Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Loud/Soft Manipulatives

Hi everyone!

   I am linking up with Lindsay Jervis' Monday Music Manipulatives Linky Party (a little late, but the Tuesday school day hasn't started yet)! I only have one idea to share today, but I am very excited to use it for the second year with my Kindergarten classes. We are working on distinguishing between loud and soft sounds (already using piano and forte to label them). Last year, I used the following video to introduce the Boom Chicka Boom chant:

    The kids LOVE using different voices to speak the words. I use these cards from Divine Secrets of a Primary Chorister to change the voices we use after we watch the video. After we've learned the chant, I say the chant using both piano and forte sounds, mixing it up each time. The students use pictures of large radios and small radios to show whether the sounds are piano or forte (maybe I should use iPods, but I think it's hilarious telling them that a radio use to be a thing independent of a car stereo).

Simple, but it works very well, especially for those visual learners!

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Holst's The Planets

      This week, my school's STEM program is hosting a Stargazing Event. As a result, all the specials teachers have joined together to do activities that build excitement for said event.

      With my 3rd and 4th graders, I decided to do a listening activity to Gustav Holst's The Planets. I love this work because each movement is so different from the others. I have 60 minutes with my students, so I was able to have them listen to the whole work during one class period. There was very little talking involved in the activity, so the students were challenged to actively listen to each movement and record what they heard.

       When the students came in, they saw that I had placed large sheets of Post-It paper around the room, each with the name of a planet: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. We talked about the planets and looked at a poster of our solar system. I explained that we would be listening to music that represented each planet and writing down what we heard: instruments, images that come to mind, the mood of the piece, etc. Once we had recorded this on the paper, the students would move to show how each planet's movement was different (eg. Mars: show big/loud, Mercury: show soft/small). I also reminded them that we were now in "space," so they could not run around the room- they had to show what it would be like to move with no gravity!

       At the end, I asked students to describe their favorite planet and why, using some of the words/instrument names that they had written on the posters.

       This activity was a lot of fun and the students were exposed to a lot of different emotions, instruments, and images in one 60-minute period. They also had a TON to write about what they were hearing- they couldn't get to the paper fast enough! You could, of course, break this up into a longer unit, but I thought it was good for the students to have a picture of the whole solar system.

         I also put up a display of the planets in our hallway (this time in order of the way they look in the solar system) with a description of the activity, so that parents can see what we have done to prepare for our Stargazing Night!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Favorite Pins of October!

Hi again!

    Thanks to some other great bloggers, I've been trying to link up as much as possible. Thanks to Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for hosting this linky party! Also check out Steph at Stay Tuned! and Brittany at Making Music Memories for more great pins!

Here are my Five Favorite Pins of October, click on the pictures to go to the pin:

1) Pumpkin, Pumpkin:

       This short song/movement activity is pinned from last Fall, but I used it with my 3rd graders to explore tempo on Friday and it was so much fun! Thanks to Amy Abbott for this one!

2) This is an awesome Color-by-Note activity- a great way to review rhythms while also having some Fall-themed fun!

3) Fall Rhythm Match-up Freebie!

4) Smart Notebook activity for Danse Macabre

5) Cute picture that sparked an idea for my next bulletin board!

Happy pinning!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Collaboration: Music and Art Reinforce Classroom Concepts!

Good morning everyone!

    I've been slacking a little bit on my posts this month- Honors Chorus auditions and the start of after-school clubs have recently taken over my life. However, I wanted to share this project that I did last year and have carried over with a new twist to this year.

    Every year, I read The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything to my 1st graders to start our discussion of Percussion instrument sub-families. Click on the link to get a SafeShare video of the book being read for you!

    This year, however, I collaborated with my art teacher to make the lesson even more exciting! She read the book to the students the week before I did my lesson, but she didn't show them any of the pictures. Then they had to guess what all the articles of clothing made at the end of the book (a scarecrow) and create it on their paper. This was really effective for me, because when the students came to my class the next week, they were excited to see the pictures and learn the ending! It was also a pretty awesome way for us as specials teachers to reinforce the concepts that are being taught in their classrooms right now: Characters, Setting, knowing details of a story/retelling the story by recalling what order the articles of clothing come in, as well as concepts of Fall as a season, and, most importantly- the Scarecrow!

    The video above helps, because I have many instruments that I am demonstrating during the story. Last year I juggled them all, but this year I'm using the video! Here are the instruments that I use:

Shoes go Clomp Clomp- Wood Block
Pants go Wiggle Wiggle- Guiro
Shirt goes Shake Shake- Maraca
White Gloves go Clap Clap- Hand Drum
Black Hat goes Nod Nod- Triangle
Pumpkin Head goes Boo Boo- Tambourine

    After I demonstrate how to play the instruments along with the book, I distribute the instruments  evenly between the students. We read the book again, and the students may only play when their article of clothing is making noise (two beats). On the third iteration of the book, the students switch instruments with their seat partner and play again, this time for a different article of clothing.

    Once we have played through it twice, we talk about our instruments, what they are made of, and that they all fit into the Percussion Family of the Orchestra. While discussing what each instrument is made of, we divide our instruments into 3 sub-families: Skin, Metal, and Wood. This sparks some good discussion about some of the instruments that may seem to fit into both (Hand Drum has both wood and skin qualities, Tambourine often has wood, skin, AND metal qualities).

    The students love the story (and yelling the different noises each piece of clothing makes), and of course they enjoy getting to play different instruments and talk about the different sounds we hear (timbre) depending on what material is involved.

   If there is extra time at the end of the period, I often use this free coloring sheet I found from Live Love Laugh Kindergarten on TpT: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Roll-N-Color-Scarecrow-The-Little-Old-Lady-Who-Wasnt-Afraid-Of-Anything-385775---I just use the coloring sheet, not the Roll and Color, since I don't have time to do that after the whole lesson.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

All Star School Song

    When I first came to my school in August 2012, I found a big poster with words to what looked like our school song. Unfortunately, no one in the school could remember the tune and the words were...well, kind of depressing. Our school has been labeled as "struggling" up until this year, so apparently someone thought it was a good idea to cite the fact that "even though we don't make the grade, we're still proud of our school." Seriously, the words were very similar to that.

    SO I decided that we needed a new school song. We have been working very hard at building a solid sense of community within our school, and I thought a school song would reinforce those goals. Since last year was my first year teaching at Hoffman-Boston, I spent the year getting my program together and didn't focus on this whole "school song" issue. However, around March/April, my principal (who was also new to our school last year) expressed an interest in creating a music video/song/something to that effect that would reinforce the values that we were trying so hard to instill in our students.

     I did some research on the net, and came up with a few different prospects. I landed on SongSpun, the website of Mr. Brian Chevalier, who does workshops in schools that focus on respect, anti-bullying, etc. Since our school has been focusing a lot on Character Education, I thought that he would be a great choice of people to come to our school and help us write our school song.

    Mr. C came to our school a few weeks ago and worked with grade levels K-5 on Monday to come up with lyrics and a "feel" for our song. The students used their critical thinking skills and reading/writing knowledge to come up with short poems that ended up comprising the lyrics of our song. The lyrics talked about our new PBIS pledge (you'll see it in the first verse), as well as our identity as a STEM school. Here are the lyrics we came up with:

       Verse (2nd grade): We respect ourselves and others
                                      And our surroundings too
                                      Allstars shine, all the time
                                      Allstars are true blue

        Chorus (3rd grade): We're the Hoffman Boston Allstars
                                        Shining brightly in the sky
                                        Learning through discovery
                                        So our dreams can come alive

                     (4th grade): We're the Hoffman Boston Allstars
                                        We're yellow and we're blue
                                        We don't give up until the end
                                        We help each other through

                                        Respecting me, respecting you (4x)

         Verse (5th grade): No matter your appearance
                                       No matter who you are
                                       Here at Hoffman Boston
                                       Together we'll go far


         Bridge (1st grade): Through science and technology
                                        And math we show the way
                                        We're working hard on projects
                                        We're learning every day


       Kindergarten helped Mr. C come up with movements for the chorus of the song, which we then taught the whole school in the assembly on the following day. Mr. C then went home and recorded the song with his voice, guitar, and a beat and provided me with a CD recording of the whole song, as well as a karaoke version to use with the kids once we have learned the whole song.

Here is a video of me singing our new school song, which I am now teaching to all my students!
    At age 24, I still remember my elementary school song, and I hope that my students remember theirs for years to come!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2/4 Tuesday- Favorite Music Apps!

I'm linking up with some other bloggers for our 2/4 Tuesday Linky Party!

Here are some of my favorite music apps that I've been able to use this year!

    This app costs money, but it's worth it, because it is a fun way for your students to review solfege or the musical alphabet!

       Again, it costs money, but it's amazing because it allows you to record your own sounds and create compositions from them. I plan on using this for my Found Sounds unit and finding sounds around the school to use.

Now for my favorite free ones...

      I use this with my younger students to allow them to create ostinati and explore different instrument sounds with fun characters!

      This app is a great way to teach students about "same" and "different," while also making them laugh a lot- especially when they get one wrong and the blob explodes!

      This app is an amazing way to show high and low sounds, but also entertain students with the different colors and exciting visuals!

Hope you enjoy!

Don't forget to check out some of my fellow bloggers in our 2/4 Tuesday Linky Party!

Steph at Stay Tuned!


Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Survive an Hour-Long Kindergarten Music Class

Last year when I started at my school, I was given a specials schedule that required me to teach hour long classes to each grade K-5. I had never taught such long classes to primary grades before, so this was a big adjustment for me. The worst part? Kindergarten was at the end of the day.

After weeks of trying to fill every second with "meaningful and instruction-based" musical activities, I realized that ending the class with a silly movement activity or a coloring project was the only way to go. By the time the students entered my classroom at 2:40, they were exhausted from a day of schoolwork and ready to check out. So each week I make sure that the class ends with something fun. This schedule has carried over to this year, so I have come up with a few more activities to pull out of my back pocket.

Here are some of the end-of-music activities I have come up with for Kindergarten:

1) Freeze Dance:
      Obviously the easiest one is Freeze Dance- and the kids LOVE it. I always have stickers handy, so that I can reward the winners. The trick to this is that you can use ANY kind of music, so I have a CD handy that mixes classical music with pop music to really spark the student's dancing creativity.

2) Coloring!
      Sometimes the kids really just want to sit down and color and have a conversation with one of their friends- and I figure that at 5 years old, they deserve that at the end of the day. I often connect my coloring activities with a concept that we have learned that day in Music and then hang the finished products outside my classroom for the school community to see. Here are a few examples, some of these I made myself and some I searched for online:

3) Chicken Dance
      We did this for the second week of our farm unit when we were singing about Chickens. They LOVED it, especially the part where it slows down and accelerates gradually. I used this YouTube video for the recording: 

4) Kindergarten Game Plan has a really great activity that goes along with the farm unit. It introduces colors that correspond to different movements. The kids love adding a new movement each week and it just gets them up and moving. Even if you don't have the Game Plan series, you can easily make some color cards of your own and do this activity with your students:

Red- Stop
Green- Walk
Yellow- Jog
Blue- Tiptoe
Purple- Jump
Pink- Hop
Brown- Gallop

5) Musical Simon Says
      Kids love to volunteer their own ideas for things we are learning in class, so since we begin the year talking about steady beat, I have students come up and say Musical Simon (or Sally) says: Keep the beat on your (insert body part) or by (insert movement). If the sentence does not begin with "Musical Simon (or Sally) says," and someone changes their movement, they are out! I start out the year being Musical Sally, but then allow student leaders to take over once we are comfortable with the game.

      Found this activity on Pinterest and have used it several times. Great way for kids to show off their individuality without feeling too self conscious.

That's all for now! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Listening Journals with a Pop Twist

Hi everyone!

    This week I thought I'd share my procedure for my listening journals in 4th and 5th grades. Each student receives a journal on the first day of class and I explain the activity and play the first example. Now, by the 3rd week of class, they know to come into the classroom, get their journal and a pencil, and sit in their own personal space ready to listen.

     In 4th grade, the students are given 3 options: 1) they may write a paragraph (defined as 3-5 sentences) that summarizes their reaction to, or their feelings about, the piece I have played, 2) they may write a story explaining what they think is happening in the music, or 3) they may draw a picture showing the story of the music. For my 5th graders, I eventually eliminate the picture option, so that they are encouraged to write more and explore their imagination through words and not just pictures.

     Last year this worked really well, and it allowed me to differentiate instruction for the students who were not as high in writing. It helps to have the picture option in there for my special education students or second-language learners, because they can share what they are thinking without being stressed about writing a lot.

    The music I present to the students varies, honestly depending on my mood that week. I often hear a song on YouTube and share it with my students that week during our 10-15 minute listening activity. The past couple weeks, I've been looking for interesting versions of songs that my kids are listening to on the radio (often songs that I can't play normally in the classroom because they are uncensored) and playing them as listening examples. Here is the one I used last week, a ragtime version of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" (starting at :40 because I had to skip over some minor language):

The students responded very positively to this, especially because they had previously asked me to include "music that we know" in the listening examples. The majority of them actually liked this version better than the radio version!!

I've also found this one, a Doo Wop version of Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop," however I'm still trying to figure out how to censor the material, therefore haven't shared it with my students just yet:

If you have any suggestions of videos or songs like these that you think students might respond to, please feel free to comment and let me know!!

Happy journaling!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2/4 Tuesday Linky Party!

Hi everyone!

   I wanted to join in the fun (albeit a day late) of sharing some of the things I'll be using in my classroom this year! Steph at Stay Tuned suggested that all of us with music teaching blogs share 2-4 things we use that we've either made or found somewhere. Here are mine, and be sure to check out the links to my colleagues blogs at the end!

1) Incredibox:
      http://www.incredibox.com/en/play - This site allows students to experience with layering and creating their own unique blends of musical ideas. It is a great way to get them used to using technology before moving on to Garageband or something more complicated.

2) Movement activity from GamePlan Grade 1- enhanced:

      Students walk around the room in response to quarter note beats on a drum (played by the teacher). When students hear the teacher tap ti-ti ta- they freeze! This is a great way to allow students to differentiate between the two rhythms at the beginning of first grade.
       I added my own twist to this game. Once students are used to freezing on the cue rhythm, ask them to move to the quarter note beats like different animals (eg. monkey, frog, bird, crab). The students love to make noises and be silly- but the challenge is that they have to always be listening for that cue to freeze! (ti-ti ta)

3) Xavi Lozano's weird instruments:

     Have you ever wanted to do a Found Sounds project? Well, this is a great movie to show that you can make music using anything you find around the house- and the kids love to see what he'll come up with next!

Check out my blog post on the project in which I used this video as an example: Is it Music? An Introduction to John Cage

Now check out some of the other blogs using the following links!

Lauren at Rhythm and Glues: http://rhythmandglues.wordpress.com/

Lauren V at Music in the City: http://musicinthecitylv.blogspot.com/2013/09/24-tuesday-goals-and-time-filler.html

Lindsay at Pursuit of Joyfulness: http://pursuitofjoyfulness.blogspot.com/2013/09/4-ideas-for-organizing-your-music-room.html

Steph at Stay Tuned!: http://staytunedmusicteacher.blogspot.com/


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Ridiculous (and Amazing) Endeavor

This year I took on a ridiculous project...and it paid off! I decided to put on a show that encompassed all grades from PreK/Montessori up to 4th. The show went up this past week- the last week of school. My coworkers were really great about helping me with rehearsals and staging once our state testing was over, so even though there were about 350 kids involved, I was able to pull it off.

The show was from Music K-8 Magazine- Hungry to Learn. Here is an example of the first song- though I used different choreography. http://www.musick8.com/html/downloaddisplay.php?dwnid=1358

My Fourth Grade students narrated the show, while PreK/Montessori-Third Grade sang one of each of the 5 songs. I had Kindergarten begin the show with the title song, Hungry to Learn. PreK/Montessori (a group of about 120 students) performed second, the song I Want to Know, which dealt with a lot of opposites and things that they learn in their PreK classrooms. Third Graders sang the song There's A Class For That, which had a LOT of words that they were able to completely memorize. After this, I showed a slideshow of pictures from music class the whole year. Second Grade sang a song about character education called It Matters. Finally, First Grade closed the show with a song about continued education throughout their lives- Forever Learning.

I would definitely suggest this show to anyone, especially if your piano skills are limited. I don't feel like using a CD accompaniment is a cop-out because it allowed me to get so much more expression out of my kids and have so many students involved. The kids love the songs and were so adorable at the performance!

The show was such a hit that my principal has asked me to present another All-School production next Spring. It was a great way to end my first full year as a music teacher, and I am excited to have many more adventures next year!

Happy End of School everyone!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

4th Grade Recorder

Today I felt the need to share how wonderful my 4th grade students are. Every Friday morning when I'm ready for the week to be over, my class comes in and the work that they do never fails to put a smile on my face.

This month, we have been busily preparing for our Recorder Concert, which will be on June 12th. On Friday, they were given their songs/groups for the concert. Each group was tasked with learning the song, then coming up with a creative way to perform it. At the end of the allotted time, I was so excited to see that each group had come up with different ways to perform- with no prompting from me whatsoever!

Group 1 played Cricket Lullaby- from the Green Belt of Recorder Karate. They decided that one person would begin the song and each measure they would add one person in, until everyone was eventually playing.

Group 2 played Suo Gan- from Recorder Express and Green Belt of Recorder Karate. It's important to note that they were sitting across the room from Group 1 and didn't know what the other group was planning. They chose to play their song starting with everyone playing, then slowly eliminating players until only one person was playing by the end of the song.

Group 3 played Down at the Station from Recorder Express. This group is the most advanced, so I challenged them to create a longer performance instead of just playing the song once through. They chose to play the song through once as a group, then play it in pairs, then play it as a 4-part round.

After each of the performances, I asked the other students to identify how the group had made their performance unique. It was great to see the creativity coming out in these students, especially when they are in the midst of state standardized testing!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spotify in the Music Classroom

Spotify has been my new favorite thing since March, when I decided to go to the Boston Calling Music Fesitval. The festival happened this past weekend, but I have been listening to the all the bands for months. The best part was, I was only paying $10/month to listen in my car/on my iPad!

Download Spotify here!

Since making my Boston Calling playlist, I've downloaded it to my work computer and have begun to use it for all sorts of lessons. It was used for all three of my previous blog posts about lessons! I found Jukebox music, I found random selections for my John Cage lesson, and I was able to find all of the suggestions I had for 5th grade graduation music. Most recently, I used it to create my last free dance/instrument playalong playlist for preK.

$10/month is nothing for a subscription to this great app. When I need a piece of music, all I have to do is go to one of my 3 devices and type in the name of the song or the artist. It's so easy! You can also use the free version on your computer- you can still make playlists and listen to music, you just can't use the mobile version of the app (which I use mostly outside of school anyways!)

I definitely recommend using Spotify in the music classroom. It is a wonderful way to explore new music without committing too much money to storing it in your personal collection before you've heard something you like!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5th Grade Promotion Mash-up

Hi everyone!

    As indicated in my last post, my 5th graders have been rather challenging this year, so you can imagine I was a little daunted by the task of choosing a song for their Promotion in June. Instead of just picking a song and making everyone learn it (which would have been painful, to say the least), I decided that I would ask the students for suggestions. I got a whole range of song choices, from Jackson 5 to Macklemore, Drake, and other pop artists. I also allowed them to listen to some songs that I thought were fitting for "graduation"-type events. After all of this, we voted for the song we were ultimately going to learn.

     Here's where it got even harder: the majority of the votes were for One Direction's "Live While We're Young." While the song has an appropriate theme for this event, I knew that half of my students were not going to be happy with the choice and that it would be like pulling teeth to try teach it to them. So I compromised. I took 6 of their songs ideas and made a mash-up/medley for the promotion ceremony.

     The mash-up includes: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, Friends Forever by Vitamin C, ABC by the Jackson 5, Live While We're Young by One Direction, Home by Phillip Phillips, and Shooting Star by Owl City. The last part is my favorite because it correlates directly with our mascot- the All-Star. Here is the karaoke video:

     I created a this video for the students to learn it in my classroom and gave it (as well as a hard copy of the lyrics) to their teachers for in-class practice. Feel free to take ideas from it.

The students have taken ownership of this song for the ceremony, and I think it will be a great send-off for them!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Is it Music? An introduction to John Cage and Found Sounds

Here I am at the end of the year and I've finally found an activity toward which my 5th graders reacted positively!

At the beginning of class, I write "Music" on the SmartBoard and ask the students to tell me the first word that comes to mind to describe it. Students come up with music-class related words such as "rhythm," "melody," "instruments," and "harmony" as well as names  of bands or genres. I write it all up there.

Students are given a sheet of paper numbered 1-16. While listening to the different examples, their task is to answer this question: Is it music- yes or no? They must also back up their answer with a reason (and it cannot be "Because I didn't like it," or "Because it's weird.") You may shorten this activity and use less than 16 examples, and you may use any type of examples you like, but here is my list:

1) Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5- Allegro
2) Sound from the video of a Vuvuzela Symphony- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf2P8SnOwLo  1:10-1:32 (I show them the video and the more involved piece after the listening activity)
3) Lady Gaga- Marry the Night
4) Dixie Chicks- Ready to Run
5) Drop something loud on the ground (I've used both rhythm sticks and a textbook for this example)
6) Convergencia- Hot House
7) Carmen, Act I- Parle-moi de...
8) Clap a rhythm
9) Justin Beiber- Baby
10) One of Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes
11) Sound from video of City Sounds- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGBVOTaiytI
12) Ben Folds- Adelaide
13) Good Charlotte- The Anthem
14) Flogging Molly- The Lightening Storm
15) Sound from this video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZW2UWu2IWU (I go up to about 1 minute)
16) I go to the piano, sit at it, open the cover, then sit silently for a minute (and try not to laugh when the kids are totally confused), then I close the cover

After the examples are played, students share their answers and we discuss why they did or did not think it was music- sometimes referring back to the introduction activity on the SmartBoard. I then show the vuvuzela video and ask if anyone's answer changed now that they could see it as well as hear it. I do the same with the Xavi Lozano video from Example 15- the kids love to watch and see what random household item he will use next!

This activity is an intro to a project. During the next class period, we read about John Cage and his piece, 4'33." They make the connection between this piece and my Example 16- sitting silently at the piano. We have a discussion about the way they reacted and how they think the audience might have reacted to John Cage in 1952. We also discuss the sounds that the audience might have heard or made during that long period of silence, along with Cage's belief that "everything is music." This conversation really pushes students to think outside of the box and is a great intro to our Found Sounds Project (I call it the Weird Instruments Project).

Students are instructed to bring in a household item for the next week's class that they think they can use to make music. It cannot be electronic, nor can it be an actual instrument. In the past, students have brought in Snapple caps, water bottles, plastic bags, spoons, and various other items. The next week, they are divided into groups of four and here are their instructions:

With your group members, you will be creating a 1-minute long composition using your household instruments. You may notate it below and on the back of the paper in any way that your group chooses, but it must be consistent and clear. Your group will perform the composition for the class and you will be graded on your notation and performance. Each composition must include:
  • Solos, as well as playing as a group
  • Soft and loud dynamics
  • Fast and slow tempos
  • At least one repeated section
  • A clear beginning and ending
This project is fun to complete because it gives students a lot of freedom to compose what they want. I am excited to see what my 5th graders come up with this year!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Yes, I know it's May and I am just starting this blog, but I thought I'd start sharing this year and continue on into next year. I teach preK-5 General Music in Virginia. Our mascot is the All Star (we call him HB Twinkle), hence All Star Music. :)

This past week my All Star Kindergarteners listened to 16 different genres of music in my Jukebox activity. This is the second year in a row I have done this lesson, and it was very effective- and fun!

I purchased a book called Jukebox. (You can buy it here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jukebox-david-merveille/1008762043?cm_mmc=googlepla-_-book_5to14-_-q000000633-_-9781933605722&cm_mmca2=pla&ean=9781933605722&isbn=9781933605722&r=1) It is composed almost completely of pictures with a few words on each page. We go through the book at the beginning of the class period to identify what genres of music we will be listening to. They include: Disco, Opera (which is actually represented twice in this book), Choral, Country, Hip Hop, Blues, Jazz, and many more.

Before the class, I have composed a playlist with one selection from each of these genres. The past two years I have used two completely different playlists- which is great because it's fun for me to find new selections. The students receive a sheet of paper with 8 boxes on each side- one box for each musical selection. I ask them to choose 5 crayons for the activity and find their own personal space. I explain that they will draw a picture in each box that depicts how the music makes them feel. The picture could just be a face, it could include aspects of the music that they hear, or even a word that describes how they feel. It's really cool to see the different ways students choose to express themselves.

I go through the book page by page for a second time- this time playing part of the song I have chosen for each specific genre. Before the music is played, I point out the correct box on the paper where the students are drawing. I play about a minute of each selection and allow students to draw/write in the specified box.

After we have listened to all 16 selections and students have finished drawing, I have some students share their favorite music and how it made them feel. Here are a couple examples of student work from this activity:

This student chose to draw pictures of herself and how she felt during the music.

This student chose to draw faces and include words for how he felt. Opera- funny, Hip Hop- cool, Boom! (drums)- groovy, Madame Butterfly- calm

I found that this was a great way to introduce critical listening skills into a Kindergarten music classroom. I also really enjoy seeing my special education students get into it, as I am able to guide them through it while other students in the classroom are working more independently.