Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!..." with Bulletin Boards!

Sorry - had to do a play on words! I actually have two themes for music each year: one for primary and one for intermediate. Today, I'm going to link up with David Row's bulletin board party and share my primary theme decor. 

Last year, the primary building chose Dr. Seuss's theme "Oh, the Places You'll Go." It's such a fun theme! The kindergarten music program was all about Dr. Seuss and his books. If you're interested in a music program like this, let me know. It was great for everyone!

This year, I decorated for the theme with balloons. I was lucky to find a great door poster to go along, with it, too, from Music in Motion. Here is my door (sorry it's kind of blurry):
Above my door, I printed and laminated some cute "welcome" music notes from Music and Technology. Check them out here - they're free!
Welcome to Music sign

I love this quote! "Music ignites the imagination, elevates the mind, and lets the spirit soar." Plus, it has composers floating in the balloon basket - haha! 

Anyway, here's my bulletin board. It is huge and covers a ton of wall space. Each balloon has something that the students can participate in or become with music. I put several of our school's music activities on balloons, as well as careers such as DJ, composer, church musician, etc. It was super easy to do and hopefully a positive and inspirational start to the year. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Some big changes are happening in my music room this year! I have been asking (and nagging) for this for the past year or so. I had my hopes up last year, but it's finally come true this summer. 

.........................................DRUMROLL PLEASE...........................................


I know this probably isn't as exciting as you thought it would be. However, I have been hinting at carpet for a year now. The tile floor was falling apart, it was extremely slippery and it was always dirty. It was always difficult to do dances, relay races, and activities because the kids didn't want to sit on a dirty floor or they would try to scoot around/slide when teachers weren't looking. It was just a disaster!

I'm excited for carpet and the new adventure it brings. I'm planning on taping my rubber dots to the floor for lining up spots and purchasing Sit Spots for seating arrangements. Check out 2nd Grade Snickerdoodle's blog post about them:

There are going to be so many new things in my classroom this year (aside from the carpet, of course!). I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm most excited about.

Noodle Ponies
At the Artie & Denise conference this summer, I had the opportunity to meet Tracy King. She presented a wonderful workshop all about centers. She also shared her noodle ponies! I couldn't wait to get home and put together some of my own. My cat, Eleanor, was NOT very helpful, so this took longer than necessary, but I'm super excited to use them!

Thanksgiving Fun
The day before Thanksgiving is always a toughie for the kids. We get out early and they are super charged. I was checking out the Music in Motion website and came across something perfect for that day! It's a story book with the song "Over the River." So cute! It tells the tale of a family of turkeys going to Thanksgiving dinner and trying to avoid the farmer. There's a happy twist at the end, though! Also, I found this awesome hat to go with it! Again, my cat was not very helpful with this at home, as you can see in the picture. 

After attending the workshop and digging into more materials I had, I have a great plan for more instrument play in my classroom. I also acquired a couple of large congas from the MS band director to store in my room. He was gracious enough to let me store them, as he has brand new ones. I also used my intermediate budget to purchase more bongos, sound shapes and rhythm sticks. Can't wait to use all of these and teach more beat/rhythm with all of my students.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Music TOMS

Just a quick post for today - I wanted to share with you something that has been on my wishlist for awhile. A few years ago, I had just discovered TOMS and the One for One philosophy. Basically, TOMS strives to make unique shoes and provide a pair shoes to a child in need for every pair bought. I purchased a pair of black classics and didn't really like them. Same with some pink flats I purchased a year later. However, I had been itching for the music shoes they had made. However, they were sold out already - DARN!

However, I just saw them come back on the market last week. I posted them to the Music Teachers group board I follow on Facebook to put the word out. I didn't realize they would have a following, but I know I gave TOMS a ton of business with posting those music shoes! 

I thought I would continue to share and shout the love to TOMS. Here is a picture of mine - they just came in the mail yesterday :) 

The right foot is more snug than the left, but everyone says they stretch out. Can't wait to sport these at school this year!

INTERESTED? Just click on the picture below and it will take you directly to the TOMS website. I'll stop "singing" their praises now!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Five Favorite Pins of July

Sorry I've been MIA recently. I've been in my classroom creating and putting so many new things together for fall. Today, I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to show my Five Favorite Pins of July.

#1: Mystery Song Music Listening: Bundle #2

I absolutely LOVE Cori Bloom's products. Plus, she is super nice and quick to respond if you have comments and questions. She has been creating these listening bundles for awhile, but I super excited about the mystery songs. It's a great way to break out and let the students share their ideas while introducing them to a variety of music. Her most recent bundle is great for Christmas and winter - the graphics are beautiful!

#2: Singing with a Sub (Sub Plans for the Music Classroom)
Aileen Miracle has recently been updating some of her files and this one is awesome! I purchased her "Wild About Music" sub plans in the spring and thought they were great stand alone lessons. The updates and additions she's made this pack are wonderful. There are ideas for listening, movement, centers, etc. I can't wait to purchase this in the next few weeks. 

#3: Instrument Petting Zoo

I have been wanting to have an instrument petting zoo for my primary students ever since I was student teaching. I've never figured out how to do it, though! This is a great pin to David Row's blog about an instrument petting zoo. He also just released a product in his TPT store with more guides and information. I know I will use this somehow in my classroom this year, either for conferences, back-to-school night or in a lesson. 

#4 Star Spangled Banner word cloud

This year is the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. My 4th graders have the yearly tradition of putting on the Veteran's Day program. This is a great way to practice the words to the national anthem, while also displaying their creativity with technology. This Tagxedo was created by another music teacher I met through an elementary music education chat on Twitter. Genius!!

#5: Stretchy band ideas

Earlier this year, I created my own stretchy band for movement. Here's the post if you'd like to make your own (it literally takes 10 minutes!): Stretchy Band tutorial
Anyways, I happened upon this pin with several ideas for using the stretchy band. I struggle for ideas with my younger students and the website really gives some awesome ideas. 

Only 1 more month until school starts - gosh, it's flown by! I've already been in my room and starting putting things together. Hopefully, you're finding some great ideas from pins, blog posts, workshops, etc. to bring to your music class this year. Take care!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Puppets - a newfound love!

Over the past few years, I've heard teachers swear up and down that puppets are awesome. I discovered some in my music room my first year, but didn't really use them. I guess I just feel weird introducing a puppet to students. However, this year, I started using beat buddies. If you're not sure what beat buddies are, they can be any little stuffed animal that students can pat on their lap, arm, etc. to keep the beat. I was blessed when my mom found about 40 of them at a local consignment shop. The kids LOVE them! I couldn't believe it! They are also a good motivator for those younger students who have trouble with behavior. Here's a picture of what I tend to use...they are beanie babies from McDonalds, but anything smaller will work!

These beat buddies really pushed me to try out puppets. When I attended the Artie & Denise conference in June, Artie used so many puppets. It was great! She made literature connections, solo singing, and introductions to styles. I quickly started surfing the web for what I could use in my classroom. Oriental Trading is only an hour away from us, so this company gets products to you FAST. Also, they have such variety! Here are some things I picked up from OTC:

Horse finger puppets! These are great for students to identify and practice form for "The Wild Horseman." After using their puppets, the students can move on to using noodle ponies or candy cane horses in groups to show the form. So fun - check it out here!
Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My!

Large jungle animal puppets are great for teachers to use AND the students! I'm excited for all of the solo singing opportunities these will provide. Also, any puppets can be left at centers for students to do vocal explorations or sing songs with their puppets. 

Cat and dog finger puppets - so many possibilities! I can see the puppies being used for Doggie, Doggie and kitties for Naughty Kitty Cat. The main reason I chose these is for Rossini's "Cat Duet." Artie had one kitty for one hand and another for her other hand. These moved up and down with the melody when it was that kitty's turn during the duet. It's so funny! Plus, it is a great way to introduce opera to kids and show melodic differences. Let me know if you'd like to see the video from the workshop - it is one of my favorite lessons!

I also purchased some puppets at the end of the school year. I originally saw these on Music a la Abbott's blog post about puppets. I instantly fell in love - they are so quirky! Plus, they are on a stick which makes them a little easier to handle. The kids thought they were funny and loved naming them. Educational Insights now has fish and dinosaur puppets on a stick. Can't wait to add those to my collection as well.

My last puppet isn't really a puppet. I was at Half Price Books the other day (I am a HPB junkie!) and stumbled upon some interesting stuffed characters. There were finger puppets and stuffed animals from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. My husband (when he was a teacher) had little finger puppets for famous composers and graciously passed them on to me. I didn't realize that they made larger stuffed animal models, too! The company has several new finger puppets (Elvis, Louis Armstrong) and composer favorites in both puppet and character size. I ended up purchasing the Mozart and Beethoven stuffed animals on eBay for the price of one from the website. Mine are still brand new, just cheaper. They have a smaller information card and play one of the composer's famous pieces. Here they are - ready to go to school. 

I know my primary students will love to check these out when we learn about composers. I plan on bringing them out when we read stories, color composer bios, listen, do movement, etc. I'm really excited to use Mr. Beethoven first with this awesome bundle from The Yellow Brick Road:

Do you use puppets or stuffed animals in your room? Are they something only your primary students enjoy or do the older kids still ask for them?