Thursday, December 29, 2011


Here's a fun way game for students who may have already mastered the concept you are teaching.  It's quiet, too!  They draw a card and move to that color.  If they can show the other players the correct Curwin hand sign, they can stay on the spot.  If not, they stay where they were and wait until their next turn.


As you can tell, I enjoy connecting children's literature with my music lessons.  It serves so many purposes and I'm happy to support my colleagues by reinforcing reading concepts like phonics, story retelling, chunking, etc.  I've always been jealous of teachers who have the ability differentiate there instruction with file folder activities.  (Of course, teachers have them readily available to purchase, whereas us music educators make EVERYTHING!) Students who have already mastered a skill or students who need to reinforce a concept, can run to the back of the classroom and do the file folder activity.  When they are finished, they show you before they place the pieces back in the bag so that you can do a quick assessment.  I'm working on making file folder activities for my music room.  It's going to be a long work-in-progress, but I'm excited to dive in!  Please let me know what you think by commenting below, liking it, or pinning it on pinterest.  Thanks!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?
3 Rhythm matching activities in one folder!
The pieces are mini-craft sticks and free downloaded printables from

Here's what the empty folder looks like.  Game one: Match rhythm sticks to each picture.

Here's what that will look like when you are finished.

Game two: Match words to rhythms.  This is also cross curricular as it asks the student to read the words and decipher how many syllables it has to match it to the correct rhythm.  The word descriptions can be placed in the rhythm pockets.

Game Three: Match the picture to the rhythm.  Again cross curricular as they have to see the picture, say the words, and place the picture with the correct rhythm.
Studnets can also place the pictures into the correct rhythm pockets.

Thanks for checking it out!  Let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Product Details used from $3.93 on
Great book for a lesson on mi, re, do (or whatever your choice may be).  Here is a file folder game I made to reinforce it.

Let me know what you think!!!  Thanks!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Product Details  Used copy for $8.00 on

Here's a great book by Denise Fleming that you can sing to your kids/students using the familiar melody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  Music teachers, you can make it more interesting by adding sounds or complete rhythms with various instruments in between all of the items that the best friend gave.

Here are some of our ideas.  To make it Orff-friendly, you can add text for each rhythm (ex. "blue mittens, mittens blue").

Red cap with a gold snap: rest, quarter note (finger snap)

Two bright blue mittens: quarter, two eighths, two eighths, quarter (glocks-set up in C pentatonic-using both mallets)

Three striped scarves: quarter, two eighths, quarter, two eighths, quarter, two eighths (guiro)

Four prickley pine cones: half note, half note, half note, half note (wratchet)

Five birdseed pockets: whole note (triangle, played fast like a trill-this one we played while we sang, instead of after we sang)

Six tiny twigs: two eighths, quarter, half rest, two eighths, quarter, half rest (claves)

Seven leaves: four sixteenths, two eighths, four sixteenths, quarter (sand blocks)

Eight orange berries: two eighths, two eighths, two eighths, two eighths (SX/AX ascending on C pentatonic, alternating mallets)

Nine big black buttons: two sixteenths-eighth, two sixteenths-eighth, two sixteenths-eighth, quarter (log drum or temple blocks)

Ten salty peanuts: two eighths, quarter, two eighths, quarter, two eighths, two eighths, two eighths, quarter (jingle bells)

Extension: Dress up your own "snowman" with props from your room!  Have groups of four, where one student is the snowman and the other three students dress it up with props from your room.  Have them use  four or five different items and sing their own versus.  They can use scarves, hats, canes, stretchy bands, masks, etc.    

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Now I know NEVER to throw away those plastic Easter Eggs!  My 4yr old daughter has been taking Suzuki Violin for over a year now and this is a great way for her to start learning rhythmic notation.  When put together correctly, she has all of the Twinkle Variations with the exception of Twinkle Theme.

I actually have them in a gallon size bag for her to take with her whenever I know she'll need to keep herself busy and quiet.  (church, dr.'s office, etc.)  I hope you like it! :) 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MUSIC TEACHER POST: Sixteenth notes

Product Details

I've been dying to come up with an idea for one of my favorite (and my own childrens' personal favorites) books, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont.  I've finally come up with a cute idea (or so I think).  The text of the book goes with the traditional song "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More."  The first part of the process would be to sing the book to the kids.  When I say sing the book, I mean show them the pictures on the page while singing the text in the book.  Our objective in second trimester of 3rd grade is to identify and perform sixteenth notes.  Here are some other parts that I've added that can be performed as a B section that incorporate sixteenth notes. 

Large Drums (Congas, Tubanos, Djembes)
Hand Drums
Temple Blocks
Paint Brushes (plastic ones with the sponge on the end will be just fine...a pack of 50 at Michaels was $4.99)

Parts (layered in one at a time to be performed as ostinati)---I apologize, my Sibelius program is not functional presently

MOM (standing next to drums pointing her finger): "Paint no more, paint no more, ya' ain't gonna paint no more!"

KID PART 1 (on large drums with two paint brushes as mallets): "Dish, Swish (painting motion across the drum), Swish (again).  More paint in the (insert repeat sign)"

KID PART 2 (on hand drums that act as canvas): Students say the same thing as KID PART 1, but do different motions.  Students in rows that have a hand drum will hold hand drum in left hand and one paint brush in the right.  When the word "dish" is spoken, the hand drum is turned upside down so that the student next to them can pretend to dip his/her paint brush in the "dish."  On "Swish Swish" the students bring up their hand drum and swish twice with the paint brush.  Left hand (drum) is put back down and right hand goes into the drum next to dip the paintbrush (on the beat) during "more paint in the dish."  Holding the drum will be a little unconventional here, but I was going for visual appeal.

TEMPLE BLOCKS: "Listen to me, listen to me, I WANNA PAINT!" (crescendo over that with a repeat sign at the end). 

There are endless story opportunities you can do with this.  Mom can wear an apron or a scarf on her head, and speak with a New York accent, etc.  Let me know what you think!  Share with your friends!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Product Details

Iza Trapani is the adaptor/ can purchase it from used for $0.01!  Great deal for teachers like me!!!!

MUSIC TEACHER POST:Itsy Bitsy Spider Lesson (high and low sounds or tone color)

Today, my first grade class brought me the book The Itsy Bitsy Spider, but it was told and illustrated by the same person (I'll get back to you on who).  I thought it might be a fun idea to sing the book.  What I didn't know was that there were several versus to this song that were quite funny!  The spider ended up in many different places!  After we sang the book (with all its versus), we used xylophones, metalophones and glockenspiels to accompany ourselves.  This was perfect, because one of our first grade goals for this trimester is "I can identify high and low sounds."  When the Itsy Bitsy spider went up something, the kids took one mallet and went up the instrument in one swoop.  When it came down, we went the opposite way in one swoop.  They had so much fun.  It would be a great introduction to instruments if you haven't already introduced them to the xylophones.  We also ALWAYS practice with cheap mallets on the floor before we move to the actual instruments so that the students get the idea of how to move them and when.  For the parts that were similar to the line "out came the sun and dried up all the rain" we had a couple of students on hand drums who just "tickled" the drum with their fingertips. 
If your students are already handy with the instruments, you can have the woods play a broken bordun on F and C.  The metals can do the swooshing up and down.  After "dried up all the rain" glocks can play octave F's.
Lastly, there are different tone colors that are used while playing this piece either way.  Another concept that can be covered!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MOM POST:VelcroSticks! Use them to make letters, geometric shapes, and constellations.

Here we made the letter W! 

 VelcroSticks!  Here is a nonagon (I think that's spelled right...a shape with nine sides).  My daughter asked me to make one with our sticks and we did it together! 

Here she is having fun making her "bird house."

We made shapes, letters, and constellations with these sticks.  They are super easy to make.  All you need are regular/small popsicle sticks and lots of velcro (which I always have a plethora of due to my profession!).  Each stick has a soft end and a rough end.  I used velcro dots and just cut them in half to fit the sticks.


Hello!  I am a mom and a music teacher with an affinity for creating new ideas or morphing others' ideas into what fits with my own children or my music students.  I have been a music teacher for ten years and I LOVE my job, but it's also hard to be away from my own children.  So, I've worked hard at creating ways for me to be incorporated into their everyday lives!  Part of that is that I have a wonderful husband who videotapes everything he can so I don't feel like I miss out! 
This year, one of my first grade classes loves to bring me books that have music in the back/front cover.  Since they are so eager, I've appeased them in playing/singing whatever is in their book before moving onto my lesson of the day.  They LOVE it!  It seems like they have a mission to find books to bring me!  Part of what I want to share with you, are the books that they bring me and maybe some ideas for lessons or teaching opportunities. 
Lastly, I'd like to share with you some of the crafts I've made with my children.  Almost all of them are already taken from others, we've just put our own spin on things.  I hope you enjoy!