Category Archives: Lesson Plans

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!

Recorders: This worked for me!

I  have been trying different ways to get more one on one time with students who are learning to play recorder.  We all know how it is to listen to 25 recorders at once, especially when they are first beginning 😀 So, I decided I need to do something.  I also believe it is important for students to know how to read the notes on the treble clef.  Well, I think I have found the way! I begin my class with a simple warm up (2 min tops) to get everyone playing.  Then we break off in groups!  I usually have four groups going at once!  When I first began doing this I thought, “I really hope this doesn’t back fire!”  and so far it hasn’t! My four stations:  1. playing recorder with me 2. Musician of the month 3. Worksheets 4. treble clef twister.

I will explain these further along, but first (How do you do all this and not lose track of time?) I keep track of time with an online stop watch.  There are a ton of them out there, so just google and choose the one you like the best! Or you could by a kitchen timer.  I put my laptop at the table with the worksheets. I choose one person out of each group who I can trust and let them operate it.  I have been splitting my class into 5 min. segments.

Now, to the activities!  First there is playing recorder with me.  That is pretty self-explanatory.  I usually have a song that the class is working on.   I put it up with the projector and we practice playing it.  This gives me time to work with 5 or 6 students at a time.  I can work on the common problems of students not covering wholes, blowing to hard, etc…

The second activity is Musician(s)/composer(s) of the month.  I have a bulletin board with posters and articles of different musicians.  When the group goes to this station, they are to read about the musician and write one fact (and it can’t be the same as their neighbor).  They write this on one sheet of paper, so I should have 5 or 6 facts per group.

Activity number three: Worksheets.  This is often their least favorite (which is why I put the clock here, they love the clock), but it is a way that I can individually assess.  I have them do worksheets that involve counting rhythms, writing note names, musical terms etc… Here are some great websites for free worksheets:

Lastly, Treble Clef twister!  I learned this game from an old band director and thought it was awesome!  Here is how it works:  You need some type of tape (duct tape, painters tape, etc..)  This is used to make the GIANT staff on the floor. You will also need a square piece of card board and a round fastener.  This is to make the spinner.  Once you have made everything then you play, just as you are to play twister!  It’s a simple game.  Choose one person to be the spinner and the other people play.  (Of course, make sure to choose a different spinner person every week so everyone gets a chance to play)  This section tends to get a little noisy so to make it more difficult I make it “Silent” twister.  If you talk or fall you are out! Once they are out they come and join group one in making music on the recorder.

Now, just to let you know I did not start all these groups at once!  I began slowly by have two groups, then built it up to four groups.  It took about two months to have everything going at once and I am still working on a few classes.  If you decide to try it out, please let me know how it works for you.  Also, if you have any other great ideas please share them!

Teaching Kinders!

I use the Spotlight on Music text books at my school.  They are great!  I used them during student teaching and throughout the year, so I am getting used to them more and more.  I use them more for the lower grades (k-3 sometimes 4).  It is harder to keep the 5th graders attention with them.  The songs are great and they provide a lot of pre-made lessons.  One lesson I really enjoyed was the lesson on rhythm:Kindergarten book, Unit 4, Lesson 3.

I wanted my students to be able to switch back and forth between steady beat and rhythm multiple times.  My students came in my classroom and we stood in a circle.  The song is about bouncing a ball, so I had each of my students pretend to bounce a ball to the steady beat.  Then, I picked up a real ball and started passing it around the circle to the steady beat  (When the students began passing to slowly or to fast, I had the students whisper: pass, pass, pass… until we were on the beat again).  Once I decided the students were able to pass on the steady beat proficiently we sat down.  Each student then received their own ball.  I taught them to sing the song using movements with the ball.  Once they were able to sing the song from memory we began exploring the big book(page 27).  We looked at the beat bars and observed they all looked the same.  Then we looked at the balls above it and observed they were different heights and some of the bars had two balls over the bar.  I pointed to the bars and sang and pointed to the balls and sang.  Then to see if the students could play the rhythm I passed out rhythm sticks and played the “rhythm of the words”.  They watched me first, then we two fingered clapped the rhythm and then finally added the sticks (only few at a time).  At the end when I was sure each student could play the rhythm we changed back to steady beat!  To my surprise they were able to do without a problem! Then we switched back to rhythm.  Once again, they did it!  So, to make it more difficult I played the steady beat on a hand drum while they played the rhythm of the words.  They did a great job 😀  We moved on and did some of the other activities in this lesson, but this was my favorite!