Saturday, November 29, 2014

Where Have You BEEN??

I recently received a comment from a follower asking where I have been and requesting more posts.

So, I thought it was time I explain my lack of activity and along with my explanation, promise to return with more resources and ideas soon.

In August, I accepted a position as a principal of a K-3 elementary school.  I quickly packed all of my music classroom up into box after box of resources, memories, and ideas all within the period of one week.  Nine years of joy is a hard thing to walk away from.

I enjoy my new job, but as you might imagine, starting out as a principal takes a great deal of time, as I try to learn the new district and staff and as I get some experience under my belt.  Thus, most evenings and weekends are spent preparing things for my staff and students.

On top of that, I got engaged in October, so the wedding planning fun is taking up the time I had spent on my TpT Store and Blog!

Have no fear, however.  I still love thinking up ideas and sharing them.  It is my goal to be able to share more resources and ideas again with you all more frequently in the new year.  From my new perspective as an administrator, I think I may be able to bring you even more creative ideas.

You may also start to see some non-music items appear as I work in a new role outside of the music realm.  These resources may work in and out of the music class, or they might be building level specific.

Stay tuned for more exciting things.  As always, if there is a resource you are looking for, feel free to let me know!

Thanks for your patience.  I'll be back, I promise!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What is Orff? The Eternal Question

When parents or community members learn that we have an "Orff" program in our music room, I always get lots of questions.  What is it?  Who is Orff?  That's the xylophones, right?  How do you spell that?

With my first grade families, to introduce myself and the program each year, I always send a letter home about my philosophy of teaching and what we will be doing in the music room during the year.
I also attach AOSA's brochure, What is Orff in Elementary Music Education, so that all parents get a better understanding of what we are going to be doing and learning.

Today, I came across this video, though, that I think quickly, beautifully, and visually explains what Orff-Schulwerk is, and the power of this type of instruction.  I will definitely be adding this to my webpage at school and sending the link home as well.  This trumps the brochure.

Check it out! Click here!

Hope these ideas help you explain or understand Orff more. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Visit the Music Room

Somehow, summer always breezes by and the long list of to do's and ideas never gets completely accomplished, even with the best intentions.  Goldilock's transformation to a music and literature story has been at the top of my list for awhile and it is finally done for you TODAY!

This set includes directions, 7 rhythm ostinato cards, and a pictoral story to be incorporated along with the children's folk story, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." After learning each character's ostinato part,

it will be inserted into the story every time the character is mentioned. The story is written out and graphics are inserted every time an ostinato is to be chanted (ex. every time the wee little bear is named, the baby bear rhythm ostinato will be performed in the story.) Students can read the story or the teacher can. Ostinatos can be performed as a whole class or in small groups. Instrumental suggestions are also included for each character. Speech interjections for the story are also color coded for ease of students and the teacher.

Using half notes, quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth Notes, this activity is great for students who are familiar or may come across this book in their reading classes as well. Great cross curricular activity that is engaging for students and meets music standards while incorporating literacy as well. A final performance can be created and shared as well.
I hope your students enjoy bringing this beloved folktale to life, as much as I loved creating it! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

End of the Year Orff Instrument Cleaning and Maintenance

I'm back!!!  Sorry for the gap in posts.  The end of the year was a bit crazy for many reasons and blogging had to be put on the back burner.

Every year at the end of the year, I spend some time with my students maintaining and cleaning the Orff instruments, xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, oh my!  It always amazes me what can be found living inside! 

When I first started teaching, I had no idea what to do to keep the instruments in great condition.  Throughout the years from other teachers, I have learned some great tips on upkeep that I will share with you here.

To get started, I have the kids partner up, take off the instrument bars, and shop vac out the plethora of dust and other fun things found inside the instruments. 

After the instruments are cleaned out, students use a wet rag, and a bucket of Murphy's Oil Soap to wash the boxes and the wooden bars.  I do not have students clean off the metal bars.

Once the bars are washed, they take a different wash cloth with a little bit of Old English furniture polish, and they polish the box and wooden bars.
I also, at this time, have students put post it notes on any spots where pins have been broken on the instruments.  My wonderful custodian then pulls out the old pins and puts in replacement pins.

The final product is a beautiful, shiny instrument that is ready for a fresh start next school year.
Happy Cleaning! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Must Have Monday

I'm linking up with Amy Abbot at Music a la Abbott today to blog about some must haves.  There's a great reason for this, you see.  On May 6 and 7, you can save up to 28% on items from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I've discounted my Treble in the Classroom store on top of the offer from the TPT site. 

So here goes:
Here are a few things that I've created for my classroom, that I couldn't live without.

#1 My Emergency Substitute Binder.  This includes tabs, letters, and sub lessons for grades K-6.  I have personally printed class copies of each activity and put them behind the grade level tabs.  Then, if I need to have an emergency day, I can pull out the binder and a non-music sub could choose musical activities for each grade level that they are comfortable with, sort of smorgasbord fashion (this is Lancaster PA, after all!)  I have gotten so much positive feedback from this.  Substitutes love the clarity and the ability to choose something that they can personally handle. 
Recently, my Carnival of the Animals assessment set has been very useful, as I'm finishing up the 1st grade Carnival unit.  It's been great to confirm that the students can listen and identify to the unique musical features of each animal in the Carnival. 
A must have that I purchased from Cori Bloom's Rhythm and Bloom is this great Roll-A-Song musical dice composition activity set. I just finished making all the paper dice for my 2nd graders and I'm excited for them to roll their way to a composition tomorrow.

My clip art cart is full.  Tomorrow I'll be stocking up on several things, including:
The Three Little Pigs by Scrappin' Doodles...

Happy shopping.  Thanks to all the teachers for all you do for kids each and every day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Peter Pan Jr.

I have been neglecting my blog for the past month due to the craziness that belongs to "musical season."  Our annual after school production begins with rehearsals in January and continues through the end of April.  It is a highlight of our school year and brings our school community together with great pride.

This year, our show was Peter Pan, Jr.  We love the quality and resources provided by the Broadway Jr. Show Kits. 

My co-director is an amazing seamstress and can be credited with much of the sewing that is done.  We also had wonderful parents who help pull the show together.

Check out some pictures from the show.  I hope you enjoy them.  I promise to return with more blogging and classroom ideas soon!

The children in the nursery and Peter entering the window.
Captain Hook


Darling Children

Peter Pan

Chief and Tiger Lily

3 Brave Indians
Lost Boys


Mermaids...Was quite convenient since we did The Little Mermaid last year.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jelly Bean Rhythm Set

I just finished a rhythm set that I just love and can't wait to get my 2nd graders back from my student teacher so I can put it in action!!

In this combo pack are two things: Ostinato Cards and a Rhythm Sort worksheet in black and white and color. 

The ostinato cards work as my other ostinato sets.  Students can chant the speech and then learn the corresponding rhythm for the speech (print on the back of the cards).  They can then perform these in speech ensembles or instrumental ensembles.  As the teacher, you can arrange it, or you can put the musical decision making in the hands of your students and let them do the arranging.

The worksheet included asks students to read the names of jelly bean flavors and then sort them by gluing the jelly beans into the jar with the corresponding rhythm on it. 

Two ways to practice rhythms in one great set!  Enjoy! 

Collaborating with Carle

Hi All!  Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  I've had a student teacher and haven't been teaching as much.  It's amazing how the kids inspire ideas.  When I'm not directly working with my kids and the standards, my creative juices aren't always flowing as well.

This cycle and next cycle (at least) we are doing a creative partnership across three enrichment areas: Music, Library, and Art.  It's pretty cool how it's all worked out so I thought I'd share with my blog world friends.

I have been working on some Eric Carle cross curricular lessons for my first grade students.  While talking with the art teacher, we realized that as part of her curriculum, she was teaching a lesson on Eric Carle's illustration art work to teach wet on wet watercolor technique.  We decided to partner together to make these things happen at the same time.  Then, we pulled in the librarian, who pulled out every Eric Carle book that has ever been published to decorate the library, and be the focus of an author study for her lessons this week.

So, within the last four days, the kids have learned about Eric Carle as an author and illustrator in library, painted wet on wet water color paper to create the wings of a paper butterfly they are going to create, and they have added rhythm add on patterns to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

Next cycle, they will learn more about Eric's books in library, finish their butterfly in art (and we will then photograph the butterfly on white paper) and they will add instruments to their Caterpillar performance.

As a culmination of this, the following week, I will take the photographs of their art work that I will take and print the butterfly's out.  The students will then draw a pathway for the butterfly to fly.  We will turn this into a book, and will use it as a vocal exploration warm up.

I just love when we can all work together for the good of kids.  I love it even more when these collaborations happen naturally, easily, or even coincidentally! 

Don't want to use the Hungry Caterpillar?  Check out my other Eric Carle music and literature sets instead!
Does Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?
Polar Bear, Polar Bear

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Build a Burger Composition Set

I've often seen cute burger templates for teachers to help students learn to organize their writing.  I always thought it was such a great idea.  Then it hit me, this could help students learn basic form for composition as well.

After the light bulb went off, I found some great clip art from Teaching in the Tongas, and got to work.  This set includes step by step guidance to help students compose using the following forms: ABA, ABACA, ABCBA in 3/4 meter or 4/4 meter. Choose the form and meter you want to focus on with your kids.  It provides flexibility and is also something that can be used across different grades with varying levels of difficulty. 

Though it is only a short composition, it helps students understand how form works.  It also will help students compose without taking an entire marking period to finish a project.

There are three levels of composition templates to choose from. Use as much or as little as will work for you.  I may do a simple ABA rhythm composition with my 2nd graders, without going to the melodic step.

1. Rhythm composition: Directions are given for writing a "hamburger" composition in the selected form, using only rhythm. You can specify the rhythms you allow your students to use. (3/4 meter and 4/4 meter templates are included for each form).

2. Melodic composition: Directions are given to transfer rhythms from the rhythm templates to melodies using the rhythms (in C pentatonic). (3/4 and 4/4 meter templates are included for each form.)

3. Final Melodic/Rhythmic Templates: After the first two steps are done, students can create a final, polished composition on the staff.

After completing their project, students can perform it on xylophones (if melody added) or on rhythm instruments (if rhythm is used in isolation).
Worksheets are provided in color as well as in black and white.

Hope this idea helps you to help your kids take baby steps in composition world!  Check it out at my TPT store!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Carnival of the Animals Listening Unit in 1st Grade Music

When I student taught, my wonderful co-op introduced me to the world of Carnival of the Animals.  She taught the piece in such a lively, exciting way, and the kids ate it up.  They listened and described music.  They moved to music.  They impressed me.

It was during this time that I was introduced to the book by Barrie C. Turner and Sue Williams called Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for kids.  This gem of a book first briefly introduces the composer and the instruments of the orchestra.  I teach this page on the first day of the unit.  We practice pronouncing Camille Saint Saen's name with our best French accents and we talk about the jobs of the performers.

In each proceeding class, I introduce one animal.  I go from beginning to end of the piece when introducing animals over time.  To intro the animal, I read the short paragraph the book presents, describing the animal and the music that is used to represent it.  I then instruct the students to prove to me that they are excellent listeners, while watching me move to the animal they are learning.  They see me crawl on the floor like a lion the first day, and I've got them hook, line, and sinker.  I then give them a chance to move silently like the animal we are learning.  Each movement I use clearly aligns and matches the music, to help students remember and correlate their learning. 

After we've learned a few animals over several class periods, I do some review, playing short clips of one of the animals, having the students show me without talking which animal it is.

I assess this learning several times throughout the unit.  I give a mid point assessment, where I mix up the animals we know, and the students write the number (1 for the first listening example) beside the picture of the animal and it's instruments.  I give a final assessment, where only some animals are pictured.  I have students color the animal they hear with a specified crayon color.  I just created paper puppets to use as informal identification manipulatives as well.  All of these assessments are now available in my teacher's pay teachers store

Through this kinesthetic unit, I am always amazed at how well students are able to listen and describe music.  Their parents often comment on how much they love this piece of music. 

Hope this sparks some ideas for getting your kids moving and listening jointly.