31 July, 2018
What's on my playlist for First Grade?

What's on my playlist for First Grade?

This week, I'm blogging about my playlists for each grade level, in my music room. For more information about how and why I'm using playlists, check out this post. Today, let's talk about first grade!

First grade playlist for the music room: Three fun recordings for your music lessons, for dancing, movement, and listening!

Here are three recordings from my first grade playlist:
I absolutely love this recording and use it a LOT in my room, not just with first grade! It's like freeze dance, but with several different types of music. Students find a self space, then move like they think each section of the music sounds, then they freeze! Then, they move again! You can also combine the activity with these free statue cards by Artie Almeida, with students freezing like each statue when the music stops.

This is one of my all-time favorite dances for lower elementary! Students simply follow the directions within the song (like "jump jump clap clap clap" or "hop hop hop and stop") as they pretend to drive on Highway No. 1, which is a highway in Australia. The kids love the dance, and so do I!

Several years ago, Christopher and Jeanette Canyon visited my school during an author visit, and I became acquainted with many of their books. This book is one of my favorites:

You can simply turn the pages as you listen to the recording. After we listen, we discuss what the book/song is about, and what makes us happy. I've even had students create lyrics based on the melody (i.e. "Ice cream in the morning makes me happy...") It's a great listening experience and a wonderful way to talk about emotions!
What is on your first grade playlist? Feel free to comment below. Happy listening, and happy teaching!

30 July, 2018
What's on my playlist for Kindergarten?

What's on my playlist for Kindergarten?

Recently, on Instagram, I posted a story about the playlists I was creating for each grade level. I had lots of people interested in what I had on each playlist, so this week, I'll be blogging every day with three recordings I have on each grade level playlist! Today, I'll start with Kindergarten.

Kindergarten playlist for the music room: Three fun recordings for your music lessons, for steady beat practice, fast/slow, and movement!

So what do I mean about a playlist? For years, I have used an iPod to play music during my music lessons. Inevitably, though, there was a song here or there that I forgot to put on my iPod, or that I couldn't put on my iPod (since it's eight years old), so I had to use my school computer to find it...or then I realized that I didn't have it there either, so I'd run and get my personal laptop and plug it into my speakers. To make sure I waste no class time, I decided to create playlists in iTunes and make sure all the music I needed for each grade level was on that playlist. Then, when I get to that part of the lesson, I simply queue up iTunes and double click on the recording!

Here are my three for Kindergarten:

I just found this recording yesterday while listening to music in the pool with my youngest daughter...and it is SO FUN. It quotes "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg, but is a contemporary pop song. It has kid friendly lyrics, and a very consistent, strong, steady beat. I have an activity for keeping the beat that I call "Follow me," in which I keep the beat in groups of 8 and students follow me. So I'll keep the beat on my lap for 8 beats, then my head for 8 beats, then jump for 8 beats, etc. Once students are comfortable with this, I let student volunteers lead the beat motions. It's always a hit with Kindergartners. For years, I've used the "Keeping the Beat" CD by John Feierabend for this activity (which is a great purchase!); I'm excited to add this fun recording to the playlist for this activity!

I love Eric Chapelle's recordings, and will be writing about them again this week! This particular recording is wonderful for practicing fast/slow. The recording goes back and forth between slow and fast. I learned an activity with this from a former colleague: during the recording, I have students move like they are in jello for the slow section, and like the room is full of chocolate and they have to eat it as fast as they can for the fast section. It is lots of fun, and a great way to practice fast/slow!

Both my daughters have loved Laurie Berkner growing up...and I do too! This recording is also great for movement. I have students first listen to part of it and identify the movement words they hear (i.e. jump, gallop, swim). Then, I have them find self spaces, listen to the music, and do what the music tells them to do!

Check out these playlist posts:
First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade

What are your favorite recordings for Kindergarten? Feel free to comment below. Click here to read more ideas and strategies for your Kindergarten music lessons. Want more ideas for Kindergarten? Check out this set:

Happy listening, and happy teaching!
17 July, 2018
10 Great Examples of Music Classroom Decor

10 Great Examples of Music Classroom Decor

Thinking about how you'd like to decorate your music room this upcoming school year? In this post, I'm showcasing 10 great examples of music classroom decor, to inspire you with your classroom! Here goes!

10 great examples of music classroom decor: Includes ideas for organization, instrument storage, and more!

I love Tracy King's letters...and the decorations on the piano! Click here to read more about Tracy's farmhouse-themed classroom.

Amy Abbott at Music a la Abbott was so creative with this bulletin board! I love how the genie is rising out of the bulletin board, and how she uses an oddly-shaped space to create a board!

This next picture is from my classroom...I love storing my hand drums like this! 3M hooks are the best!

Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music wrote about her classroom decor in this blog post...LOVE the use of records with the silhouette.

Aimee from O For tuna Orff had a similar look in her classroom, with silhouettes. I also love how she stores her Boomwhackers!

Lindsay from Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom wrote about her watercolor themed classroom in this post. I love how she incorporated paint chips into the bulletin board!

David Row at Make Moments Matter wrote in this blog post about his guitar wall...what an efficient and fun way to store them!

Music with Mrs. Dennis has music notes hanging from her ceiling...so cute!

Elizabeth from Organized Chaos wrote about using a jewelry organizer for triangle storage in this post...how fun is this? It looks like a sailboat to me! And so much easier to find the beaters!

Looking to decorate your music classroom? Here are a couple sets that could help:


I hope this inspires you as you think about designing your classroom! Happy planning and designing!

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