Thursday, October 31, 2013

Music Express Magazine

Goodness golly! It has been almost 2 weeks since my last blog post - sorry!

My life has been crazy lately because....drumroll......I GOT MARRIED! "Ms. Dunn" is now "Mrs. Skog." Some kids have it down, but it's going to take awhile for the students, parents and teachers to catch on. No biggy, though!

There have been a lot of things going on in the music classroom because 3 grades (4th, 5th & 2nd) are getting ready for their music programs in November and December. Also, chorus is getting ready for their December concert AND several students were selected to participate in the high school's production of "Honk - the musical." Busy time!

Anyways, I am going to post today about Music Express Magazine. I am in love! (cue magical cartoon floating hearts above my head). I came across the mention of this several times in blog posts and resource lists but had no idea what it was. So, I checked out the website and literally gasped in excitement. This magazine has exactly what I'm looking for! There are world music articles, lots of music ideas (singing and instrumental) and their is always a small article about relevant music! This is huge! Sometimes it's a singer (Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood) or a musician (Josh Bell) or even about music technology, stage production and recording. I am constantly trying to pull classroom activities back to why it's important in the big picture. We are really pushing this in our district and it's hard with some concepts. Still, this was so exciting!

Then, I discovered you could get a sample pack AND the previous music teacher had received some. JACKPOT! While some of it isn't as helpful, there is a big plus in having this subscription. It's almost $200 for a whole year (6 issues), but I can't stop thinking about how this is going to help students see the bright light and help them improve their reading and reasoning skills. As soon as I can scrounge up the money (weddings are expensive, wow), I am totally going to subscribe for a year and try it out. I get a teacher book filled with more ideas and a CD, plus 30 student magazines. I would love to use these for project resources throughout the year. So many ideas! I even found an awesome listening map that can be used for Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever next week with the 4th graders.

EEEK! Music teacher overload. 

Please let me know what you think about Music Express Magazine - good, bad, eh?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2/4 Tuesday Linky Party!

I'm a little late, but I'm joining a new linky party! This one is from Steph over at 

I'll be sharing a few things I'm doing in my music room this week!

1. The Five Little Pumpkins

           I love the story The Five Little Pumpkins! My kindergarteners have done a lot with this tale this week. We started out by singing the story and patting the steady beat with our beat buddies. Then, the students got a chance to act out our song story by either being the pumpkins, witches or ghosts. Our next lesson, we sang our song story again with our beat buddies AND added boomwhackers. I found this great powerpoint to help the students see their color's turn as well as follow along with our music.

2. Tiri tiri practice

             My third graders have been working hard on tiri tiri the past few weeks. We did some reviewing yesterday by using "I have/who has." I'm new to this activity and it was hard for some of my students. However, I hope to use it more often so the students are communicating and negotiating without my assistance. Here's the version I used from Aileen Miracle:

               I also end the class with a game the student's love. All over the floor are rhythms we've learned (ta, titi, rest) and our new one, tiri tiri. The students dance around until the music stops, then they must find a card to stand on. There are more than enough cards for everyone. Behind my back, I pull out a popsicle stick that has a rhythm on it. Whoever is standing on that rhythm is out! We keep going until we have a winner and then start over. It's really simple, but the kids go crazy for it. It also helps me work out who can identify our rhythms pretty quickly. 

Thanks for reading! I'm excited about all the new ideas from this linky party :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Five Favorite Pins of October!

I love Linky Parties! This is my second time participating and it's so great to see more resources to use in the classroom. I'm linking to Mrs. Miracle's Music Room about my favorite pins of October.

1. Monster Melody Madness

            It is Halloween and fall time, but I love activities that can be used throughout the year. My 2nd graders are just starting to learn about "do" and this set is a great way for them to review their skills soon. It's from Amy Abbott on TeachersPayTeachers.

2. Primary Listening Sheet

          I'm trying to focus more on listening this year, through various activities. It's hard for my younger students to do this because our district is really working on writing and communication/negotiation. I love this gem I found for primary students to start communicating how they feel and why about certain types of music.

3. Every Little Thing

           I LOVE singable story books, especially ones that have a great message and are relevant songs to people in every day life. I stumbled upon Cedella Marley as an author through the blog "Treble in the Classroom." I can't wait to order this book and her other story One Love.

4. Beat Buddies

            I saw this on Mrs. King's music room and knew I had to incorporate it immediately. I'm having some struggles with a couple of my kinder classes concerning behavior. Beat buddies are perfect for keeping the beat and learning, but also a behavior incentive for them. If they aren't following directions, their beat buddy is taken away. My 4th graders even wanted to use them for our program practice! If they were showing program posture and doing their best at singing and listening, they could sing with a beat buddy. Wow - love!

5. Emergency Sub Plans

          Whenever I am gone (planned or unplanned), rarely do I have a music sub or an actual scheduled sub. They are few and far between in our district, so I usually have an associate or someone in the building who is free to cover my class. I hate always showing a movie if it's not relevant to our current topics, but it's the easiest for whoever ends up teaching music. However, I found this great idea that will get the students learning about things we can't cover, as well as talk with one another.

Can't wait to see the other great ideas that others post. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

triangles, sticks and drums - oh my!

Sorry I've been off the radar for the past week - I've been dealing with some personal health issues. However, I am back to blogging!

My first year of teaching, I rarely used instruments. Seriously - like, never. They terrified the heck out of me and I had ZERO experience with them. During student teaching, I became familiar with recorders, but nothing "percussion" like. This is really sad because I am a percussionist. FAIL! 

Anyways, I came into the program at my school with the hope of surviving the first year. In the past, the students had used Mallet Madness and there were tons of smaller bell sets in storage. I didn't go near them until my second year, where I pulled them out a couple of times with the younger and older classes. This was a headache! It takes forever to get everything out and placed and then that is all you can do for the day because of the set-up/tear-down time in between. UGH!

This year, I vowed to instrument it up. I've been to some workshops with Orff ideas and they've been great! I love taking a poem or story and having the students choose instruments to play during certain parts. I have also been adding instruments to the song powerpoints I've been using. The kids are getting really good at reading the music, their instrument part and listening to others. In the next few years, my goal is to incorporate the Mallet Madness resources, as well as start up a recorder program. Fingers crossed!

Here are some of my favorite instrument ideas I've used this year:

I love this book! It is short and has huge pop-up pictures. Plus, you can start off with 3-4 instruments sounds and add more and more throughout the year. It gets the students talking and negotiating which instruments should be what and why!

This activity is so awesome! And...IT'S FREE! It is so good for my younger students. It reinforces our different types of voices, ta/titi/rest, a fun game and instruments. Each slide only has 1 instrument, so our new learners can see their picture really big. You can find it here, from The Sweetest Melody 

Last year, I introduced bucket drumming. Wow! So much fun and so much chaos. The kids love it and it's a great way to talk about steady beat, being a group and form. Here is a fun one for Christmas from "The Nutcracker."

Finally, I love boomwhackers! Cheap and fun for the kids to start learning about instruments and reading music parts. I started using these last year on a whim and couldn't put them down. Here's a fun fall activity with all of the C boomwhackers. It also has an action song and ta/titi work. 

I am always on the lookout for more Orff instrument books, songs and ideas to show the kids. I don't have a smartboard, but our district is 1-1. Send me any ideas you have so I can stay on my instrument track this year :)