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: 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!