Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teachers are Heroes Sale!

Just when my wishlist was about to burst at the seams, TpT announced a sale! Woohoo!

Yay! Talk about good timing. My store and many others will be on sale tomorrow for 20% off! Plus you get an additional 10% off with the code: HEROES. Don't forget your code! (speaking from experience!)

Let's link up with Aileen and take a quick look at some of the things I'm excited to get during the Heroes sale!

1. From my store, Sweet Sounds

I'm excited to offer my newest Prepare and Present slides, The Goose Round!

This pretty round is a great song for teaching "fa" and gives my kids the giggles. I tell them this is a serious song, no laughing! And of course that gets them every time. *snort*

And of course it's fantastic for improvisation! I included a few slides to get your students started and then a few slides so they can create their own.

When I teach the kinesthetic prep, I go into slow-mo so that they can tap each icon at the correct rhythmic time. I like to have them tap with a mallet or a pointer instead of the interactive white board pen for Kin prep. This way, they're not concerned about whether the mark is in the right spot. No drama. amiright?

When presenting the notation, I use a tone ladder, rhythmic or stick notation and the staff. At my Kodaly levels, Phil and Miho would always say, "Steps, Sticks, Staff." I say that literally every time I present a new note. ha!

2. From another store, Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music

I've been wanting to try out some listening glyphs for a while now and I haven't had a chance. Then I saw Jenna Hudson's St. Patrick's Listening Glyphs - perfect!

How cute are these? I'm Irish, so I might just be a little partial to some of the songs we listen to during March. I can't wait to try out these with my listening lessons!!

3. Clip Art, from Erin Bradley Designs

I recently discovered Erin Bradley Designs - aren't these cameras cute? I love her colors and designs! I already have several ideas of what I can use these for in my classroom! And I have a bunch of her stuff in my cart, just waiting!!

What are you shopping for? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

In the Music Room: Black History Month Ideas

Studying other cultures and people is something that brings me a great deal of joy. I try to share that joy with my students by sharing a culture's music, clothing and history.

Throughout the year, we perform songs, dances and games from many cultures. I have tons of artifacts, instruments and cool pictures that show a peek into the lives of that culture's people. Many teachers, including myself, find that Black History Month in February creates a natural place in the year to emphasize songs and dances from African American culture.

Here's a peek at how my students celebrate Black History Month!

Black History Month Show
As part of our month-long celebration, we presented a show to the student body on the first week of February. Here's a quick outline to what we did this year.

1. Interviews! My students signed up to be "actors" and we put on a small play, which really turned out nice. We set up a few chairs and a table and had one student ("Oprah Winfrey") do the interviews.

She interviewed about 16 famous African Americans, and I broke it up into chunks so that the PreK and Kinder teachers wouldn't kill me. *giggle*

We started off by interviewing famous athletes, then the choir sang some songs, then we brought up famous inventors, a dance group danced, then interviewed the civil rights leaders, etc. You can get my Black History Month script here FREE (coming soon!) and use it in your class as a read-along or Reader's Theater!

Aren't President and Mrs. Obama so cute?!

2. Choir performance! While preparing Christmas songs in the fall semester, I slipped in a packet of African American spirituals including "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In." It surprisingly took a long time for my students to grab ahold of the correct melody for these songs. I grew up with these songs, so I thought they would be "known" quantities!

We did a simple partner song with those two:
Form: A: whole group unison Swing Low; B: whole group unison Oh When the Saints; C: Group A/B partner song.

Very impressive for such a simple arrangement. I had intended to add 2 other songs and do a 4-way mashup but ran out of time. (sound familiar?)

The first week back after Christmas break, I did a drum circle with Dinah (Thanks to my friend Lauren for the idea!) and it was a HIT. The 4th and 5th students loved the song and it really grooved along well.

So... when I could see we wouldn't have time for the rest of the mashup, I had the choir start practicing Dinah in a round. WOW! They were so energetic and crisp with this song. I would like to credit my teaching (cough) but I really think that folk song lends itself well to a round. The words/rhythm have a great groove and the kids put it together in a short amount of time.

Form: A: whole group unison; B: Group A/B in round; A: whole group unison

Then later in the show, we sang the traditional "Follow the Drinking Gourd" from our current text. My student love that song!

One week in January I had laryngitis (ugh!) and I had to teach choir with no voice (they loved that!), so I put on this video to teach them what the words meant.

We had been singing it for about 2 weeks so they had a good understanding of what the words were. Have I mentioned that I love using video to give the kids a break from my voice?

It has a great little map and explains each verse with the song - perfect!

3. Community Groups! My vice principal has some fantastic contacts in our community and arranged for a dancing group and a fraternity step team from our local university to perform!

Plus, a professor from the same university came and spoke. He turned out to be a HUGE hit with my kids because after he told a little story about staying in school, he rapped for them - super cool!

February Playlist
In my class, we sing songs from so many cultures it's hard to keep track! However, in February, I try to bring back a few of their favorites from African American culture, including Little Johnny Brown, Just from the Kitchen and Did You Feed My Cows?

There's a great recording of Did You Feed My Cows by Ella Jenkins on Spotify and Pandora! Check it outThere's another variant on youtube here.

Each week of February I like to use a song from African American performers as my end of class listening example.

Here are some of my favorites:
Chubby Checker: Twist
Jackson 5: ABC (s,l, d)
Mandisa: Good Morning (smlsm)
Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World
Pharrell Williams: Happy (brain break!)
Aretha Franklin: RESPECT (brain break, steady beat)
Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag (fast beat, steady beat)
Joplin: The Entertainer (I have a slow recording so... slow beat, steady beat)
Ella Fitzgerald: All the Pretty Little Horses (lullaby)
Ella Jenkins: Did You Feed My Cows?*

*Pair Ella's recording of All the Pretty Little Horses with this book!

What are your favorites? I would LOVE to add some to my list.

Teaching Resources 
Have you seen Tracy King's TpT store? So cool! She has some great resources for Jazz, which is a perfect pair with February. Check this out:

How do you celebrate Black History Month in your music room?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five Favorite Pins Linky Party!

It's time to link up with Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for Five Favorite Pins of the month!

5. How It's Made Videos

Let me tell you - these videos saved my class when I had no voice! I pulled out my instrument family slideshows and then we watched short clips of instruments being played. They liked those videos, but when this one started a hush came over the room and the only sounds I heard were crickets oohs and wows. Their favorite part was when they formed the bell on a lathe.

Warning - the trombone video inspired giggles when the ball bearings came through the tubes. A little too poop-like for my students. *giggle*

4. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

What a cute book! Dedicated to Melba Liston. Onomatopoeia much?

3. 14 Arrangements of Let It Go

If you just click on the pin, you will see my favorite version - the Piano guys - but if you click through to Buzzfeed, you will find a rabbit hole. Trust me on this. You've been warned.

2. Magnetic Music Staff

I love my SMARTBoard, but there are some things I like to write with dry erase markers or use concrete objects for my kids to manipulate on the board. Wouldn't this be awesome??

1. Einstein's Desk, the day he died

Aileen's original post had a pin with Einstein which got me thinking of one of my first February pins on my personal Pinterest account. I was visiting with my Aunt and Uncle when this idea, this photograph came up and had to go find it and pin it.

Sometimes I'm so hard on myself for not being as organized, as perfect, as I want to be. And then I look at this and take a deep breath and give myself permission to just be who I am.

What about you - what are your favorite pins from this month? Comment below or link up over at Aileen's blog!

Follow Sweet Sounds on Pinterest to see other elementary music pins!
Follow Sweet Sounds on Facebook to keep up with new products and special deals!
Follow Sweet Sounds on TpT to find out about new products when they arrive!

Music Convention Wish List

I love convention time! Great ideas, great resources and great friends!

I just wanted to post a quick blog about some great resources that you can find in the exhibit hall. 

Teacher Resources!

First - If you don't have Kodaly Today RUN to the West Music booth and get it! This is a fantastic resource with lesson plans, song suggestions and listening lessons. You won't regret it.

Plus these two books are fabulous resources for songs and games! Love!


Hop Old Squirrel anyone?

Kids Books!

Have you seen the collections of children's books this year?! Exhibitors are finally understanding that elementary music teachers LOVE good literature.

Here are some great children's books that I saw yesterday. So fun!

Love this song!

*I always leave The Animal Boogie with a sub for my Kinder/1st. There's also a cute video on youtube.


Buy-one-get-one-free Mallets at West Music! 

I got my own alto recorder!

My wish list

I would LOVE to get this book by Ann Eisen and Lamar Robertson. They wrote An American Methodology, which I love. I want to see what they have for older beginners!

This Choksy/Brummitt book is legen-waitforit-dary. This would be a great addition to any elementary music classroom. I've been waiting for it to be on ebay or amazon for less than $100. ouch. 

And I heard that this one is GREAT. I have her Garden books and love them! 
Can't wait to use these in my classroom.

What resources do you recommend?