3-5, Lessons, Uncategorized

Im Herbst Fall Listening Lesson for Timbre

I have a really funky schedule for when I see my students– I see them everyday (well, let’s be honest, four days) for a week, and then I see a new set of students next week. A lot of interesting things have occurred because of that schedule– Mondays are really tough, but behavior has improved, I get to know my kids better, and….. I tend to theme my lessons more. Before I would do here’s a lesson and here’s a lesson, but with the week long classes I like to have a theme for the week. Right now my theme is fall. So I realized I needed to throw in a listening lesson, and I decided on Im Herbst by Robert Franz.

Im Herbst is not a super well know piece of music. It is a lieder (German art song) composed by Robert Franz. I know it because I sang it in college, and I fell in love with it because it is sooooo dramatic. It is about a person who discovers their love is false (the really high part at the end says “My love is false”), and is extremely distraught.

Because the piece is so dramatic, it is perfect to teach tone color. And because there are a lot of variations in the tempo (those German Romantic composers loved their rubato) and pitch (lots of ascending and descending scales), it definitely needed to be done with the scarves.

Since my school is doing a variation of writing across the curriculum, I decided to tie this piece in with my writing for the week.

If you would like additional help with this lesson (printable lesson plan and 5 print and go worksheets that include writing!), you can check this out in my TPT shop here.

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre and Tone Color. Looking for a fun fall listening lesson (that is not the Vivaldi?) Im Herbst is the perfect solution! It is fun, short, and dramatic, which makes it perfect for talking about tone color, writing about music, and using the scarves! This lesson also includes sticky notes, talking to partners, and a picture book. Becca's Music Room

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre

Suggested grade level: 3rd

Materials:

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre and Tone Color. Looking for a fun fall listening lesson (that is not the Vivaldi?) Im Herbst is the perfect solution! It is fun, short, and dramatic, which makes it perfect for talking about tone color, writing about music, and using the scarves! This lesson also includes sticky notes, talking to partners, and a picture book. Becca's Music Room

Im Herbst Directions:

  1. First, tell the students you are going to listen to a piece of music. It is in German, and the title is Im Herbst which means in the Fall. Don’t tell them anything else. While they listen, ask them to think about different words they could use to describe the song as they listen (You can say some examples of words to describe music, just to give them a starting point)
  2. After listening to about half of the piece, have the students turn and talk to their neighbor about the words they would use to describe the piece.
  3. Then give students sticky notes and have them write their words down and put the sticky notes onto an anchor chart. (Mine just says “Words to Describe Im Herbst by Robert Franz.) Alternatively, you could write it on the board. Students write the words on the white board with dry erase markers.
Fall music centers ideas for the elementary music class. This post has engaging centers activities for a variety of grades K-5 that are all fall themed! I it the perfect way to add some pizzaz to your lessons, and they all have easy set up! Becca's Music Room

Also read: Creative Movement with Scarves

4. Then, give students a scarf and tell them to “Match the music”. I tell them I am mostly looking for contour (high or low) and that if is is fast, move fast, if it is slow move slow, etc. I find this helps them to analyze the music in a low-stakes way, and helps when we get to the point where we are watching a conductor, because they are used to the movement of the hands v. the music.

5. Next, read the book The Flute Player by Robyn Eversole. Before reading, tell the students that you are going to read a book. In this book the author had to listen to music. Then the author come up with pictures of what the music sounded like. Ask them to see if they can figure out all of the pictures.

6. After reading, ask the students about the different “pictures” that represented the songs.

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre and Tone Color. Looking for a fun fall listening lesson (that is not the Vivaldi?) Im Herbst is the perfect solution! It is fun, short, and dramatic, which makes it perfect for talking about tone color, writing about music, and using the scarves! This lesson also includes sticky notes, talking to partners, and a picture book. Becca's Music Room

7. Play Im Herbst again, and have them think about a picture or a movie that it brings to mind.

8. Finally, we come to the writing portion. I had my students write stories based on the piece of music and what they saw. They had to use the words that we used to describe the song in their piece. You could also have them draw pictures of what it reminds them of. Or you could do the worksheet in my TPT store that asks about the different elements (what instruments, words to describe the song, etc.).

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre and Tone Color. Looking for a fun fall listening lesson (that is not the Vivaldi?) Im Herbst is the perfect solution! It is fun, short, and dramatic, which makes it perfect for talking about tone color, writing about music, and using the scarves! This lesson also includes sticky notes, talking to partners, and a picture book. Becca's Music Room

So there you have it! A fall listening lesson that incorporates movement, talking to people, books, and writing! What is better than that?

Get the product to go along with this lesson here!

What is your favorite fall listening piece? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre and Tone Color. Looking for a fun fall listening lesson (that is not the Vivaldi?) Im Herbst is the perfect solution! It is fun, short, and dramatic, which makes it perfect for talking about tone color, writing about music, and using the scarves! This lesson also includes sticky notes, talking to partners, and a picture book. Becca's Music Room
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What Does the 1st Day of Music Look Like?

I remember when I was a 1st year teacher (let’s be honest, it may feel like it’s been a million years, but it’s really only been 2) and I was so nervous about the first day of school. I asked people what I was supposed to do the first day, and they said, “Oh, you just teach the rules.”

So I thought, ok, I’ll teach the rules. But I have absolutely no idea what I was doing. I remember my fifth grade class being bored to death because I was talking to them about aaaaaall of the things that they needed to know for the whole year. It took way longer than I thought. My first grade class, on the other hand, got through my whole rules spiel and my lesson in about ten minutes. And I was left with 18 jittery, bouncing first grades and no clue what to do.

Let’s just say that my second set of classes went much better.

Lord, please help those poor Monday classes that get the worst version of every lesson.

Anyway, my second first day of school went much, much smoother. Now that I am in my third year, it went even smoother still.

So today we are going to answer the million dollar question: What does the 1st day of music look like?

And no, I am not going to tell you to teach the rules.

And if you need some help for when you do teach the rules, you can learn more about how to do that in my YouTube video down below.

The 1st day of music class can be really exciting, or really terrifying-- for the teacher I mean! What do you do when the doors close on the 1st day of music and you have 25 1st graders staring at you? Find tips, tricks, and activities for the 1st day of music. Becca's Music Room

1st Day of Music

Unlike what everyone tells you, I now prefer to wait for most of the rules talk until the second day of school. On the 1st day of school, my goal is to have fun, so that students want to come back. If they want to come back, they will behave better.

That being said, there are always a couple of house keeping thing that need to get done on the first day, like fire exits, lining up procedures, etc.

Other than that, I always include a movement activity, usually a name game, and some other easy, low stress activities. You do not want anything too difficult the first day, because even at the same school, you will have new kids who are new to you and maybe new to the way you do music. This year, they change the districts for our schools, so I have 5-6 students who are new to my school in every class. And those fifth graders are looking at me like I am the craziest person in the whole entire world. So, even though I expect them to do things differently than their old teacher, I am trying to make the first few activities easy and low stress.

So what do we do? I am going to put some sample lessons below. Bear in mind that even if you try not to talk too much about house keeping, you still need to, and it still takes a lot of time.

1st Day of School with 4-5

  • Students come in, and I give them their assigned seats. We talk about appropriate ways to sit in the music room.
  • Students line up and go in the hallway, and we “start over”. I make a big deal about pretending that this is the beginning. We go back in and find our seats. This is super important, because it sets the standard for how you expect them to walk into class from now on.
  • Stretches (I always start class with stretches, in every grade)
  • Low-stakes movement activity. I have a few that I like, but this year, I have been using my stick figures. I just hold up the paper, and students match the stick figure. I count to 4 or 8, and then switch. Change tempos throughout. This gets kids moving, feeling phrases, and anticipating.
  • Talk about fire drills, our class point system (which you can read about here), and the behavior management system I am currently using (more about that if it works!). I try to make this brief, but the kids ask a lot of questions while we are on these topics.
  • Get to know you game. I have used Jump In, Jump Out for two years now. It’s easy and fun. I heard about it from another music teacher in my district, but you can read about it here.
  • If we have any more time (depending on how many students want to go during the game), then I teach them the words to a song and have them play the rhythms.
  • That’s all folks!
The 1st day of music class can be really exciting, or really terrifying-- for the teacher I mean! What do you do when the doors close on the 1st day of music and you have 25 1st graders staring at you? Find tips, tricks, and activities for the 1st day of music. Becca's Music Room

1st Day of School 1st Grade

  • Students stay in line. I play a drum and have them match their feet to the drum beat. We march around the room and tiptoe around the room, and I lead them to sit in the back.
  • I give out assigned seats. We talk about how to sit.
  • Stretches
  • Seat finding game: Students get into a circle. I play the drum, and they match their feet to it. We walk around, and when the music stops, they have to find their seat. (This gets some wiggles out, and helps them to remember their seat.)
  • Talk about fire drills, our class point system (which you can read about here), and the behavior management system I am currently using (more about that if it works!). I try to make this brief, but the kids ask a lot of questions while we are on these topics.
  • Song with movement: Next, we always do a song that has movements in it. Usually I sing, and they will eventually join in. This year it is Jim Along Josie (Every time you sing the chorus, you walk. Then you can change it to jump along Josie or stomp along Josie, etc.), and last year we did Walk and Stop.
  • Name game: If there is time, we do a name game (Let’s be honest, with my classes yesterday we did not have time.). I like Name, Name, Same Your Name with the littles (I talk about it here), and this year I’m trying out Hickety Pickety Bumblebee.
  • Wawako: This year, I added a new favorite activity to my set. We went over a son the kids learned last year, Wawako. It is from Mali (in Africa!). It is all about how people should try to be friends, and not fight. I like this to set my intention for the year. There is a clapping game that goes along with it. You can read about it here.
  • Then we line up and that’s all!

So that is the structure of the 1st day of school with my older kids and my younger kids.

On the 2nd day of school, we talk more in depth about what is and is not appropriate in music class, and we do a name game if we did not get to it the first day.

A few things to note:

  • I try to make music as easy and fun as possible that very first day. My main goal is that students WANT to come back to music class.
  • I don’t make older students sing the first day. I know a lot of people do, because they want to establish what is normal in music, but I like to save that for day 2.
  • As far as procedures go, I teach them as they come up, not one at a time. So I teach students how to line up when we line up. I teach them how to gather materials when we need to– even if that is a few days in. This saves time and makes it much more relevant for the students because they need how to do it right now.

So there you have it! That is what I do on the 1st day of school in music class! This can be tricky, especially when a class is late and you have to decide what to leave out, but I try to squeeze it all in.

Want to get free resources? Sign up for the FREE resource library– all you do is put your email in, and you have access to all of the resources in the library (including quizzes, powerpoint, beat charts, rhythm cards, lyric sheets, and more!)– and new resources are added monthly! Sign up here!

Do you have a 1st day of music favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

The 1st day of music class can be really exciting, or really terrifying-- for the teacher I mean! What do you do when the doors close on the 1st day of music and you have 25 1st graders staring at you? Find tips, tricks, and activities for the 1st day of music. Becca's Music Room
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Introducing Becca’s Music Room Etsy Shop: Resources for music teachers

For almost two years, I started to get frustrated. I would look online for lesson ideas, and I would find hardly anything. I would talk to other music teachers to find that they felt lost, alone, and confused. Now, I knew that I did not have all of the answers (or any answers really), but I decided to take what I did know and start a blog. This blog, in fact, where I could help other music teachers feel less lost, alone, and confused. I hope that the 100 blog post available on this website have helped you find inspiration and advice.

Then, one year go, I decided that I would expand my reach by adding a Teachers Pay Teachers shop. I still had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I knew that offering products on TPT would help even more music teachers, so that less of them would feel lost, alone, and confused.

For a few months, I have been trying to decide how I can provide more help, and I really wanted to have some physical products. After a lot of thinking, dreaming, prototyping, etc., I finally landing on opening an Etsy shop devoted to providing resources for elementary music teachers.

And today, I am finally announcing that to the world. This Etsy shop has the same name as my blog and my TPT shop. It currently has four products (with a lot of variations), and more will come later as I start to get my groove.

If you prefer video, you can check out the Youtube video blow. If not, keep scrolling!

Ukulele bags for elementary music teachers or music students learning to play ukulele from Becca's Music Room on Etsy. Perfect gift for a music lover!

Etsy Product #1: Ukulele bags

As soon as I knew that I wanted to do something physical, I knew that I wanted to include ukuleles. I came up with a simple ukulele drawstring bag. You can get it in any size ukulele (soprano, alto/concert, tenor, or baritone).

This is a fabric drawstring bag, so it will not protect the instrument if it is sat on or dropped, but it will cover it and help you transport. The drawstrings are long enough that you can actually wear it like a bag on your shoulder (which I am personally excited about, because that means I will not have to carry mine around the school!).

Sheet music print soprano ukulele bag by Becca's Music Room
Baritone ukulele bag with Nautical Navy print and yellow drawstrings. Check it out here.

These bags come in five different patterns, plus any color solid that you would like. You can choose your color and choose your drawstrings, if you would like different ones.

Sheet music print soprano ukulele bag by Becca's Music Room
Sheet Music Print Soprano Bag. Check it out here.

I have carried my ukulele to and from school and all around the school for a year in a very similar bag, and never had any problems with it. Of course, I am careful where I set it, but my ukulele is still in perfect condition.

Sheet music print soprano ukulele bag by Becca's Music Room
Marble print soprano ukulele bag. Check it out here.

Etsy Product #2: Recorder bags

Next up in my Etsy shop is recorder bags. They are drawstring bags, just like the ukulele bags (although obviously much smaller!). They are perfect for sliding your recorder in when you want to make sure your mouthpiece isn’t touching anything, but you need it quickly. It will not take up very much room in your teacher bag, but will keep your recorder germ free. Or as close as you can get when you work at a school.

Also, because these are fabric, you can throw them into the washing machine!

Perfect for prizes or gifts for outstanding teachers.

Etsy Products #3: Eighth note signs for classrooms

The third product is a little bit different– eighth note signs for your music classroom door. For these signs, you will be able to pick your color and your ribbon color. There will be a bow and a loop with the ribbon, so that you can hang it.

I, personally, like to hang mine on my door with a Command hook. Make sure you have the brand name– the off brands stink.

Eighth note custom classroom sign by Becca's Music Room
Eighth note sign here.

Etsy Product #4: Music book tote bag

When I was a kindergartener taking piano lessons, my mom made me a bag for my piano lessons. It wasn’t anything special, but it felt special to me.

As I got older and starting singing and playing the cello, I was increasingly frustrated by the awkward size of the music books (I’m looking at you, Suzuki!) and how difficult it was to find a good bag to keep them.

So I made one. And I put it in my Etsy shop so that you can have one too.

This Music Book Tote bag has one big pocket, for music books, and a small pocket in the front for all of your music essentials– pencils, tuners, rosin, etc. It can also be thrown into the washer.

You can choose your fabric for your bag, and also for the pocket. The fabric for the pocket will be used for the inner liner as well.

Music book tote bag by Becca's Music Room
The fabrics for this tote are “sheet music print” and “blue” Check it out here.

You can check out all of these products in my new Etsy shop, BeccasMusicRoom here. Prints will change every few months, so if you don’t see anything you like now, you can check back for more.

Thank you all for your support and for allowing me to provide resources for you! I work so hard to provide you with quality lessons, ideas, advice, and support.

If you ever need anything, feel free to send me a message on Instagram or on the feedback section of my site.

Happy shopping!

Soprano recorder bags for elementary music teachers or music students learning to play recorder from Becca's Music Room on Etsy. Perfect gift for a music lover!
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Instruments of the Orchestra Four Corners

I don’t quite remember when it hit me, but for a long time I have thought that I wanted to do the game 4 Corners with the instruments of the orchestra. I even put it in my lesson plans a few times and took it out.

Why? Because I couldn’t figure out how to make it academic. If the person is just saying “Woodwind” and all the people in the woodwind section go sit out…. it that actually helping anyone?

Then I figured it out. It was kind of like the epiphany that led to treble clef battleship.

The person should call the instrument name, and all of those students go out. That way, you actually have to think about what instrument family it is in.

So we played this and it has been a HUGE hit! I will explain the best way to play, and then also a no-prep way to play in case you are in a pinch.

I have a product in my TPT shop that I used to help my students play– including posters and instrument cards (in color and black and white). You can get it here!

Also read: Write the Room: An active instruments of the orchestra review

Instrument Four Corners: an active game for instruments of the orchestra. My fourth grade and fifth grade elementary music students loved this game-- and it is so easy to set up and explain-- easy enough that a sub could do it. This is great to review instruments of the orchestra or just have some fun! Becca's Music Room

Instruments of the Orchestra Four Corners

  1. Put up a poster in each corner of the room. Each one will have a different instrument family– woodwind, percussion, strings, and brass. (Posters are included in my product!)
  2. Review with the students what instruments are in each of the families.
  3. Have one student stand at the front of the room. They will hold an envelope or bucket with pieces of paper that have pictures of instruments on them.
  4. The person in the front counts (loudly) to ten with their eyes closed.
  5. While they count, all of the other students need to get into one of the corners. THEY MUST BE IN A CORNER BY 10. If they switch or are still in the middle of the room when the count is finished, they are out.
  6. The person in the front pulls out a picture of an instrument and says the name of the instrument.
  7. Everyone in that instrument family sits down. So if they pulled out trombone, they say trombone, and all of the people in the brass section sit down.
  8. This continues until you have a winner, and then that person is the next counter.

It is seriously so. much. fun.

Now, the first time I played it, I had not thought through all of the best things to do. So I present to you the no-material no-prep-at-all version of this:

  • Write the names of the families on the board to correspond with the corners (so the front left corner will match the family written on the board on the front left.
  • Have a student choose an instrument to say instead of pulling a card out of the bucket.

The biggest reason I added the other parts is time. I found that the student calling the instruments just took sooooo long to come up with one. I don’t know if it is because they couldn’t think of the names or couldn’t decide or what. But. I do know that once I added in the bucket with the pictures of instruments, it went so much smoother.

Also, there was less talk about the person in the front cheating because it was more random– they weren’t picking anymore.

Instrument Four Corners: an active game for instruments of the orchestra. My fourth grade and fifth grade elementary music students loved this game-- and it is so easy to set up and explain-- easy enough that a sub could do it. This is great to review instruments of the orchestra or just have some fun! Becca's Music Room

Instruments of the orchestra four corners was a huge hit with my students– especially during testing and the end of the year! It made review so much more fun. Don’t forget to pick up the family posters and instrument cards from my TPT shop! Get them here!

Going to have a sub? Check out my instruments of the orchestra print and go sub plans here!

Want to get free resources? Sign up for the FREE resource library– all you do is put your email in, and you have access to all of the resources in the library (including quizzes, powerpoint, beat charts, rhythm cards, lyric sheets, and more!)– and new resources are added monthly! Sign up here!

Have you ever tried anything like four corners? Let me know how it went in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Instrument Four Corners: an active game for instruments of the orchestra. My fourth grade and fifth grade elementary music students loved this game-- and it is so easy to set up and explain-- easy enough that a sub could do it. This is great to review instruments of the orchestra or just have some fun! Becca's Music Room
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Easy Self Care Tips for Teachers

Let’s level here: October was difficult for me. I am not entirely sure what it was, but it just felt like a struggle every. Single. Day. That doesn’t mean that every day was bad, but it means I had to be super intentional about getting things done and having the right mindset. I had to be really intentional about my self care. And there were still some day where it just wasn’t happening.

Yup, Becca, who always advocates that morning routine slept in multiple times in October.

But you know what? I have faith that November will be better. Not just because we have Thanksgiving break soon, but because I learned a lot about my self care needs while going through the ridiculousness of October.

Side note, did anyone else think that it dragged on forever?

Here are some super simple ideas for self care that you can implement immediately. I’m not suggesting anything crazy. Seriously, super simple. Try them. Then let us know in the comments if they were helpful for you!

Also, if you are interested in getting access to exclusive free resources, sign up for my resource library! I send out two email a month– usually talking about some of the free resources available. Once you get access, you can download as many things as you– and more resources are added every few weeks. Sign up here!

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Leave School at School

First thing is first—leave school at school. Now, I’m not saying you have to leave as soon as the bell rings. I’m saying, don’t bring home a ton of work.

What that says is: you will never escape the work.

And what happens 90% of the time? You bring it home with the intention to work on grading papers while you watch TV. But then you realize at home you have 50 other things to do, so that doesn’t happen. You take the papers back to school tomorrow feeling guilty and ashamed.

A better alternative? Stay a few minutes extra and then leave it at school. I talk about grading hacks in this video if you need some ideas how when to get them done.

But seriously—when you go home, GO HOME.

Now, I will admit, I do often make resources at home. But that is mostly because I am putting them into my TPT shop, so I don’t want to work on them at school, even if they are for school as well.

 

TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK

This is one of the best pieces of advice about self care that I can give you. It’s also one of the things I am the WORST at.

Take your lunch break.

I’ll say it again and let it sink in: take your lunch break.

I know you have 50 thousand things to do. I do too. And every day at lunch I start thinking, I need to do this and this and this.

And then I stop myself and say: take your lunch break.

It really does help. When I take a break at lunch, I feel refreshed and ready to go rather then frustrated and annoyed.

Legistically, how do I accomplish this without shirking my responsibilities?

Normally, I will check my email (I don’t even respond during lunch—just look and see what is in there). If something is urgent I’ll respond, otherwise I leave them unread. Then I look at my to do list and make sure there is nothing that needs to be done prior to my next class (copies or setting out instruments). If I need to call a parent, I will. Otherwise, I leave everything for my planning or after school.

It feels weird. I used to work through lunch every single day. But I promise, it makes a difference. Even if you only take half of your lunch as a break, do it.

Also read: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Have an activity to get your mind off of school

So once you have left school at school, now what? Do you get home frustrated and annoyed? Still thinking about testing and study guides?

As soon as you get home—or on your way home—find a way to get your mind off of school. Sit down, because you have not sat down all day, and just chill out for a few minutes.

For me, this has been reading. When I get home, I make myself some tea and a snack, and I read. My goal is 30 minutes, but sometimes it’s only 10 or 15, and that’s ok. The point really isn’t the reading. The point is to calm down, sit down, and think about things that are not school.

Admitedly, sometimes the books are school related, but still.

 

Take a bath

This is probably my favorite one—take a bath. Or a hot shower. But seriously—try a bath. Get some Epson salts and bubble bath (you cannot go wrong with my personal favorites right here! They are made for relaxing!) and soak for a little bit. This really does help your body to feel better and help your mind.

Bonus points if you read a book in there.

Which leads me to my next point…



Read a book

You tell your students to read, but when is the last time you read a book that was not education related? When is the last time that you read for fun?

I have been really intentional about getting my reading in (see above for when that happens), and it has made a huge difference. I am learning more and I know even if my day is crappy, I have 15 minutes where I get to read before I have to clean or make dinner or any of that mess. It’s great.

Need a new book? Here are a ton of book recommendations!

A few that I just finished and would highly recommend include The Alchemist, The Odyssey, and I am currently reading Circe, and it is really great so far. I cannot put it down.

 

Play some music

Upon reflection, that looks like you should put on Pandora. Now, that is actually a good idea, but not what I am meaning.

Pick up an instrument.

If you are a music teacher, when is the last time that you played music? I know that seems like a crazy concept.

I had a thought halfway through last year that went along the lines of this: I used to sing for about 2 hours a day. Then I would play piano and cello. And I haven’t practiced anything for months.

That realization was truly eye opening.

Now I plan to practice at least 2-3 times a week. Technically, I have it written down for every day but that doesn’t always happen. After reading, I turn on my keyboard, warm myself up, and flip to the next book in my Gabriel Faure songbook (because who doesn’t love a good French art song?).

It has been really great for me to get back to learning music that wasn’t pentatonic. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I enjoy it, which is why I teach elementary music. But I also enjoy learning difficult arias and art songs. It may take me two months to learn a song I could have previously learned in two weeks, but at least I’m still doing it.

I read a quote on Instagram lately that was something along the lines of, “How can we inspire students to read when we don’t enjoy reading anymore?” I really think the same thing is true for music teachers—we can’t inspire students to love music if we are not actively trying to improve out musicality.

So there are a few easy ways to incorporate some self care into your routine! I’ve get ideas for school and outside of school.

 

Also read: Elementary Music Classroom Tour

You know what else is great self care? Signing up for access to my free resource library so that you can download things instead of making them! There are different resources available, including a music interest survey and a steady beat chart (in 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4). Once you get access to the exclusive content, you can keep coming back and downloading more! I add new resources every few weeks! Sign up here!

Now I’m curious, what do you do for self care? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!



Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



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Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas

Ah, Christmas. So many songs, so little time. Every year I feel like I cannot narrow down how many songs I want to do. How do you get to them all? Anyway, my fourth and fifth graders are in the middle of a huge recorder unit, and I did not want to put that on pause to do a bunch of Christmas music (we’re doing the Link Up curriculum, and we are on a deadline!). So I only picked a few songs for my 4-5 graders, and the 12 Days of Christmas was our main song.

This song is so much fun, and so easy because it is cumulative.

There are about a million things that you can do with this song, but I narrowed it down to a few. I used a PDF version of a PowerPoint that I made, which you can check out on TPT here.

It is also part of my music lessons bundle, which has 6 different Christmas lessons at a discounted price, which you can get here.

You can also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree Music Game (with free lyric sheet and coloring sheet) here.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

12 Days of Christmas

  • First, go over the words to the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is super easy, so we just read through the words and then I started singing the first verse and by the second verse, they had figured it out.
  • Next, have the students sing through the song. You can play it on the piano or use a YouTube video to sing along with.
  • Pick one student to create movements for each gift. So one student will pick and lead movements for a partridge in a pear tree. One will do it for two turtledoves, etc.
  • Sing through the song and have the students follow the movements that the leaders for each gift choose. Again, you can accompany on the piano or ukulele or you can play a recorder version.
  • Then, you can create a new version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I project the page from my 12 Days of Christmas product that has the first half of each line and then write the students’ answers on the board. Let the kids pick what they get on each day.
  • Sing through the song with your kids’ version of the song. This will need to be done a cappella or with the piano or ukulele or guitar. You can’t sing it with the recording because the words will be different.
  • Have students create individual versions of the 12 Days of Christmas if you need to include more writing in your curriculum!
  • Last, you can have students color pictures or their 12 Days of Christmas or the original version. There are coloring sheets in my product, if you get that.

Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



 

So there you go! Movement, writing, singing, and fun. My kids enjoyed this immensely! They thought it was so much fun. And I enjoyed it too!

Also check out my free Oh Christmas Tree music lesson/game for what I am doing with my second and third graders. Or you can get the Christmas in the Music Room Bundle and get enough lessons for the rest of the year!

And check out the decorations and books I got for my classroom in my YouTube video.

Want to get access to exclusive content? Sign up to join my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY. Once you sign up, you can download and use any of the content in the library. New things are being added every few weeks, so make sure you check back for more FREE stuff! Sign up here.

How do you teach 12 Days of Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!



Christmas Music Lesson: 12 Days of Christmas. Super fun lesson for upper elementary school to teach singing, movement, writing, and fun! Becca's Music Room



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Morning Routines for Teachers

We all know that our students need routines. We spend the first few weeks of school going over routines—how to line up, how to get supplies, how to turn in work, etc. (You can read about some routines in my classroom here) But sometimes we forget that we need routines in our own lives. I think this is especially true in the mornings—if we start our morning off with a good morning routine, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

It is important to remain consistent, especially as we are wrapping up the school year. I know all too well how easy it is to continually hit the snooze alarm, throw on some clothes, and make coffee at school.

Resist the urge. I am talking to myself—Becca, resist the urge.

We are at the post-spring break, testing, and crazy part of the year. Maybe it is different for you, but for me, it is getting harder and harder to get up and start my day well. But I will say, the days that I give in and sleep late and don’t take care of myself tend to be the days that don’t go so well.

So I am practicing having better control over myself and my habits. This morning routine has been the same for me all year. I adjusted a little bit since last year to allow me to get to school earlier (I prefer to get to school early rather than stay late).

Of course, you may have totally different needs that I do. I don’t have any kids. I do have two dogs to take care of in the morning, but I do not have to worry about people other than my husband.

So this is my routine, with a few suggestions for you: Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

5:30 Wake up, wash face

I would really suggest waking up early. It is so much better to have time in the morning to geet everything done. You don’t have to wake up at the same time as I do, but adjust the time based on when you need to leave.

As soon as I get up, I go the bathroom and wash my face. I read recently that you really don’t need to wash your face every morning, but I honestly just love the way it feels to have a clean face in the morning. Then I put on face lotion.

I use these (click on the pictures to see better):

Morning Routine Tip #1: If you are not used to getting up early, do it gradually. One week, try waking up ten minutes earlier. Next week, ten minutes earlier than that until you get to where you want to be.

5:45 Walk the dogs

So… I have to walk my dogs in the morning. This is obviously not something that everyone has to do, but I do. But in 48 days, we are moving, and we will have a fenced in yard. I will just open the door and set them free! I cannot wait.

5:55 Yoga or hair

So this alternates. Once every four days, I curl my hair. After that, I just pin my hair up when I am showering. Yes, you may think that’s gross, but it is truly the best for my hair. I use a Aussie hair insurance to smooth and protect my hair, and a wand to curl my hair (check it out here), and it takes of 15 minutes. And I have a lot of hair. And stays for four days.

On the other days, I do yoga. This makes my body feel ready for the day, and helps me feel mentally ready for the day.

Morning Routine #2: Do something for you. We spend the whole day worrying about our students, and it is vitally important to have some time for yourself. Whether that is reading, spending five minutes sipping on coffee in silence, petting your dog, whatever. Take a few minutes for yourself before you spend the whole day worrying about other people.

6:15 Read Bible

This is for obvious reasons, but the same kind of thing. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself. Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

6:30 Breakfast and lunch

At this point, I get mine and my husband’s breakfasts and lunches ready. I try to keep them really simple. He generally takes salads (we buy the salad kits) and something like crackers. I take fruit and yogurt or pretzels. All things we can just throw in a bag and go. For breakfast, I eat oatmeal and he eats a smoothie. And of course, I drink coffee. Morning Tip #3: Keep your breakfast easy.

6:45 Actually getting ready

After all of that, I spend all of fifteen minutes getting ready. I do my makeup (usually a little over 5 minutes. By the way, if you want to keep your make up looking good all day, I would suggest this primer. And using this on your eyebrows is a game changer—it is a super easy and quick thing to do and makes all of the difference.) Then I get my clothes on.

I find the best way to do this is to pick my outfits for the week the week before—I just pick out five things on Thursday or Friday and just put them together in my closet. This eliminates all of the I-don’t-know-what-to-wear issues.

It used to take me forever to pick out clothes, and now I do not. It takes all of five minutes each week and saves my tons of time. And although I curl my hair first, I don’t actually do my hair until after I put my clothes on because it never fails that it will pull all of my bobby pins out of my hair. And I eat my breakfast while I do these things.

7:00 Drive to work

I leave at seven and I drink my coffee on the way to work.

So there you have it—my morning routine and my 3 best tips for your morning routine. Remember, if your morning routine isn’t working, then change it. And keep changing until you get it where you would like.

Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz

What is your morning routine like? How do you use your morning routine to get ready for your students? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

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Children's Church, Uncategorized

The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Children’s Church

Becca's Music Room

If you have been going to a church for more than a few months, then you are probably familiar with the phrase “voluntold”. As in, no one would volunteer and I missed the meeting, so I got voluntold to do whatever.

If you were voluntold to teach the Children’s Church or Sunday School, don’t fear. It is not the end of the world.

So what do you do? Here are some steps to help you out. It is certainly not everything, but it is a start.

1. Find some help

My first piece of advice? Find some people to help you. You do not have to do this alone.

That may be that you get a teenager to physically help you while you are teaching. It may mean that you get your friend to team teach with you, or teach on weeks you do not teach. It may mean you ask around until you find someone who teaches Sunday School or Children’s Church at another church who can give you some ideas and be a sort of mentor.

But the most difficult times I have had is when I didn’t have anyone to help me out. Don’t do that to yourself.

2. Find something to teach

It doesn’t have to be fancy. My favorite way to find topics to teach? Open you Bible! I will literally pick a character or a book and just go through all of the stories until we get to a stopping point. I did this in a series called “Journey through Genesis” and again between Christmas and Easter (we started with the Christmas story and went through Jesus’ life until he rose again the week after Easter).

Or just think, what is my favorite Bible story? What did I enjoy when I was a kid?

When in doubt, go to the internet! I get a ton of my lessons off of Pinterest. There is no judgement in that. Some of my favorite websites for lessons are ministry-to-children.com (this one is literally the bomb) and DLTK-Bible.

I also will sometimes cover the same story in two different series. For example, we did a series of King David. During that, we did the story about how David cut a piece of Saul’s robe off but spared his life. About two months later, we were talking about the Beautitudes and we covered the same story when we talked about being merciful.

I don’t teach the same thing every day, but I don’t shy away from repeats when it happens that way. It reinforces to students that it is important, and also that the same story has many different parts to it.

Also, the repetition helps them remember.

Becca's Music Room

3. Find Something Else to Do

You can’t just talk and talk and talk. They will not have fun, not pay attention, and not listen to a word you say. Find some activities to do with the kids. Games, songs, videos, and crafts. You don’t need all, but one or two.

I try not to do the same thing for longer than 20 minutes. They do not have attention spans large enough. Think: if you have one hour to teach, try 20 minutes of lesson, 20 minutes or crafts, and 20 minutes of games. It doesn’t always have to be the same, just don’t talk for an hour straight.

Extra tip: pick something fun to do at the end. That way during the lesson you can say, “If you do a good job, then we can play a game at the end!”

4. Don’t forget to pray

Jesus is why you are there, right? Pray for your kids. Pray for with your kids. Ask them to pray with you.

 

Need more help? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

 



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