Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music Teacher Books: Perfect Pairings - Christmas Edition

I love using books in my music class at Christmas time! Iza Trapani's Jingle Bells and I Have a Little Dreidel are great for my Kinder and 1st grade babies.

Here are a few of my favorites:

5. The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig

I love this version because it starts on stage and then morphs into the storyline.

I like to read this and intersperse listening activities in the middle. I would love to find a good ballet book to pair with this for my older grades. Any ideas?

4. Jack Kent's The Twelve Days of Christmas

This book is so sweet because it shows the true mathematical power of adding on a gift each day.

And even better, it's a perfect pair with Letters of Thanks! I read the Jack Kent version to my 4th and 5th graders one week and then bring out Letters of Thanks as a follow-up the next week.

3. Letters of Thanks by Manghanita Kempadoo

I have loved this book since my mom introduced it to me as a little girl. This is a collection of thank you notes from the lady to her "true love" for each of the gifts. 

SPOILER ALERT: She gets very upset as the book goes on. Giggle. 

And the clincher - it was written by an 11-year old girl! My kids think that is awesome! It's definitely written on an 11-year old level. There's not too much depth to it and some awkward details that don't get resolved. (Her partridge is lonely even after the other bird arrive. oops!) It still ranks among my most favorite of Christmas books. :-)

2. The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

Beautiful pictures!!

My 2nd graders love this imaginative story - the little girls loses her mitten and searches for it while imagining where it's gone. By the end, she decides it would be easier to plant the other mitten and grow a mitten tree! This is a fantastic pair with Frosty Weather or any snowy, winter song.

And of course, it's a Steven Kellogg so I love it! 

1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town illustrated by Steven Kellogg

It's another Steven Kellogg book. drool. I just love the illustrations to this song - and generally my students already know some of the words, so it's a fun read. 

I read it to my 2nd-5th grade students and they love it! It has a little story to go along with it - a little teddy bear has taken a trip to Santa's workshop and when he gets back, he's warning the boys and girls that Santa is watching.

What are your favorite books to use during the holiday season?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's on my desk?

My friend Rachel over at Music with Mrs. Tanenblatt is hosting a linky party! Fun!

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their desk! Here's a sneak peek at my school desk:

What's on my desk? This was taken the first week of December - choir concert! orchestra tour! choir tour! choir field trip! eek!

1. Crazy pointers for beat charts, rhythm charts, pointing to the instrument posters and vocab words on the wall. :-)
2. Pictures! Captain Mickey and sweet husband. To keep my sanity.
3. Nolan Ryan cup with pens, pencils, markers. I have a thing for Crayola markers.
4. Water, water, DP and water. Just the essentials! (Singers pee pale. Giggle.)
5. Recorders to mail to students that moved. :-/
6. Keys: ACU lanyard complete with PE-grade whistle and spirit sticks. There they are!
7. Sketchbook. For ideas and to-do lists.
8. Unifix cubes - the perfect manipulative for visual representation of rhythm. Love them! And I made myself a set with magnets on the back so they will stick to the board. Some of the magnets are in need of repairs.
9. Slide whistle!! LOVE this.
10. Reindeer puppet. He leads the March of the Toys in Kindergartenland.

What's on your desk?

Don't forget to check out my wintery products - the sale ends today!

My Kinder babies LOVE this song - and I bring it back in 2nd grade to practice re.

Interactive White Board Games! 

Happy December!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Music Teacher Must Haves and Linky Party

It's time for Cyber Monday!

I can't wait - my shopping cart is full and I'm counting down the hours while I watch reruns of the Gilmore Girls. Let's link up with Amy over at Music a la Abbott!

From my store:

I'm really excited about my new Frosty Weather slides

My Kinders and firsties love this simple game: Circle, holding hands. Walk 4 slow steps around the circle. On "when the wind blows," take 4 small, quick steps to the middle and "shiver" while shoulder to shoulder.

After the song, I say, "Three steps back and-a 1 2 3!"

I use this in Kinder and First with these beat charts:

And then I bring it back in 2nd grade to practice re!

From other stores:

If you are looking for some centers for your classroom, I recommend the centers from Tracy King and Aileen Miracle.

I used the 3rd grade centers from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room at the beginning of the year with my 4th and 5th graders. It was a great chance to review some material they were already familiar with.

The Fuzzy Patterns station was a HIT. Literally. Throw the knit ball to the smart board, read the pattern, throw it again, repeat. :-) Super easy & super fun. 

And one more store that I just LOVE is Sonya DeHart's store - so many cute papers and fonts and have you seen her clip art?!

What's on your wish list?

Music Teacher Books: Perfect Pairings

It's that time again! Perfect Pairings!

One of my favorite Kindergarten/1st grade books is...

What Will Fat Cat Sit On? 
by Jan Thomas

I love the illustrations and the humor. It's also a very nice book to hold with slick pages. #BookNerd.

I use this to introduce Naughty Kitty Cat and do a little vocal exploration (animal sounds) in Kindergarten and to prep for rest in 1st grade.

I like to read this again at the end of Kindergarten because they can almost read it along with me. 
I point to the words as we read and by the end of the book they're reading with me. 

And if I have any Dog, Pig, Mouse, Chicken or Cow songs boom! transition accomplished. 

To Market, To Market 
by Anne Miranda and Janet Stevens

How cute are those drawings?!?!

My students love the hilarity of the lady going to market and buying animals that destroy her home.

Spoiler Alert! The animals take her back to the store and get the fixins for vegetable soup at the end of the book!

And that's why I use this as a perfect pair with Peas Porridge Hot and Chop Chop Chippity Chop!

We play a simple game with this: I have "vegetable cards" that I put in the middle of the circle. We sing "Peas Porridge" and blow on our soup (hands cupped & blow on the rest) while the student who is "it" picks one of the cards from the middle. They show it to everyone and we identify the vegetable and then pretend to chop it (to the beat) while singing "Chop Chop." That's it! Kindergarteners are so. much. fun.

Chop, chop, chippity chop!
Cut off the bottom and cut off the top!
What we have left, we put in the pot.
Chop, chop, chippity chop!

What are some of your favorite pairings?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five Favorite Pins of November Linky Party!

It's time again for Five Favorite Pins!

I'm having a blast with the new Pinterest algorithm! So many great pins have come to my "wall" from people I'm not following. How cool is that?!

Here are the top five for November:

#1 A Perfect Pairing

I just love this book! What a cute way to introduce the Pilgrims and the Indians to your students. My sweeties in Kindergarten just love this song!

#2 I Heart Anchor Charts!

What a great chart! I need to make one for recorder hand position - thumb at 2:00! fatty patty! one candle! I see an anchor chart in my future.

#3 Word Picture

Cool Hot idea! I'm thinking fire safety week, complete with Scotland's Burning and maybe a cool listening for Charlotte-town.

#4 Vintage Mail Bag 

How cute would it be to use a messenger bag for Ida Red and the Post Office game?

#4 TP Roll Bee Puppet

And last, but not least a cute homemade bee puppet! Perfect to use with Bee, Bee or Hickety Tickety or even "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee!"

What are some of your favorite pins?

King of the Mountain: Roadkill-Style

One of my students' favorite games is King of the Mountain. The best thing about this game is that you can use this game to practice ANY rhythms or solfege.

Here's how to play:

Each student reads 2 rhythm cards - the card to the left of them & then their own card. 

See my cuties below to see the game in action!

And of course, when someone gets the rhythm incorrect, that person goes to the "bottom" of the mountain, where the roadkill card is located. Everyone below them on the mountain has to move up one card.

This is the game that helped me break into the hearts of my new students that didn't want to like me. It was challenging enough to be fun, but easy enough to be successful. Plus, it was super silly to get the rhythm wrong and be the "roadkill" so no one's "feelers" got hurt.

And when I brought the cards out again this year, my 5th graders perked up and told the new kids, "You'll like this." My. Heart.

I sell several versions in my TpT store!

Have you had a great game that your kids just love?

Share below in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Currently November

It's November! Woohoo! I love the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Let's link up with Oh Boy 4th grade. It's "Currently November!"

Listening: Lately I've been getting my fill of some Rutter Christmas carols! My favorites are Candlelight Carol (recorded by the Cambridge Singers), Shepherd's Pipe Carol and Away in a Manger (recorded by the Choir of King's College), the last technically not a Rutter carol, but who's counting? "Hello, My name is Mrs. Sweet and I'm a Christmas music snob."

I fell in love with Rutter arrangements when I played in the Festival of Carols orchestra several years back and I've been exploring alternate and traditional carols ever since. I've never liked the traditional Away in a Manger, but in my opinion this alternate melody portrays the lyrics better and is even accessible to kids. This is a David Willcocks arrangement and I could listen to this every. single. day. Amen.

Loving: It has been in the 60's and 70's (my ideal temps!) for the past week! What a huge blessing to have a break of cooler temperatures before the bitterness of a South Texas winter. Giggle. Seriously though, this Texas girl has loved walking her sweet boxer puppy in the cool weather without sweating it up.

Thinking: My sweet husband has planned another AMAZING vacation for our 10th anniversary and my birthday. We're going to New York!! As if that weren't fun enough, he bought us tickets to some amazing musicals... Are you ready for this? Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella... Aladdin... The Lion King... and Les Miz on my birthday!!!!!! Wha?!?!?!

I'm seriously so excited it's hard to go to work every day. Must. concentrate. "Look down! Look down!" Must. do. lesson. plans. "Impossible... things are happening every day!"

Wanting: All I want is a little sweet tea and some Jesus.

Needing: More time! How does it all get done? I'm a pretty organized person, but there is just so much to do for every performance. I don't think people understand what all goes into a performance until they are responsible for pulling it off. I know I won't sleep much this week.

Move tambourines and ribbons and state cards and heart cards and music stands and binder with script and computer with music and my script binder with riser charts to the gym and... and... don't forget to set up the risers after morning meeting but before the first specials class of the day... and go pick up the flowers for the veterans... and tie the thank you notes on... and don't forget the letters to spell out AMERICA... and after school Monday decorating the stage with the parents - oh wait, the stage only has one curtain now - can we even use it?! where will I hide the ladders and poles they left behind when painting it BLACK... and maybe I can close the pretty new curtain and just have the speaking parts in front of it and... and make sure all the kids have a ride, especially my speakers and solo singers... and I have to teach 4 other classes a day in addition to the 2 mega rehearsals going on in the gym. my brain hurts already. ouchie.

Reading: "Interrupted, when God wrecks your comfortable Christianity" by Jen Hatmaker, closely followed by my morning reading "Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado. I'm sensing a theme here.

What are you currently up to?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Five Favorite Pins of October: Music Teacher Edition

Holy pumpkins, Batman! We're halfway through October!

Let's link up with Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for our Five Favorite Pins of October!

#1 Kodaly Corner: Choir Gems

I am always looking for good literature for my choir to sing and this pin nails it! Jam packed with several quality selections for unison choirs and for two or three part treble choirs. Plus links for easy listening and purchasing.

#2 Sub Plans on CD

This pin is not necessarily about the blog post behind it, but the idea it gave me. When I know I'll be out for meetings or conference or appointments, I leave a video for the kids to watch. 

Last time I was out, I left the "4/5 Recorder Info" video for 4th & 5th (where to get a recorder or if they want to bring $$ how much to bring), some dance videos for 2nd & 3rd plus "Animal Boogie" animated video for my Kinders and Firsties. I also left a few "reward" videos on my laptop desktop (does that even make sees anymore?) for the sub, should the students behave well. 

I don't necessarily want the sub to teach musical concepts, but let's not waste any time! If I have info and announcements, that's a great time to give it out. Pass back papers? check! Who needs a second copy of the permission slip? get one from the sub before you leave. Read a book about instruments? you bet! Have them sing along to songs/videos they did last year with the sub? excellent.

#3 Magnets on the staff!

I love the idea of using my magnet visuals on a staff! Either draw the staff on the board or create a generic staff on paper to reuse each time. What a fun idea!

#4 Instrument care: Orff

What a great post! I'm going to have to bring my vacuum to school next May. So many dust bunnies! So little time!

 #5 The Long and Short of it

Happy pinning!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

13 Nights of Treats and Frights!

If you weren't paying attention to Facebook last week, tune in this week for some great freebies and special deals for Fall! It's 13 Nights of Treats and Frights!

That's right, 29 different music teachers will be offering a freebie during the first 13 days of October, along with offering special deals and steals in their stores! Check out this list and see all the stores that will have a freebie and a special deal.

On October 6, McPherson's Music Room and Sweet Sounds are teaming up to give away some fantastic freebies and offer special deals on even more products! I've linked the picture to a TpT search for "13nights" so you can see what freebies and deals are being offered today.

Freebie Alert!
Here's a sneak peek at my freebie:

It's a Fall Bundle! Woohoo! I included my new practice packs for We are Dancing in the Forest (The Wolf Song) and Let Us Chase the Squirrel. Plus as a bonus, I added my Fall Vocal Exploration and my Not So Scary Fall Vocal Exploration. All for FREE on Monday, October 6! 

This set includes beat practice charts, staff reading slides and extra practice cards for using in centers.

How cute is this scarecrow? 
My students love having visuals to go with their warm-ups - 
and I know it helps my ELLs too!

These vocal warm-up slides are super cute and not scary at all!
Help the ghost find a place to land, get the jack-o-lantern to his scarecrow and
help the bat find a piece of candy! 

I almost get tired of this song by the end of October, 
because even my 5th graders still request to play the game 
during their "free-choice reward days." Ha!

50% off Deal:
Plus as my bonus deal, I will be offering The Birch Tree prepare and presentation slides for 50% off the regular price. Woohoo!

This is a beautiful song to teach; I'm hoping to do it as a warm-up round for my choir this year. That starts next week! Eek!

Don't forget to go to TPT tomorrow (Monday, October 6) to get your freebies from Sweet Sounds and Linda McPherson! Our freebies and deals are easy to find by searching "13Nights" in the search box or clicking here.

Happy 13 Nights!