Sunday, November 24, 2013

Phys Ed and Music Partnership: Artist in Residence

I am beyond lucky to work on a team with an amazing PE teacher.  Beyond being awesome in the classroom, she is awesome because she understands in and believes in the partnership between music and physical education.  She understands that not only is beat important in the music room, it is important in most physical activity.  Not only is physical fitness and ability to move important in the gym, it is important in the music room.

For the past seven years or so, we have worked together on many projects.  However, my favorite annually, is our collaborative artist in residence.  Each year, through the funding of our local education foundation, we bring an artist in residence to teach our classes for the week.  Half our students see the guest for the first two days in a row, and then the other half of the school sees the artist for the next two days.  Then, there is usually a closing assembly.  We also have a family night where students can bring their parents back to experience what has been happening all week.

We have had many amazing artists from Kalani, to the Amidons, to Matt Savage, to Kerri Lynn Nichols.  However, this year's artist, Rene Bibaud is right up at the top of the list!  She was incredibly engaging, she got the students attention from day one, she demanded respect and high levels of performance, and she was an amazing performer herself.

Rene was a member of Cirque de Soleil, performing with her jump rope in the show Quidam.  Throughout the week, she shared many rope tricks and skills with our students.  However, the overall theme of keeping a steady beat was emphasized (and we all know that this is a skill we continue to hammer in K-12!)

Not only did she teach them movement skills, she also reminded students how important it is to try things.  Making a mistake isn't a bad thing.  It reminds us to keep on trying to improve.  

Check out Rene's in these short videos:

Check out Rene's website:

Clothespin Clip Rhythm Game/Assessment Kit

I've been storing up this idea for awhile, but time has been slipping through my fingers.  I took the opportunity on this cold, windy day, to finally put this set together.

I've been working hard this year to think of more ways to practice and identify rhythms with my students.  Though from time to time, I've always done rhythm activities, chanting my rhythm cards always become a fall back in a time crunch.  Thus, I've been trying to have some other ready made ways to practice rhythm, thus this new kit.

This kit has printable cards, each card with differing levels of rhythm patterns.  Print and create the ones that work for your students.  I'm printing them all up to have ready for all different grade levels.

As the teacher, you will chant the rhythm pattern with syllables, or clap it without syllables.  Students will then take their clothespin and clip it on the pattern they believe you performed.  It is a great way for students to listen and audiate the pattern, then labeling it.  It also allows you, as the teacher, to see which students are getting it, in a quick skim around the room. 

 The 8 included sets are:
1. Quarter Note, Eighth Notes, and Quarter Rest
2. Half Note, Quarter Note, Eighth Notes, Half Rest, and Quarter Rest
3. Sixteenth Notes, Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, and Half Notes
4. Dotted Half Notes, Half Note, Quarter Note, Eighth Notes, Half Rest, and Quarter Rest
5.Eighth Sixteenth Note Combinations
6. Sixteenth Eighth Note Combinations
7. Sixteenth Notes, Eighth SIxteenth Notes, Sixteenth Eighth Notes, Quarter Notes, Half Notes, and Eighth Notes 8. You name it, it's included :-)

Hope your kids enjoy clipping!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Music Manipulative Link Up

Thanks to Lindsay Jervis, I'm linking up to share about some manipulatives I love to use in my class.
1.  Popsicle Sticks
Just this week, I dusted off my handy dandy Popsicle sticks.  I forgot how exciting this simple manipulative is for first graders.  Each student was handed a pile of sticks and I proceeded to clap simple quarter note and eighth note rhythm patterns.  They then dictated the rhythms, creating the notes with their sticks.  It was a great tool for me to assess who was audiating and identifying the correct rhythm patterns.

2.  Felt Xylophone

Another favorite manipulative is my "felt xylophone."  Each bar on the xylophone is represented by a felt piece.  Before going to the instruments, I fold up a piece and stick it to the top (felt sticks to itself).  So, if we are in C pentatonic and I remove f's and b's, I show them what that looks like on my felt xylophone.   I can also add sharp for flat symbols to show students when changing out bars.  It took minimal time to make but has gotten a ton of use.  The kids can also manipulate the xylophone to show the class how to set different pentatonic patterns.

3.  Cookies and Milk Manipulatives

I recently created these cookies and milk manipulatives to use with my part time learning support students.  They loved composing patterns using the words cookies and milk and they were able to compare the text to the early rhythms they are working on.  I was able to meet the "composition" national standard with this class, which could have been a difficult task.  Each student composed their own cookie/milk pattern and performed it for the class.  We also created class patterns and added instruments, one timbre for each rhythm (cookies = drums; milk = jingle bells).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recorder Madness Begins: Winter BA Recorder Stations

My students recorder orders arrived this week (ssshhh...I haven't told the kids they are here yet!!  They are bursting at the seams to get their hands on their recorders).

I was reflecting on how I introduce recorders and thought that I should create some more activities for just B and A, without adding the G, to build a better foundation, especially for those kids who struggle with the motor skill of changing fingers.  We use the Recorder Karate method, but they jump right into BAG right away, and I was thinking some kids would benefit from having just B and A to work with. 

So, coming to you tonight is a Winter Themed BA recorder set.  These are set up to be used in center rotations, allowing the teacher to work with a small group privately.  I also personally add in an iPad station to my cycles.

Included in the set are:

Color By Note: A winter worksheet, for your students to color. Each piece of the picture has a B or on it. Students are given directions to color each pitch a specific color. This activity focuses on the notes we are isolating in our recorder playing.

Winter Composition: Students write a very simple BA melody by choosing to write a B or an A on the staff provided on each snowflake.  They also write the fingering for each note on the recorder picture below the snowflake.   They then practice performing it.  A recorder fingering chart is also provided.

Partner Evaluation: Students have a checklist and provide each other 1 or 2 positive comments and 1 or 2 constructive comments on the notes that they are working on.

Rhythm Performance Practice: Students practice rhythm patterns on B, then A, then combinations of B and A.

I print these out and glue the station cover page on the front of file folders.  I then glue the worksheet (one copy) on the inside of the folder and laminate it.  Then, when I make copies for each station, I place them in each file folder and as students rotate stations, they know to look for the folder of their next activity.

You could also use these as individual whole class activities or at home extensions of the lessons you are teaching.

Hope this simplified set is helpful and your kids enjoy working in recorder centers as much as mine do.  I'm planned and ready.  Recorders here we come!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Treble in the Classroom Sale for 100 Followers

The Treble in the Classroom Store is allllll on sale through Wednesday in celebration of our 100th follower on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Stock up on all kinds of goodies at discounted prices in celebration!


Thanksgiving Ostinato Cards

I just finished a new set of Thanksgiving Ostinato Cards for this upcoming holiday season.

I try to incorporate holiday pieces in my classroom, while keeping the focus on the musical skills I am working on with my classes.  This activity helps to do just that.

Included in this set are 10 ostinato card sets (picture and text on one card, corresponding rhythm on another).  These cards can be printed back to back to be used as flippable flash cards or they can be kept separate for matching activities. 

Ideas for the card are included, such as:
*Ostinato Speech Ensembles
*Instrumental Ostinato Ensembles
*Word Chain Arrangements
*Matching Games

These simple cards can be used in many ways and minimal preparation is needed!  The included patterns use quarter notes, quarter rests, half notes, and eighth notes.  Half note patterns could be removed for students who have not learned them yet!

Download this set for a quick Thanksgiving music room activity.

Listen to Myself Challenge

Make Moments Matter Blog has created a linky party for reflecting on what we hear ourselves saying in our classroom and what we'd like to hear ourselves say more to our students.  I've been reflecting on this a lot as of late, especially as my formal observation process just occurred, so I thought it'd be a great time to share.  I'm excited to see what others have to share in this department too.

1.  Hey Ho Look at Me, Sing Your Name and Tell Me....
I start each class with each student singing to share about themselves.  It gives them a chance to practice improvising solo singing in their head voices, to practice singing in front of others, and helps me to know them on a personal level much better.  It also helps me remember and practice each student's name daily while giving them feedback on their singing.  The kids enjoy sharing and have developed great classroom culture through this process.  We know that in our room, we encourage each other as we are trying to develop into the best musicians we can each personally be.  I love hearing my students' spontaneous outbursts of applause for a student who has finally found their head voice. 

I ask questions ranging from "tell me what you did this weekend" to "tell me what color your toothbrush is" to "tell me what you're thankful for."  I model and share my answer first, and then we go around the circle.  I am always amazed that no matter the grade, tons of hands rise up to volunteer to start.  This quick activity (they are so used to this that we get done in under 2 minutes in our quick whip around) is powerful musically and culturally. 

2.  What do you think about our performance?
I've been really working with my kids on having them reflect and critique themselves.  I think peer feedback is often more powerful or as powerful as teacher feedback.  I want my kids to develop musical independence, so that as they practice at home or when they leave the elementary classroom, they know how to increase the proficiency of their performance personally. 

I am always surprised by how tough they are on themselves, and how insightful they are.  I know that has developed over time as I have nurtured their critiquing and reflecting abilities from a young age, yet their meaningful feedback to themselves and for others really has helped my students develop. 

We are really being encouraged to develop higher level thinking and questioning in our students.  Using this strategy for providing feedback is helping me to nurture this with my kids.  It isn't easy.  There are many times as the "all knowing teacher" that I want to jump in and tell my kids what to do or fix.  However, I need to continue to stop myself from doing that first, and allow my kids to come up with our areas for growth first, with me providing any missed ideas later.

3.  I'm glad you're here!
So many of our kids are coming from tough home situations that are beyond anything we could ever fathom.  Just being that nurturing, encouraging voice to many kids can make a huge difference in their lives.  This year, I've been trying to celebrate each student, making them feel valued this year, even the trying ones.  There are some kids that this is very easy for, and others that this is more stretching for.  I have reflected recently that so many of our kids are carrying heavy baggage that we might not even know about.  Supporting them and building them up through music, can be life giving and light giving for these kids!  I know the teachers who invested in me and built me up, made a huge difference in my life!

4.  Listening and Responding to Student Driven Ideas and Questions
One thing I want to continue working on is making my classroom learning more student driven.  I want my students to be inquisitive and lead our learning.  If students want to rearrange an ensemble to hear how it sounds, I want to make time to do that.  If my kids want to try a different mallet technique, I want them to explore that.  I want to continue to strive to put the students in the drivers' seat in a focused way throughout this year and beyond. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Staff Twister Mania

My 3rd graders have been excited and inquisitive as we have been learning to identify the notes on the music staff.

To review in a more kinesthetic way, today we created a human staff. I taped 5 lines across the music room floor. 

First, we stepped in each line, saying its name as we moved. Then, we went back and stepped on the spaces in order. 

After mastering that, I'd say a note and the students would become the note. We discussed that some letters had two options for locations. 

Then, we added the twister piece. I'd say a body limb and a note.  For example, I said right hand on b. Then I might add left foot on e, and so on. We usually started fresh after 4 commands or so, so that no one was falling on the floor. 

Hope this review idea sparks some ideas for you! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Great iPad App Discovery: Stick Pick

I'm taking an iPad class the first three weekends in November.  Though in the past, I've focused on iPad apps that are music focused, I'm learning about a lot of apps outside of the music realm that can be awesome resources in the music room.  I'll be sharing them in the days and weeks to come.  

Tonight, I want to share the Stick Pick App.  This app allows teachers to store the traditional "popsickle stick" class names in the iPad.  For those of us in the music realm who have 20+ classes, it makes this technique manageable since the sticks are stored digitally.  It allows you to keep track of who you have called on and it allows you to differentiate questions for students based on Bloom's Taxonomy.  I've wanted to use the sticks for calling on students before, but had no way to keep hundreds of sticks organized.  Love this app!  Hope you do too!

Treble in the Classroom is Now On Facebook!

Treble in the Classroom is now on Facebook.  Like the facebook page to stay updated with facebook friend only freebies coming in December, and other great resources and ideas!  Can't wait to connect with you in new ways.  Click here to visit the new facebook page.  More fun to come.

Thanks for your "likes!"

Pumpkin Pie Musical Fraction Kit

As soon as I saw these cute graphics for download, I knew that this kit was the perfect thing to create for my students (and yours:-) in the month of November. 

Included in the kit are three different resources:
1.  Thanksgiving Pie Slides: These slides can be imported into power point or shown as PDFS on a screen.  Using cute visuals, they help students see how a 4/4 measure is divided into four beats, and how the beats can be broken down.  The slides also touch upon the fact that when a measure is 3/4, the measure is broken into only 3 parts.  Both rests and notes are demonstrated.

2.  Pie Cut Out Practice: These slides allow you to cut out a full blank pie.  Then, individual divisions of the pie are included for cut out, with their corresponding rhythms printed on the individual pie pieces.  Students can create their own full pie by combining rhythms and experiencing their fractional relationships, adding rhythms to make a full pie.  Use only the pie divisions with rhythms that your students have been introduced to.  Leave the others out.  Students could also use these manipulatives for rhythm dictations or compositions.  Suggestions are included.

3.  Musical Fractions Worksheet: This set of worksheets lets you choose the level of difficulty that works best for the level of students you are planning for.  Simple 2 and 4 beat divisions are included, with harder versions incorporating 8 part measure divisions.  Students fill in the pie piece with a rhythm that fits the fractional piece. 

Hope this is a fun and practical way to review rhythms with your students during Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You're a Grand Old Flag Veteran's Day Music Activity

At the end of October and in early November, I usually try to infuse some patriotic tunes as Veteran's Day approaches.  This week, I worked on "You're a Grand Old Flag" with 1st grade.

Many of my second graders are familiar with this, as the first grade team at my school does a lot of patriotic tunes as part of their morning work. 

After reviewing the melody with students, I introduce the word "PHRASE."  We discover the song has 4 phrases.  Then, I line students up.  With approximately 20 students in each class, I make 4 lines of 5 students.  The students must not only be straight horizontally, but the students must be in straight rows vertically for this to work as well.  As we sing, we march the beat.  However, on the last note of the first phrase, our marching rows turn to the right.  Ta da!  The students now have different rows and are facing a new direction.  At the end of the 2nd phrase, they turn right again, and after the third phrase, they turn right again, facing front. 

This activity not only teaches beat, phrasing, and a patriotic melody, it also looks reallllly cool!  Hope your students enjoy this as much as my kids did!