menu   home About Me My Classroom Guest Post Workshops Guest Post

2,000 Followers Giveaway

I am truly amazed that there are 2,000+ people out there who like my resources enough to follow me on TpT, so I wanted to have a big celebration for hitting that 2K follower mark!

Celebrate on Facebook: Follow me on Facebook for a flash freebie coming this week!

Celebrate on Teachers Pay Teachers: Check in this week for a surprise one day sale in my TpT store. If you are following on Facebook, you will get a heads up on there too!

Celebrate on my Blog: This giveaway will run starting today through Saturday, Aug. 30th. There are lots of prizes and lots of chances to win!

Enter all of the rafflecopters below for a chance to win each of the following prizes!

- 1 of 2 $50 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificates
a Rafflecopter giveaway

- Your choice of any of my kindergarten lesson plans (#2-8)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read more about my lesson planning here.

- My Voice Cards (I'm calling it "Four Voices" because I use four in my classroom - speaking, whisper, calling, and singing, but I have also added shouting, humming, and inner voice posters as well!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you enter each rafflecopter for your chance to win! Good luck and have a great school year!

Music Classroom Set Up

Hello, and welcome to a new school year. I am already two days in with my students, and August has just been a whirlwind, so I am just now getting around to putting up all of the pictures I took of my room as I was putting it all together. I am linking up with Mrs. Miracle's post, "My Music Room Set Up". You can click this picture to see her room set up as well as several other music teachers who have linked up at the bottom of her post. Let's be honest, I have no idea where I would be without Pinterest and other music bloggers when it comes to setting up my room, so I am really excited to share my room this year!

I have a huge room.
It is a blessing in so many ways that I can have plenty of room for any folk dancing, the sound is great, I get natural light from outside and the high ceilings make it seem even more open.

There are a few downsides to my room though. Nearly all my walls are covered with windows, white board, and cabinets, so I really don't have as much wall space as I wish, and I have not gotten really brave and put anything on the walls really high up. 

I decided I wanted to go with a nautical theme in my room this year after seeing some really cute clip art and being inspired by a few images online. I have two small bulletin boards and one big one and that's about all of the wall space I have. On my first board, I decided that I wanted to have something with the lines and spaces of the staff, so I came up with this board:
For my big board, by the entrance in the back of my room, I decided to replace my quote board from last year with this new quote:

I made the lighthouse out of wrapping paper, the bottom of the board is burlap scrunched and stapled. I really like the other boarder I used. It was double sided border and has animal print on the reverse side. I figured I could save it for whenever I do a "Wild About Music" board.

In the limited wall space beside my window, I hung my recorder rules.

 These bookshelves house my small Orff instruments, all of my classroom percussion instruments, vocal exploration toys, puppets, small buckets and tin cans for bucket drumming, and a few of my manipulatives.

Last year I created a story corner in my room and I love it. I like having my books displayed so that I can easily find what I am looking for and have a dedicated place to put them. I also have my movement/folk dancing word wall in this corner. 

I found these cute fish magnets at Dollar Tree, and I have 16 small heartbeats and 8 larger heartbeat magnets. Those are SO useful!!!  

On my other small bulletin board, Solfa Street has morphed into Solfa Sea this year! I've just been using push pins on them so I can take them off and add them with different grades. I keep a lot of manipulatives (rhythm flashcards, student staffs, high/low charts, pointers, etc.) on this table that I use frequently, and it's a good place to lay what I will need for the day. I'm also using Aileen Miracle's "I can" objectives for each grade level. I love how they work even when I am preparing a concept!

Because of my limited wall space and my addiction to pinterest, the last two years I have used the sides of my file cabinets as makeshift bulletin boards. I used wrapping paper for the background and just taped trim around it. I plan to use one for a "Composer of the Month" and on another I am thinking about creating a magnetic tone ladder. I'll post pictures if I do! :) 

                   And I have my music rules are displayed on the board.                       

Thanks for peeking in my room! What do you think of the theme this year?

Lesson Planning

I have gotten a lot of questions on my Facebook page about lesson plans, from templates to actually planning, so this blog post will hopefully help you with just that!

Once I finish my long range (yearly or monthly) plans, I start to break it down, looking at what concepts I am preparing, practicing, and presenting in each month and begin to find the songs that will fit those concepts.

For each lesson I make a column for rhythm and pitch so that I make sure that I am addressing both (no matter where I am in the Prepare/Present/Practice) in each lesson. It looks something like this. I start off just listing things and then I put them in order once I figure out how I want to weave the songs together (that's what the numbers are for):

My first two years teaching I know there would be lessons where I would focus too much on rhythm and barely get to pitch, so making sure that I get a good helping of both kinds of activities has been a big focus in my planning since completing level 3 Kodaly training. I have also paid more thought to my transitions and how I will move from one activity or song to the next. In kindergarten, especially at the beginning, I tend to weave things together with stories, but as my kids get older I find more musical transitions. You can read more about those here.

Last year, when I added kindergarten and pre-k once a month I knew I wasn't going to have them enough to have a seating chart, so I thought a lot about where they would be in my room, how they would enter my room etc. I decided I would have them start each class entering to music so that from the moment they walk into the door they are totally immersed in music. That wasn't something I had done with my 1st-5th, but it worked wonderfully. This year as I move to full day kindergarten and getting to see them three times a week, I am going to have to come up with a much longer playlist, but I love having something different every day (or every few days) to keep them on their toes.

So basically once I have the rhythm and pitch concepts covered for my lesson, I figure out how I want them to be sequenced in my lesson. Which activities would be better at the beginning, the middle the end? I try to mix high and low areas of concentration. I always try to start and end with something that doesn't require a lot of brainpower, and put the "meat" or higher level thinking things in the middle of my lesson.  So the pages of my lesson plan might look like this:
Standards addressed... still getting used to the new ones, objectives, Prepare/Present/Practice, materials, song list

Again a more detailed breakdown of which songs I am using for beat/rhythm concept, and which I am using for pitch/melodic concepts: 

And then procedures.... this is the HOW. How am I going to use this song? What am I doing with it? How am I going to get from this song to the next? How are my STUDENTS going to get from this song to the next? 
I usually don't script them out this detailed for just myself. In a perfect world where my fairy godmother comes and grants me a million extra hours in my day, maybe! BUT... I have just uploaded a sample lesson plan for Day 1 of Kindergarten. I do a lot more with procedures and music room rules than I do later in the year, but I still try to immediately immerse them in music, singing, moving, listening, etc. You can find this first day lesson for free here:

This lesson plan includes copies of all of the songs I use, unless they are copyrighted in which case I provide a link to where you can find it, as well as links to book, recordings and other resources that I am using in that lesson.

It is not intended to be a "print and teach", but a model to guide your own planning, show you what a lesson in my room at the beginning of the year might look like, and give you ideas for things to incorporate into your lessons or additional resources that you might want to have in your classroom.

This first lesson is free sample of a semester long set of lessons that I am working on. Each will be in the same kind of format, opening with some kind of movement/listening for the kids to enter, and scripted throughout the entire lesson so that you know HOW I am using the songs and WHY. Again, these are not print and go, but they may contain a lot of new ideas that you can pull from. Find out more about the full semester set of 36 Kindergarten lessons here:

Once I have my lessons planned for all of the grades for that week, I put them into a typed planner that looks like this:
An editable version of this is included in the free Kindergarten Lesson #1 download.

 It takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to put your own lesson plans "out there". I have had many requests, and I am a bit nervous to do this because I know there is not a one size fits all when it comes to kids, music teachers, classrooms, resources available, scheduling, etc. I sincerely would welcome and appreciate your feedback on these lessons and hope that you find bits or pieces that you can use in your classroom!

Products for Prep and a TpT SALE

Here are some of the things from my store that I think will help your year get started off on the right track!

1) MUSIC Rules {Posters and Songs}

I believe it is so important to get kids used to singing, moving and playing games from the first day of music. Last summer I was really stuck on how to get in more singing on the first day while you are also worried about getting all of your rules and procedures covered. I decided one thing I could do was set my rules to folk tunes. Now, this is not a very "Kodaly" thing to do because obviously the words are contrived, but it is much more enjoyable for both me and my students to learn the rules through song. I found that it helped the remember the rules better and if a rule wasn't being followed, sometimes I would only have to hum the tune and the kids knew exactly what I meant and were right back on track.

For my rules, they spell out "MUSIC"
M- Make good choices
U- Use kind words
S- Show respect to classmates, teacher, and the music
I- Involve yourself
C- Care for our room and instruments

I have a little poster for each one.

I put magnetic tap to the back and hang them on my board. This stuff is amazing! I cut a piece for each corner that was maybe a 1/2 inch and I still have plenty left!

Each rule has a song, set to a familiar folk tune. Last year since the rules and songs were brand new to my students, I just focused on one a day so we could talk about what it meant, learn the song, but not waste our entire 30 minutes on learning the music room rules songs. So it took me five class periods to cover all of them. This year with the upper grades, since most of the kids will already know them, we will go over all of them quickly on the first day, with a bit of role playing and breaking/following the rules demonstrations, sing the song that corresponds and move on! K and 1st grade I will do as I did last year and do one per day.

Here's an example of what the songs are like:
If you are interested in a set of rules posters and songs like this for your classroom, I have these three different themes:

In my poolside planning post, I shared a free sample of how I get started with my yearly. If you would like to see each grade level laid out by rhythmic and melodic concepts for the whole year as well as a song list for each grade level divided by rhythmic and melodic concepts, you might be interested in my "Ready, Set Plan" file which will map out the whole year, or my "Off to the Races" which will map out the first semester. 

The excel files are completely editable (for personal use) so if your kids are in different places or you need to spend more or less time on a concept, you can totally adjust as needed. The song lists should not be taken as "grade level" song lists, but more of "concept song lists" so if your fourth graders are just now getting to re it's not a big deal, you just go with where YOUR kids are at. Everyone's schedule is different I have seen a LOT of crazy schedules out there. We are all doing the best we can with the time we are given. 

Whether you would love to have some new posters for your wall, instrument labels, binder covers, or ready-made bulletin boards sets, you can probably find it in my store.

This year I am going with a quotes of "Music Washes Away from the Soul the Dust of Everyday Life" and "Music is like the ocean, it belongs to everyone" as my inspiration for my nautical themed music room. 

Although my room decor isn't all up yet, I really love the way it is coming together!

I will be sure to post more pictures when I get the whole thing done!