Thursday, September 19, 2013


Every year, my 4th graders perform the Veteran's Day program. It's kind of a tradition at my school, where the students sing patriotic songs, write letters and recognize the local veterans in attendance. Each year, I try to find different songs about our country and the armed forces, as many of veterans attend each year.

This year, I found this really beautiful version of "Taps" from Music K-8. The first part is the students singing the familiar tune on "Loo" while famous quotes and poems are spoken by students into the microphone. Then, all the students sing the song with the traditional words, ending with the lone trumpet solo. It's gorgeous!

It's a great chance for some more students speakers to give a little history of our country and thank those who served our country. Also, I was able to find this clip from the History channel's overview of the story of "Taps."

Several of the students recognized the tune, but it's always nice to tie-in the history of music and why it is so important to our country and its' citizens. I hope it's a hit - I know it will be very emotional for some. We have talked about this in our class and many of the students can relate to the sadness it brings. I usually don't like tugging at the heart strings, but I love this song and it's powerful message.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Favorite Pins of September

I have been seeing all these awesome Linky Party buttons on the music education blogs I follow. Since I teach during the day and have a piano studio in the evening, I rarely get to participate in these because I'm too late! But, it's Friday! I actually have time to blog and link up.

I am linking up to Aileen Miracle from "Mrs. Miracle's Music Room." I LOVE her resources. I seriously use one every week, if not more often. So, here are my 5 favorite pins of September!

#1  Data Tracking in the Music Room (K-5)

Our district is really focusing on data tracking, project-based learning and student centered classrooms. I constantly evaluate my students and my teaching, but there is a push for more concrete data. This bundle has awesome resources and ideas for getting concrete evidence through progress goals, levels, and personal assessment for the kids.

#2 Wee Willie Winkie

This song is so awesome! It has steady beat, rhythms, solfege, a fun game and instruments! Perfect for my K-2 students. I love songs that have interesting games to hook the students, plus a lot of elements to review or introduce AND a fun ending activity (instruments). 

#3 Choral Singing Word Wall

I am so bad at emphasizing vocabulary in music. It's something I definitely struggle with! These choral words, though, are great to display. They hit the key words that beginning singers need to know and I can quickly point them out by color, word or stripes/chevron. I already used 2 of them on the first day. 

#4 Rig A Jig Jig


I constantly struggle with finding dances that are fun for my K-1 students. I like to hit on several things during music, so I find that a lot of dances are difficult for them to learn in a short amount of time or retain if we don't learn it all at once. I tend to do more movement activities with them because of this. However, I found this great video of a dance that starts in a circle and moves to partners. I love having the students partner with lots of people.

#5 A Soup Opera

Reading is something I'm focusing on a lot this year. Whether it's song stories, nonfiction, movement books or acting things out, I want to do more reading in my class. I've heard wonderful things about "A Soup Opera" and I'm really excited to try it out soon. It even comes with a CD, so it's great for sick voice days or substitutes. I'm hoping to read it, sing along and eventually have some classes act it out. We'll see what happens :)

It's finished - I have completed my first Linky Party blog post. Have a great weekend - woot woot!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bounce High, Bounce Low

I love the song "Bounce High, Bounce Low." It has so many things in it for the students to learn! I am using it with 2nd graders for concepts, but I hope to glue it to the 1st grade curriculum by the end of this year.

To start, we play a singing game. The students are in a circle, with one person holding the ball. We all sing "Bounce high, bounce low. Bounce the ball to Shi-loh," but replace "Shi-loh" with a student's name. The ball is bounced to that student and we keep going. Granted, it is not the most exciting game ever but the students like it and it is awesome for helping with names at the beginning of the year.

Next, we take it apart. I got this wonderful powerpoint collection of Penguin Songs from Emily F. at

The students review steady beat, as well as "ta" and "titi." Then, I introduce our new solfege hand sign "la." The students have already heard of "La" through the book series "So-Me" by Stuart Manins. I highly recommend you purchase these books. They are great! The kids love singing So-Me's name and remember it forever. They are pricey, but they introduce rhythm, melody, different sounds and high vs. low. They are also awesome for a sick voice day because the author reads the stories on his CD that comes with the books.

Anyways, we learned about "La-Me" who is So-Me's older brother. They now get to see where La is! We use the powerpoint to see the picture relationships, sing the song, show the handsign and see it on the staff.

Finally, we add instruments! The students love the boomwhackers and they are a great way to reinforce our district goal of student-centered classrooms. I divide the students, explain to them about boomwhacker notation and we get started! They are given 10 minutes to work together before performing in front of the class. It's also a nice way to introduce and reinforce audience etiquette. The students listen to one another, clap, and encourage each person's playing. I love it! They are so brave to get up in front of their classmates and play - I couldn't even do that until middle school! It really helps them out as we prepare for our program in December.

What other ideas do you have for Bounce high, bounce low? I love songs that teach so many different things :)