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Back to School Bash

Whether you cannot wait to head back into your classroom, or whether you are wishing for a couple extra weeks of summer, back to school time is inching closer.

I decided to throw a little Back to School Celebration on my blog and Facebook page to help music teachers get excited and prepared to return to school.

I haven't shared this on my TpT Facebook page or blog yet, but now seems like a great time to tell my readers that I will not be returning to the classroom this year.

There were a couple reasons that was the right decision for my family, and the first was that we are expecting a new baby in December! My daughter, Ellie, is so excited that she will get to be a big sister, and we will have our hands full with a new baby girl! I went back to work when Ellie was only 7 weeks old and it was so hard to leave her, to teach on so little sleep, and to worry about pumping/leaving to nurse her over lunch while I was at school, so it will be nice not to have to worry about that (or having a long term maternity sub in my room).

The second reason is that Ellie will be starting preschool this year and she is going to a half day preschool program and it wouldn't have worked with my school schedule to drop her off and pick her up and the appropriate times, and I don't know what it is like in your area, but full day preschool is EXPENSIVE! So I am looking forward to getting to spend more time with her before the new baby comes, and then both of them after that!

Whew! All of that to say... it feels really weird that I will NOT be heading back to the classroom this fall. With my husband and almost all of my friends being teachers, it feels even more strange to embark on this new role of "stay at home mom". I feel like I am losing a part of my identity, because I still feel like a teacher, but I have no classroom or students at the moment to call my own. I LOVE getting my classroom ready for my students, and have already lined up several of my friends who want help decorating their music rooms. :)

But, for those of you who are heading back to school this fall, I hope this Back to School Bash will get you excited and ready for those sweet kiddos!

Here's the lowdown!

Day 1: August 1st 

Save 28% in my tpt store with the code BestYear at checkout! In addition to the great savings, I am offering a special deal on top of that. Email me  at with your username after your purchase of $30 or more, and I will give you $5 store credit for every $30 you spend! The $30 must be spent from Aug. 1-2 and I must receive your email by August 6th. 

Day 2: August 2nd 

Now available! Easy to print music teacher to do lists to keep handy at your desk!
Find them here.

Don't forget! You can still save 28% in my tpt store with the code BestYear at checkout! In addition to the great savings, I am offering a special deal on top of that. Email me  at with your username after your purchase of $30 or more, and I will give you $5 store credit for every $30 you spend! The $30 must be spent from Aug. 1-2 and I must receive your email by August 6th. 

Day 3: August 3rd 

Comment on my BTS Bash Day 3 Facebook Post to let me know what you would like for me to blog about during the month of August. I will pick one of the topics that is listed and create a blog post on that topic before the month is over! I will add all of the other ideas to my "blogging" list to hopefully blog about in the future!

Day 4: August 4th 

Starting August 4th and going through August 31st, share a picture of any of my resources in your room (either on Facebook or via e-mail at with permission to use the photo on my blog/social media to earn $5 store credit (feel free to share as many pictures as you like, but it will only be $5 store credit per person).

Join my "Share Group" on Facebook to get access to secret day-long flash freebie (August 4th only).

Day 5: August 5th 

Enter on August 5th to enter to win a TpT gift card. Don't be late though, winners will be announced at 10 PM Central Time on August 5th, so get your entry in early!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
All winners have been selected, and gift certificates have been sent via email! 

Day 6: August 6th 

The day before (on August 5th) I will put a poll up in my "Share Group" on Facebook to vote on which product you would like to see 30% off. Whichever product gets the most votes will be marked 30% off one day only, August 6th. 

I hope this Back to School Bash will get you (at least a little) more excited to be heading back to school! Thanks for reading my blog and following my store and Facebook page!

10 Books that Every Kodaly Teacher Should Have on Their Bookshelf

I have frequently been asked and I have seen similar questions posted on Kodaly and Music Ed Facebook groups. "I am interested in learning more about Kodaly. What book resources should I get?" So I thought I would compile a list of ten of my personal favorites. 

Now, if you know anything about Kodaly teachers, we really are hoarders when it comes to resources. You can absolutely never have too many. Some books might have great pedagogical ideas, sequences, song lists, or folk songs. Some folk songs might have additional verses in other books or they might be a variant (did anyone else have to go collect variants in their levels??)

Now, let's be clear on what I am NOT saying. I am NOT telling you that you need to rush out and buy these 10 books if they are not currently on your bookshelf. I am not telling you that these are the top 10 in all of Kodaly world. I am not saying that there are not even better resources out there. I am not telling you that these will replace Kodaly training. Absolutely nothing will. But if you...

A) want to learn more about the Kodaly concept
B) have taken or are in levels and want to see what books other Kodaly teachers are using
or C) are in a Kodaly resource book addicts' club (hellllloooo, you are my people!)

then this post is for you!

SO, in no particular order:

This was so valuable to me when I was going through my Kodaly training before I had made my own yearly plans. It lays out month by month for each grade level what you should be preparing, presenting ,and practicing and includes song suggestions and practice activities. It is meant to be a companion to the American Methodology, so if you get this, I strongly recommend that you also own the American Methodology.

Lovingly referred to as the "150". This book was a required text when I was in level 1 and it is such a great resource for finding folk songs. It organizes them by tone set, which makes it really easy to find songs when you are working on specific concepts.

The "155" is a collection of EVEN MORE folk songs, because, let's be honest, we can never have too many. Like the 150, this one is organized by tone set.

4) ANYTHING by the New England Dance Masters (a few of my favorites are Chimes of Dunkirk and Sashay the Donut)

When I started at my school I was told that they had a tradition of a folk dancing night and that each grade level was to perform a dance on stage. At the time, I hadn't been exposed to much folk dancing, but through Kodaly, our community folk dances at KMEA, and various workshops I have not only come to really enjoy it, but feel comfortable and confident teaching them to my students. Definitely get these books with the CDs and if you can, the DVDs when available. I LOVE watching Peter and Mary Alice Amidon teach the dances. The break it down into steps and a pay really close attention to the little details that really help students be successful in learning them without feeling frustrated.

 5) Lullabies to Circle Games by Jo Kirk (I have not found a place to order this online, but if you are interested in it, you can reach Jo Kirk on her website)

This has tons of fingerplays, lullabies, and songs for children from before birth through elementary school age. I strongly recommend this book for parents and those who might teach early childhood or preschool music classes, but there are things I pull from it for K/1/2 still.

What I love about this is it gives me information about what I can DO with the songs (the singing game or the play party) which maybe I hadn't previously been aware of. 

 7) The Song Garden (Book 1, 2, 3) by Carol Heath - I believe these are out of print. I couldn't find them on Amazon or Ebay when I looked, but they are a treasure trove. Unfortunately, these three are just collections of songs. There is a book that goes with these that tells what you do with each song and how to teach it, but I don't have my hands on it... yet.


This was basically our bible in level 3, and that's where I really learned how to utilize it and what the breakdown of physical/aural/visual looked like and countless activities for each during each concept. It also included a variety of ways to practice each concept that are really helpful to me when lesson planning.

This book was so incredibly helpful to me after level 1 when I was starting at a new school and trying to implement the Kodaly method which was new for all of my students. This book has a section specifically for older beginners and it has some really great song lists.

I love both Book 1 and Book 2 from Susan Brumfield. She was at KMEA and I got to see her present this past year. The books come with CDs that include her students singing the songs and are great models for your students. These recordings are perfect to leave when you have a sub and the students already know the game but that vocal model can help them to sing in an appropriate range while you are away. I like that a lot of the songs in these books were new to me and there are some nice multicultural pieces in them.

BONUS 11) Anything by Jill Trinka - I would be remiss if I did not mention Jill Trinka's song collections. They include a huge variety of folk songs and singing games and are definitely worth the purchase!

So what are YOUR go to books in your collection? I'd love to hear!