Orff arrangements

Lately, I have dabbled in writing Orff arrangements for my classroom.  My latest and favorite is “Fairy Hunt”.  I must admit the poem is not mine.  I found it in a book called Fun with ABC and 123 by Hal Dareff, written in 1965.  I found this little gem of a poetry book at an antique store in Boone, NC.

When doing this song with kids I suggest the following form:

A) Play song as written – with singing

B) Play song as students think the words

A)Play song as written – with singing- adding “Gotcha” as the ending.

Suggested dance:

Circle formation.  Students walk in for 8 beats and out for 8 beats pretending to look for a fairy (remember fairies are very small).  When students sing the world friend they should pair up with someone and wonder around the room searching for a fairy.  By the end of the song they should be somewhere in the circle ready for to do the dance again.  At the end they do not have to return to the circle, but should say “Gotcha” and freeze.

This dance looks nice when using scarves (fairy nets).

Please feel free to use this song with your class!  Make any changes you need to, I hope you and your kiddos enjoy Fairy Hunt.

Fairy Hunt (F)

fairy hunt

Ready for a new year!

I’m so excited to be starting my fourth year of teaching!  It has flown by.

This year writing across the curriculum has become a major topic at my school.  Here are a few ways I have decided to integrate writing in a meaningful way!

The younger students will use this form for listening.  I have seen many varieties of this on line and used the ideas to develop my own.  It is a simple way to get them  thinking about the music we are listening to and doing a simple pre-writing assignment.   What do you hear

As students begin to write more in their classes they will begin using a simple large line paper with a box for them to draw a picture.  During the writing portion of the lesson we will listen to music and write together at first.  Later in the year the students will be expected to write on their own.

Last, my oldest students will be keeping a journal of instruments.  When I came across the blog color in my piano I was very impressed!  She has great ideas and a lot of great printable resources.

If you have any other suggestions on integrating writing in meaningful ways please post them below!

Summer lovin’….Had me a blast

So, Summer is going much to quickly!  A lot has happened in the past few months, my husband and I bought our first home and we have been super busy fixing it up!  It’s a 90 year old house!

Meanwhile, I have also taken Orff Level 1. WOW!  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it sure blew my expectations out of the water!  I am so pumped to try some new stuff next year.  It amazes me what children can do if we will sit back and let them.

The question during the Orff classes that resonated most with me is, “What are your beliefs of children?”  This really got me thinking.  In the traditional model, we as a society believe children should, sit down, be quiet and listen and some how we will pour all this knowledge into them.  Well, I believe that is wrong,  we need to provide pathways of getting the knowledge out of them and pathways where the children are discovering new knowledge!  If children discover it for themselves it sticks!  I remember when I was a kid learning about the judicial system, we actually acted out a crime case.  I got to be a lawyer (bad move, I’m way to honest, haha),  but I remember what every ones parts were and how they acted together, in the end my client was convicted (she did it,  I couldn’t convince anyone she didn’t!)   If students are given situations in which they have to be creative and they have to find the answer, it will stick with them.  This is what the Orff approach is truly about, having students be the creators.

I’m lucky to be at a school where we are moving toward this model of  being student centered!  We as a faculty, try to make sure the students are engaging with each other as much as possible.  My hope is this is what most schools in America are trying to do this!

If you have any advice for someone who just finished taking Orff Level 1, please leave a comment!

Update!

It’s been a while since I have posted anything!  I am loving this year!  I just started an after school chorus in January! I decided to take a different approach.  My goal is for the students to really love to sing!  And lets face it singing ‘old’, ‘boring’ songs just isn’t what they want to do!  However, I have found a way to find a balance.  For every ‘popular’ song we sing we sing two ‘old’ songs.  (of course, I don’t tell them that part – they just think I’m ‘cool’ haha) They just love the ‘popular’ songs, so we always sing those last during rehearsal.  I always say I hope we get to that song, which in turns makes them work really hard on the new language, or harmonies!  In the end they really have begun to love the ‘old’ songs.  I have even had them ask to skip the ‘cool’ song, so we could sing the more traditional choir songs.

I am also continuing to enjoy teaching 5th grade band.  It is a bit discouraging to only see the students once a week, but the kids have been great and have been working hard.  We had our first concert during Music in our Schools Month and they really enjoyed performing.

I look forward to continuing my program next school year adding musicals and more activities for the younger students!  If you have any great ideas for the younger (k-2) kids please post them!

Social Networking

Sometimes being the only music teacher or maybe one of two in a single school can get very lonely.  I have been trying to figure out ways to stay in touch with other active music teachers and found a few ways.  I have been able to attend a music education online conference, interact with other teachers through forums, and most excitingly get new ideas to try in my classroom. How? By using the internet!

I strongly encourage making a twitter account.  I realize some people may feel that they don’t want to know when someone is eating with friends, or bought a pair shoes, etc….etc… BUT, you can also find out about  music education related subjects.  I use my facebook account for friends and family, and my twitter mostly for music education.  I did a search for music education on Tweet Deck and it shows me every time someone mentions music education.  From there I have been able to ‘follow’ people who are really tweeting about subjects I care about.  I think this is a good start in getting connected.

Secondly, Music PLN is a great networking sight strictly for US! where you can ask questions, answer questions, and find out what other teachers are doing in their classroom.  It is great for new ideas.  I often go through forums just to find something I can try in my classroom.  After all, we should be life long learners, right?  This site is already set up with all the basics that a music teacher needs to stay connected.  So, if you feel like Twitter is not right for you maybe this would be a better answer.

Lastly, find some blogs and podcasts, that are interesting to you.  Music PLN has a links page that has everything from Elementary music to College Music Education blogs and a few podcasts.  I have a few favorites that I keep bookmarked and go to just to read how someone else is doing (it can be very encouraging).  I will post a few on the right side of my blog.

Of course, keeping up with all of this can be time consuming and we already have very busy lives, but that is the beauty of it all.  We don’t have to sign on every day, or even once a week, but we should all know that it is out there and use it to our benefit when it is needed. Go ahead! Get connected!

Always Keep Something In Your Pocket!

School is starting out well.  I am enjoying teaching at my new school.  I feel like a new teacher again, trying to learn names, processes, making new friends, etc… but I am having a great time doing it!

I have a few more exciting tidbits to put in my pocket and save, so I can pull them out for those not so exciting moments.  It is only week three and I have had 5th graders asking me when they can perform in front of the school, kids taking songs I have taught them and putting new words to them, and for the first time I have an after school choir which consists of first through fifth (I’m not going to lie, that wasn’t my idea).

As for the 5th graders asking to perform, they will be!  A student teacher (ST) at my school has to do a leadership project for her college and therefore chose to do a musical! called Character Matters.  Many 5th graders are participating in this and will be singing, acting, and memorizing lines. ST decided to open it to the school, 1st through 5th grade.  I was a little worried at first, since we had around 100 kids interested, but it is shaping up to be pretty good.  She decided to make all 1st and 2nd grade students be in the choir (which is around 40) and then the rest got to choose what they wanted to do.  This is how the after school choir became what it is.  The kids have been great, well behaved and I am pretty excited to continue to work with them.  I also have a few students (5th grade) who will be singing solos! So far they have been very attentive, cooperative and most importantly dramatic!  I will continue to update you on the progress of the musical.

Lastly,  I had two girls come to me after class and sing a song that they had rewritten.  If you have ever used Musick8 you may know the song FACE.  I had two girls change the words to teach how to walk in the hallway quietly.  Those are the moments I live for, when kids walk up excited that they have accomplished something and have giant smiles on there faces, hoping you are as excited as they are! and honestly, I am!

It’s always good to keep something in your pocket that makes you smile.

Time for a new year!

I am amazed at how quickly my first year of teaching flew by!  A flash of Summer, and now the new school year begins. I have moved to another state and just received my second job.  Nothing will ever be like my first job…which I will always give credit to making me the teacher I am today.  I know I was only there a year, but I will be forever changed.

I feel like I am going into another “first” year teaching experience since I am at a new school.  However, I know that I will be more confident in what I do.  I will still take with me all the things my previous school taught me.  My new school will be a new challenge.  There aren’t many instruments (yet), so I will have to be creative in planning lessons to engage students.  I will be directing a 5th grade band (comprised of a small group of kids), which I am very excited about.  I would like to start an after school chorus and during the school day incorporate recorder in the 4th and 5th grade general music classes.  The building I am in is pretty new and has a lot of new technology including a prometheum board (similar to a smart board)!  I am excited to see what I can do with it.  If anyone uses one of these boards and has any tips, please post them!  It would be a great help.

I will continue to blog throughout this year.  So, as everyone takes off there sun shades, puts away there swim suits, and rejoins the teaching world I hope you will continue to read and comment on my posts!  Best wishes to a great start of the new school year!

I made it!

My first year of teaching is coming to a close.  It is very bitter sweet. I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I certainly had my ups and downs, students who drove me nuts, and well lets face it co-workers too, but through it all I have certainly learned a lot and can not wait to see what next year holds.

In the past month or so a lot has happened.  I had to reinterview for my job  (my entire school had to reinterview), which lucky for me I was accepted back, but painfully watched others be turned away.  No one seemed to knows what our new principal was looking for, but hopefully it will all work out for the best!

My K/1st grade students had their spring program which turned out great! They sang, danced, and acted their hearts out.  The parents love it and I was pleased to have finished my last big program of the year.

Fifth grade is now getting read to have the promotion celebration at which they will be singing 4 songs.  They are doing a wonderful job.  In December they sang for the Holiday program and to hear what progress they have made since then in singing brings me great joy!  I can not wait until Thursday when they perform for last time as ELEMENTARY students!

Overall, my first year was great! If there are any graduating first year teachers out there, I wish you the best of luck and remember always welcome your students with a smile.

EOG Energizer!

I am sure you never thought a music teacher could be excited about the EOG test.  Well, I guess I am not really excited about the test, but I am excited about the buzz around my after school choir.  My school had an energizer to kick off the 20 day countdown until  the EOG.  As a part of the festivities the after school choir performed a song from the Music K8 magazines called “Test Me“.  Ever since the performance, I have heard kids singing it in the hallways.  It’s a catchy tune and most importantly it has a line that reads, “Let me show you, show you, show you what I know!” It’s a great song to build confidence for the test!  The more they sing it and the more they hear it, they are bound to start believing it.  I don’t know about you, but standardized test make me nervous so, I am excited to have found something that can bring some confidence to the students.

Giving the gift of MUSIC…

A few months ago I heard about an organization called Donors Choose, not knowing much about it, I signed up and decided to give it a chance.  Donors Choose is organization that lets you post items you need in your classroom (as a project) and donors (complete strangers/friends/etc..) browse through the pages of needed items and choose to give to a project.  I just found out that mine was completely funded!

I asked for four djembe’s, two large and two small.  I already have a few hand drums, shakers, and other non pitched percussion instruments and now we will have djembe’s to go a long with them :D I want to incorporate more drumming in my classroom and start an after school drum circle.  I think my students will benefit greatly from it.  They will be involved in something that makes them a part of a community, be able to express their emotions in a positive way, and most importantly have fun!  I can’t wait for the drums to come in, I know the kids are going to have a blast.

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