Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Five Little Monkeys (with math and reading!)

As a music teacher, I try to encourage academics in music as much as possible. That does not mean that I sacrifice musical integrity or that we just read textbooks all day, but it does mean that I try to fit in math, science, social studies, and reading wherever possible. This lesson, with Five Little Monkeys, incorporates math and reading perfectly!

I am pretty sure I got part of this lesson I got from another website, but I cannot find it anywhere. I had already planned on using this rhyme, and the high/low fit perfectly. And if you can know what website the high and low part came from, please let me know so I can link it!

You can also do this without the book, although without the book, there is no reading aspect to it. You can read extension ideas at the bottom of the post.

You can read about my 3-5 Boomwhacker and Science lesson here.

And don’t forget to subscribe for more ideas!  

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Five Little Monkeys (with math and reading!) Really fun lesson for younger music students to teach high and low and steady beat. Also includes reading and subtraction/counting. Becca's Music Room.

Five Little Monkeys

Focus: I can differentiate between high and low. Materials:


  • Start by gathering the students together and reading the book Five Little Monkeys. Most of my students knew the book already, so just be aware that may happen. Have students hold up five fingers at the beginning and lose one each time. After every monkey ask (So five take away one is what?).
  • PS: At least in Georgia, Kindergarten phrases it as “take away”. During 1st grade, they learn subtraction, but depending on what time of the year this is done, you may still need to say “take away” instead of “subtract”.
  • Tell them that we will read it again, but this time a little bit silly. We are going to use our high voice and our low voice. So we will read the first part normal, but when we get to “Mama called the doctor and the doctor said” we use our high voice, and when we do “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”, we use our low voice. Demonstrate this for the students.
  • After demonstrating the first time, allow students to join with you if they have figured out the words. They can also do some simple actions (Hold up the number of fingers for the monkeys, pretend to bob their head on bumped their head, and then put hands up for the high part, and down for the low part.).
  • Go through the rhyme again, but this time, after each monkey, have a few students write on the board (or have everyone write on their own board) the subtraction problem. So the first time it will be 5-1=4. Pick different students each time so that everyone gets a turn. Be prepared to fix some of the problems, even though it feels like they ought to be able to do it themselves.
  • Performance time: Have two students come up to the front. Everyone in class will do the first part of Five Little Monkeys. One student will have a solo in their high voice on “Mama called the doctor and the doctor said.” And one student will have a solo in their low voice on “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”
  • Continue until time runs out or everyone has had a chance.

Also read: Free 3-5 Music Lesson: Extra Beat, Take a Seat

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Five Little Monkeys (with math and reading!) Really fun lesson for younger music students to teach high and low and steady beat. Also includes reading and subtraction/counting. Becca's Music Room.


  • Students could play rhythms or keep a steady beat on instruments.
  • Students could act out the scene, starting with five “monkeys”, a mom, and a doctor.
  • Students could write down each of the math problems and then draw pictures to accompany each one.

My students (even my second graders) really enjoyed this lesson—even more than I anticipated! They were asking for weeks if they could do the Five Little Monkeys rhyme. From a teaching standpoint, it is great. Students keep the steady beat, move with actions, differentiate between high and low, and use reading and math skills. Talk about a win for everyone!

Don’t forget to subscribe for more content, or check out this Pinterest board for more teaching music ideas.

Click the picture below to check out the book!

What is your favorite book to use with you students? How do you incorporate academics into your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!


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A Ton of Mini Reviews: Books I Read this Year Part 2

This year one of my biggest goals was to read. I love reading, but with high school and college and having tons of books to read for school, I had a harder time reading books for fun. My original plan was to read 10 books and instead I read 20! So here are some book reviews for what I read this year.

Each review will be pretty quick, but if you click on the picture, it will take you to the Amazon page for each one. There you can read full reviews from people more literary than I.

The pictures are affiliate links, so if you click on them and then buy anything from Amazon, I will get a commission. You can read more about that on my Disclosures Page. Thanks for supporting Becca’s Music Room!

And, before we get into everything, you should know that all of the books on here are books I recommend. I didn’t read anything this year that I didn’t like!

I am breaking the list into two posts because there are so many that it seemed like too much for one post. You can read Part 1 here.

You can check out what I am reading next year here: 2018 Reading Challenge

A Ton of Mini-Reviews: Books I Read This Year Part 2. Becca's Music Room. A bunch of reviews for books.

La Morte d’Artur

I have a serious obsession with King Arthur. It may be because I love the British TV show Merlin. But seriously, knights, princes, dragons, and wizards… how could it be better?

This book is all about King Arthur’s life, and his knights, and all of their battles.

It is long, so it would probably be better to read just a few books at a time instead of al at once.

My Cousin Rachel

I love Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca is one of my absolute favorite books. I was really excited to pick up My Cousin Rachel, and it did not disappoint.

Du Maurier is known for writing dark, suspense, and kind of creepy books. It is a nice middle ground—they aren’t scary per say, but they are suspenseful.

This book is all about a young guy whose uncle gets married to a lady he just met and then dies mysteriously. He spends the book trying to figure out how he died and getting to know his aunt, who is also a distant cousin of his, whom he had not met before.

You will be on your toes the entire time. And the ending is very surprising.

The Jungle Book

I picked this baby up for $5 on sale at Barnes and Noble. I have been trying to read through a lot of the classics (hence, Anna Karenina and La Morte d’Artur). I have never seen the movie the Jungle Book, but I loved the books.

The main story is about Mowgli and how he lives with animals and gets captured by monkeys. It is also a pretty quick read, as the whole book is less than 200 pages.

The Art of War

I grabbed this one on a whim because I was reading about King Arthur forever.

This wasn’t my favorite book that I read this year, but I am glad I read it because it is such a commonly referenced book.

A Ton of Mini-Reviews: Books I Read This Year Part 2. Becca's Music Room. A bunch of reviews for books.

Love Your Life Not Theirs

This was a good book. I am not usually into self-help books, but I loved this one.

Rachel Cruze is one of my favorite people, and one of the only YouTubers that I watch. She is all about practicing contentment as a way to be smart with your money.

Love Your Life Not Theirs is about habits to put into place to help you be happy in your journey, and be smart with your money. It is all about contentment and not comparing your life to other people, because that can lead to bad money habits and debt.

I recommend this book to EVERYONE, because everyone has to take care of his or her money.

The Complete Guide to Money

Dave Ramsey is Rachel Cruze’s dad. They both write books and work to help people be financially smart. He is kind of radical in his views—he is completely against any sort of depts. —But his ideas are helpful.

This book is great because it goes into depth about “money words” that you always hear and don’t know what they actually mean. He talks about insurance and retirement funds and investing. It is a very good how-to guide for those of us who would like to be smart with our money in the long run but is not sure how to do that.

800 Leagues on the Amazon

This is my favorite of Jules Verne’s novels. And I love Jules Verne.

His writing is fun, adventurous, and also scientific. He gives a lot of details about animals and plants and the Earth’s atmosphere, etc.

This one was my favorite because I did not know how it was going to end.

This is about a family who travels from their farm on a huge raft that they made to take their daughter to get married. On the way, a man who is trying to get money from the father by blackmailing him is following them. The family has no idea about the incident that caused the blackmail.

And you will be surprised many, many times.

The Secret of the Jungle

This is also by Jules Verne. I believe this is a sequel to …… which I have not read. But this one was very good.

It is about a group of people who have been stranded on an island for years, and have created a functional village out of it. During the book, mysterious things keep happening to help out the people. Telegraphs get wired and no one knows who sent them… people get taken care of and they don’t know who did…

I don’t want to spoil anything, but it will make more sense if you have read some of Jules Verne’s other novels like Around the World in 80 Days or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth.

You actually only need to know one of those, but I don’t want to give anything away.

Even if you haven’t read those, this is a good story.

I couldn’t find just this novel on Amazon, so I linked the Complete Jules Verne novels. And if you look, it is ridiculously cheap.

Mere Christianity

I have read some of C. S. Lewis’ books (can you say Chronicles of Narnia?) and I love the way that he writes. This is a book I have heard a lot about but never read.

This book is basically finding a logical case for Christ starting from the point of an unbeliever. It is really interesting, especially if you are someone who has grown up in the church and never thought about Christ in a non-faith based way.

This is a case for Christ with logic first and faith second.

So that is all of the book reviews for 2018! That is quite a few books.


I am keeping track of my reading on some lists.

I have read 29/116 of the Barnes and Noble Classics list.

I have read 37/339 of the Rory Gilmore book challenge (yes, someone made a quiz with every book mentioned or seen in the TV series).


What books did you read this year? What was your favorite? Have you read any that I have? Let me know in the comments!

A Ton of Mini-Reviews: Books I Read This Year Part 2. Becca's Music Room. A bunch of reviews for books.

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2018 Reading Challenge

I have always loved to read. As a kid, I used to get a large stack from the library every week and I would read every single one of them in a week. It got harder as I got older—in high school and college, I was reading so much for school that reading for fun was not on my radar. Thus, the 2018 reading challenge was born.

Really and truly, I guess it would be that the 2017 reading challenge was born. The beginning of this year is when I really tried my best. In 2017, I planned to read 14 books, and I ended up reading 20. I was pretty proud of myself about that.

Subscribe and stay tuned to read a post about what books I read this year.

This year, my goal is to read one book more than I read last year—however, a few are parts of series so it may not seem like it when you count up how many are here.

I am also focusing on adding in more non-fiction, because I have read really amazing statistics about non-fiction books.

Like apparently, most millionaires read a non fiction book a month. (source)

And if you read one non fiction book about your subject area every month, you will be an expert in 7 years. (source)

7 years!?

I am game for anything that will make me a better musician or teacher, so I am incorporating more. I don’t think I am quite disciplined enough for one non fiction book about my subject every month, but I am working towards that. Baby steps.

You may also be interested in Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Anyway, here are the categories for my 2018 reading challenge!

2018 Reading Challenge. 13 Catagories of books both fiction and non fiction to read in 2018 for fun (or for learning). Becca's Music Room


Something long (500+ pages)

I have a love affair with long books. I love them. They are my favorite. They prolong the excitement and you feel so accomplished afterwards! Some of my favorites have been Anna Karenina, Harry Potter, and Little Women. (PS you can click on any of these books to see them on Amazon)

Something short (>150 pages)

This year, I spent so much time on my long books, that I needed a quick victory. I haven’t picked one for 2018, but in 2017 I read The Art of War.

10 short stories

Short stories are fun, and I find that they are often left out of reading lists and challenges! This is my chance to remedy that! I love Daphne du Maurier and Sherlock Holmes. (the Sherlock Holmes is the complete collection for ridiculously cheap!)

Something I have read before

I love to re-read books! I always feel bad re-reading something when I have so many books that I want to read and haven’t. this gives me the allowance to read something I have before. My top picks are anything by Daphne du Maurier or Michelle Moran.

A series (3+)

I think there is something to be said about reading multiple books in a row. The Wicked series is good, also The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.

A classic

I am serious about the Classics! I usually find them so rewarding—they are classics for a reason! I am trying to check off the classics on this list. I am at 27 right now. My favorite classics have been Little Women, Rebecca, The Great Gatsby, and The Scarlet Letter.

An Adventure Book

I don’t know if this is the right word., but I like adventurous books. Books where people are going on safaris or racing around the world… they are just so much fun! My top picks? Anything by Jules Verne! Click one the picture to get ALL of his novels, which is amazing and available for free for download on Kindle (as of Dec. 5, 2017).    

2018 Reading Challenge. 13 Catagories of books both fiction and non fiction to read in 2018 for fun (or for learning). Becca's Music Room


A book about money

Money is something we all have in common—we need it, we want it, and we need to figure out how to handle it well! This year I read a few. I recommend anything by Dave Ramsey. He is a little bit extreme, but The Complete Guide to Money in particular does a good job explaining fancy money things to people who do not know them.

2 books in your field

Yes, I said you have to ready one a month to be an expert in 7 years. Baby steps! I am starting with two this year. I teach music education, so my thought is to read one about music and one about education.

A book about Religion

Your religion, someone you know’s religion, a religion you don’t know anything about.. take your pick. Religion is so integral to people’s cultures, thoughts, and beliefs. This year I read The Bible and the Qua’ran and Mere Christianity.

A book about relationships

You want to be an expert in your field—you should also want to be an expert in relationships! Alright, maybe not expert, but knowledgable. I really think that is you want to know something, then you should read a book about it. Hence, this list. I have not read this one, but have heard great things about it.

A biography

About anybody. I have a Walt Disney one I have been dying to read, and I also want to read this one about Hemingway. Which one to chose? Maybe both.


Something that sounds good

Surely over the next 12 months, I will find something to read that I don’t know of yet. That is why I am leaving my last  open. I will also not stick to this list completely. If I find a book that I want to read, I am going to read it! But this is a good starting point. Stay tuned for my list of top picks for the 2018 reading challenge!

What books are on your 2018 reading challenge? Anything that I missed? Suggestions to fill category? Let me know in the comments!

2018 Reading Challenge. 13 Catagories of books both fiction and non fiction to read in 2018 for fun (or for learning). Becca's Music Room

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