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Writing in the Music Room

I know that one of the things I have tried to do more this year is provide more writing practice on known concepts during our lessons. I hope to blog more about this topic in the future as it is an on-going goal to continually do more with this. It such a great way for me to have a chance to really see who is getting the concepts, and who may need more help and support. It is also good for assessment and many districts are experiencing a huge push towards writing with the Common Core.

My kiddos have been practicing la so I pulled out this song:

Here's how we play the game. One student is "it" and sits facing away from the class. The class sings the first two lines and one student who I choose sings the last line as a solo. The person who is "it" must guess who is the mystery singer. This song is a great opportunity for me to hear individuals and squeeze in some solo singing assessment when they think I am just keeping track of turns. Sometimes when I have a squirrely class that may sing silly I do tell them that I am taking a pitch matching grade, but usually I don't need to.

After playing the game we go to the board and read the song with melodic icons like these. They sing on text first as I point to the pictures, then we sing on solfa with hand sings. Eventually the icons move onto the staff and we show where la would live if sol and mi are on lines or spaces.

Then, instead of printing out a worksheet for each student, we did this page together, projected onto the board. We focused in on the second measure only and I had individual students come up to the board and fill in the note heads. Once all the note heads were added, we then added the stems and beams. Doing this together as a class is really helpful for the students who need to see it modeled before doing something similar on their own.  

If you are interested in the slides and printable/projectable worksheet that I used for "Johnny's It" you can find it here.

What are some of the most successful ways you incorporate writing in your music room?

Celebrating Music In Our Schools Month

If you are looking for ideas to celebrate Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM) with your kiddos, I pulled together some of the ideas that I am doing to share with you.

I finished hanging my "Wild About Music" bulletin board a couple of days ago. 

I used fabric as the background, die cut letters I already had on hand, posters from my "Wild About Music" bulletin board set, backed them with construction paper. The green animal print border trim was actually the reverse side of the trim I had used on my nautical set. Love that when you can get extra bang for your buck!
I made the poms by hand from tissue paper and the tree is made out of brown butcher paper that we had on hand in the supply closet. I had to have a kindergarten teacher show me how to do the tree like this, but basically you just tear off long strips, roll them to make a tube and then twist and crinkle. Let me know if you need more explanation or a tutorial on it!

It is right by where the students line up at the end of music, so they will get to read the posters as they are in line. I've already had students ask "How does music improve my math?" and then it opens us up to having conversations about it, which is really cool, especially for my upper elementary kids (I think the little kids just like looking at the animals) :)

Here are some pictures I have received from other teachers who have used this set on their bulletin boards! 
Love that big tiger! So cute! (From the classroom of Jena Hudson)

(From the classroom of Becky Arnett)

Out in the hallway, I just put up a "Who Am I?" display. I used Tracy King's (FREE!) staff survey to find out more about each of our staff members (what instruments they played, if they were ever in band/orchestra/choir, what kind of music they listen to, if they still enjoy going to performances, etc.) I learned a lot of new things reading through them. I typed up a paragraph for each teacher and had them printed on colorful paper. I cut construction paper to cover the teachers' names so that the kids will read the paragraph and try to guess who the teacher is, then lift the flap to see if they are right. 

I am excited for the kids to see it next week. Even the staff members have enjoyed learning more about each other's musical identities. I especially love how it shows my kids that even though these teachers didn't grow up and become professional musicians or music teachers that music was still a really important part of their high school/college career and that many still do regularly attend concerts, musicals, etc. It might be fun to try at YOUR school.

If you want to use my template for my typed up paragraph pages (this is not what the teacher filled out. For that I used Tracy King's free staff survey), click here. You will need to install the following fonts on your computer if you want it to look like mine, or just choose your own fonts. 

Janda Safe and Sound Font: Personal Use

Janda Manatee Font: Personal Use

KG Miss Kindergarten Font: Personal Use
(All of these fonts are free for personal use. If you ever want to use them commercially, 
you need to purchase a license which is $5 per font)

What are you doing for MIOSM?