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

30 August, 2015

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!


  1. I have Sanna Longden's book and CD for I Love A Rainy Night...could you explain Part 4 for me a little better?

    1. Hi Susan! I was a little confused too, so I did what she suggested as an option, and just had partners switch spots for the last 8 beats of each sequence. :)

  2. I just love using children's literature integrated into my lessons! (Have toyed with writing a grant for some books to stay in my classroom but haven't pulled it together as of yet.) I found the 'Tap the Magic Tree' at our local library and my students loved it :-) I heard one little guy wonder "Is it REALLY magic??!" (they would do the action then I'd turn the book away from them, turn the page and then turn around to show them-hehehe). We also had sung Bluebird Bluebird at start of class with your birds on a wire visuals and then the book ended with 2 bluebirds in the tree! That was pretty wonderful too. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Everything is so classy.Here are some great bathroom design ideasto onset this fall. Do see it once. It will give you a lot of ideas.

  4. I LOVE the rainy night song! What a cool idea for 5th grade - ordering the book right now!

  5. Where can I find the apple tree song that you mention doing before the book "Tap the Magic Tree?"

    1. Hi Emily! If you send me an email at, I'll send you the song. :)

  6. Oh my gosh, I just stumbled upon your blog and I love your post about "Tap the Magic Tree." I read it several weeks ago with my first graders because they are doing a whole unit on farm to table and how fruit and vegetables grow. We sang "Apple Tree" and played the game too. They beg me to play "Apple tree" every class now :)


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