Thursday, February 19, 2015

Abiyoyo- A Music, Drama, and Art Lesson in One!

If you're like me, you want to do it all, and you want to do it all in a 60 minute period and give every piece of the lesson everything you've got! Well, this post will give you an example of a lesson where I was able to do just that!

For my lesson using the book Abiyoyo, I was able to incorporate:
  • Literacy
  • Music
  • Dramatic interpretation
  • Art project
  • Black History Month
As an added bonus, I was even able to get in 5 minutes of practice for the All School Show song for 1st and 2nd grade classes after teaching the Abiyoyo lesson! Our show is March 26th, so we have to practice every class period!

Abiyoyo is a story about a boy and his father who annoy the townspeople- the father with his magic tricks and the boy with his ukelele, so they are ostracized (the book even defines this term in the story!) to the outside of town. The boy's father always told him the story of Abiyoyo, a terrible monster who comes to terrorize the town. Inevitably, Abiyoyo comes one morning and the man and his son are closest to him so they set off to make him disappear! The boy sings the song about Abiyoyo while playing the ukelele and Abiyoyo dances and dances until he falls over. The boy's father is now able to make him disappear and the townspeople rejoice!

While I read this story to the students, I showed them the pictures up until the actual monster, Abiyoyo, appears, then I turned the book away. This way, they had to imagine what this terrible monster looked like (this comes back later in the lesson)! I also teach them the song, so that they can sing along when it comes up.

After reading it through one time, I assigned some students to be actors (boy, boy's father, Abiyoyo, and townspeople) and some students to play instruments for the sound effects in the book (ukelele, father's magic, eating sheep and cow, saw). This pandered to everyone's needs while hearing the story a second time- some students really love to play instruments and some really want to be actors and wear costumes- it just works out well! You could even choose a good reader to be the narrator if you wanted (gives you time to observe and take pictures!) I chose two kids to be Abiyoyo together and gave them a couple minutes to come up with a "dance" to do while the boy sings the song- they took this totally in stride and it was great when the dancing part came up!

The instruments I used were:
  • ukelele- kalimba
  • Zoop!- maracas/guiros
  • Eating animals- hand drum
  • Saw- ratchet

The boy's father (with his wand) and the boy

After we act out/play instruments with the story, it's time to move on to the art portion of the lesson. I should point out that this could easily be a 3-lesson progression, I am just able to get it into one because I have long class periods. The art portion was easy to execute and tons of fun for the kids! Here's what you need:
  • Gluesticks
  • A bunch of multicolored paper ripped into small pieces (took me about 20 minutes to do this one morning and I have had enough for 3-4 classes so far)
  • Half-sheets of white construction paper or card stock for a background
We talk about the monster and what we think it needs according to the book's description (body, arms, legs, head, teeth, claws, hair) and then each kid receives paper, glue, and a handful of colored paper (I tell them it doesn't matter what colors they have, everyone is going to have an assortment and they can share). I give them between 15-20 minutes to do this. 

It's a very low-stress project it is really great to see the different monsters that the kids come up with! Below are some examples of mine:

This was a great second installment of Black History Month lessons for 1st/2nd grade and the kids have had so much fun! Please feel free to steal the idea if you're interested and let me know if it is as fun and successful in your classroom!
~Ms. Patrician

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Flipped Recorder Lessons with Zaption!

Good evening!

    I have had a wonderfully relaxing snow day today here in VA, but I am preparing myself for this glorious four day weekend to end and I am getting prepped for the next week at school! One of my most recent curriculum items that I have started is 3rd grade recorder. As I'm sure my music teacher friends know, it's okay to have a love-hate relationship with recorders, so I'm trying to change up my teaching style this year!

My school has recently started a 1:1 iPad initiative with our 2nd-5th grade students and I have been trying to think of ways to flip my classroom, so why not start with recorders? I have started using Zaption in my classroom centers and it is a really great tool, so I thought I'd try it out with my 3rd graders! Here are a few of the "tours" that I have created for iPad centers and use at home:

Reading and playing the notes B-A-G:

Practice for 3 more B-A-G songs:

If you are interested in creating your own Zaption tours, please visit the tutorial I wrote a couple weeks ago here: Teaching with Streamed Video using Zaption. Let me know if you make your own- I'd love to check them out and use them in my classroom as well!

Have a great week!
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Very ConnectED President's Day!

Good morning!

    I have a very exciting connectED day ahead of me! So far, I am enjoying my President's Day holiday by sitting in bed to catch up with last week's DVRed shows while I plan my lessons for the week. Now, here's where the connectED part comes in:

  1. I will be getting my day started very soon with a lunch date with two of my Twitter connections! I am meeting @sarahdateechur and @ThatsWightman in Alexandria today to hang out before our #edcampNoVA this coming Saturday!

  2. As if that wasn't enough, I get to do a Google Hangout with some of the most innovative educators in my county to talk about starting up some county-wide Twitter chats!

  3. Last, but certainly not least, my staff's #HFBTLAP (Teach Like a Pirate) book study commences its first official Monday night chat tonight at 8 PM! Join us if you're interested in donning your eye patch and finding your pirate self! We love visitors!

I hope those of you that are teaching today are having a great Monday and that those of you with a day off are relaxing before another work week! Stay tuned- I hope to post later this week about flipping my recorder lessons using Zaption!
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, February 9, 2015

Follow the Drinking Gourd

I have seen some great posts about Black History Month activities, and I feel like I've done a terrible job the past two years incorporating it into my lessons. This year, however, my Kindergarten-3rd graders will be learning about the Underground Railroad and Follow the Drinking Gourd!

You know those days where a great lesson idea just pops into your head and you HAVE to find a great way to execute it? Well that was me this morning. I already knew I was going to be doing the song at some point this month and I dreamt about it last night!

My plan included several of the hooks mentioned in Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate:

  1. The Mime Hook- students enter silently and follow me through the activity (this is not verbalized, it is just apparent as they enter the room).
  2. The Interior Design Hook- the lights are off and there are obstacles set up all around the classroom to climb over or crawl through.
  3. The Mozart Hook- I mean, duh, I'm a music teacher, if I wasn't using this hook I don't know why I'd be doing this job- the song Follow the Drinking Gourd is playing as they enter class and go through the obstacle course.
  4. The Kinesthetic Hook- Students are moving immediately as they enter the class, and not just walking around silently, they're climbing and crawling and using muscles they did not expect to use at the beginning of music class.
Looks like a normal room, but today it's a part of the Underground Railroad!

I also took to heart the message in this book that transitions will kill you. I made deliberate decisions about transitions- I did not give instructions, instead they followed my silent cue, we were at our carpet spots as the song ended, by the last note of the song I had already opened the book and was ready to read, as I read about the sun shining, I deliberately walked over and switched the lights on. Once the book was over, the kids had heard the song twice and could make connections from song to story and back again.

The students really had some great questions about the song and its connection to the Underground Railroad. We were also able to incorporate science into this social studies lesson by talking about constellations and connecting that to the "drinking gourd." The kids were fascinated to learn that the Big Dipper and the Drinking Gourd were the same thing- and some were even able to point it out before I explained it! I made a flashlight representation of it, and though it doesn't show up on our ceiling (it's more of a blob of light)- students really liked looking at it with the light shining through! This picture doesn't do it justice, but I figured I'd share nonetheless!

So far the first day of this lesson has worked well with all grade levels, and I even found a coloring sheet to use for the classes that are a little more squirrely! It has the lyrics on it, which is an extra plus while we're singing it together!

I hope that you all try this out- please let me know if you do and if it is a success in your school! This was a great way to #CelebrateMonday and add some history into the mix!
~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Scoop 2-8-15

Good morning!

    Teaching Trio has some of the most wonderful linky parties, so here is my third link-up with them of the week! Link up with them to share your Sunday Scoop!

Without further ado, here is mine:

I usually go through each one of these and explain them, but I think they are pretty self-explanatory this week. The only one that really needs more explanation is my Read Aloud- I started volunteering for an awesome organization- The Reading Connection- back in November and I am excited to be the lead for the first time this Tuesday! It will be different from my day job, but the same in some ways, which is why I like it. Thanks to The Reading Connection for giving me this opportunity to give back to the kids who need it most. Click the picture below to learn more about this organization:

I plan to write a blog post sometime soon about Mozart in the Jungle- if you have not watched this awesome show and you have any sort of love for music, you should do it right now! It is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video and it is such a great show- hoping for a Season 2!

Let me know if you start watching- I'd love to hear your thoughts!
~Ms. Patrician

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Favorite Twitter Chats!

As promised, here is my post on my favorite Twitter Chats! I am linking up with Teaching Trio (again, I love you guys!) for their Favorite Things Linky!

Here are my Three Favorite Twitter Chats:

1) #BFC530: If you haven't joined in or at least lurked on the sidelines of this chat, you HAVE to!! I have met some of the most inspired, insightful, and excited educators ever in this 15-min a day chat. It takes so little time to have a wonderful conversation and start your day off on a positive note. The chat happens every Monday-Friday at 5:30 AM EST and MST. Now, I'll be honest- I participate at 7:30 AM EST (the #BFC530 MST chat), because there's no way I'm getting up at 5:30 AM! I am in there almost every day from 7:30-7:45 AM chatting with some of the regulars and also those who are there less often. This chat is also where I found out about Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate and the book study that grew out of this chat- #bfctlap. #BFC530 is SUCH a great chat- please check it out!!

2) My school is in Virginia, so I participate in #vachat and #NoVAchat on a regular basis and it's wonderful to talk with educators who are teaching in the same area. Nice to have a closer PLN, and I'm even going to meet some of them at #edcampnova and #edcamparlington! Woohoo! If you don't live in Virginia, most states have their own edchat that you can easily find- if you need help, check out this list from @cybraryman1: Twitter Education Chat List. #vachat is every Monday evening from 8-9 PM EST and #novaedchat is every Wednesday night from 8-9 PM EST.

3) I am an elementary music teacher, so how could I forget the #elmused chat that happens on Tuesday nights from 8-9 PM EST. In fact, the regular moderator is busy this Tuesday, so I will be moderating the chat on my own! Ahh- pressure's on!! If you are an elementary music teacher, please come chat with us, we are a great group of connected educators and there is always a wonderful conversation going on! We even have a #slowchatmus, which is one question every day Monday-Friday that can be answered at your own pace. So if you can't join us on Tuesday nights, please join in the #slowchatmus when you can during the week under the hashtag #elmused!

Check out a full Twitter Education Chat List here from @cybraryman1 to find more awesome chats that you can join each week: Twitter Education Chat List

I hope that you all join some of my favorite chats! Let me know if you heard about them on my blog- my handle is @mspatricianhfb! I love to see new friends chatting!

Have a wonderful weekend!
~Ms. Patrician

Thursday, February 5, 2015 How-to- Tech Thursday!

Good afternoon!

    Earlier today I posted HOW to participate in a Twitter chat, and now you're going to get a crash course on how to use to better organize your chats once you've found one (or several) that you like! Look out for a post tomorrow about my Favorite Twitter Chats!!

Since this is a topic that I'd love more people to be able to use and share- I am linking up with Teaching Trio for their Tech Thursday! Hope you enjoy!

Tweet Deck is an awesome tool, especially when you are involved in one or more Twitter chats- even more so when you're doing more than one at a time!

To use Tweet Deck, first go to the website (link above), then log in with your Twitter account. It is simply an extension of Twitter for your personal use. When you open Tweet Deck- some columns will immediately open. Here are 3 of the columns I chose to keep on mine- Home, Favorites, and Notifications:

If you want to get rid of a column, go to the settings button on the column at the top right hand corner, which looks like this: <<<<<

If you would like to add a column, for instance a specific hashtag, like my school's- #HFBTweets, here are the steps to do so.
1) Find the search bar on the left hand side of your screen:
2) Type in your hashtag- for instance, #HFBTweets- and a preview of it will come up on the screen:
3) Click "Add Column" and it will pop up as the last column on your screen.

Quick Tip: If you are using Tweet Deck to follow a chat (which you would identify with it's hashtag), the columns will update in real time, which means that if you are following a chat- it will probably happen really quickly! If you are getting overwhelmed (no shame in that), scroll down the column and scroll up to read at your own pace- the column will still update above, but you won't have to watch it moving so quickly. Once you get back to the top, it will continue to update in real time. 

As you can see, I have a ton of hashtags opened at one time, and Tweet Deck allows me to view them all at once. When I am tracking points for my school's #HFBTweets contest, I can teach a class and then come back to see the updates from the last hour without even having to refresh the page.

If you are using Twitter on a regular basis, I suggest using Tweet Deck as well! Please feel free to ask questions in the comment or email me at if you don't want your question to be public!

Happy tweeting!
~Ms. Patrician

Get Inspired! Build your PLN!

Good morning!

    I'm not sure who exactly is reading my blog these days. I know that my family is, as well as some of my friends, and other teacher bloggers definitely pop in from time to time, but no matter who is reading, I love that it's a diverse audience. I really enjoy sharing my experiences as an elementary music teacher here at Hoffman Boston- Home of the All Stars!

That being said, this post will really only be of interest to other teachers. I am thoroughly enjoying the growth of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. I know that I've talked about it a few times on here, but if you aren't on Twitter AND using it as a professional development tool, you should be. Twitter chats can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of chatting, you will be connected to SO many new and inspiring colleagues.
Below I have outlined HOW to participate in a Twitter chat:

How to “Chat” on Twitter

In order to find a Twitter chat, first you must know its hashtag. This hashtag must then be used to participate in the chat. It must be included in each tweet you send to the chat. For our purposes, I am writing the example using #HFBTLAP - which is the hashtag for my school's Teach Like a Pirate Book Study.

Twitter chats usually follow a simple question and answer format. There is a moderator (in this case, @mspatricianhfb, and that person is in charge of asking the questions. You may then respond to each question asked. Here is an example:

@mspatricianhfb: Q1: What scares you most about using Twitter for a book study? #HFBTLAP

@HFBAllstars: A1: That @mspatricianhfb will make fun of me if I mess up. #HFBTLAP

@HFBTeacher: A1: I am scared that I won’t be able to keep up! #HFBTLAP

Those users participating can now respond to other answers using the reply button if they would like to continue interacting with this question. Example:

@HFBAllStars: @HFBTeacher Don’t worry, we’re all new to this! Let’s learn together! #HFBTLAP

@HFBTeacher: @HFBAllstars Thanks for the encouragement! #HFBTLAP

This process continues until the chat is over. Most chats occur during a set period of time- usually 1 hour. You can participate fully, lurk and just read other responses, or just chime in when you have something to add.

I have given several professional development sessions on using Twitter for communicating with parents/other teachers, and have just started this Twitter book study. If you have not yet picked up Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, you DEFINITELY should! Feel free to drop in on our #HFBTLAP chats on Monday nights from 8-9 PM starting on President's Day- February 16th!

Later this week I will be posting my favorite chats to participate in during the week, but in the meantime, please look at @cybraryman's list of Education Twitter chats here: Twitter Education Chat List.

Happy tweeting!
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, February 2, 2015

Zaption- Teaching with Streamed Video Just Got Way Easier!

Good morning fellow teachers!!

     Have you checked out Zaption yet?? I saw someone post about it on Twitter and have been SO excited to integrate it into my classroom activities.

Zaption allows you to embed commentary, pictures, and short quizzes into videos streamed from different sites online: YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, and more! As a teacher, you set up an account and once you've decided which video to use (you can search on the site), create what Zaption calls a "tour" of that video.

Here's how it works:

  1. Create an account on
  2. Pick a theme- Instrument Families of the Orchestra
  3. Click "New Tour" and find a video, click Add This Video to Tour
  4. Add features to your video (the green markers show where you have added something in): 
  5. Here are your choices, from left to right below: Add Text (next to the video as it plays), Image (next to the video as it plays), Open Response question, Multiple Choice Question, Check Boxes Question. You get more choices if you upgrade to Pro, but there's really no need.
  6. Add features in where they are appropriate to add information, check for understanding, etc. They will either pop up next to the video (text or image) or stop the video (questions).

Now, how and when do you use this in your classroom? Well, so far I have used it as a center to either introduce a concept or as a group assessment. I have also used it as a whole group activity up on the SmartBoard- which is a great way to introduce the app at first.

Students can access the tour if they have the app on their iPads without having to create an account. If the app is opened, there are small words underneath where it asks you to log in that say "View tour without logging in." You will need a code for the students to type in. Once you have created and published your tour, click "Share." 

Where you see the first link above, type in the letters and numbers AFTER the backslash. This is the code students will use to access your Zaption Video.

The great thing about Zaption is that it allows you to flip the classroom- great for homework or just a short center. You can even use more than one video in a tour!

Please let me know if this was a helpful post to you and if you have any success using Zaption in your own classroom!

Have a great week!
~Ms. Patrician