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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!