3-5, Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage month is one of my favorite things to teach. Many people have schools with large groups of Hispanic students. I do not. But it is still fun.

If you do not usually do music lessons from different cultures, this Hispanic music is one of the easiest ones to start with. A lot of kids know some Spanish words or have seen Dora the Explorer, so they are used to some Spanish.

And it is super fun.

I do a lot of music from different cultures. And Spanish songs are some of my favorites.

How do you celebrate Hispanic heritage month?

Also read: Incorporating Social Studies in the Elementary Music Class

Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month in elementary music. Whether you have hispanic students or not, learning spanish songs and dances is so much fun! Here are some of my favorite elementary music lessons for Spanish songs, spanish dances, and rhythm practice. Becca's Music Room.



 

Dancing

There are tons of Hispanic folk dances. Last year we learned the Mexican hat dance (well a variation of it), and it was super fun.

This year, my 2nd and 3rd graders are going to learn Los Machetes. I found it on Pinterest, and here is the link to the YouTube video so you can try it too. And as I was looking for a video of it, I found this one which just happens to be of my college music professor teaching this to his elementary music class. I am not sure how that happened, but it did.

The salsa is always a good one—and actually pretty easy to learn.

 

Songs

There are a ton of Spanish folk songs. You can sing them in English or Spanish (but it’s so much more fun in Spanish!). Here are some songs that my students are learning this year, or learned in the past:

  • Al Citron: This was super fun. Here is a link to a video of the game. I used old tin cans instead of rocks. I found this from Pinterest. (try with grades 3-4)
  • Los Pollitos: This is a super fun song for younger students about chickens. It is fun and it can lead to very interesting discussions (like how Mexican chickens say pio). I learned this song from the podcast Make Moments Matter, which is fabulous, by the way. (Here is a link to a red hen puppet, if you are into that.) And here is a link to the words.
  • Que Llueva: This is basically a Spanish version of “It’s Raining”. That is actually how I am going to teach this to my K and 1—they will learn “It’s Raining”, then we will learn “Que Llueva”. And I will be pulling out the rain sticks! Here is a link to my TPT version of this song that has the solfege, rhythm, Spanish, and English words, and rhythm cards.
  • Vamos a la Mar: I found this song on this website. I am going to do the lesson pretty close to how she wrote it. The only difference is that I wanted larger rhythm cards so that we can do the composition activity together before they do it alone. Because I wanted them larger, I actually created my own rhythm cards (some of the rhythms are different than hers, because I did them independently of those) which you can check out on my Teachers Pay Teacher page here.
  • Las Mananitas: I love this song. I actually sang an arrangement of this in college choir, and I loooove it. So when I found it in one of my textbooks at school, I knew we had to do it. Some people use this as a birthday song, so we are going to learn it and do an informal compare and contrast with our birthday song. Here is a link to a mariachi band singing it.
Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month in elementary music. Whether you have hispanic students or not, learning spanish songs and dances is so much fun! Here are some of my favorite elementary music lessons for Spanish songs, spanish dances, and rhythm practice. Becca's Music Room.
What the Spanish rhythm cards look like when you don’t have a colored printer… My kids did not seem to care!



Instruments

You can play instruments with the songs or with the dances, or with something totally different. Of course, you can use Orff instruments or ukuleles or whatever you have in your classroom, but try using some Hispanic instruments like these:

  • Maracas: always a good one. We all have maracas.
  • Castanets: I just got a few of these (the cheap plastic ones) and I love them! We used them a few weeks ago and the kids loved them too. A lot of them said they liked them even better than the drums. Here are plastic kid ones and here are some wooden ones.
  • Claves: Claves are super cool. If you only have one or two sets (like I do), you could totally cheat and have most of the students use rhythm sticks, and just let one person use the real claves. They can switch out.
  • Cajones: So I do not have these, but they are on my wish list, because they are so cool.
  • Guiros: Instruments shaped like fish? Yes please!

 

Videos

I like to include some videos so that students can see more of the Hispanic culture. I can’t bring in professional mariachi bands in their costumes to my classroom (if you can, then go for it!). But there are YouTube videos about with professional mariachi bands in their costumes!

Here are some videos that are fun to show the students.

I would also suggest showing the students some pictures of Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Venezuela, etc. You can just google (ahead of time so you know what will pop up!) “pictures of Mexico”. It really helps when the students can see these places, so they know they are actual places. Without the pictures, you may as well be talking about Middle Earth for all they know.

And please, please talk about places other than Mexico. I love Mexico– I used to live there– but let the students know that hispanic heritage means everywhere that speaks Spanish, not just Mexico.



Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month in elementary music. Whether you have hispanic students or not, learning spanish songs and dances is so much fun! Here are some of my favorite elementary music lessons for Spanish songs, spanish dances, and rhythm practice. Becca's Music Room.

And of course, you can use my Ocean Animals Rhythm Cards in Spanish and English to practice rhythms, composition, and for centers or my Que Llueva lesson to practice beat v rhythm!

And I have a YouTube channel now! Check it out here!

How do you celebrate Hispanic heritage month? Do you use songs and dances from other countries? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Becca



Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month in elementary music. Whether you have hispanic students or not, learning spanish songs and dances is so much fun! Here are some of my favorite elementary music lessons for Spanish songs, spanish dances, and rhythm practice. Becca's Music Room.



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3-5, Elementary Music, Lessons

DIY Music Manipulative: Battleship

Funny story: Last year, I was working really hard to get my students to learn the notes of the treble clef. Towards the beginning of this adventure, I gave them all staves to look at, and bingo chips. I’d say, “Put a chip on line one. Put one on space four.” And on and on. In the middle of one of these, I thought that it sounded similar to the game battleship.

And I actually gasped and said, “We should play battleship!”

And all of my poor, board-game-deprived fourth graders looked at me like I had totally lost my mind.

Which is ok, by the way. If they think you are a little crazy, they are less likely to do something ridiculous in your room.

And so the brain-storming began.

Little did I know that other people had done this too… but I’m going to pretend I made it up. Because I did arrive at it independently, I promise.

Anyway, even though about two kids in each class had played battleship before, it was a lot of fun. It really helped them to learn the staff.

We also played it in centers, but if you do this, I suggest playing it all together first, so that you can explain to students what they are doing.

I also used this for assessment—I just walked around and watched them play. One person will say, “Do you have a battleship on A?” and the other will say yes or no, and you can see if they mark it on the right line/space.

I will also put the rules for how to play at the bottom, so that you can check it out!

If you need some help with using centers with crazy classes… check this post out.

 

DIY Music Manipulative: Battleship. This board game based teaching tool is great for upper elementary or middle school students who are learning about the treble clef. It can be adjusted for different lessons. My upper elementary music classes loved it! And it is super CHEAP. Becca's Music Room.

Musical Battleship

Materials:

 

Procedure:

  • Print out two treble clefs on the same sheet of paper. I downloaded this one from Teachers Pay Teachers (for free!). Then I printed two out, cut them, taped them to a clean sheet of paper, and copied them. I know that sounds like a lot, but it wasn’t! I added the words “yours” and “theirs” so that we understood the game a bit better.
  • Stuff treble clefs into sheet protectors (you could also laminate, but this was quicker, and you can put other things inside them if you wanted!).
  • Staple sheet protectors into the file folders. I just put two staples in the top. I tried to make it so that I can put other things inside of them.
  • That’s it!

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

DIY Music Manipulative: Battleship. This board game based teaching tool is great for upper elementary or middle school students who are learning about the treble clef. It can be adjusted for different lessons. My upper elementary music classes loved it! And it is super CHEAP. Becca's Music Room.

Rules of the Game:

  • Students pair up. Each person gets a battleship game. We used expo markers and drew on them, but you could also put bingo chips on the lines/spaces.
  • Each students makes three dots for on the staff marked “yours”. These are their battleships.
  • Students take turns asking where the other student’s battleships are. It should sound like this:
  • “Is there one on B?” (You could also do second line, third space, etc. depending on what you are teaching them.)
  • “Hit” if they hit and “miss” if they miss it.
  • The students mark their guesses. If they guess correctly, on the staff marked “theirs”, they put a dot. That way they know there is a battleship there. If they miss, they put an x. Make sure they do this, otherwise they will ask the same place ten times.

That’s it! I played this with 3-5 grades. At first they really did not get it, but they slowly started to comprehend as time went on. And they LOVED it!

Also read: Lesson Ideas: Creative Movement with Scarves

What are your favorite DIY music manipulatives? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

DIY Music Manipulative: Battleship. This board game based teaching tool is great for upper elementary or middle school students who are learning about the treble clef. It can be adjusted for different lessons. My upper elementary music classes loved it! And it is super CHEAP. Becca's Music Room.

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Elementary Music

Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

I am not going to lie, today was awful.

Of course, by the time you read this, it will no longer be “today” anymore.

Four of my six classes were crazy. It was like every management tactic I could think of did not work. I tried everything that I knew how to do, and it made no difference. My first grade in particular. I tried stickers, tickets (our schools PBIS), games, dancing to get our wiggles out, and it was still ridiculous.

Also: Questions to Ask Yourself When the Class is Off the Chain

Now, I consider myself lucky in that even though it’s my first year of teaching, I have very few days that make me want to die. As teachers, there will always be those days. No matter the school, no matter the subject. How often these occur is not quite as important as what you do after them.

Your students need you to destress. You need you to destress. How do you destress after a day that was so awful you do not want to think about it?

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

Take a bath

I so wish I could do this. After getting married, I moved into what is essentially a studio apartment with my husband. So there’s no bathtub. Which is really sad because that was my go-to method of destress.

And when we move (in April, yay!) this will be my go to again!

Seriously though. Get a book (or set up Netflix on a stool), light some candles, and drink some wine or Coke or eat ice cream.

You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.

 

Exercise

Half of you are sitting there saying “Really?! How will that help?” It does. I’m not saying go run a 5K, but do something. If you are not an exerciser, then just go take a walk. It makes a huge difference. I went from hating exercise to looking forward to it in just a few months, and this is a big reason why. it gets all of the frusteration out, and it takes your brain’s focus away from the day and onto what you are doing.

After a long day of teaching, it clears my mind and helps my body feel better.

Don’t trust me? Yay try it!

Yoga is particularly relaxing. You can find some great yoga routines on Pinterest or on YouTube. (Like this one for beginners!)

Also: Positive Management Strategies for When You Don’t Feel Positive

Color

If you didn’t believe me about exercise, you probably really won’t believe me about coloring.

But try it.

I’m not sure what it is but it is very relaxing. It doesn’t take very much concentration or brainpower, but it almost soothes your mind.

You can download some for free, but I have a few. My favorite is the Van Gogh coloring book!

Do something productive

This may sound counterintuitive. You want me to destress and relax by doing chores?

Yes.

I find myself so much less stressed after accomplishing something. Think about it– do you find it hard to destress when there is a massive to do list looming over your head? Can you relax if the house is a mess? I cannot. I would rather get some things done then lay on the couch thinking about how it needs to be done.

And again, it takes your mind off of your day and onto something else.

My favorite thing? Working on my blog. It puts my energy toward something useful. Every time I finish a blog post or get something scheduled, I feel as though I have done something. I didn’t realize this would happen when I started, but it is a huge reason why I continue to blog.

Even if I don’t feel like I accomplished ANYTHING while teaching (aka today), I write blog post and finish it and get some sense of accomplishment.

You could also do something like clean out your closet, get all of the dishes put away, make some manipulatives for your class, etc. Even if it is really small like you finally put clean towels in the bathroom– it will make you feel better.Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

Create something

This is on the same idea as the last one. Creating something will allow you to feel productive. Who cares if it is something no one will ever see? The important part is the process, not the end result. Draw a picture, write a story, etc.

My favorite? Painting. Painting is my new favorite hobby. I used to love it and I haven’t done it in forever and now I am painting all of the time. It feels so good to have something to make. And even better once it is done and you can be proud of it!

And if you can make something to give away, even better. Do a craft that you can give to someone. Have an Etsy shop? More power to you!

Go to bed early

Laying in bed early and getting a good nights sleep will do wonders for your mood. And it will get you ready to face those crazy children tomorrow!

Also: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Rhythm

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

What did I choose to Destress?

Now, I do not always do the same thing. Today though, I chose:

  • Do something productive (I cleaned up the house a little bit)
  • Create something (I painted a picture that I have wanted to do for a long time)
  • Do Something productive (I wrote this post)
  • Go to bed early

Destress time is over… now what?

Remember that tomorrow is a new day. Give your kids a new start. Give yourself a new start. Make it better!
This doesn’t mean that you forget everything or don’t follow through on necessary punishments from whatever was done. But it does mean that you don’t hold it against them.

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

One final thought

Don’t forget why you teach in the first place. It’s not for the bad days. It’s for the good days, when a kid finally “gets” it.

Or when a kid you didn’t think ever hears a word that you say does something that makes you realize that they were listening all along. Or when a kid comes up to you and says, “I love music!” Or when a kid gets into a specialty school and you know that it is literally going to change their life.

Keep a journal. Every time a kid gets something or says something that touches you, write it down.

When you have awful days like today, go back and look at the journal. It will help remind you of why you do this.

Yesterday, I got to add to my journal.

A first grader came up to me at the bus ramp and said “Mrs. Davis! Did you know there’s only three days and then the next day I get to go to music?! I’m so excited!” This was Monday. I don’t see his class until Friday and he was already excited to sing and dance and learn.

That is why I teach.

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow!


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