Blog

Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Feed the Monster Rhythm Game (for Centers!)

Rhythms centers can be really fun.. or really boring, depending on how you handle them. My kids always love them, because I try to include at least one game. Now, I love to stick to crowd favorites, like Kaboom! (seriously, they are disappointed it we don’t play this one!) or Go Fish (yes, even my fifth graders seem to enjoy this one), but it is nice to switch it up sometimes. What is a good way to switch it up? Well, Feed the Monster generally does the trick.

Feed the Monster is a game that I found on Pinterest. I looked and looked but cannot find the original post that I saw, however, if you type Feed the Monster into the search bar, you can find a ton of differs monster styles. In the post I read, they used it to teach sight words, but obviously, I am not going to do that. I generally use it with rhythms (although we are trying with melody soon…. wish me luck!). It does work best with younger students, and I have had success with students K-2.

Feed the Monster game for elementary music. This game is perfect to get kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students reading rhythms or solfege melodies! It is super fun and perfect for October music lessons, fall music lessons, or Halloween music lessons. Plus, it comes with a FREE download! Becca's Music Room

Feed the Monster Rhythm Game

Materials:

Feed the Monster game for elementary music. This game is perfect to get kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students reading rhythms or solfege melodies! It is super fun and perfect for October music lessons, fall music lessons, or Halloween music lessons. Plus, it comes with a FREE download! Becca's Music Room

Set up Directions

For this game, you will need to set a few things up.

  • Monster: The monster is a brown paper bag or a cereal box. Cut a hole in it to be the mouth. I also like to have the top part open so that you can dump the cards out easily when finished. Add some eyes and hands and so forth to the bag to make it more fun.
  • Cards: You will need rhythm cards small enough to fit into the monster’s mouth. I have Monster rhythm card sets (which just make them extra fun), but if you already have small rhythm cards, they will work just fine. You can also do it with melodies! Here are some Monster sol-mi and sol-mi-la patterns!
Feed the Monster game for elementary music. This game is perfect to get kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students reading rhythms or solfege melodies! It is super fun and perfect for October music lessons, fall music lessons, or Halloween music lessons. Plus, it comes with a FREE download! Becca's Music Room

Directions

  • First off, put students into groups. I find groups of 4-5 usually work pretty well.
  • Each group sits at a station with a Monster bag. Cards can be stacked up or just on the floor. I like to use a hula hoop to contain the chaos.
  • The first person picks up a card and reads it. If they get it right, they feed it to the monster. If it’s wrong, it goes back in the pile.
  • Next person goes next.
  • Keep going until you are out of cards!
Feed the Monster game for elementary music. This game is perfect to get kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students reading rhythms or solfege melodies! It is super fun and perfect for October music lessons, fall music lessons, or Halloween music lessons. Plus, it comes with a FREE download! Becca's Music Room

It really is that simple.

I usually walk around while this is going on and assess whether students are reading the rhythms correctly or not. This allows me to assess their skills without them knowing that they are being tested– which is a win in my book (I even have a whole blog post on assessment without “assessment” in the music room!).

This game works really well in October, but I have done is in all different seasons– the kids do not mind!

What rhythm games work well with your little people? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Feed the Monster game for elementary music. This game is perfect to get kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students reading rhythms or solfege melodies! It is super fun and perfect for October music lessons, fall music lessons, or Halloween music lessons. Plus, it comes with a FREE download! Becca's Music Room
Choir

5 Things that Happened when I put 4th Graders in 5th Grade Choir

When I first started teaching elementary music, I was SO excited to start my 5th grade choir. I had been in choirs for years and I loved it, and I knew that my students would love it to. No, of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but it was great anyway.

We worked so hard for that first year, learning about breathing and vowel sounds and consonants…. And then fifth grade graduation happened. And they were all gone.

The next year started up, and I realized that I had to start all the way over from scratch.

This time, I changed it. I did not want to start from scratch again. Now, I have done fifth grade choir for two years– with fourth graders in it.

Some interesting things happened when I added fourth graders into my fifth grade choir– a lot of which I did not expect.

What happened when I added 4th graders to 5th grade choir... and it is not all what you would expect. Adding fourth grade to fifth grade choir was a game changer for me and my program, and it can be a game changer for you too! Becca's Music Room

When I added 4th grade to 5th grade choir….

Behavior got better

The very first thing that I noticed is that behavior improved almost instantaneously. I was shocked at the fact that I was no longer spending a huge portion of my time saying, “Be quiet!”

Now, I had other strategies that I implemented that also helped, but even without those the behavior got so. much. better.

I do not know exactly what is going on in their heads, but I have hypothesized a few reasons why this has happened:

  1. Fifth graders feel more responsible. First and foremost, the older students feel more responsible, because there are younger students around them and they want to show them how to behave.
  2. They aren’t as familiar yet. This may seem weird, but just having students from different grades means that kids are not quite as familiar. Of course, most of them know each other (Does anyone else work at a school where the students are all related?!), but they have not been in classes with the other grade levels.
  3. It differentiates the regular school day from choir. Interacting with kids on different grade levels adds an extra layer of differentiation from the regular school day, because kids are with other kids they are not normally seeing on the playground and in the lunchroom.

Students learn more repertoire

I don’t know what it is like at your school, but I am constantly appalled by the lack of knowledge of what most of us would consider “normal” songs. Specifically when it comes to holiday and patriotic music, my students hardly know anything. Yes, this is my job, but I feel like they should know songs from other places too.

I am currently in the process of coming up with a plan to make sure that I am teaching these “normal” songs throughout the years, but it is taking me some time to get everyone up to snuff (Side note: Do you have a particular time of year that you teach patriotic music? I can never figure out when to do that!).

Choir provides a good way to teach all of those “normal songs”– or at least a few of them. Being able to be in choir for two years doubles the amount of repertoire that the students can learn.

What happened when I added 4th graders to 5th grade choir... and it is not all what you would expect. Adding fourth grade to fifth grade choir was a game changer for me and my program, and it can be a game changer for you too! Becca's Music Room

It built the hype

I try to do a lot of extra things with my choir– singing at assemblies and taking them on field trips and having parties. All of these things help them grow (ok, maybe not the parties), but also make them enjoy choir that much more.

Having fourth graders see their friends go on field trips and sing at assemblies makes them WANT to be in choir. So when they get to fifth grade, I have even more students who want to join.

Which leads me into the next point….

I have more kids who WANT to be there

Because students see their friends doing all the cool things, I have more kids that want to be involved. Now, I can only have so many students at a time, so I do have auditions (you can read more about that in this article), but I am able to get not just the best singers, but the students who want to be there the most.

And we all know that that counts much more than who is the best singer.

We can learn harder pieces

Now that I have fifth graders who have already sung with me for a year, we are able to do slightly harder pieces. For example. I do a round in EVERY rehearsal for a warm up. Seriously. I have this book:

And I pick one, teach it one week, use it as a round the next week, and sometimes a three part round the next week week. Why? To build part independence and make it so that one day we will actually be able to sing partner songs.

And that day is this year, I can feel it.

When we first started doing rounds it was STRUGGLE BUS CENTRAL. But now? It’s so stinking easy. I also do them in regular music class, because it is so much fun, and my regular music class kids are getting better too.

But my point is that my fifth grader have now learn at least 15 rounds over the past year, so when we do them, they are SOLID. And the fourth graders? Well, anyone who has been in choir knows that it is easier to sing your part when someone is singing confidently in your ear.

I don’t have to start from scratch

Finally, what prompted this conversion, and also what you probably guessed, I did not have to start from scratch this year. Yes, we still talked about posture and breathing and I had to teach the warm ups, but again, it is so much easier to sing your part when someone else is singing it loudly in your ear.

I already have a base of students who know how to sing and sing well. They know our warm ups and our ways (seriously, I have had hardly any behavior problems this year– although it is only October), and they can be role models and teach it to the younger students. I’ll say that again– they can teach it to the younger students, so I don’t have to.

So that is 5 different things that changed when I added 4th graders to my 5th grade choir. Some are expected, and some are not, but so far there have been very few negatives.

Do you have a 5th grade choir? Fourth and fifth grade? Did anything happen when you combined them? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

What happened when I added 4th graders to 5th grade choir... and it is not all what you would expect. Adding fourth grade to fifth grade choir was a game changer for me and my program, and it can be a game changer for you too! Becca's Music Room
3-5, Elementary Music, Games, Lessons

Al Citron: Mexican Passing Game for dotted quarter note

This month is Hispanic Heritage month! I love Hispanic Heritage month, because I love teaching lessons from different cultures, and I also love a good theme. I find themes to be the easiest way to make lessons really flow together. This year, I am sharing one of my favorite lessons: Al Citron.

Al Citron is a Mexican folk song that has a passing game along with it. It is perfect to teach dotted quarter-eighth note because those are ALL over the song.

Also, the words are nonsense, so if you totally mess them up, it really doesn’t matter.

I use this lesson with my 4th grade and 5th grade students, but you can use it where’ve it fits into your sequence!

This post includes the opportunity to get FREE Spanish fruit rhythm composition cards. If you would like to get those, plus visuals, printable worksheets, and printable lesson plans, then you can check out the product in my TPT shop. As always, you can do the lesson without the product, but it enhances it and makes a huge difference!

Looking for more Hispanic music ideas? Check out this post for a roundup of my favorites!

Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These  rhythms  manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Al Citron

  • I always start with a movement based warm up. For this lesson, we learned the A section to a dance to La Raspa (AKA the Mexican Hat Dance). After the dance, I showed them on the map where Mexico was. Then….
  • Tell the students that we are going to learn a Mexican song and game. The words are in Spanish, but most of them don’t mean anything, so it’s ok it they are not perfect.
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room
  • Teach students the words to the song (Side note: I find that teaching other languages is easiest when you split up the words one day and the melody another day.)
  • Teach students the melody by rote and have them keep the steady beat on their bodies. (These visuals are from the PowerPoint in my product. It comes in regular and stick notation!)
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Game Time!

  • After teaching the song, prep the game by having students take their right hand and keep the beat by tapping their left leg and then their right leg (this is prepping the passing motion).
  • Once students have gotten that down, change it so that the last part of Al Citron (triki triki tron) goes left-right-left.
  • Give students items they will pass during the game. Traditionally, I believe that it is supposed to be rocks, but I use cans, because that is what I use for the cup game, so I already have them ready to go.
  • Have them practice the motion in their seats first, then get into a circle. This is helpful, because even with big kids, going from mirroring to being in a circle and seeing people doing what is seemingly the opposite is a struggle.
  • Before playing the game, practice just the very beginning (Al citron) to make sure that all of the students are going the correct way (I usually do counter clockwise for everything).
  • Once everyone is going the right way, play the game! Students pass the cans to the right while singing the song. At the end, on the words triki triki tron, you switch the pattern to right-left-right. If anyone messes that up, then they are out!
Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

Dotted Quarter-Eighth Note

  • Once students have sung Al Citron so many times they could sing it in their sleep, we look at the dotted quarter-eighth note rhythm. I start by putting the notation up on the board and asking students what rhythms they know. We will review quarter notes and eighth notes.
  • Next, I point at the dotted quarter note and ask what they think it is. After allowing a few to try to figure it out, someone will usually say “It looks like a quarter note and a dot.” And I say, “You are exactly right! It’s a quarter note with a dot. And we call it a dotted quarter note. Think you can remember that?” And they look at me like I’m crazy.
  • I briefly explain that quarter note gets one beat and the dot gives it half, and we do the math on the board, but really I want them to think of the dotted quarter-eighth combo as having two beats all together, so I don’t stress that too too much.
  • Next, I let the students practice this new rhythm a few different ways. We are working on the pianos, so I have been giving students dotted quarter eighth note rhythms to play on the pianos during centers.
  • We have also been playing Kaboom, because it is wonderful, and my level 3 rhythms include dotted quarter notes.
  • Finally, Mexican fruit compositions! In my Al Citron lesson pack, there are composition cards where students can create rhythms with different fruit names! (Because a citron is a citrus fruit, kind of like a lemon). These composition cards are available FOR FREE in my FREE Resource Library. (Not a member yet? Sign up here! You get access to the growing free resource library PLUS practical tips + tricks in your email every Sunday morning!) There are different options for these– You can make the rhythms and play them on instruments. Make the rhythms and write them down. Or you can make the rhythms and then add melody to it (You can do B-A-G if you are working on recorder– I also have level 3 rhythms BAG flashcards too!)
FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room

So there you have it– a whole lessons (or a few day’s worth of lessons) on the singing game Al Citron. Have you ever use this in your classroom? How did you use it?

Don’t forget to check out the FREE fruit rhythms composition cards here, or join the FREE resource library here!

Interested in the whole resource? You can get it here!

Happy teaching!

Al Citron folk song lesson for Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE Spanish fruit composition cards! These rhythms manipulatives go along with the Mexican Folk Song Al Citron-- which is a huge hit in my classroom! Students can practice and create rhythms with dotted quarter notes (or ta and titi). Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Beat and rhythm lesson

Since I started teaching, I have wanted to incorporate more books into my lessons, but I had two problems: 1. I didn’t have many books and 2. I didn’t know what to do with them.

Over the past few months, I have been working to remedy #1, and not I am working on #2– figuring out what to do with these books.

Now, of course, you can read a book just to read it. You can also read a book that has a similar theme to a song that you are learning. Even though both of those ideas are valid, I wanted more meaningful, musical ways to read books. These different ways are coming along (slowly but surely!) as I try to incorporate one to three books in each set of lessons.

This lesson was a huge hit.

This lesson is based off of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. It includes beat, rhythm, instruments, and more!

I also have a Teachers Pay Teachers product that has some helpful resources in it. You can do this lesson without it, but it has a printable lesson plan, powerpoint, and a bunch of printables to go along with it! You can get it here!

So without further ado, let’s get into the lesson!

Prefer to watch or listen? You can see this lesson on YouTube!

Beat and Rhythm Lesson for elementary music with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Looking for musical ways to use book in your elementary music classroom? This lesson teaches beat and rhythm with the beloved children's book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is perfect for kindergarten music or beginning of the year first grade music. And did I mention that it includes instruments? Because everything is better with instruments! Becca's Music Room

Warmup:

  • Go to the piano (or grab a guitar or ukulele) and play along with the students while reviewing a previous song. Allow students to keep the steady beat.
  • Say, “I wonder who can keep the steady beat to this song” and start to sing the alphabet song.
  • Next, say, “Great! That reminds me of a super fun book that we can read today! And we can keep the steady beat to it.”

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Lesson:

  • Read the book and have students keep the beat (quietly) on their bodies. It helps if you keep the beat on a drum– I have this djembe and use it all of the time.
  • After reading the book, tell the students you are going to play the instruments– but first you have to figure out what to play. Write the words to some of the lines that repeat themselves on the board with heartbeats on top (or use the cards that come in my TPT product, which will make this part much easier!) and have students help you figure out the rhythms. We do this one beat at a time and I ask if there is one sound or two on the beat. Then I ask if that is ta or titi.
Beat and Rhythm Lesson for elementary music with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Looking for musical ways to use book in your elementary music classroom? This lesson teaches beat and rhythm with the beloved children's book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is perfect for kindergarten music or beginning of the year first grade music. And did I mention that it includes instruments? Because everything is better with instruments! Becca's Music Room
Beat strips with the rhythm on top. I found it works best if you put paperclips across the top to hold the rhythms in place.
  • Practice reading the rhythms with both the words and the rhythm syllables.
  • Then, pass out small percussion instruments. I used castanets, which are my favorite.
  • Have students practice the rhythms with the instruments.
  • Once the students know the parts they are playing, read the book again. When you get to the parts you pulled out (Chicka chicka boom boom, Will there be enough room?, I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree, etc), pick up your instrument and play the rhythm. Have the students repeat it back to you and play their instrument.

*Note: I have students put their instrument on the floor and hands on their shoulders when they are not playing, and I do the same so they have a visual reminder of what they are doing.

Closing:

To close, you can do something that practices ta and titi. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have students work in small groups to figure out the rhythm of a different line in the book
  • Have students write the rhythms to one of the lines. I have pages in my product pack where students can write the rhythms and color in a picture of that scene.
  • Give every student a card with a word on it and have them sort the words into ta or titi. (This is a good example of an exit ticket that does not require any writing– which is helpful if you don’t have tables!)
  • Give students a heartbeat chart and have them write rhythms or use manipulatives to make rhythms.

Need some heartbeat charts? There are a ton of different ones in my FREE resource library! Not a member yet? Sign up here! You will get access to all of my free resources– and I add new ones every month! You will also get one email a week with tips and tricks that you can use in your classroom tomorrow.

Beat and Rhythm Lesson for elementary music with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Looking for musical ways to use book in your elementary music classroom? This lesson teaches beat and rhythm with the beloved children's book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is perfect for kindergarten music or beginning of the year first grade music. And did I mention that it includes instruments? Because everything is better with instruments! Becca's Music Room

Alright friends, that is my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom lesson. It was a huge hit with my first graders at the beginning of the year (and you know 1st grade needs some alphabet reminders at the beginning of the year).

Don’t forget to pick up the book here and check out my Teacher Pay Teachers product to get more resources for this lesson.

If you have a book you would like a lesson on, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at beccasmusicroom@gmail.com and let me know!

Happy teaching!

Beat and Rhythm Lesson for elementary music with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Looking for musical ways to use book in your elementary music classroom? This lesson teaches beat and rhythm with the beloved children's book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is perfect for kindergarten music or beginning of the year first grade music. And did I mention that it includes instruments? Because everything is better with instruments! Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music, Organization

What is a Standards Based Music Classroom?

I recently posted my classroom tour video and blog post (you can check out the video here or the blog post here). I also posted pictures on my Instagram account. Throughout all of this, I got a lot of questions about different areas in my room. Some of those questions included:

  • Why do you have standards and I can statements up?
  • Do you have to use anchor charts?
  • You HAVE to have interactive bulletin boards?
  • What the heck is a data wall?

And more.

Now, the short answer to these and other similar questions is that I have these things because I am told that I have to have these things in order to comply with my district’s standards based classroom requirement.

So what exactly is a standards based classroom?

Standards based classrooms have two different components– they have a classroom component and also a lesson component. We will get into both of those down below.

Now, you may not need to have a standards based classroom. I understand that this blog post will not resonate with everyone. But when I was told that I had to have a standards based classroom, and that what I previously had did not cut it, I could not find ANYONE talking about a standards based classroom in music. So here I am, talking about a standards based classroom in music. So that you will not be totally lost.

I am basing this post off of what I have learned about in Georgia. You may have different requirements in a different state.

Along with this blog post, I am putting up a FREE standards based classroom checklist in my free resource library. To get access, you will need to sign up here so that you can get the password. I will also send you exclusive tips, tricks, and lesson round ups each week to help you even more!

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room

What is the point of a Standards Based Classroom?

A standards based classroom is just a fancy way to say that you are focusing your instruction, as well as your decor, on the standards. This way, you are focused on what you are teaching, and your classroom reflects that. Students should know what they are learning, have examples of it (in anchor chart or student work form), and be able to reference materials. They should also know where they stand in relation with the standards (how well they are doing) without making them feel singled out.

Confused yet?

Don’t worry. We will get into the nitty gritty right now.

What are the components of a standards based classroom?

Standards, I Can Statements, Schedules

Standards, I can statements, and schedules are probably the first things that popped into your mind when I said standards based classroom. For every lesson, you should have your standards posted. This shows the kids what you are working on. You should also have I Can statements or Essential Questions posted– this is basically the main theme of your lesson. If students are going to learn ONE thing, then what would it be?

I actually find these really hard, because in music, our standards are things like “singing” and “playing instrument” and “moving to music” and “describing music” and I’m like… we are doing all of those things.

For the purpose of your standards based classroom, just pick one that is your MAIN focus.

You should also have a schedule up, so that your students at least know how much time they have in your classroom. To have a perfect standards based classroom, you should really have a schedule for each class, but I have a funky schedule, and I finally convinced our academic coaches that that was not going to word for me.

Examples

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is examples. Students need to know what to do and how to do it. There are a few different ways that you should show your examples in your classroom.

A word wall is necessary, of course. This is just a dedicated bulletin board space with vocabulary words. I have seen people order them by alphabet or by concept. The main difference between a standards based classroom and a normal classroom, however, is that the words go up AS YOU LEARN THEM. So your word wall should not be full the first week of school. If you noticed in my classroom tour, mine is nearly empty, because the first week of school, we were reviewing. Each lesson, I add more and more to the word wall (If I remember……)

Secondly, you have anchor charts. Anchor charts are basically posters that you print or make that show students what to do or how to do it. Ideally, anchor charts are made with your class and are specific. Teaching music, however, that is not always a possibility (because I am not making five different anchor charts for first grade). So you can make them, or you can even get student input into what to put on them. I sometime laminate my anchor charts so that I can do them with the students with expo markers.

Student work should also be up in or outside of your room. It should be graded, and have commentary as to whether or not the students met the standard. Yes, I am aware that that is a lot. I did not come up with this, I am just relaying messages.

Working Areas

In a standards based classroom, there should be spaces for students to work independently, in groups, or in partners. Now, to be honest, my students just sit on the floor.

But technically, that qualifies. We have assigned seats for independent work, I separate them to different carpets for group work, and partners sit around the room.

SoI wouldn’t stress about this one– just think through if your room is conducive to all of those things.

Side note: Someone posted on Instagram asking if it was ok to put students into rows instead of the groups they had the students in currently. She said they were way too chatty. The answer to that is YES. When you decide where students will sit, think about what message that sends to them. If you have them at tables looking at each other, it sends the message that they should collaborate– it does not send the message that they should sit quietly and look at the teacher. If you want them to sit quietly and look at the teacher, then they need to be facing wherever you normally are.

Anyway.

Data Walls

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Data walls are probably the least helpful thing in music, if we are being honest.

Standards based classrooms have data walls so that students know where they are in terms of the standards…. AKA, how are they doing on the standardized tests. Yeah. Don’t get me started.

In my county, we don’t take any standardized tests for music (yay!), so this has been a challenge. Through the years, I have talked with my (4) different academic coaches to come up with different ideas that would be conducive to having 750 students. Here are a few things I have tried:

  • An “I can keep a steady beat” or “I can use my singing voice” chart. I just wrote teacher’s names on pieces of paper, and as my kindergarteners showed these skills, I added their names to it.
  • Recorder karate– or piano karate or whatever. I just printed out some charts from PowerSchool and checked off different skills as my fourth graders passed their piano tests.
  • Pie charts: I do give pretests/posttests in my class (but I make them myself). At the beginning of the year, I print out pie charts that show the percentage of the students in the class that are approaching/meeting/exceeding standards. Hypothetically, I update this mid way through the year but… that has never actually happened..

This year, I think I am going to try a modified version of the pie charts. I will get back to you if that works out.

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room

Standards Based Classroom Lessons

We are not going to go super deep into the lessons in a standards based classroom, we will talk a bit about it. The components include:

  • Opening: During the opening, the teacher should introduce the standards and the learning targets, and help students access prior knowledge.
  • Transition: Guided student practice of the concept.
  • Work session: Students work independently or with a small group. Teacher monitors, assists, and assesses students.
  • Closing: Formally or informally assesses students. Summarizes progress.

That is a lot of educational words.

I music, that might look totally different than in other classes. Let’s have an example. Let’s say we are working on quarter note and barred eighth notes in first grade. A practice lesson might look like this:

  • Opening: Students sing the song Tick Tock and perform actions with a partner (this would be the “hook”). Afterward, the teacher reminds students of ta and titi. They talk about how ta is one sound and titi is two sounds. The teacher “figures out” the rhythm for the first line of the song, then asks students to assist in figuring out the rhythm of the rest of the song.
  • Transition: Students get popsicle sticks. The teacher shows how they can use popsicle sticks to make ta and titi. They practice making rhythms from the song along with the teacher.
  • Work session: Students work independently or with a small group to figure out the rhythms of another song they are working on with their popsicle sticks. The teacher walks around and assists if needed.
  • Closing: Teacher could dictate rhythms for the students to notate with their sticks. Alternatively, they could fill out an exit ticket in which they write the rhythms of a song on the paper for the teacher to assess.

Not so scary, right?

Now, again, I would not stress too much about this for music class. In music, we are always working on multiple things, so it is not as conducive to having one thing. But throughout your units, make sure that you are following this model– even if it happens on four different lessons.

Need some more info? I got mine from the GA Department of Education. It talks about standards based lessons here.

Do you have to have a Standards Based Classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music

DIY Music Manipulatives for Centers

I really love music centers. Like REALLY love music centers. Every time that we do them, I am amazed at how the students seem to grow. Even more than that, I am amazed at how much I notice each individual student and their own abilities.

Now, getting started in centers can be difficult (because seriously, what are the kids supposed to DO?!), and you will need a few activities. And they need to be engaging enough that students will WANT to do said activities. Because we all know that bored students are misbehaving students.

These music manipulative DIY will keep students occupied during centers time! They can be adjusted for different musical concepts.

Need some help getting started with centers? You can check out my blog posts below for help!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

1. Lappacks

Have you ever heard of a lap pack? It is basically a fancy words for “papers stuck in a sheet protector“.

Sounds fancy, right?

Lap packs are actually SUPER useful. I have some that are made all the time with heartbeats on one side and treble clef on the other. You can write on them with expo markers, you can use rhythm manipulative on them, or those tiny erasers to put on the staff… The possibilities are basically endless. You can also put a blank sheet of paper in them so that students can write rhythms or answers or lyrics or whatever they could possibly need to write.

And so, so easy.

Also, you can get a ton of FREE heartbeat charts in the Free Resource Library on my site. It includes all different time signatures! Not a member of the free resource library? You can sign up here! You will get one email each week with a roundup of helpful tips, ideaas, and strategies for teaching music, plus access to all of the free resources in the free resource library.

2. Rhythm Spinners

Rhythm spinners are a little bit of a harder DIY music manipulatives, because they require finding the word spinners. These babies were in Target Dollar Spots at the beginning of the year. Annnnnnd I found very similar ones on Amazon! You can get them here. Hurray!

Anyway.

To make rhythm spinners, you paint over the letters on the word spinners. This took me about 4 coats of cheap acrylic to get it so that I could no longer see the letters. Then you write over the letters with rhythms. I just used a sharpie, because I am not very fancy.

And voila! Students can make rhythms and play them on their instrument. You could do dictation and have them find the rhythm that you used. So many ideas.

This idea is from Katie Wonderly, on Instagram as @mswonderlymakesmusic. She is truly wonderful, and has some really great ideas (including more Dollar Spot DIY music manipulatives), so go follow her! (And yes, I asked her permission before I put this on my blog!)

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

3. Battleship

Battleship is one of my kids’ favorite activities. I pull this out when we first talk about the treble clef, and a few times after. It is always tons of fun.

I have a blog post that goes really in depth into it here, so I’ll keep it short in this one. Basically, you need a paper with two staves. Slide in into a sheet protector. Then staple or glue it into a file folder (that way students can shield their answers).

To read how the kids play, go check out the post here!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

4. Rhythm Manipulatives

Need more REALLY simple DIY music manipulatives? This rhythm one is so. stinking. easy.

Print out pictures or clipart (you can find tons of free clipart on TPT!). It is best to stick with a theme, so you could do fruits or instruments or whatever. Write the rhythm of the word on the picture. So, for example, “kiwi” would be “titi” (barred eighth notes). Or two eighth notes, depending on how many beats you want.

Then let the kids create compositions with their words!

You can also do this with foam shapes that you can get at Dollar Tree or the Dollar Spot, but I have a hard time finding the ones that I want. Plus, they rip easier than laminated paper.

You can see what I mean with my Christmas Rhythm Manipulatives and Flashcards on TPT.

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room

So there you have it– four easy, cheap DIY music maniulatives for centers! Need some help getting started with centers? You can check out my blog posts below for help!

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

Happy teaching!

4 DIY Music Manipulatives that are perfect for centers-- and easy to make! Centers can be difficult to figure out, but they don't have to be! These simple DIY music activities can be used over and over again to help students learn about rhythm and melody. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music, Organization

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days

I am going to be very honest– classroom decor is not my jam. Seriously. If you have ever heard my rant about bulletin boards, then you may have guessed that much. It’s not that I don’t want my elementary music classroom to be cute– it’s that to be cute, it takes some time and effort and money. And, frankly, I don’t have a lot of any of those things to go around.

So for the past two years, my room has been fine. It’s been bright, colorful, clean, and somewhat organized (as long as it’s not December or May….). If you are curious about previous years, you can look at my 2018 classroom tour here. This year, the specials team was supposed to come up with a theme, and we chose “Around the World in 180 Days” annnnd I totally ran with it.

Thus my new classroom was born.

There are a bunch of things that I updated from last year, and I made all of my word walls cards and solfege ladders and other things so they all match.

Annnnd they are all available on TPT here!

If you would prefer to watch a video, you can check out the YouTube video version below.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Front of Classroom

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Let’s start this elementary music tour with the front of my classroom. My students sit on the dot carpets (you can see them here), so this is the view they have the majority of the time.

On my white board, I have a world map that comes down, and also a projector screen. One or both of those are down 90% of the time.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

This little area is on the right right when you walk in. It is kind of sectioned off by the piano. It houses my word wall, mallets, some books, some instruments, and some decorations.

I use the mailboxes for storing hand outs and written work that has not been done yet. I also stick books we are using that week in there. Here is a similar mailbox set up, and here is one that is much prettier and a little cheaper.

I find the globe very helpful for helping kids understand how far away things are from us.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here is a better look at my word wall. I have rhythms on the left, words that I don’t spend whole lessons on on the right (like tempo and audiate and improvise), and in the middle I add words we are learning. Because this is the beginning of the year, we are really just reviewing. You can get my word wall here. The background has maps on them (do you sense a theme?).

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is my table and my expectations corner. This year, I am trying to keep this table as clean as possible. Some things that are always on it include my new staff whiteboard (Yay! No more drawing them on the board! Here is a similar one.), my chimes which I use to quiet kids down, my yellow and red cards for classroom management (I talk briefly about that here, but will go into more depth soon, so make sure you are subscribed!), and my envelope system.

The blue paper and the numbers next to it are the class points. I use the magnets to show the points, and then write down how many a class got under their grade number. We try to earn points so that we can play a game on Friday.

You can get that border here.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here is a closer view of my expectations board. It has the rules, the consequences, and a reminder to SLANT. I will go more in depth this this later on.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

I like to have my name somewhere where students can easily see it, because they forget sometimes, and I don’t want them to be embarrassed. This world is from the Target Dollar Spot, and I wrote my name in script.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

On the right side of my board is what I dub my centers bookshelf. It has all of the stuff I use in centers throughout the week, and things I use often like clipboards, whiteboards, markers, pencils, etc. I love having that portable whit board, because my white board is usually hard to see with the projector screen down (I believe this is the same one, I just never put the ledge on the bottom of mine).

Solfege cards are available here.

That sign is from Etsy, but it was a gift so I’m not sure where it came from.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here’s a better look at the bookshelf. The box to the left of it is full of boxes of crayons.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

On top, I keep bass boomwhackers, a globe pillow, chalkboard that I always forget to write on, pencils, pointers, and turn in basket.

And yes, the labels are peeling off of the cups. I am working on replacing them.

The basket came with a whole set from Home Goods. There are actually two stacked on each other. The top is where students turn in any and all paperwork. If we are working on a project and do not finish, then I put the papers in the bottom box so that we can use them another day.

The pointers are from the Dollar Spot, and you can get an assortment of them here. I really like the stars because I call them my fairy wands. The bin is from the Hobby Lobby clearance rack.

Desk Area

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

We are not going super deep into my desk area, because it is not very impressive. But. On the side I have this bookshelf that I made to use as a nightstand in college (Interested in a tutorial? Let me know down below!). The top has my books on it, and the bottom has TE’s and some of my curriculum resources. On top, I keep me “to-do” basket. This is where I put papers to grade, permission slips, etc.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Beside my desk, I have another bookshelf. This one has CD’s, more of my books, scrap paper, bingo games, and more stuff like that. On top is a sort of command central. I have markers and colored pencils for anchor charts, binders, hole punch, bluetooth speaker, etc. The drawers have things I need but not often like Command hooks and batteries. The magazine racks are very helpful. One has anything that I may need to copy (originals of worksheets, extra paper, etc), and the right side has notebooks and flyers and things I don’t want to lose.

Piano Area

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is the keyboard lab. It is pretty simple. It has keyboards.

The colored boards on top are some of my DIY bulletin boards. They are currently empty, but that will change soon. I am making them into piano, ukulele, and guitar boards, but we haven’t learned them yet. I am going to add them as we go.

On the left is my data wall. Yes, I have to have a data wall. Once all classes have taken their pretests, I will be able to post data. I usually do percentage of the class that is on grade level, above grade level, or below grade level as a pie chart. If you need more info, let me know.

The background of the data wall is just a poster board from Target. It was about 50 cents. I would not suggest ordering online, because you would not want it to bend. The yellow border is Bordette. I got it off of Amazon. You can get it here.

Back of Music Classroom

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

I used to hate the back of my classroom, but with my recent updates, it is my favorite part!

In addition to that, I have a map on the wall. It is from the Target Dollar Spot. It is hot glued to this poster board because the stickies that came with it did not stick to the felt, but did stick to the wall.

Under that is a poster. You can’t see it well, but it says. “We sing songs from all around the world”, and has names of songs we have done along with the country they are from (if I can find it!) and clipart of the continent.

I also have my instrument bunting! This is one of my favorites! On the right is instruments of the orchestra (with the name of the family it is in), and on the left is classroom instruments. This banner is decorative, but also functional, and adds a nice splash of color.

You do not have to use both, and you can choose which instruments to use in order to make it the size that you want.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

In the back, I have my Focus Walls. Focus Walls are basically where I put things that are relevant to the lessons I am teaching this week. I have my standards, I Can Statements, mini anchor charts, and a running list of songs that we know.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

This is the last section of my classroom. These shelves have instruments (does anyone have good hand bell lessons?!?), coffee can drums for Kidstix, textbooks that barely get used, a few suitcases for decoration, and a cabinet full of stuff. This has mostly school supplies– paper, glue sticks, scissors, etc. I hot glued clothespins to the outside to hang anchor charts on it.

So that’s it! I want my classroom to be pretty, but mostly I want it functional and to feel fairly clean. I try not to put too many things on the walls, and use my bookshelves to keep things organized.

You can see last year’s classroom here, or get the Map Decor Bundle on TPT 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!

Do you have a classroom theme? Colors? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
3-5, Elementary Music, Games, K-2, Lessons

5 Simple Movement Activities Using Stick Figures

I am always looking for really easy, low stress movement activities– but that desire becomes even more apparent at the beginning of the school year. At the beginning of the year, I like to get kids moving in a way that is fun and not stressful– especially for students who are new to my school and the way that I teach music. This year, the stick figures posters have been my saving grace.

Now, some of these activities I came up with, but some I did not. I originally got the idea from my mentor teacher during student teaching. I am not sure where she got it from. I also got one of the variations from the book 85 Engaging Movement Activities by Phyllis Weikart (which I highly recommend, by the way).

You can draw stick figures yourself, or you can get a set from my TPT shop here!

Let’s get down to it: Movement activities with stick figures!

You may also like: Creative Movement with Scarves

Looking for a super simple movement activity for your elementary music room? Whether you need a warm up, a time suck, or to just wake the students up, these 5 movement activities with stick figures are the way to go. They are easy, require almost no prep, and the kids LOVE them. Becca's Music Room

4 Beat Phrases

The first (and easiest!) of these activities is 4 beat phrases. This is the one that I got out of the book 85 Engaging Movement Activities by Phyllis Weikart. Basically, you hold up a stick figure poster and students match it. You count to four, and each time, you switch the card. Super simple. What is cool is that students will start memorizing the pattern and will be able to switch to the next pose without even seeing it. You can also switch it up by changing the tempo or going to 8 beats or 16 beats. This is the activity I used this year right off the bat with my 3-5 graders.

Stick Figures with a Song

The next activity is actually the same, but with music in the background. Do the same procedure, just add some music. I really like this, because it will get students listening to things they may not normally listen to. I have done this with everything from salsa to Michael Jackson to Japanese classical music, when we did the song Star Festival (check it out here!).

Add a Blank Sheet

In order to get kids thinking more creatively, I add a black sheet of paper (or two or three!). Students copy the stick figure poses that are on the papers. When it is a blank sheet of paper, they make up their own. This is really simple, lets them be creative in a low-stakes way, because it is just for a moment. I even say they can use one of the ones we have already used.

You may also like: What Do I Do with Fifth Graders? Lessons and Tips

Looking for a super simple movement activity for your elementary music room? Whether you need a warm up, a time suck, or to just wake the students up, these 5 movement activities with stick figures are the way to go. They are easy, require almost no prep, and the kids LOVE them. Becca's Music Room

Make Up Your Own

After adding a blank sheet of paper, I will sometimes go to a pile of blank sheets. Students have to come up with their own poses. I like using a pile of blank sheets of paper, because that allows the kids to get the visual cue of when to switch poses. You could also just tell them to switch between 4 and 1 if you are counting, or you could use a drum to signal time to shift.

With a Partner

Annnd lastly, we do this in small groups. I always have them come up with their own in whole group first. Then we get into small groups or partners. One person is the leader and the other(s) follow the leader. The leader makes up the poses every four beats, like we have been doing, and the others do the same thing. After about 30 seconds, signal to the students to switch (I like to use a triangle or a maraca or something like that).

Looking for a super simple movement activity for your elementary music room? Whether you need a warm up, a time suck, or to just wake the students up, these 5 movement activities with stick figures are the way to go. They are easy, require almost no prep, and the kids LOVE them. Becca's Music Room

So there you go– five movement activities with stick figures! These are simple enough that you could use them in a teacher’s classroom or add it into your lesson if you happen to finish 5 minutes early. I have used it with grades 2-5, but the little people could probably do it as well.

You can draw the stick figures on paper, or you can get mine from my TPT shop (they are $1 and surprisingly popular. I didn’t think that anyone would want them, but what do I know?).

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!

What is your favorite simple movement activity? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Looking for a super simple movement activity for your elementary music room? Whether you need a warm up, a time suck, or to just wake the students up, these 5 movement activities with stick figures are the way to go. They are easy, require almost no prep, and the kids LOVE them. Becca's Music Room
Uncategorized

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
Uncategorized

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!