Image Map

May 31, 2022

Virtual Music Programs


Today I'm sharing my two music programs from the 2020-2021 school year. While we met in the classroom (on a cart), CoVid-19 prevented us from having large in-person music programs. I decided to have two virtual music programs, one for JK-K-1 and the other 2-3. Each program was centered around a picture book that our principal read. Each class had their own song to learn and sing. After recording everything, I put all the pieces together and shared it with our families.

Below is a bit more information for each program. Also, do to privacy concerns, I am unable to share the programs with you. If you would like more information about any of the pieces, how things worked, etc. please email me at msmusic4life88@gmail.com and I'll be happy to help you!



The program for my Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten and 1st grade students was based on the story Zoozical by Judy Sierra & Marc Brown. There were children's songs sprinkled through the middle of the book that made up most of the program. I did add a beginning and ending song to have enough material for each class I taught. I also created slides that announced the next song title and which class was performing. These were inserted after the text of the story (which my principal read). 










----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The program for my 2nd and 3rd grade students was I Promise by Lebron James. Each page in this story talks about the qualities that the reader promises to do, such as "I promise to run full court and show up each time, to get right back up and let my magic shine." Each class represented one of these statements and their song reflected that. Instead of title slides, I put the song title and class on the video. My principal read the story and paused for the specific class to sing at that time. When the story ends, I took individual clips of students and groups saying "I promise to be me" to conclude the program. 














Again, if you have any questions, please reach out to me! Personally, the virtual programs took more outside work time to put everything together than actual class time. It wouldn't be my choice to continue this way but it worked really well for keeping everyone safe and entertained. 




April 29, 2022

Adaptive Music Stations



Hello all! This year has been a difficult one for many teachers, including myself. 
My mental health has suffered greatly, both at work and at home. As the school year ends, I'm finally starting to find some clarity and consistency with my days and wanted to share a new blogpost for those out there working with adaptive music classes. 

Every year, my adaptive class changes. I teach K-3rd so I may have students moving on to 4th grade and new ones coming in. Also, it takes several weeks for me to understand what each student likes/dislikes and how they interact with each other. 

In the past, most of my classes have been able to do short group lessons.
This year's group dynamic is the complete opposite - they struggle with sharing, don't respect each other's boundaries and almost all are nonverbal. Because of this, I have found that stations work best so these kids can have their own materials, time limit and discovery. 


Things that have worked well:
  • 7 stations (5 kids total)
  • No more than 2 at a station at a time
  • Hula hoops for station placement or each student has their own hula hoop they move around with to mark their personal space & materials
  • Students are responsible for picking up the station if they leave or when it's time to go
  • Always have music playing (can be themed each day, have a strong beat or calming)



Here are the 7 stations I normally have set up: 

        1. Instruments
                -heavy duty, plastic instruments or Remo Kids
                -rain sticks, egg shakers, jingle bells, bongos & djembes
                -occasionally: boomwhackers



        2. Movement 
                -scarves or ribbons
                -move in their hoop or marked off area



        3. Plush/Buddies/Puppets
                **my kids have really gravitated towards these this year**
                -puppets to sing along with
                -beat buddies to bounce along



        4. Sensory
                -pop its with rhythms (ta & titi)
                -pop tubes
                -fidget spinners to move fast or slow with tempo of songs
                -Bellz! board game
                


        5. Storybooks (email me for more info on these!)
                -relative artist biographies
                -illustrated songs
                -"The Story of..." board books
                -Disney Soundtrack series
 


        6. Technology
                -iPads with Incredibox
                -DJ Trollex mixer
                -Tweet Beats birds & trees
                


        7. Keyboards
                -one for each student
                -$5 from 5 Below




                            





            



Occasionally, we will do big group things like Just Dance/Go Noodle or xylophone rotations. But, those are usually spur of the moment changes because sometimes the dynamic of the group can handle it that day while other times it won't work at all. 

Before I end this post, I'd like to share a fun story about one of my kiddos. This boy has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is mostly nonverbal. However, we discovered something amazing one day when I let each student choose a song for our playlist. He chose "We Don't Talk About Bruno" from the movie Encanto. All the kids were loving this song - the beat, the melody, everything! Then, before his paraprofessional could grab him, he clicked on a different version of the song: We Don't Talk About Bruno in 21 Languages. As the song played, he could identify the language by reading the text on the screen but also began singing it in the different languages! I can't share the video for many reasons, but it was one of the most heartwarming moments I've experienced as a teacher. Disney must have discovered how popular this type of video is because they've created a few more with other Encanto songs as well as other Disney hits. 





If you are interested in more information about the stations or any of the materials, please email me at msmusic4life88@gmail.com and I will be happy to help you!



***Disclaimer: I am not a music therapist nor am I certified in any classes or techniques relating to music therapy. I am simply an elementary music teacher asked to teach something that I wasn't prepared for and struggled to find resources or ideas for this class and its special students. If you are interested in music therapy or are wanting more information in regards to it, please visit the website for the American Music Therapy Association. Thank you!***


May 10, 2021

Elementary Music Programs 19/20

This year, we were only able to complete 3 programs before the shutdown of our district due to CoVid-19. Here are the three we were able to complete - please let me know if you have any questions!







3rd Grade






2nd Grade





1st Grade









May 09, 2021

Elementary Music Programs 18/19


Hi there! Sadly, I have neglected my blog over the last year. I apologize! 

I have had several people email me and leave comments, though, asking for more information on my programs. I'll be doing two separate posts today with programs from my last two years. As always, if you have questions on where to find the music or how to structure the program, let me know! 







3rd Grade



2nd Grade
(this program is a favorite of mine so I used it again at my new school)






1st Grade







Kindergarten








May 19, 2020

Positive Songs During Problematic Times




Well, this school year has ended in a way that we could never have imagined. Our last week before Spring Break in March was actually our last few days of school. The state of Iowa cancelled school for the remainder of the year with optional online learning. This has caused chaos, confusion, fear, anger, concern and so many other emotions. 

However, through all of us, I am trying to stay positive. Positive for my students. Positive for my daughter. Positive for our family, near and far. Positive for our essential workers. Positive for those ill. Positive for the future of our country and world. Positive for a new school year in the fall. Positive that we can get through this together. 

This is hard! Each day is a struggle and honestly, some days I could care less about positivity. But, there are some things that have helped me get through the tough times: sunshine, walks, naptime snuggles with my little girl, comfy clothes and of course music! It seems so many are going online and singing, playing or writing music. It has the ability to connect us and inspire light in a time of darkness. This song has especially stuck with me this week: I Am With You from At Home With Olaf




I'd like to share some more songs that have lifted my spirits. Many are appropriate for kids and I've passed these on to my students over the weeks. However, there are some that probably don't have the best in words in them - I'll give you a heads up! Remember to always adhere to your district guidelines before streaming or sharing any music. I've starred some of my favorites of the lists. 


Slow

  • Better Place by Rachel Platten
  • Rainbow by Kasey Musgraves
  • Bones by Maren Morris
  • Rise Up by Andra Day*******
  • Found/Tonight by Ben Flatt & Lin-Manuel Miranda*******
  • Hold Each Other by A Great Big World (explicit)
  • Little Wonders by Rob Thomas
  • I Am With You from At Home with Olaf*******
  • Save a Little for Yourself by Mandy Moore
  • Lighters by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars (explicit)
  • I Hope You Dance by LeeAnn Womack
  • The Call by Regina Spektor



Comfortable

  • No Matter Where You Are by Us the Duo*******
  • I'll Be There by Walk Off the Earth (explicit)
  • From Now On from The Greatest Showman (explicit)
  • Keep Your Eyes Open by NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Brother by NEEDTOBREATHE ft. Gavin DeGraw
  • A Friend Like You by Andy Grammar*******
  • Beautiful Life (from Abominable) by Bebe Rexha
  • Sunday Best by Surfaces (explicit)
  • Underdog by Alicia Keys (explicit)
  • Good as Hell by Lizzo (explicit)
  • Look Up, Child by Lauren Daigle*******
  • Some Things Never Change (from Frozen)
  • It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day (Secret Life of Pets 2) by LunchMoney Lewis
  • You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile by Sia
  • Wonderful Life by Matoma
  • Life Changes by Thomas Rhett
  • Level of Concern by Twenty One Pilots (explicit)
  • Be Okay by Ingrid Michaelson



Fast/Uptempo

  • Trolls Wanna Have Good Times from Trolls World Tour
  • Backflip (From Green Eggs & Ham on Netflix) by Rivers Cuomo*******
  • Diamond in the Sun by Andy Grammer
  • Crocodile Rock (feat. Elton John) by Nelly Furtado
  • I'm Still Standing (from Sing) by Taron Egerton
  • Young Volcanoes (explicit)*******
  • Power (feat. Stormzy) by Little Mix (explicit)
  • My Body by Young the Giant (explicit)
  • Love Today by MIKA (explicit)
  • Headstrong by Trapt (explicit)
  • Tubthumping by Chumbawamba (explicit)
  • BLOW by Ed Sheeran, Christ Stapleton & Bruno Mars (explicit)*******
  • Anybody Have a Map? from Dear Evan Hansen (explicit)
  • Seize the Day from Newsies (explicit)
  • Freak Flag from Shrek the Musical (explicit)
  • Sing by Pentatonix



What songs have you been listening to during this time? I always love listening to new music! 
Please share below! Stay safe!

August 22, 2019

All Are Welcome

All are welcome here! It's time for a new school year and I'll admit, I'm just as nervous as the kiddos! It's my 9th year of teaching, but I still get butterflies and so many emotions as the families come in to find their classroom, locker, etc. 





This year, I'm starting music class with this amazing book by Alexandra Penfold: All Are Welcome. 
The current climate in our country is far removed from our origins. We are a land of many different peoples and should be embracing that. Children need to come to school and know they are safe, loved and accepted. This book is a beautiful way to share with any grade level or classroom. 






To get my kids singing on the first day, we will be singing the tagline instead of speaking. Initially, I will sing it and have them echo. Once we begin the story and they catch on, the singing grows and everyone is confident by the end. It's a simple refrain, but powerful.




All are welcome in school. All are welcome in music. All are welcome here.
Have a great school year!

March 27, 2019

Puppet Placement


Happy Spring! Our school year has been crazy! We had several weeks of illnesses - so bad that they considered closing our building and cleaning it. Then, we had several snow storms in a row. We didn't miss that many full days as much as we had late starts. When the snow melted, massive flooding occurred. Our area was able to absorb most of the water but other parts of Iowa and Nebraska were not so lucky. Many places (including our schools) have begun donating items, money and volunteering to help these people put their life back together. #NebraskaStrong


But, spring has given me some more time to share ideas and thoughts as we finish one year (and start thinking about another). Today I'm going to share with you my organization for various puppets. 

I love puppets so much! You can read about some of the puppets in my room here: Puppets - A Newfound Love.



For my soft, plush puppets, I use a shoe rack. I found this pretty durable one on Amazon. It's not exactly the straightest one, but my custodian was able to tighten it up for me. I've organized mine a little differently to evenly distribute the weight. 

 


I place the puppets on the different hooks using the gap where you would place your hand to use each one. It's even able to prop up my smallest finger puppets, like the seal and bird. 






My favorite collection of puppets, though, are the ones on a stick. Education Insights makes these wonderful plastic puppets on a stick, giving you two different ways to use them. I especially love these because you can easily clean them! This is so important with all the germs going around. I would even clean them when we didn't use just to be safe. You can push down the thumb lever or pull the ball at the base of the puppet. 





They've released different sets in the past few years, but I currently have:
  • Monsters (Fez, Kai & Lex)
  • Rainbow Prancers (Dazzle, Twinkle & Shine)
  • Prehistoric (Buster, Crusher & Stomper)
  • Sea Squad (Bob, Chomper & Dipper)
  • Zoo Crew (Elephant, Giraffe, Lion & Monkey)

I have 35 in all - some I have duplicates of while others don't. I like to have extras so the kids do have some selection even if they're the last ones called to come up. Because of their interesting shape, I struggled to find something that would hold all of them, not take up much room and also be easily accessible for my students. Then, I struck gold! 
Walmart was clearing out the last of their "back-to-school" items and had these wonderful storage crates for $2! I bought one and brought it to my classroom - they were perfect! Thankfully, I was able to snatch up a few more for my puppets and general storage. The bright colors were also a big bonus. The puppet is able to slip through a hole at the top and dangle inside the crate. Since some of the heads are large or irregular, I space them out a bit and try to sort them. I actually have a student that comes to my room and sorts them regularly as a calming activity. She never sorts them the same way, but it a place for her to come and find comfort in a unique sensory situation. 





I hope this gives you some new ideas on what to do with those puppets. Do you have another way to store them? Share below!