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Thanksgiving Week {Take a Peek at my Week}

Looking for some ideas for your elementary music classes in the days or weeks leading up to Thanksgiving?

1) Ho Ho Watanay - I used this song with kindergarten and first grade this week. In kindergarten it was perfect timing as we are practicing loud/soft and introducing the term "lullaby". We also tapped on the feathers to the feel of the music (preparing the steady beat). In first grade, we review the beat tapping page, but then take it a step further and look at the rhythm of the song. It is great ta and titi practice. We play the rhythms on hand drums as we sing.

You can find slides for the song "Ho Ho Watanay" here. This file teaches loud/soft, lullaby, prepares and practices steady beat, prepares/practices rhythm of the words and ta/titi.

2) Children's Literature for Thanksgiving in the Music Room
I introduce the song "Ho Ho Watanay" with the book "Northwoods Cradle Song". I sing the song on the page turns following every page that reads "Sleep, little warrior, sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep." I have looked all over for a song or melody to go with this book from the Menominee tribe, but have not found one yet. Ho Ho Watanay is actually an Iroquois lullaby, but because of the theme of the book and song, I pair them together.

I used the book, "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims" last week with kindergarten. They enjoyed comparing the lives of the pilgrims and Indians in the book. 

I love to use the "I know an Old Lady..." books. I have several of them and they may great "fill in the blank" books as Jo Kirk would call them. I sing most of the book, but give the students a special part to sing, in this case the "perhaps she'll die". Thank goodness she doesn't die in this book. She just inflates until she becomes a balloon in the Thanksgiving Day parade. Hopefully none of us eat that much over Thanksgiving! ;)

3) Pumpkin Patch Rhythm Compositions
I had to be gone a couple days this month, so I left this "Pumpkin Patch Rhythm Composition" activity for a few classes while I was gone. It was easy for them to do while I was away, gave them more practice writing and working with a specific set of rhythms. I had them do these compositions with a partner and then on a later day, they combined with another pair and taught the other pair their composition and created one long composition out of the two that was 16 beats. The group of four then performed them for the class when I was there, so I was able to use it as a composition and performance assessment and assess two different skills. Working with a partner and then teaching their composition to another pair was really neat to watch. I could tell that because they were writing, manipulating, and teaching it, they really "got it". 

4) Turkey Trot Rhythm Races
My kids love rhythm races. They are fun and competitive. I love that it gives me a chance to see which kids really are getting it. I divide the class into teams. My classes have about 25 kids, so I do five teams with 4-5 kids on each team.

The teams stand in lines next to their team color turkey. I read/clap/or play a rhythm and one player from each team races to the other end of the room. When they get there, they see piles with turkeys of their team's color. They must locate the correct rhythm and bring it back to their team. The first team to bring back the correct rhythm gets 2 points. If they bring back a correct rhythm, but they are not first, they get 1 point for their team. If they bring back an incorrect rhythm, they get 0 points and they have to go take it back because they will eventually need to find that rhythm.

(Photo shared from the classroom of Shelley Potter).

I hope you have enjoyed a peek at my week and some of the things I am doing right before Thanksgiving!

10 Music Teachers to Follow on Pinterest

When I started my second year of teaching I slowly began to see that I could find things on Pinterest besides DIY projects, recipes, and cute outfits. I could find ideas to for the music classroom. Now, there weren't a ton of music education pins back then, but there were some really great ones that gave me fresh ideas to bring to my music room. Now, my music Pinterest boards are so many things.

- A way to organize resources by concept
- A way to share my ideas
- A way to save the stellar ideas of others
- A glimpse of what I hope for my music room

If you have never used Pinterest before, you really must check it out! You can search for pins or boards using the search bar, and follow any person or board that interests you. If you are looking for some new boards or music teachers to follow, check out this list and you will see some of the best resources for elementary music teachers.

1. Lindsay Jervis from Kodaly Inspired Classroom

That's my Pinterest page! Check out my favorite boards, Kodaly Inspired Music Classroom, where I pin my very favorite ideas for my classroom as well as resources I have created, and my board, Children's Literature for the Kodaly Music Class.

2. Aileen Miracle from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room

I love Aileen's board, Music Education Games, which is full of games for the Kodaly Inspired Classroom. You should also check out her Music Centers board. It has so many great ideas and resources to help you attempt centers in the music room, which is something I would like to gradually do more of.

3. Amy Abbott from Music a la Abbott 

Amy has a lot of great boards. My personal favorites are her Music Education Blogs which links to tons of her amazing blogs posts and her Elementary Music - Listening board which has tons of great links and videos for listening lessons.

Notice the red box that says "Follow". Somehow I wasn't already following all of Amy's boards. You can select individual boards to follow or follow all of a pinner's boards by clicking that red "Follow" button. Now, I am following all of Amy's boards! :)

4. Cori Bloom from Rhythm & Bloom

I love Cori' Classroom Organization and Storage board! It is filled with a lot of little tricks to help you keep your space organized. You should also check out her Music Listening board to see some of her amazing resources to incorporate more listening into your music lessons.

 5. Tracy King THE Bulletin Board Lady

Be sure to check out her board, Mrs. King's Music Class. This links to a lot of her blog posts and products. You should also follow her Bulletin Board Ideas. Now, she is the Bulletin Board Lady after all, so she doesn't just have one board for bulletin board ideas. She has pinterest boards full of pins for back to school, composers, and every month of the year. There is no shortage of bulletin board ideas here.

6. Jena Hudson from Sew Much Music 

When checking out Jena's boards, be sure to follow Music Class Ideas, which includes all kinds of ideas to try to incorporate into your music classroom. I also have gotten a lot of great ideas from her Technology in the Music Classroom board.

7. David Row from Make Moments Matter

If you aren't already following David, you probably just need to go ahead and follow all of his boards. They are seriously chalk full of some of the best ideas out there! First you should visit his My Classroom board to get a peek at what he is doing with his kids. I also love his board for Teaching Form. So many great ideas!

8. Sara Bibee from Music with Sara Bibee 

Check out Sara's board Music With Sara Bibee to see all of her amazing resources. You might also love her Elem Music board. It has some great videos of singing games!

9. Elaine Ford from Mrs. Ford's Melodies

If you visit Elaine Ford's pinterest boards, scroll down a bit to find her music ed boards. She has a great board called Classroom Ideas that is full of music classroom organizational and decorative pins. So much inspiration! I LOVE LOVE LOVE her board Music & Literature. I've already found some new books to add to my wishlist from this board.

10. Brittany De Laruelle from Make Music 

Brittany's boards look super organized and her board covers make it easy to find anything you might be looking for. My personal favorites of her boards are Melody Concepts and Rhythm Concepts boards.

I hope that gives you lots of boards and/or music teachers to follow on Pinterest! What would we do without Pinterest?


As a part of my #ThankfulMusicTeacher blog posts, I want to say a special "Thank you!" for all of the teachers who are using my resources in their classrooms with their kiddos or in their planning. Take a picture of a resource in action (it can even be a freebie from my store) and post it on my Facebook or send it to me at to receive one free item from my store of your choice ($3 or less). I will be sharing these photos on my Facebook and/or blog, so please let me know if I need to cover any student faces. Happy to do that! :)

(Ends 11/30/15)

Thankful Music Teacher {Part 1}

Every year when November rolls around many of my Facebook friends post something they are thankful for every day. It's not something I have done, but I do enjoy reading them, and it does make me stop and count my blessings and say "Thank you" for all of the precious gifts in my life.

I am thankful to be a music teacher, but I would be totally lost on my own. So over the next few weeks I am going to share some of the things I am thankful for that have helped me grow professionally. Maybe some of these ideas will be new to you, and maybe you are already thankful for some of the same things!

Which brings me to today's thought:

How many of you are the only ones in your building? Do you ever feel like you are on an island trying to figure it all out for yourself and re-inventing the wheel at every turn? You don't have to feel that way. While your school may not ever need to hire a second music teacher, and it may always be music teacher party of one, there are so many music teachers with tons of ideas and experience just WAITING to give you some advice, tell you about a singing game, or help give you new song ideas to freshen up you folk song collection. 

If these music groups on Facebook were a thing my first year teaching (six years ago) I certainly knew nothing of them. I LOVE when I see music majors and first year teachers in these groups. They are getting help and ideas early on. They are also learning that some of their struggles are struggles for others too. It's an amazing community to be a part of.

So here are some of my very favorite Facebook music groups. Some may be open to anyone; some you may have to request to join. All have been invaluable to me.

If you don't already have a Facebook page for your state organizations, you should definitely consider it! Here's our Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas page. It lets everyone know about upcoming workshops, but it's also a great place for us to share ideas: 

I also started a group on Facebook as a place where music teachers could ask me specific questions about my resources, collaborate with other music teachers, share videos/pictures of my resources in action, and make requests for additional resources. I share things frequently in this group from my TPT Facebook Page, but group members are also free to post and ask questions. People have posted about concert ideas, shared ideas about children's literature and lots more! Sometimes when I am creating a resource, I will post questions in there to see what people like the best or what would be the most useful. Find the group here: Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom - Share Group

I would also encourage you to start Facebook groups with music teachers in your Kodaly or Orff levels (even if you are already past that point), music teachers in your district, state, or just a solid group of music teachers you know personally and who want to help each other grow.

So who knew?! I would not be the music teacher I am today without Facebook!

Five Favorite Pins of October

I am linking up with Aileen Miracle from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room today to share my five favorite pins of October.

When I remember I have been sharing a "Pin of the Day" on my Facebook Page, so you can check in over there to find even more great pins.

1) In the Hall of the Mountain King book
I think I pinned this last year and forgot about it. It's probably too late for me to order to use this year, but I will definitely be tying this in next year.

2) Skin and Bones
3) Musical Dice - How fun would these be for rhythm composition?
4) Tone Ladders for Autumn
5) Pumpkin, Pumpkin Patterns
I hope you have enjoyed these five pins of October! If you loved these pins as much as I did, pin them to your own pinterest boards to save them for later.

Oh no! I need a music sub!

We would all like to think we would never miss a day teaching our kiddos and I wish that were the case too! But there are always things each year that prevent us from being in the classroom, whether that is professional development, attending conferences, doctor appointments, staying home because we are sick or being at home with sick kiddos.

 I don't know about you, but since I usually didn't plan to be gone, I didn't have a great set of sub plans prepared. Then last year that changed. In October I missed over a week of school due to pneumonia. I felt so bad that I wasn't prepared well for a sub. I e-mailed our PE teacher and told her what videos I had that could be left for each grade, but I didn't have a great set of sub plans so that kids could really continue having meaningful music classes even in my absence:

That February as my state music conference was approaching and I knew I would be out of school yet again, I decided to put together a set of sub plans that I could use again and again and that I wouldn't have to worry about preparing each time.

I don't know about you, but when I am gone, there is not a certified music sub. Most of the subs I get are not comfortable singing with the kids, so I had to make sure that anything I planned were things they could be successful with.

So here's a peek at what I came up with:
An editable binder that includes:
- Your daily schedule (a different page for each day)
- Drills/Emergencies 
- Technology Available (and room to explain how to use it all)
- Where to find Materials Needed (pencils, boards to write on, crayons, instruments, etc.)
- Singing Games for Substitutes - list by grade level the singing games that your students know well enough to play with a student leader.
- Student leaders - a place to list student leaders in each class who could lead singing games, rhythm games, etc. if the sub is not musically inclined.
- Editable Seating Chart
- A list of procedures, where to find things, drills, and pages to fill out how each grade/class did:
- Printable forms for the sub to fill out what they did, any helpful students, and any behavior issues.
- Singing games and directions for those games along with a CD of me singing those songs. Many of those could be used with multiple grade levels.
- A list of student leaders for each class. These students might be in charge of leading a singing game or starting an "I have, who has rhythm game".
- 5 different mini lessons that go along with children's literature for the music room. My kiddos did this one for the book "When You Wish Upon a Star" this week when I was teaching a workshop at our Learning Center. Find a FREE mini lesson for another book here. I love leaving these kinds of lessons for my students, especially when they have a CD to accompany the book, so the sub doesn't have to stress about singing the book. This is also a great time to introduce some composer books!

- Games that they can play without any sub help (just a student leader) such as Post Office, I have, Who Has, Telephone Rhythm Games, and some of my rhythm races games.

Now, when I need to be gone for whatever reason, I don't have to stress out because I already have a plan in place. With these singing games, children's literature lessons, and rhythm games, my I can always have something ready and when I need a sub in an emergency and I am not able to get sub plans ready the day before, a sub can look through everything and pick and choose which activities they feel comfortable with. It has been such a life saver.

So I encourage you, put in a little time up front to create a sub tub. If want something that is already done for you and you just have to add your specific info, check out my sub tubs (with games and without games).

Need a few freebies to fill your sub tub with?
Check out my free children's literature mini lesson, as well as these other freebies that are great for subs:
High/Low Ready, Set, Print worksheet samples (if your students are practicing high/low)
Low Sol Ready, Set, Print worksheet samples (if your students are practicing low sol)
Candy Corn Rhythm Races: dotted quarter eighth patterns
Freeze Dance Freebie

3 Things

I hope you had a great week, whether that was teaching, prepping your classroom, or enjoying your last weeks of summer vacation!

I am linking up with Aileen from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room in this "3 Things" post to tell you about 3 things that were magical in my music room this week.

1) Meeting a new instrument and a new book for Kindergarten

Kindergartners are SO eager to get to play on instruments. I've sequenced my easier classroom instruments and paired them with a simple folk song that is easy for them to sing and play along with at the same time. When I model this for them, I play to the steady beat, but I don't label the steady beat yet. This gives me a really quick look at who can play to the steady beat at the beginning of the year (often not too many) and who is going to need lots of preparation activities and help throughout the year.

This week, my kindergartners got to meet my frog raps family. I'll have to get a picture of my set next week instead of this stock photo... but I have three different sizes, so we call them the daddy frog, the mommy frog, and the baby frog. I play the first one, and before playing the next one, I ask them to predict if it will sound the same as the first. I have noticed when I word it like "Do you think this one will sound just the same?" I get more "yeses" than when I word it like "Do you think the mommy frog will have the same voice as the daddy frog?" Hellllllooooo tone color! When asked it the second way they say "No, the mommy will have a different voice".

The song I pair with these is "Frog in the Meadow" which I bring back for re and ti-tika. I've also used it for rest, when I notate it like ta titi ta ta | ta titi ta Z | titi titi ta ta | ta titi ta Z ||

In the same lesson, I sing the book "Over in the Meadow" which has such a lovely melody, every year the kids are just totally mesmerized by it. 

I was given a big book version that I have used since my first year teaching, but there are many versions of the book out there.

2) Busy Buzzy our class Bumblebee made a return in first grade

My kiddos love "Busy Buzzy" our bumblebee hand puppet. He made a return in first grade music this week, and there is just something magical about puppets for K-1 especially. We used him to play "Bee Bee Bumblebee". To play the game, students sit in a circle, holding one hand into the middle of the circle as a flower for the bee to land on. Teacher is inside of the circle and taps on their hand "flowers" to the beat. If it lands on their hand on the word "out", they leave the circle and become a worker bee, keeping the steady beat on rhythm sticks.

We practiced tracking beat icons with this song on the board after the game for some steady beat review.

3) Introducing an octavo that my 5th graders can't get enough of.

Our "theme" for our 5th grade program is "Nighttime Melodies". I chose this theme after I came across this 2 part piece, Usiku Mwema by Christian "Ceej" Oliver. When introducing a new piece, if a recording is available, I let them listen to it without looking at the sheet music before we dive in and isolate the parts we can sight read. 

Usiku Mwema
I created a few little slides to isolate and practice some of the known rhythm patterns in the song, like this:

My fifth graders are so excited about this piece they were asking where they could find it on YouTube. I showed them the Part by Part practice tracks available online (which I love about Brilee!) and many were pumped to go home and practice. WHAT?!?! Yes. My fifth graders said they were going to practice at home. That is pretty magical, friends!

What were some of the magical moments from your week? 

Music Room Reveal 2015

I am so excited to let you peek into my music room! But first, I need to give a shout out to Michelle from The 3AM Teacher for my new blog design. I have been loving the watercolor look since Winter and when I thought about my room design and my blog, I knew I wanted them to both be in a watercolor theme. Colorful. Calming. Pretty.

I hope you think so!

So here's a peek at my Watercolor Music Room:

I have found it really helpful to have a lines and spaces bulletin board of some sort up in my room year round. This is helpful especially for my older kids who are playing recorders.

Someone in my "Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom - Share Group" on Facebook suggested the title "Brush up on your Lines and Spaces" for the title of the board and I loved it!

I actually put this board together twice. Originally I had it backed with white paper and it was just a little too boring. I thought about splattering it with paint, but I didn't trust myself and thought it might become a huge mess, so I ended up finding a really pretty yellow fabric from Hobby Lobby. I had a 40% off coupon and I think it took a yard and a half to cover it. I got the scalloped bulletin board boarder from my local school supply store. You can find it online though here. I used black streamers for the lines.

The printables for this board can be found here.

On my other square bulletin board, I backed the board with a pretty floral fabric that had a watercolored look tot he flowers. The fabric is so pretty, but busy, so I wanted something simple for this board. I usually have my Solfa Street on this board, but I thought it might be a good place to post my objectives this year. I bought these really cheap document frames for $1 each from Dollar Tree and printed off some mostly blank pages that had the grade levels on them. I use an expo marker each day to write on the board what the objective for each grade is. My administrator loves this. I did have laminated cards that I tried using last year, but I would forget to change it out. These I can keep up for a while as I am preparing or presenting a concept. I might write "Use my singing voice to match the pitches" or "Move to the feel of the music" when I am prepping a concept. After the concept is presented I can be more specific "I can sing (or read) songs with sol-mi". "I can move to the beat of the music" or "I can clap patterns with ta titi and rest".

Find these blank objectives pages here. The colors of mine are a bit different because I wanted them to look good on top of this particular fabric. The ones in the file match (as close as possible) to the grade level binder covers in my watercolor teacher binders set.

I love to dress up the side of my file cabinets. I taped butcher paper to the side, trimmed the edges and added border trim (from the same line as the scalloped borders). I love the posters I found "It's RUDE to EXCLUDE!" and "Don't decide that you can't before you discover that you can". Both are very applicable to my kids and my room. Sometimes when we play singing games some kids get left out, or some students don't take hands nicely. This poster is a great little reminder for some of my kiddos. The other one is for when things get "too hard". I have really high expectations for my kiddos and some of them have very low self esteems because of their home lives. I am always encouraging my kiddos to try and telling them that I believe in them.
The posters came from my local teacher supply store. You can also find them online here (It's Rude to Exclude) and here (Don't decide you can't before you discover that you can).

I was SOOOO excited when I saw how my music rules printed out. I did not know if the watercolor would print well or if the music noted I added to the background myself would show up well. It's my favorite set yet! I have a little rule for each song that makes learning these rules really fun the first week of school.

I thought I would try something new to track class behavior this year. I blogged last year about our class rewards for five star days in music. Then I saw this cool pin:
I loved the idea of having a colorful xylophone on my wall as a way to track class behavior. Each day when my kids line up, we go over the music room rules and see if we followed all five as a group. If they did, they earn a 5 star day and get to move their class clip over one bar on the xylophone. When they reach the top bar, they will earn a free day for their next music class. Free days in my room are singing games or children's literature that were their favorites from the year or previous years. 
I didn't have as much space on my wall as the pinner, so mine is a much smaller version above my counter and below my cabinets at the back of my room. 

For my big bulletin board I wanted to do something that incorporated paint chips and the saying "Each individual is like a single note. Together we create a masterpiece." My sister in law painted the staff on my light purple fabric for me. I already had the black die cuts and the green paint chip die cuts are from the same "painted palette" line as the borders I used. You can find them here in lots of colors.
I got the idea from a combination of several pins on Pinterest, but instead of using a die-cut for each note, I wanted the note heads to be the kids thumbprints. 
I used acrylic paint and about 8 minutes per class period. Each class all used the same color so I wasn't having to switch colors or brushes during one class. I used a brush to get the right amount of paint on each kid's finger. They went straight to the board, made their print in a place of their choosing and immediately wiped their finger clean with a Clorox wipe. At the end of each class, I had one student go clean the brush and cup for me and fill the cup with clean water (grades 2-5). I had a couple extra brushes so when it was kindergarten and first grade back to back, I didn't have to worry about having the brush cleaned. The brushes pictured worked perfectly for their fingers. For K-2 I cleaned their fingers with the Clorox wipes myself. It still didn't take much time at all and went much smoother than I anticipated. The kids got excited when they came in the next time and saw even more colors added to the board.

This board represents half of my school The other half will be adding their prints on Monday. 

As I am posting this, I just realized I was trying so hard to get close ups of everything that you don't see the room as a whole. I will see if I can do a view whole room shots next week for you!

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my music room. If you used any of my decor in your music room, I would love to see pictures. I have started a photo album on my Facebook page of classrooms around the world using my creations. I am slowly getting pictures you share added to it! 

Find more great music room decor ideas here:

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great year!

A Second Surprise Back to School Sale

I'm so excited that Teachers Pay Teachers announced they would be doing a second site wide back to school sale. For one day only, Wednesday, August 19th, my entire store will be 28% off when you enter the promo code MORE15 at checkout.

If you missed the first BTS sale, here's your chance to stock up on room decor, teaching resources, or those money saving bundles that have been sitting on your wishlist.

Last week, I uploaded a first grade music lesson plan semester bundle. Each week, I will be adding lesson plans to this bundle until it reaches 24 lessons. Find it by clicking on the picture below:

A little peek at the first lesson:

I also uploaded a fun, new freeze dance file. This one has a pirate theme with several song suggestions to get your little pirates moving and grooving. These a great if you have a few extra minutes to fill or if you want a creative movement activity to break up some more focused parts of your lessons. 

Play music and when you pause it, students freeze like the photo:

Here are a couple things that are still sitting on my wish list that I cannot wait to grab:

Beat Strips from Amy Abbott:
Beat Strips for Rhythmic Notation and Dictation

Another set I am adding to my wishlist is this set from Brittany De Laruelle:
Fuzzy Wuzzy - A Song for Do

Find more great things at the link up here:

Happy shopping and don't forget to enter the promo code.