Sunday, March 15, 2015


I finally took the plunge and started a TeachersPayTeachers store. 

Now, what is that (for those of you that haven't experienced its' awesomeness yet!)? is an online marketplace where teachers create things for other teachers. It's really awesome! There are so many wonderful educators and creators posting things that are exactly what teachers are needing RIGHT NOW. Plus, there are so many sales going on throughout the year. 

My first freebie is a packet of papers to use for Music In Our Schools Month. If you like the freebie, check out the bundle! It has a lot more variety for older kids to write and share their love of music. Please download and leave some feedback - I'd really appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Read Across America week

March begins an important month of advocacy for music education. In our school, it's also a time for "Read Across America" and celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday. I like to advocate for my program by demonstrating that it relates and collaborates with so many other disciplines. Music is it's own thing, but can greatly strengthen other programs and subjects.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for RAA and Dr. Seuss week!

1. Seussical

This one is a given! I am lucky to have the "Spotlight on Music" series which features an entire mini review of "Seussical." My kindergarteners actually did a whole program last year about Dr. Seuss. I love having the students learn the songs and dialogue that fits in with their favorite stories. We also watch a few clips so they can see the costumes and props that make the stories come alive.

2. Seussical Musical Instruments

Last year, I found this wonderful bulletin board about students creating their own wacky instruments. I thought this would be a perfect time to review instruments, but also allow students to show their creativity like Dr. Seuss. We also share them all at the end - it can get pretty funny! Here is the sheet I hand out to my students to begin creating:

3. My Many Colored Days

This book is so fun to read! The colors are beautiful and really helps the students get in touch with their feelings and expressions through music and text. We read the story aloud and then students go off to write and decorate with their favorite colors. Not only do they write the colors, but also how it makes them feel. We share these with neighbors and compare - it's a great learning experience about differences. I also like using this playlist from OMazing Kids Yoga. With my little ones, we choose a scarve, wave it on our color and everyone waves on "rainbow." You can dig deeper into the music and feelings with each separate color track. This song is a wonderful cool down at the end of the lesson:

4. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

Wow - I didn't realize how popular this story is! I have had numerous teachers tell me it is a favorite of their children. It's also wonderful for beat and rhythm. I read the story first, with them keeping a steady beat (you can use beat buddies here - fun!!). For older kids, you can isolate different words and put the rhythms in. You can also put them on cards and have the students sort them to complete the page you're on. It's a good center or partner activity. My favorite part is the drumming! I've seen several teachers use hand drums, but I love bringing out all of the drums! I stumbled upon this awesome video, where Sue Bowcock uses the pages to tell the story and everyone echoes after her on their drum. It's a great time for assessment, too! Plus, what kid doesn't love banging on lots of drums for music class? I'm not sure about copyright issues with the story, though....

5. Read Across America song

Our building does a great reader's exchange at the end of the week. Students go to their previous teacher and read together for the last few minutes before dismissal. We're adding this fun sing along from NEA to celebrate the week. It was written by Glenn Weiss and has a fun rock feel to it. Here's a snippet of it:

There are so many more amazing ideas to connect music and reading. I encourage you to collaborate with your fellow teachers and find a way to really inspire students through music and reading. Have a great week!