Monday, July 21, 2014

We Love Books - Hush-a-bye {All the Pretty Little Horses}

I love books! I just might love them more than music! (shh! don't tell!)

I just had to share with you a book that I found and I can't wait to use in my class! 

"All the Pretty Horses" by Susan Jeffers is a wonderful addition to any music class. I plan to read it and show the pictures just before I play them the recording of "All the Pretty Little Horses."

Check out these wonderful drawings!

Beautiful "dapples!" 

As for a recording, I absolutely love the recording done by Laura Veirs (Spotify!). The instrumentation is just beautiful and the voices are very accessible for students.

And my husband says there's a beginner band arrangement (Anne McGinty) of this song, too! There's a recording on Spotify (done by Rutgers) that might be fun to play for students. I haven't tried that out yet; I'll let you know how it goes.

What do I do with this song?

First, I use it in Kinder and 1st grade when we're learning about loud/soft and lullaby. I bring it back in 3rd grade when we're practicing 4/4 meter - don't you think this is so beautiful to conduct? The Laura Veirs version is a really nice tempo - not too slow. And in 5th grade we learn about musical preference; it's a nice piece to put in the mix for conversation and writing.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Planning: Music Room Edition

Whoo! The summer is flying by and I can't get it to slow down. Marching band starts for my husband next week and that means my French horn studio will be picking up shortly.

I've been sneaking up on planning this year, a little here and a little there, and now I'm starting to really put some hours in. I'm also planning what I'm going to do with my classroom walls.

Here's one bulletin board called "Music Takes Us Places" that has traveled to my new school and worked well.

I have a world map on top and a United States map below. I marked several places with an index card and yarn to show where some of our songs came from. These are just a few tried and true songs that get a place in my curriculum every year.

I didn't add to it as much as I'd like, but just about every week I'd climb up on the chair and point to Japan as we sang Sei, Sei, Sei or point to Ireland when we danced to Rakes of Mallow. It helped give my students context when we said "Irish" or "French" or "from Hungary" - where that was on the map.

Plus the kids in the back row LOVED looking at the map when it was their turn to sit closest to the maps. And they love seeing songs from "when they were a kid" (giggle) on the map.

Here are some close-ups of the songs that are permanently on display.

I think I'd like to make new fresh little cards for all my songs & store them in a folder nearby. This might be something to add to my summer "to-do" list!

I also need to update my clock with this year's schedule:

The large green notes are the times the students LEAVE my class, so I can always try to be on time. (teehee... If you know me, you know that I like to squeeze all I can out of my time, so therefore, ahem, I'm never seldom on time. I guess my drum major days didn't stick with me!)

Some other ideas that I've seen around Pinterest that I might try in my room:

 How cute is this for anchor charts, big books and recorder music?!
I have tons of stuff from BSB (before smart board) and I'd love to use it in an efficient way!

A reminders board by the door! Love this! 
Especially for "next choir rehearsal" and "permission slip due" reminders.

This would be PERFECT outside my door. 
I have a lot of space to cover up, so maybe this will help!

A spot for my music centers. 
I've got big plans for centers this year - 
4th and 5th will start right off the bat with note name centers to prep us for recorders! 
Once we get going on recorders, we'll do recorder centers, too!

Are you following Sweet Sounds on Pinterest?

Don't forget to check out my new Kindergarten manipulatives! They are the cutest little cards. I had been using ones I'd scrapped together over the years, but a friend asked me to design some new ones, so here they are!

It comes with a small set (4 on a page) 

 and a large set (2 on a page). 

I included many different varieties for the different stages and for differentiation. I use the icon-only for the preparation stage and the word-only for presentation and practice stages. I only use the icon+word cards for my sweet students that need the extra help.

Loud/Soft = Sun/Moon
High/Low = Bird/Grandpa
Fast/Slow = Rabbit/Turtle

How do I use them?

The large ones are great for:
- bouncing to the beat as we sing "like grandpa" or "like the bird"
- place on the board and have 1 student at a time tap the icon
- print 4 to make a beat chart to tap (individual or at the board)
- place on the board for aural questioning (did I sing it like grandpa or like the bird?)
- place on the board for visual selection (which one did I sing?)
- place on the board when labeling the sound - then the icons go away and the words come to stay!

The small ones are great for:
- ASSESSMENT!! make a class set for each stage of the process
- make a small beat chart for each student
- partner games - which partner can "draw" the correct word the fastest
- play "super spy" or "crack the code" and show the icon of what was sang
- also great for after present the notation with word-only cards

This year, I'm using magnets to keep them on the board, but you could use velcro, sticky tack or even tape!

What are you doing to prepare for next year? Comment below!