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

Traveling Music Teacher: What to When Not in Your Room

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I am one of those people who feel much less worried when I am prepared. I like my lessons planned weeks in advance, my materials printed and laid out ahead of time, and my grades done early.

I did a pretty good job with this for my first month of teaching.

It was a Monday. I was prepared for new lessons including Kidstick Stations (AKA Artie Almeida). I had all of my stuff together. I got to school and opened my door, and there are fans. Everywhere.

And my stuff is moved. Everywhere.

It took me fifteen minutes to find someone who actually knew what had happened.

Apparently a pipe in a neighboring room burst and flooded my room. Half of my carpet was soaking wet and I cannot be in my room. So I am traveling (for who knows how long).

That is a good way to cause a type A personality to have a mental breakdown.

I had clearly not planned for traveling, but it was unavailable. So I got into major planning mode and started throwing everything I could possibly think of onto my cart (find out my whole review on my cart and why you need one here)

I was out of my room for weeks waiting for the floor to get redone (which means (yay!) no mold!). I had to learn quickly what kind of things you can do when you are traveling and not in your classroom.

Buy a rolling cart here:

Becca's Music Room. Tips for music teachers who are stuck traveling to other teacher's classrooms. Fun ideas. Very useful.

Ideas for the traveling music teacher:

Singing Games

Think through your singing games and determine which ones do not need very much space. What did I use?

  1. Monkey See and Monkey Do: from Game Plan Grade 1. One student sits in the front and does a steady beat movement all of the students copy while singing the song. (K-2)
  2. Oliver Twist: Game from 101 Songs and Games. This is extremely similar to Monkey See and Monkey Do, but with Oliver Twist instead. (K-2)
  3. Pizza, Pizza, Daddy Oh: I found this on Pinterest, but it is also in Game Plan Grade 5. I modified it so that one person came to the front instead of the middle of a circle. They love this one. Check out the video here. (3-5)
  4. London Bridge is Falling Down: This takes some space, but most classrooms have a reading carpet, which was plenty for the little people. Most people know this by heart, but you can also find it in 101 Songs and Games. (K-2, and yes, my 2nd graders looove it)
  5. Al Citron: 101 Songs and Games—this also takes a little bit more space, but I did not have an issue. Students pass an object around a circle on the strong beats. I used metal cans (empty vegetable and chili cans). We did the song version from the book, but here is the spoken version on YouTube. (3-5)

Becca's Music Room. Tips for music teachers who are stuck traveling to other teacher's classrooms. Fun ideas. Very useful.

Other Songs (going for movement!)

  1. Baby Shark
  2. One Bottle of Pop
  3. Here We Go Looby Loo
  4. A Pizza Hut (sung to the tune of Aram Sam Sam)
  5. Peace Like a River


    1. Poison Rhythm: Students echo rhythms that you play by clapping, snapping, etc. One rhythm is poison, so students cannot do it. If they do, then they are dead. (Ok, out, but saying dead is much more dramatic.) (K-5)
    2. Poison Solfege: Same thing but with singing solfege. Great way to teach solfege without actually teaching solfege. (K-5)
    3. Extra Beat Take a Seat: Pick a rhythm. Students play the same one three times and three times only. If they make an extra noise after the three times, they are out. Once they figure this out, then move to five times, seven, etc. I did this while traveling without any instruments, but usually play it in the class with rhythm sticks. (3-5)
    4. Bingo: Seriously—this is the best thing! There are tons of them and they are great for subs too. I did not do this this time, but have in the past. (K-5 depending on which  one you get)


Writing Activities

  1. Drawing: Listen to music and draw what it makes you think of
  2. Artie Almeida’s Noteman activity: Awesome PowerPoint sung to the tune of “Bingo” that covers quarter notes, whole notes, half notes, quarter rest, and eighth notes. Have students sing it and draw each note on a paper until they have the whole Noteman. Check it out here.
  3. Composition: Have students write rhythmic or melodic compositions. You could do singing or body percussion while travelling to eliminate and instruments.
  4. Writing a story based on a piece of music.
Becca's Music Room. Tips for music teachers who are stuck traveling to other teacher's classrooms. Fun ideas. Very useful.
A picture of my cart, post a month of traveling nonsense. It’s quite messy.

I did not try any centers activities because I found that they included a lot of materials. I did not want to lug around all of that while traveling! If you have tried that, let me know how it went!

Check out other music education posts like Positive Management Strategies When You Don’t Feel Positive (because, seriously, that post was based off of my experience with inconveniences of being out of my room) and Questions to Ask When Your Class is Off the Chain.

What are your favorite activities for days when you are traveling? Let me know in the comments! I would love more ideas!

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4 thoughts on “Traveling Music Teacher: What to When Not in Your Room”

  1. That’s great you were able to be so flexible when such an unexpected event happened! Lack of space and materials are definitely a few of the challenges music teachers face while teaching from a cart, but from what you shared, you thought quickly on your feet and adjusted as needed..great job!

    1. Thanks! I take it from your website that you are far more experienced in teaching in a cart than I am. Would love to know any tips you have!

  2. My daily lesson activities are similar to other music teachers with classrooms, but some of the main adaptations I’ve made over the years are in using more multi-functional manipulatives (rather than song specific…makes for less paper and less storage) and rotating students on the Orff instruments that I bring (using body percussion or their “invisible” instruments to practice as they wait for their turn). It takes some creative planning and preparation for lesson activities and classroom management, but it’s doable and my students and I have great fun learning, performing, moving, and composing! 🙂

  3. I am a new, inexperienced elementary music teacher without a music classroom and this has helped me so much! Thank you and God bless!

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