Thoughts on a Workshop: KMEA Part 1

This Thursday-Saturday Kansas music educators braved the weather to develop their skills and fill up their teacher tool box with great ideas to bring back to their classrooms and students.

I want to share with you some of the highlights from the sessions I went to. Maybe you will learn something new (like I did) or maybe it will make you want to reach out to these people and have them come present in your area!

I'm going to work backwards through the conference since today is still fresh in my mind!

The last session I went to was presented by David Row, someone who I have chatted and collaborated with quite a bit over the last year and we hope to do more this year. David has gone through several levels of Orff certification. His session today was on how to get things for your classroom through Donors Choose, grants, and more.

Here are some of my takeaways -
1) Don't shoot the moon - you need to ask for reasonable things. Try starting with smaller requests and build up your resources over time
2) You need to put your donors choose projects out there for the world to see. Let parents, friends, the WORLD, know what you are doing and how it would benefit the KIDS.
3) Use wording that non-music people or even non-educators will get

David is going to have a version of his presentation up on his blog in the near future. Be on the look out for it!

Besides all of the wonderful things that I took away, he was genuinely fun to listen to. If you can ever have him do a session, you should!


The elementary music reading session was this morning with Wichita native, Holly Taylor, and I found a few things that I would love to do with my kids at some point. I don't have a dedicated choir since most of our kids are bused and there is not much wiggle room in my day, but I do like to expose my fifth graders to 2 part octavos before they leave my school, and we usually do a few on our 5th grade program.

My favorites from the reading session today were:

This Native American song is so pretty. It is two part with descant and has parts for a recorder (or flue) and percussion.

This two part piece also has a bass xylophone part.

Bright and early at 8:00 this morning Jill Trinka led a folk dance/singing games session. I was so happy to have her in Wichita and see her session.

The session moved so fast, I wasn't even sure of the names of half of the songs/dances we were doing, so I had to pull out my handout . Her materials are all copyrighted, so I cannot share any images etc, but here are the songs we did with her:
- Mazoo, Mazoo - I was delayed in the snow and missed this one
- Push the Business On - loved it!
- A First Contra - this would be a lot of fun for Kindergarten/ First grade or even grandparents if you had a community folk dance.
- Noble Duke of York - great fa prep
- Paw Paw Patch - great tiri-tiri prep!
- Comberland Long Eight - a LOT to think about but would be a lot of fun for 3rd-5th 
- Bingo (with a grand right and left) - SO FUN!
- Ralph's Sweet Circle Dance - fairly easy and fun!

Hopefully I can share more with you from the Thursday and Friday sessions later!

Wishlist Wednesday

It is time for Wishlist Wednesday because tomorrow is a SITE WIDE TPT SALE!!! Everything in my TpT store will be 20% off plus enter the code HEROES at checkout to get 28% off the total!

I get so pumped up for the sales so that I can stock up for things for my own classroom from the awesome music teachers I follow on tpt as well as grab the clip art, fonts and backgrounds that have been sitting on my wishlist for a while.

I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for this Wish List Wednesday!

For this post I will give you peak at something from my store that you might want to wishlist or snatch up during the sale as well as some of the things that are on my wishlist to purchase.

1) From my store - with a Love and Logic Training and KMEA coming up this week, I thought it would be a good idea (for myself) to put together a real deal sub tub. I made some recordings of my kid's favorite singing games, included the game directions and created some children's literature mini lessons. I also typed up a nice "emergencies/drills" page and created a daily schedule that was easier to look at at a glance than our master schedule. I should have created all of this a LONG time ago, but I always put off sub plans and end up scrounging around the night before I need a sub, or when I have to call in sick, I usually have just left a CD of action songs, a video (I know...yuck), but it takes SO LONG to write sub plans and it is so frustrating to reinvent the wheel each time then come back and find that the sub didn't know how to run anything or just did their own thing (and not a music thing), or let them have a free for all on the instruments. 

If you want to check out my sub plans, you can see them here:

5 children's literature mini lessons

14 singing game recordings, lyrics, and game directions

Checklists for subs to check if they used a movie or book so it is not repeated the next time(s) you have a sub.

Editable sub binder pages for schedule, procedures, drills, technology, where to find materials, student leaders, singing games kids know well enough to play with subs, or other sub activities you want to add

A place for subs to let you know what each grade accomplished and if there were any really helpful kiddos or any issues.

Links to lots of books and videos that are great to leave for subs. For the books I tried to find ones that are spoken or come with a CD recording. I also included suggested grade levels and concepts that they can be used for, so if you are currently working on "Instruments of the Orchestra" or "Composers", etc. the sub can build on that 

2. On my wishlist for MIOSM is this pennant banner from Jena Hudson. It will go with my "Wild About Music" theme! 
Music in Our Schools Month Pennant Banner

3. This has been on my wishlist for a long time, but now I have a few uses for it in mind, so I think it is time to purchase this instrument clip art set from Dancing Crayon Designs. 

Musical Instruments: Orchestra Instruments Clip Art

What's on your wishlist for the sale?

Folk Song Friday {Let Us Chase the Squirrel}

I am so excited to announce a new series on my blog: Folk Song Friday! I can't commit to or promise that every Friday I will have a new post up, but when I can, I hope to post one of my students' favorite folk songs and share with you what I do with that song in my classroom.

Song of the Week: Let Us Chase the Squirrel

Hardest Rhythmic Concept: half note (ta-a or ta-o)
Other Rhythms: ta and titi

Hardest Melodic Concept: re
Other Pitches: d m sl

I have two different games that I play with this song.

Game #1: Students are in long ways sets, forming arches with their partner as the "trees in the forest". Whenever the teacher plays on the triangle, the two students at the end of the set duck down and run up the trees going through the arches and forming a new arch at the end. The sets can travel all around the classroom this way.

Game #2: Students are in groups of three around a circle. Two form a tree and one is the squirrel under the tree. Any leftover students go to the middle of the circle and are squirrels. On the word "tree" all of the squirrels must go to a new tree and the squirrels in the middle can try to steal a tree. 

Here's a video of my students playing the second game:

If you are looking for visuals for the song, I've redone my "Let Us Chase the Squirrel" file to give it a fresh look and include slides for re. It has gone from 12 pages to 67!

If you own this file:
 Let Us Chase the Squirrel
It has now become this:

I project this page and have them tap along with the beat when I am working on half note prep. Eventually, the kids will find a sound that lasts for two beats.

I bring this song back out when we are working on the melodic concept, re. We play the game during re prep, and then after re has been presented, this song provides lots opportunity to practice re. On the slide below we would sing from icons on the staff.

Click on the pictures above to check it out if you are looking for  complete ready-made visuals for this song or to re-download and get the updates for free if you had purchased the older version!

Grab a FREE sample of this song file here. 

Do you have any other ideas, games, books, or visuals you use with "Let Us Chase the Squirrel"? Collaborate by sharing below in the comments!

Are You Wild About Music?

March is Music In Our Schools Month, and it is just around the corner! Last year, I put together an advocacy bulletin board set for MIOSM titled "Wild About Music".

Wild About Music - March is Music In Our Schools Month

It came with several cute posters like these:

It also came with printable student sheets where students could write why they are wild about music.

I wasn't able to get it printed in time to use last year, but Jena Hudson did and she created a cute little banner to go along with it here.  Here is the finished bulletin board from Jena's classroom.

This year I hope to display this board and it will fit perfectly as I am currently prepping a circus themed program with my first and second grade students!

I love seeing finished bulletin boards from things I have created, so I thought I would do a little giveaway! If you send me a picture of your finished bulletin board using my "Wild About Music" bulletin board set from 2/14/15 - 3/31/15, I will send you any (one) set of my "Wild Rhythm Races" games FREE! You don't have to enter to win! Everyone who sends me a picture via email or posting it to my Facebook page will get a free copy of the Wild Rhythm Races concept of their choice!

When you send me the picture of your bulletin board, please include which concept of the "Wild Rhythm Races" you would love to have. Here are your choices:

- Ta and titi
- Ta Rest
- Half Note
- Tiri-tiri
- Ti-tiri
- Tiri-ti
- Syncopa
- 6/8

Do you already have a different theme in mind for MIOSM? If so, what is your theme going to be?

Night Time and Lullaby Books

I am linking up today with Emily's Kodaly Music. The topic for her books this week is "Night Time or Lullaby" books, so I thought I would link up and share a few of my favorites. You can check out her favorites by clicking the picture below. She blogged about "When You Wish Upon a Star" which is also one of my favorites. The illustrations are so beautiful!

1) All the Pretty Little Horses

This book is great for teaching loud/soft, lullaby, and would also be a great choice to pull out in February for Black History Month. It is believed that this song comes from African American women, who would sing it to the children they were caring for as they were away from their own children.  

2) Hush Little Baby

This is a great one to use in kindergarten with loud/soft. I picked it up at KMEA last year and actually love to use it at home with my 2 1/2 year old. It would be fun to use in your home if you have little ones, in early childhood music classes, and up to kindergarten, but I wouldn't go much past K with it.

On the pages before the lyrics, it shows the older sister knocking over the cradle, the baby crying, the older sister trying to soothe the baby (like the cover). The older sister goes with papa to find all of the different presents for the baby.

3) Over the Rainbow

I don't know if I just love this one because I am from Kansas and the connection to the Wizard of Oz, but this book takes the song out of Oz and sets it to some of the loveliest illustration by Eric Puybaret. I haven't connected this to any of the concepts in my sequence yet, I just love to sing it to my kids. It is good for them just to be sung (and read to) for the sake of hearing you sing expressively!

I hope you have enjoyed these book ideas and have found a new one to put on your wishlist or add to your collection!

What are your favorite books for night time/lullabies?