Monday, March 31, 2014

5 followers on Teachers Pay Teachers and an extended flash freebie!

I just sold my first product on Teachers Pay Teachers yesterday!  And I now have 5 whole followers.  Now, I know that's not a lot, but you've got to start somewhere.  Time to celebrate!  And, to celebrate, I'm loading a free file to my Teachers Pay Teachers store:  Little Sally Water.

I use this song in 1st grade to practice ta and ti-ti, as well as to present "la."  Here is a preview:
Rhythmic presentation slides:
Melodic presentation slides:
Game ideas:  
A copy of the song:
And even a worksheet you could leave for a sub - or do yourself :)

The whole thing is free only until April 5, 2014 - so go get your copy now.  And don't forget to leave me a rating so I can get better and better at doing this stuff :)  You can find it here: Little Sally Water song file 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Buttons!

I am a HUGE fan of manipulatives.  Maybe it's because I'm a kinesthetic learner myself, but I feel that students learn better when they not only see and hear something, but when they experience it, or create it themselves.

Therefore, because of that belief, my husband can NEVER let me loose in "The Spot" at Target, or in any dollar store.  I am always finding things I can use for school.  Today's manipulative find is very easy - buttons!  You can find them basically anywhere - I found these at Walmart:

I'm using them for the song "Button You Must Wander."  I recently posted a PowerPoint presentation I have made that I'm offering for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

This activity kind of enhances that presentation.
The main goal of this song is for students to hear, feel, and write quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests.  So, I came up with these beat charts (also for free on TpT):

The students worked together in small groups - each with a beat chart (I did mine without the words because my students can totally handle it) and a pile of buttons.  For each beat with a quarter note (ta), they put one button.  For each beat with 2 eighth notes (ti-ti), they put two smaller buttons.  For the beat with a rest, they left it blank.  They worked together so well while doing this, and it was very nice to hear them clapping the rhythm of the song and pointing to the beat to figure it out:

And here's the finished product (sorry about the glare):

The kids truly enjoyed this activity - and it really helps that they felt so successful at it.

Do any of you use a favorite manipulative?

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Like many of you, I do a "Composer of the Month" type thing.  I used to HATE teaching about composers - because the students didn't seem like they really cared.  But, this year, I've tried something new and am mad at myself that I didn't do it before.  I have a bulletin board in the back of my room that has become my "Composerbook" board:

It's basically like a "Facebook" profile for a composer.  I put up pictures, general information, famous compositions, etc.  I left a place in the middle that says "Write on my wall."  The picture above is one I took before the kids started writing on the wall.  I really wish I'd taken a picture of that before I changed it - because the kids went crazy!  My school has a writing focus this year, where they are encouraging all of us to do more writing in the classroom.  This was one way I got to do it - the kids could ask a question about anything.  And when I say anything, I meant it.  The questions ranged from "How did you die?" and "What was your most famous song?" to "How much did wigs cost?" and "Did you like to wear lace?"  Post-its were all over the place!

I am also teaching musical concepts so much more - based on the composer the students are studying.  I will have more blog posts soon about specifics, but I introduced 16th notes, opera, and rondo form while teaching Mozart.  I taught letter names on the staff while teaching Beethoven (the students had to be able to play "Ode to Joy.")  I taught ti-tika (or ti-tiri) and tika-ti (or tiri-ti) while teaching about Bach (Badinerie).  I am currently teaching about Scott Joplin, but introducing syncopation to my 4th graders before we delve into our jazz unit.  The kids are truly connecting with the composers and becoming excited about them in a way I've never seen before.  It's truly great!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


My first paid product is up on Teachers Pay Teachers!

This product is to teach the song "Bluebird Through My Window," a song I use to present half note in second grade.  I call half notes "two" because it reminds kids of how many beats it gets, and in my classroom, my kids have gotten confused with "ta" and "ta-a."

The steps to my presenting something are pretty basic - first, after they have sung many, many songs with half notes (just not having specifically identified them yet), I teach this new song, by rote.  We first find the steady beat, then the rhythm.  They are able to clap the rhythm before we identify it.  Finally, when they have identified that there is a place where we are holding the note out for two counts, we define it as the half note.

I generally don't use this song for melodic practice, because it has both "fa" and high "do," both which I don't get to in grades K-2 - BUT, I've included slides for them in case you can find something useful :)

You can find it here:  Bluebird Through My Window

The game with this song is pretty fun for K-2.

Game #1:  All students are in a standing circle with arms raised, with palms of hands pressing on their neighbors’ hands to form “windows.”  One person who is “it,” or the “bluebird,” flies in and out of the windows as the song is sung, and taps boys or girls on the shoulder.  These boys or girls hold hands with the leader, forming a line, as the line grows longer and longer, flying in and out of the windows.  When the last two children remain in the circle, they become the bridge, as in “London Bridge” or “Apple Tree” and the bluebird leads the line through the bridge.  Whoever gets caught in the bridge on “tired” will be the bluebird the NEXT time we play the game.

I found this adorable video of kids playing the game:  Bluebird game

Teachers Pay Teachers

I am shamelessly putting in a plug for myself - I just set up my own Teachers Pay Teachers store!  I will be posting a lot of free products, but not all.  My husband and I are trying to save up to adopt another child - and adoption is extremely expensive, so visit my store and see if there is anything you like!

One free product that I am currently using is my "Button You Must Wander" presentation.  This song is great for 1st/2nd grade to practice quarter rests, quarter notes, and paired eighth notes.  Here is a preview of the presentation:  

It includes lyrics, steady beat slides, iconic rhythmic notation slides to identify the rest, tas, and ti-tis, as well as stick rhythmic notation and game instructions.

I am currently using this with my first graders to practice rests.  Look for another post soon with pictures on how they are using another product!