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Halloween Music Manipulatives

This week for Monday Music Manipulatives I am sharing some Halloween themed manipulatives for the music room.

Halloween Music Manipulatives - These manipulatives are perfect for elementary music class around Halloween! Practice steady beat, rhythm, and solfege reading and writing. - Kodaly Inspired Classroom

1) Halloween Themed Erasers

You can use these Halloween themed erasers to show how many sounds on a beat by placing them on beat charts, or for melodic writing and dictating on individual staff pages. I have a class set of staff pages like these below that are laminated and having different erasers keeps it fresh and fun for the kiddos. 

I picked up some of these erasers over the years, usually from the Target dollar section.

These kitty cat heads are perfect for Naughty Kitty Cat:

Naughty Kitty Cat Melodic Writing - Halloween Music Manipulatives - These manipulatives are perfect for elementary music class around Halloween! Practice steady beat, rhythm, and solfege reading and writing. - Kodaly Inspired Classroom

The ghost ones are fun for Skin and Bones, Ghost of Tom, or using to show the rhythms of Miss White.

2) Halloween themed table scatter

I found this pumpkin table scatter one year at Target and it is great for melodic dictation and writing (like with the erasers above), or to show the rhythms on top of beat charts.

3) Foam Halloween Shapes

You can write rhythms, rhythm patterns, solfege, etc. on these! Scatter them around and have students see if they can figure out the song. 

You can also have them compose their own pumpkin patterns using these. You could easily pair it with these Pumpkin Composition Pages.

4) Rhythm Blocks

Use these rhythm blocks to show the patterns from Halloween songs. You can find these pre-made rhythm blocks in lots of colors here. Read more about them in this blog post.

Bulletin Boards for Halloween in the Music Room

I got to invade one of my friend's classrooms this afternoon and decorate a few of her bulletin boards for her to get them ready for Halloween.

I always wished that I could change out my Solfa Street board just a bit throughout the year, making it match what is going on in the year, so I finally made some haunted houses to go on Solfa Street to create a SPOOOKY SOLFA STREET:

I didn't staple the houses down so they can easily come on and off. Instead, you can put sticky Velcro pieces on the back and they can come on and off the board easily. You could also make or find little "for sale" signs to put on the unknown pitches. 

The bats came in a package of five from Dollar Tree. The orange tissue poms came from Hobby Lobby.

If you love this bulletin board, you can find the houses and headers in my TpT store here.

Up next I worked on her long board. This board is huge - 4 ft. by 8 ft. I backed the board in purple butcher paper from the teacher's work room and then added a sheer black spider web fabric from Hobby Lobby on top. 

You can't really tell in any of the pictures but the sheer fabric has some sparkle to it. All of the kids really seemed to love this board and the pictures do not do it justice! (darn school lighting!)

I used my new Halloween themed lines and spaces bulletin board kit. The heading reads "Double, double toil and trouble. Lines and Spaces all will BUBBLE!" 

Since the background was so dark, I used orange crepe paper from Dollar Tree to make the lines of the staff. You could always add a clef, I just have never been able to make one that big that looks right and I don't usually get to bass clef with any/many of my classes.

My friend got the super cute decor that we used along the top of the board from her office. A parent had made it for the school and they hung it in the office last year but weren't planning on using it this year. It was such a cute touch to this board and we didn't have to pay anything for it! Use your resources! You will be surprised what might be hiding in a box at your school.

 A bit of a closer look at some of the fabric and cutouts:

Thank you to Miss Moka for sharing this picture from her room. 
Image may contain: indoor

If you would love this bulletin board kit for your classroom you can find it here.

Monday Music Manipulatives - 4 Beat Rhythm Blocks

I am so excited to share with you one of my students favorite manipulatives for rhythm practice, 4 Beat Rhythm Blocks.

The four blocks each have a hole going through them and are on a little stick, so they can rotate, butare secured by the pieces on the ends. The four visible sides of the cube have a different rhythm on them: ta, titi, ta rest, and tika-tika, so these are great for tika-tika practice. 

I love that the cubes are all connected, so you don't have pieces everywhere. They are so easy to pass out, and collect, and don't require any time at all to clean up (no baggies full of individual blocks).

The first time I pulled these out to use with my students, they seriously thought it was Christmas or something and they had just been given the best toy ever! Yay for music nerds, right!?!

These rhythm blocks came with a sheet full of several ideas for using them in your classroom, and I am so thrilled that I get to share some of those ideas with you!

1) Rhythm Dictation 

Say, clap, or tap a rhythm on a percussion instrument. Students listen, clap the pattern back, and then twist the blocks to match the pattern they clapped. You can give them a little bit to find the pattern and then say "One, two, three REVEAL!" and have all students show you their pattern at once for a quick assessment. It is so easy to see who is getting it and who needs more practice.

2) Rhythm Composing and Writing Practice

Have students compose a four beat pattern by twisting the connected rhythm blocks. Clap and read the pattern they created. Notate the pattern. Practicing notation is a step that is often missed and kids need to practice WRITING these rhythms that they can read.

3) Decoding

Leave these in a music center with the lyrics to some 16th note songs and have students use the blocks to show the rhythms of the whole song. They can then read the whole song on rhythm syllables or notate their answer.

4) Form

Using more than one set of Rhythm Blocks, have students demonstrate knowledge of forms such as ABAB or ABAC, etc. 

If you love these blocks, you can order a set for your classroom from Rhythmically Yours on Etsy here. She sells them as a station/centers set of 6 or as a class set of 20. She also has options for vinyl or stamped rhythms (mine are vinyl) and I think you can even pick the colors. I have a class set and she sent me four colors, a dark pink, orange, green, and black. 

You can also enter below to win a free set of 6 to use in centers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How would YOU use these?

Monday Music Manipulatives - Meter Manipulatives with Popsicle Stick Bar Lines

Last Monday, I posted on my Facebook page asking what music manipulatives you were using in your lessons and I got some really neat ideas, and I am so happy that those teachers are allowing me to share their manipulative ideas with you. Today's idea comes from Tina Morgan.

This manipulative is for working on creating measures in 4 beat meter, 3 beat meter, or 2 beat meter and having students figure out where to put the bar lines using Popsicle sticks. 

The class works in small groups to add the bar lines to a known song or they can create their own songs, using certain time signatures and adding bar lines (popsicle sticks) where appropriate. You could create several baskets and do this with the whole class, or create one to use as a center.

Here's what goes in each basket for each small group:
- rhythm cards (each rhythm was printed on a different color of paper and laminated), each rhythm can be contained in a Ziploc bag
- time signature cards
- Popsicle sticks
- poker chips (in case they want to create repeats)
- a sheet of paper that describes the contents of the basket so students can be sure their basket has everything before turning it back in

When it's all packed up it looks like this:

Here's a close up of the contents sheet: 

Tina created these rhythm cards by hand back in 1999, but she allowed me to create a digital file so that music teachers could simply print and have this ready to go for their classrooms.

Grab the file here

It includes stick notation as well as notation with note heads. I have also include a few more rhythm options. 

I have added a different contents sheet for several different rhythm concept levels so you could create a basket for where ta and titi are the hardest rhythm concepts, a basket where ta rest is the hardest rhythm concept and so on. 

Hope you enjoy this manipulative to practice adding bar lines and a big thank you to Tina for letting me share it with you!

Music Room Decor{Blog Hop}

In my last post I shared about my plans to stay home this school year with my daughter as she starts half day preschool and we prepare to welcome baby #2 in December. Although I don't have a classroom of my own this year, that has not kept me out of the classroom.

I have been able to help several of my local music teacher friends get their rooms ready for the first day of school. I wish I could just take a little road trip all summer long decorating music rooms, because I enjoy it so much! 

Today I am teaming up with 5 other fabulous music bloggers to share ideas for "Back to School in the Music Room". From decor, to organization, to what activities to try that first day/week/month, we've got you covered! My post is going to tackle Music Room Decor. After you read my post, you can click the picture at the bottom to hop to the next blog post. Keep going until you are all the way back to mine to make sure you have read them all!

Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room.

So let's talk music room decor.

Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room.

This summer I read a great post by David Row on "What every music teacher music have on their walls". In this post he said something that really stuck with me: 

It might be cute, but does it enhance student learning?  Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room.

We need to be intentional with what we put on our walls, and not just print and post everything under the sun or hang every poster we own. I've also seen a lot of posts in Music Teacher Facebook groups recently about people who feel it is easy to over-do it when it comes to music room decor by filling every bit of wall space they have and how it is overstimulating kids.


Here are my decor "must haves" for my music room. (Keep in mind - different strokes for different folks - something that is a "must have" for me may be different than what is a "must have" for you, but I will share with you what I deem worthy of my ink and walls)

1) Music Room Rules
You've probably thought long and hard about what would be appropriate rules for your music room. If you expect your students to follow those rules, you need to have them posted in your room, and you need to spend time those first few lessons going over them and then every subsequent lesson enforcing them. I always post mine right in the front of the room. I put little magnets on the back so they could hang on my board and be "front and center" for kids to see, right beside whatever I would be projecting on my board that day.

Music Room Rules Posters - Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room. Watercolor music room
I have lots of different themes, but this set is my personal favorite and it comes from my watercolor classroom decor. Find it here.

2) Bulletin boards that reinforce concepts/music vocabulary that is relevant to your lessons
I almost always have one board in my classroom that is dedicated to lines and spaces of treble clef. This comes in handy when we get to lines/spaces, note names, and playing on pitched instruments.

I invaded my friend's classroom this week (thanks, Lynn!) and decorated a board for her while we chatted and she looked at her schedule and got things ready for open house.

I had this idea for a hot air balloon bulletin board for a while, but was just waiting on the right clip art. I wanted some dreamy looking watercolor hot air balloons, so I had a set custom created for me.

Aren't they lovely?!
Soaring Through the Lines and Spaces - bulletin board for the elementary music room - Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room.

I also made a set that uses solid colors for each balloons for the teachers that love to match their boomwhackers.  They look like this:

You can find my "Soaring Through the Lines and Spaces" bulletin board set here.

Another board that I did this August (thanks, Mia, for letting me take over this board) reinforces movement vocabulary. 
Let's Hop Into Music - elementary music bulletin board for movement vocabulary from Kodaly Inspired Classroom
Find it here.

I love that it brings a lot of the same movement words from PE (plus some new ones that maybe are more specific to music and folk dancing) into the music room. Sometimes we forget about movement vocabulary, but I think it is important to clarify movement vocabulary in the same way that we define music terminology, especially if we are wanting students to respond to music in a certain way though movement or perform some movement to music.

3) Solfege Hand Sign Posters 
After I went through Kodaly levels, I was a little uncertain about whether or not I wanted solfege hand sign posters displayed on the wall in my room, because I hadn't presented them all yet, and I didn't want it to take away the surprise. I decided two years ago to go ahead and have them posted year round, and was amazed how frequently my students referred to them, taking a sideways glance while we were solfege-ing (yep... I just made that a verb) folk songs in class. Even when we had been in the practice stage of a melodic concept for a while, I would still see students utilizing this. Would they know the name of the new mystery solfege? Yes, generally, BUT it doesn't take away from the Prepare/Present/Practice because even if they know the name, they still need to know how it sounds.

Solfege Posters
Find these here.

4) Word Wall
I have had a lot of questions about how I set up my word wall, and I will definitely be devoting a whole blog post to it at some point in the near future, but for now here are some ideas.

1) Post words alphabetically
2) Post words by concept (instrument words, dynamics words, notation words, etc.)
3) Post words by grade level

I always post my word wall cards by grade level in the order that they are presented (more on that in a future post).

Music Word Wall - sort your music word wall by grade level so that kids can focus in on the words that pertain to them and not be so visually overwhelmed. Music Room Decor {Back to School Blog Hop} - elementary music room ideas
These are from my watercolor music room set. Find the word wall individually here.

In the picture below, the music teacher chose to focus on words specifically centered around singing. This is a great idea for an elementary or middle school choir. The concepts become less abstract if they can be seen by the students and referred to them. They can really try to focus on one of these concepts when they rehearse a piece instead of "mindlessly" doing it again.
Choral Singing Word Wall - Help your young choirs focus on concepts like posture, tone, balance and more.  - bulletin board for the elementary music room - Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room.
 Find this choral singing word wall here.

5) Composers
Some teachers do a composer of the month. Do me a solid favor and DON'T arbitrarily post composers on your wall and never talk about them. One way to do this is to have a "Composer of the Month" board. If you do this, you MUST talk about that composer and use their music in your lesson plans - move it it, create a listening map, add a rhythm ostinato, read known rhythmic or melodic patterns from the music, etc., otherwise it is a waste of a board/wall space.

If you do decide that a COTM set is worthy of your wall space and teaching time, you need to check out these free sets from Tracy King and Sara Bibee. 

Composer of the Month Johannes Brahms -Bulletin Board

FREE! Music Composer of the Month: Antonín Dvořák

Both of these ladies produce wonderful sets! 

I hope you have enjoyed this post on my "must have" music room decor. Comment below if there is anything else that is a "must have" on your boards/walls. I'd love to hear about it!

Don't forget to continue on the blog hop. Hop to the next stop, Jena Hudson from Sew Much Music's post Organization.

Music Room Decor - Back to School in the Music Room (Blog Hop) - Kodaly Inspired Classroom - find out my "must have" decor items for the music room and then check out Jena Hudson's ideas for Organization on Sew Much Music

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!