic theme like "Soaring High in Music", "Wild About Music", the list goes on.

2) Come up with two bulletin board ideas/headings

3) List any other room decor that you would want included in this kit besides bulletin boards. (MUSIC class rules with your theme, schedule cards, hand sign posters, lesson planner cover, dynamics posters, instrument labels, inspirational posters- SERIOUSLY, include anything you need to decorate your room- that I am capable of!).

4) Leave your email address so that if I chose to create your music room design, I can send you a free copy!

Selection will mostly be based on whether I can find good clip art to suit the project and whether I feel excited and inspired by it. I am not sure at this time how many winners will be selected. It all depends on the number of entries and the time I have available to work on them over the summer.

If you enter, please read through any other entries to make sure that your idea hasn't already been said. If two ideas are really similar, the free file will go to the first teacher that left the comment.

I am excited to see what you come up with!

Ideas for Surviving the End of the School Year and a $2 Tuesday Flash Sale

I am linking up today with Amy Abbott and several other music teachers to share some ideas for surviving the end of the school year.

TIPS #1: Keep them moving with singing games and folk dancing
Jump Jim Joe

jump jim joe.png
This is the closest version I could find to the one I do with my kids.I use the recording from the Amidons and I have the inside circle move because it is a shorter distance to travel. When teaching a double circle dance, make sure you are always on the outside so that you can see everyone! This will eliminate a lot of problems.
Our Old Sow

I learned this game from Jo Kirk last summer and my kids LOVE IT!

TIP #2: Keep them "on track" and engaged in music learning until the end. I usually spend the last 2-3 weeks as review time to practice the concepts we got through that year as well as looking ahead to next year to prepare the upcoming concepts for the fall.

I've been using my "Race to the Finish Line" planning guide to keep myself and my kiddos "on track" from January through May.
(click the picture above to see it in my TPT store)
It includes song lists for each grade as well as an excel file for each grade that lays out the different concepts through the second half of the school year.  Since it is in excel, it is totally editable. You can add song titles under each concepts, or move the concepts to a different month depending on where you are in your sequence.

TIP #3 Remember the good times!

Music should be a JOYFUL experience for your students. It is so much fun to take a moment and reflect on the experiences shared together in music. I created some "Music Memories" pages for each grade level so that I can see what they remember most about our year together, their favorite singing game, favorite piece we listened to and more. The packet is totally editable, so you can add your own questions if you think it is something you would be interested in using with your kids.

(click on the picture above to see it in my TPT store)

One more fun thing I wanted to share with you was the a bunch of music teachers will be teaming up for another $2Tuesday on TPT. Enter "$2TuesdayMusicFlashSale" in the search bar on TPT to see all of the hugely discounted items from some amazing TPT music teacher/authors.

The file from my store will be my melodic flashcards for preparing and practicing sol-mi.

(click on the picture above to see it in my store)

These flashcards are amazing resources for melodic transitions between songs. I could have a mystery song on the board like this: 
Starlight Starbright

See Saw

I don't have cards for "2,4,6,8" but I had my kids construct it using the cards from the other songs. Then we added the rhythms above. Next time we will transfer to the staff.

The kit includes 164 flashcards designed to go with the following songs:

Bee Bee Bumblebee
Blue Bird (1st measure)
Come Back Home My Little Chicks
Doggie, Dogggie (1st measure)
Hey Hey Look at Me
Rain Rain Go Away
See Saw Up and Down
See the Old Witch
Snail, Snail (1st measure)
Starlight Starbright

Pitch is shown using: 
Icons only (can be used in the preparation stage)

Icons w/ solfege
Icons on staff
Rhythm stick notation w/ solfa (where rhythms are appropriate)
Icons on staff with solfa
Standard notation with solfa inside note head

What are your tips for surviving the end of the school year?

Must Have Monday


I am linking up with Amy Abbott from Music a la Abbott today with Must Have Monday.

(Click on the picture to see Amy's "Must Haves" along with all the other music teachers who have linked up!)

We thought this link up would be a great way to show you some of our "Must Haves" in our music rooms and some things that we are adding to our TPT Wishlist for the SITE WIDE TEACHER APPRECIATION SALE Tomorrow, May 6- Wed. May 7. 
(Click on the image above to visit my store and see all of the great things 28% off starting 5-6-14 at Midnight Eastern time)

During the sale, I will be joining in with several classroom teachers who are offering 50% off one item in their store. I am offering my End of the Year Awards at 1/2 off! They are in full color and they are EDITABLE! 
Simply enter the code "teachersloveteachers" in the search back on TPT to find all the 1/2 off products!
(Click on the picture to see the 1/2 off items!- Everything else in my store will be 28% off)

That's right! Get your wishlist ready! I will be stocking up on a few things to finish out my year as well as some things I've seen in the last few months that I know I want for next year along with some SUPER CUTE clip art to work into some new projects!

If I had to choose one thing from my tpt store that I really would not want to live without it would have to be my Solfa Street slides and bulletin board set. 

My kids just LOVE when a new note moves onto Solfa Street. I have had a lot of people ask for the story that I use when presenting each new character/house on Solfa Street, and unfortunately, I don't feel that it is something that I can share as it is kind of a mix of how my methodology teachers presented it to me and a combination of my own ideas, but I will give you the "gist" of how I use it.
Any time I am getting ready to present a new melodic concept, I pull up a Solfa Street slide that shows the houses we know and asked is our new sound higher or lower than ____________ (other known solfa). We sing again and figure out where the house should go.

I show the presentation slide. Within many of my song files it shows the hand sign as well as the house moving onto Solfa Street.

The kids notice everything too. "Why does la have a skinny house, but sol and mi have a fat house?" "Well, remember how I told you sol and mi are best friends and they like to copycat each other? Well, la is a very independent person. She likes to do her own thing, so her house is skinny." This leads into if sol and mi live in a space, la lives on the line above sol...and so on.

I use a story about sol and mi being best friends and their families are both looking for a new place to live and they happen upon this musical street called Solfa Street that ran up and down a mountain. Only musicians could move onto Solfa street. Sol's family moves onto Solfa street choosing a spot that is not too high and not too low. Sol calls his friend, mi, and mi's family builds a house also. They are awfully afraid of heights, so they build their house closer to the bottom. 

Transfer to high/low charts. Who lives higher on Solfa Street? (sol) Great! Let's change that H to an s. And who will live lower? (mi), and off we go with a few dictation patterns of sol-mi on a one line staff.

I would encourage you if you have not used Solfa Street before to give it a try. Sit down this summer and come up with your own story. Make it yours. Make it wild! The kids will love it!

I have a bulletin board in my class that stays up year round. I use push pins instead of staples the houses so that they can come on and off with different classes. I tell them "Make sure to remind me to take la down since 1st grade doesn't know it yet" etc, and they love that. I think next year I will move solfa street onto a part of my board and put magnets on the back of the houses.

A "must have" from another teacher is this set of Dance Formation Posters. I can't wait to get these printed off for next year. I think they will be a huge to my visuals learners when we set up different dance formations!

One of the (too) many items on my wish list that I hope to purchase in the next two days is this lovely set of clip art: 

I'm hoping to use this set of clip art to add on to my Songs and Rhymes for Young Children set. 

Baa Baa Black Sheep is currently a top song request from my daughter, Ellie. She calls it "Baa Baa Sheep", so I thought this would be a fun set to add. She really enjoys these rhymes and and songs and loves wearing the crows that I've made for that packet. 

So many times our preschool and kindergarten students come to us without knowing these songs and rhymes that are such an important part of our cultural heritage. I hope this set helps to preserve them it some small way and brings the songs and rhymes back into the homes of these children.

What's on your wish list? Make sure you check out the other music teacher's Must Have's! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! :)

Throwback Thursday: Star Actvities

Happy May Day! 

I am linking up with Aileen Miracle today for a Throwback Thursday. This is an opportunity for me to take a blog post from a long time ago and re-post it so that maybe those who haven't seen it yet may have the opportunity to get some new ideas!

This post comes from March 2013.

Since I don't see kindergarten, my first graders are preparing high/low and so/mi at the same time. We are very close to presenting high/low and hopefully I will get to so-mi by the end of April.

I used the poem "Two Little Puppets" but I changed it to "Two Little Stars" to fit with my other songs of the day.

Two little stars 
One on each hand
Isn't she pretty
Isn't he grand
Her name is Bella
His name is Bo
She says "Hi" (high voice)
He says "Hello" (low voice)

I found these glow in the dark star wands at my local Dollar Tree. We turned the lights down and used the pink star as Bella, holding her way up high in the sky and the blue star was our Bo, and he lived lower in the sky. My kids adored this and wanted to have turns holding the stars and helping with Bella's (high) voice and Bo's (low) voice.

Then we played a game with the song "Starlight Starbright" and I went around the circle with my star wand singing. At the end of the song, whoever it landed on got to make a wish and even though that doesn't sound all that exciting, to a first grader, it is. And they ALL want a turn to think their wish (because if you say it out loud it won't come true!). This year I added an Orff bourdune that the students got to play if the star landed on them. It made for an easy way to take a few turns and not be bent out of shape if we didn't get turns because the star was picking. ;)

We put the high and low sounds on our bodies to help our kinesthetic learners.

I bring this song back out again in another lesson with a counting book called Dreaming

I sing "Starlight, Starbright" on the page turns. You could really use any night time sleepy book. I like that this one is a counting book and mentions stars and was already a part of my book collection. 

We also did a movement exploration called "Star Dance" from John Feierabend's Movement Exploration Book. We use our hands to be the stars. The stars rise up in the sky, dance together and apart and then travel across the galaxy where they dance with other stars. It is so fun to see the kids move expressively to beautiful music. I think they feel like artists and musicians when they do! :)

Later, when I am ready for high/low practice or sol-mi I bring these visuals out.

 Icons for high/low:

 Icons for so mi:

 so and mi with icons on the staff:

 Icons on staff without solfege:
 Real notes with solfege on staff (f do):

 Notes on staff (g do):

 Standard notation without solfege (f do):

 Standard notation without solfege (g do):

 Iconic pitch flashcards - print and cut on dotted line.

 Rhythm worksheet:

This packet is available on my TPT page: click here!