30 August, 2015
Three Things {Kindergarten movement, a book, and a dance!}

Three Things {Kindergarten movement, a book, and a dance!}


Hi everyone! I'm excited to start a new linky party today, called "Three things." I'm going to blog about three things that worked really well for my students this past week...things that were magical, that they beg to do again, etc. I am hoping to do this every Sunday afternoon as a way to share great activities. If you are a music blogger, and would like to link up with your three things, see the directions at the end of this post. Thanks to Whimsy Workshop Teaching, Kimberly Geswein fonts, and Jax and Jake for the cute clip art and fonts!

Three things that worked in my music classroom: Kindergarten movement activity, picture book, and a folk dance!

#1: Kindergarten movement activity
As many of you know, Kindergarteners are a bit different to teach than any other grade level! They sometimes have a hard time sitting still, so I try to add movement activities pretty often throughout the lesson. One of my favorites, especially at the beginning of the year, is simply to have them find their own self space around the room and make a statue. Then when I say a movement word like "walk," "jog," "crawl," "skip," "gallop," etc., they do that, but when I play the finger cymbals or triangle, they have to freeze like a statue! The kids love this, and it's a great way to practice gross motor movement! (I model how to skip, gallop, etc. before we do the activity.) To make it more challenging, you could have two different instruments, like a wood block and finger cymbals, and you play both, but they only freeze when they hear the finger cymbals! For more tips about teaching Kindergarten music, see this blog post.

#2: "Tap that magic tree" by Christie Matheson

Tap the Magic Tree: Great picture book, can be used with the song "Apple Tree" in the music classroom!

This book is truly magical! I use it after students sing and play "Apple Tree." On each page, students have to do something, like blow a kiss to the tree, knock on the tree, tap the petals, etc., to get something to happen on the next page. I did this with first grade, and they were SO excited to get a chance to knock, to touch, to blow a kiss, etc.! You can purchase the book by clicking on the picture above.

#3: I love a rainy night
Last year, for my 5th grade program, I had them perform a line dance for the song "I love a rainy night," which I learned about from Sanna Longden's folk dance book, "More folk dance music for kids and teachers." You can view it by clicking on the picture below:


You can also see the dance directions here.
My fifth graders last year absolutely LOVED this dance, which uses the song by Eddie Rabbitt. I decided I had to do the dance with every fifth grade class I have until I retire, because c'mon, you know it's a good dance when fifth graders beg to do it! I taught it this last week, and one of the kids yelled out, "That was FUN!" and another kid yelled out, "That was like being at the beach!" 
A dance that is like being at the beach? Yes, let's do that again!
I also love that is easy to learn; some of the line dances for this song I saw online would be tricky to teach to fifth grade, but the dance in Sanna's book is both interesting yet accessible.
For your listening enjoyment, here is "I love a rainy night." Listen and imagine a line dance to this. It really is that awesome!



Make sure to read the ideas of others by clicking below! Happy teaching!




26 August, 2015
YouTube videos for music teachers

YouTube videos for music teachers


Hi everyone! I've been having fun posting YouTube videos to my YouTube channel lately, so I thought I'd share some videos here in this post in case you hadn't seen them! If you haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel, you can do it by clicking the link above or clicking on the YouTube button on the right side of my blog.

YouTube videos for music teachers: Includes really helpful tutorials, a video of a fun folk dance, and more!

Here is a new video I just posted with a tour of my music room. To see more pictures and explanations, see this blog post.


Here's a video I posted about lesson planning:

Watch this video to learn about creating song lists:

This video is about creating song indexes...

...and this video is about creating year plans:

This video showcases one of my favorite folk dances, "Dandiya Raas." My Level I students from last year at DePaul were kind enough to agree to be recorded! Check out this blog post for more details about the dance, and to watch two other song/ dance videos:


Let me know if there is anything else you'd like me to record. Enjoy!
22 August, 2015
Classroom Reveal {2015-2016}

Classroom Reveal {2015-2016}

I'm really excited to link up with Tracy King from Mrs. King Rocks to blog about what's on my wall and in my classroom!

Here is a view of the first part of my classroom; I chose a jungle theme for my classroom this year! I'm really, really lucky to have a fairly large space in my classroom. I have been in other situations, with itty-bitty rooms, and appreciate the large space I now have! I like to label all of my drawers to I remember what's in them...I have so many that otherwise I'd forget! The bins you see on the left of the picture are used for my grade-level materials; you can read a post about that here.


Here is a close-up of my word wall. I decided this year to try a word wall by grade (suggested by my friend Nyssa Brown, who is a phenomenal educator; check out her blog here). I've been putting up the words as we learn them instead of having them listed alphabetically. You can purchase my jungle-themed set, which includes my word wall, here.
The recorder printables are a fun way to internalize concepts and skills for recorder; you can purchase them from Teaching in Tune here.

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!

My levels of understanding posters help students assess their own learning; they are included in my jungle-themed set. The idea of the partner poster is that students can go to the poster if they can't find a partner, and then solve the problem of no partner by partnering up with someone there! You can download it for free here.

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I have to admit...this is a Pinterest-inspired idea! I took zebra-patterned duct tape and applied to my file cabinet! Easy and cute!

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
The three chairs are my time-out chair, the ready chair students can go to after they have thought about their choices, and my special chair students sometimes get as a reward after they are a star student. One of their favorite rewards to sit in this chair during music class!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
Here is my "Wild about Beethoven" bulletin board. I am doing composer of the month this year (using this set) and am using the bulletin board to teach students about composers each month! (And I have to say, I was VERY excited when I realized I had a cartridge for my Cricut with Beethoven's signature!!!) You can find this bulletin board (minus the Cricut letters) in this set as well as the growing bundle.

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!

Here is another bulletin board, called "Bananas about music"! You can find it in my jungle-themed set.
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!

And here is my last bulletin board, in the hallway; it is from Amy Abbott's "We are the music makers" set; I love how bright and colorful it is!

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I got the idea for my mallet jars from two sources: the ribbons around the mason jars from Pinterest, and the mallets in the jars from my former colleague Clinton. I love how organized the mallets are instead of just shoved into a drawer, and the jars were super easy to decorate! Of course, the idea could be applied to any theme!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I have these instrument rules posters by Cori Bloom posted by my Orff instruments. Love the idea of having rules just for the Orff instruments!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
These bookcases are new for me this year. I needed a place to store my interactive journals (and please, ignore the fact that unfinished wood is on top. I'm not the best at putting things together...and these were actually supposed to be twice as tall!) The magazine files can be found here at IKEA; here is my 3rd grade interactive journal and my 4th grade interactive journal (I'll be blogging more about  using those in my classroom soon!) I found the notebooks at Target for 17 cents each...woo hoo!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I just posted this on my wall...love it! I have added woodwind, strings, percussion, and brass visuals to my jungle-themed set; if you've already purchased, you can re-download under "my purchases"!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
Here is a view of the area students face as I am teaching. I have my agenda (templates can be found here), with my "I can" statements, posted on my SMART board. My hand signs are posted to the left of my board, and my musical symbol wall is posted to the left of the hand signs. I find the symbol wall a great way for students to apply what they've learned from me to the "real" musical names! My rules, the symbol visuals, and the hand signs are included in my jungle-themed set.
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I was inspired to get this tree (from my local teacher store) from a customer named Dana who bought a very similar tree and posted one of my bulletin board sets in the branches. Here is her pic of her classroom...beautiful!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!

 I loved the idea, but instead of posting the bulletin board set, I'm having some of my star students put their names on the leaves. The containers to the left of the tree are for the fourth graders' recorders.
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
Here is another Pinterest-inspired idea; I used two different types of zebra-patterned duck tape to decorate my stool! (Lots of compliments from my students on this one!)
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I would use this staff board for writing on the staff...but it is behind the students, and I have a SMART board, so instead I use it for restroom numbers and classroom jobs! The area to the right has jungle animal magnets that students can move when they go to the restroom or the nurse (see the post I wrote about that process here); the second picture is a close-up of the animals, which I bought at Michael's. My classroom jobs help me assign students jobs for each month and make my classroom more efficient; you can see my set here.
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!

Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
Here's another view with my new zebra lanterns up!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
Here is a picture of my bookcase; the labels help me as I'm looking for resources!
Looking for ways to decorate your music classroom? This post includes music classroom decor ideas, tips for organizing your classroom, and more!
I had fun decorating AND revealing my classroom! Click on any of the pictures below to either see blog posts by other music bloggers with what's on their walls, or to see sets that you can decorate your classroom with! Have fun! And feel free to comment below with what's on your wall!




16 August, 2015
Lesson Planning Tips

Lesson Planning Tips


I hope you are all either enjoying the start of your school year or enjoying the last days of your summer! I just started school yesterday and it's been wonderful! Even though I will miss staying at home with my girls, I was reminded how much I enjoy teaching, and how much I enjoyed seeing the kids!

Now that I'm getting back into the swing of things, I thought I'd write a blog post with links and information for lesson planning.

Tips for lesson planning in the music room: includes a video tutorial and links to two helpful blog posts about lesson planning!

Here is a video I just put together on YouTube about lesson planning. I hope it's helpful!


Here is a blog post I wrote about planning for your Kindergarten lessons...



...and here is another blog post about lesson planning.

I hope this helps as you begin planning out your lessons. Good luck, and enjoy!

latest videos

ON YOUTUBE