Looking for an interactive, kinesthetic and creative way to teach the names of the notes on the music staff? Well look no further for I have discovered the footNOTES music rug by Wenger. My 3rd and 4th grade students use it to help with naming the notes on the music staff.
Here are a couple fun rug activities: Note Race & Bean Bag Toss. Note Race is one that the students ask for over and over again! The class is split into two equal teams. One student from each team races against the other to be the first one to stand on the note I say. For example, when learning the space notes, I may say “Find me an A, ready, go!”. When I say “go”, the students run forward and put two feet in the A space. If a student is incorrect, I work with them to find the correct answer. This educational game – perfect for individually assessing student’s knowledge in a fun way - can be played for points or just for fun.
Another rug game, less educational, is called Bean Bag Toss. Same concept - two teams, two students against each other, and I say the same thing: “note name, ready, go!”. This time, each student has a bean bag and on “go”, they toss the bean bag as close as they can to the note I named. This game is less educational because as a teacher, you don’t really know what they are aiming for… and you hope it is the correct note!
Here is what www.wengercorp.com has to say about the rug: “Kids love learning notation when it’s this much fun. Walk, jump or dance. Your kids will have a blast jumping and dancing on the colorful footNOTES® staff rug.”
The staff rug is 6′ x 8′ and the clefs are 2′ x 6′. This rug is easy to move by yourself! The rug itself is $399.oo and after tax and shipping, the total ended up around $450.00.
After my workshop with Lynn Kleiner this summer, I added these resources to my classroom: a sky blue flannelboard and lots of felt!! Here is what www.musicrhapsody.com says about using felt visuals:
“Young Children Love Visuals! These bright, high quality felts are engaging as they encourage participation and stimulate language development as well as singing. Point to the appropriate felt piece and you will be rewarded with responses from even the quietest music makers. They love to hold them too, singing when it’s their turn and being rewarded with a chance to add something to the felt board.”
Because this is a new resource for me, I have only used this board with one visual so far this year – “Turkey Feathers” from Farm Songs and the Sounds of Moo-sic! by Lynn Kleiner. However, I do have visuals for “Apple Tree” from Farm Songs and “The Chubby Little Snowman” and “Warm Wendall” from In all Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music. I will be trying the two winter activities out with K-1 in January or February and the apples in the spring with my older students!
Because I had the funds, I purchased the large flannelboard from www.amazon.com but the medium size should also do just fine. So if you are looking for a new visual, adding a flannelboard and some felt manipulatives is a perfect way to engage all students.
If you are looking for lesson plans or resources about the fall & winter season, or to use around the next two holidays - Halloween & Thanksgiving – please check in my lessons plans for information. Or if you prefer to write your own, here are some of the resources I am using this year:
- Five Little Jack-O-Lanterns from In All Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music! by Lynn Kleiner
- The Little Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything – Improvisation & sound story
- Witch, Witch from Singing Games Children Love ,Volume 1
- Pumpkin Fat, Costume Fun & Pass the Broom from Singing Games Children Love, Volume 3
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat – Filler story, fun for the kids to sing.
- Shoo Turkey & Turkey Feathers from Farm Songs and the Sounds of Moo-sic! by Lynn Kleiner
- Turkey in the Barnyard from Singing Games Children Love, Volume 3
- I’m the Fastest Turkey & Five Fat Turkeys games
- Autumn Leaves from MusicPlay for Kindergarten
- Five LIttle Leaves & Windy Weather from In All Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music! by Lynn Kleiner
- Five Little Snowmen, The Chubby Little Snowman, Five Little Jingle Bells & Warm Wendall from In All Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music! by Lynn Kleiner
This weekend, I have been looking through 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young Children by Abigail Flesch Connors. This resource has many… well, 101 to be exact… activities and songs to use when introducing young children (my kindergarteners) to the numerous rhythm instruments in the music room. Many activities use favorite children’s songs and change the words to be about playing instruments, specifically the sandblocks, rhythm sticks, jingle bells and shakers. With only being a second year teacher, I have been struggling to find creative ways to introduce my kinders to Orff instruments, correct playing techniques and following directions when having an instrument in hand. I have found some great activities in this book that I know my kids will love.
This book can be purchased on Amazon for $10.17 and has great reviews!
Here is what Amazon.com has in the product description: “The perfect book to introduce rhythm instruments to young children. The activities bring music into the classroom and offer ways for children to participate in the music experience, using rhythm sticks, sand blocks, bells, shakers, and more! Children make the sound of the ocean waves using shakers, pretend to be a train using sand blocks, create a rainstorm with rhythm sticks and perform circus tricks with jingle bells. Plus, they learn to play the instruments along with their favorite songs. 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities is perfect for parents, early childhood teachers and music teachers who work with toddlers through age six.”
This weekend, I had a chance to go through the entire teacher’s binder of “Musicplay for Kindergarten”. I am always on the prowl for resources for K-1, and this one is definitely one I will be using. This curriculum has numerous lessons, ideas and songs that can be used in a Kindergarten music class or in a general classroom. Musical concepts are emphasized in the lessons (dynamics, tempo, steady beat, movement, instruments, etc…), as well as cross-curricular concepts (seasons, shapes, colors, math, science, language, etc…). Before I bought this resource with my budget money this year, I was already using several songs from this book: Pass the Shoe, Autumn Leaves, Naughty Kitty Cat, Old King Glory, A Tisket, A Tasket…
Here is an excerpt about this resource:
“This product includes a binder (140+ pages) with 6 performance/accompaniment CDs. The Musicplay for Kindergarten program has been written to be a complete cross-curricular approach to teaching music and to teaching other subject areas through music. This program include songs for all the themes taught in the kindergarten classroom. These are just a few of the themes and academic areas that are included: names, colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet, fall, Halloween, pumpkins Thanksgiving, peace, friends, families, whales, beaches, dinosaurs, helmet safety, traffic safety and more! Musical Concepts are taught through traditional and composed action songs, singing games, singalong songs, chants and activities. This is a program for BOTH the Kindergarten classroom teacher and the music specialist with a real emphasis on integrating learning through music.” -http://www.christmasconcert.com/MusicPlayKindergarten.htm
**Update: During this week of music (August 30-September 3rd) I used these songs from the first few weeks of the Musicplay curriculum: Hickety Tickety, The Sitter Poem, This is My Speaking Voice, and the Melody the Elephant idea. All have been hits with my kindergarteners.
Our Favorite Shenanigans CD located on www.musicrhapsody.com, consists of “the best of Shenanigans, with 21 songs from around the world.” If you do not know what Shenanigans is, this explanation comes of the West Music website: “By Gary King & Shenanigans. The Australian group Shenanigans is known for their playing of international instruments and enjoyable way of making folk dance accessible for all ages (preschool and up).”
Music Rhapsody founder, Lynn Kleiner, put together this compilation (with Gary King’s permission) of her favorite 21 Shenanigans dances and activities. There are multiple Shenanigans CDs, and it gets expensive to purchase all of them at once. This CD does not come with an instruction booklet. It includes favorites like:
- Highway No. 1
- Shoemaker’s Dance
- Los Machetes
- The Chimes of Dunkirk
- The King’s March
- Seven Jumps
Having either the Shenanigans Folk Dances and booklets in your toolbox, or this CD is essential! Students will beg for these over and over again!
Farm Songs and Sounds of Moo-sic by Lynn Kleiner, is her newest book, which I will be ordering shortly. At the workshop last week, we were able to participate in several of the lessons and activities included in this book. They are phenomenal! The ones we did, which I love are:
- Shoo Turkey: A traditional folk song with a twist. Students have the opportunity to try many different instruments.
- Farmer Brown’s Cow: Solo opportunities that help extend vocal range.
- All Around the Gardener’s Bench: Students act of a story, solo sing and play pitched/unpitched Orff instruments.
- Bought Me a Cat: Folk song with solo singing, moving and body percussion.
- A Mouse Lives in a Little Hole: CUTE with a mouse puppet! Kids get to be a mouse and move around.
- Ballet of Chicks in Their Shells from Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky: Kids act out this wonderful orchestral composition and have a blast!
- Apple Tree: This song can be used for so much – rhythm, instruments, body percussion, partner percussion. I enjoyed the rhythm counting part of this one. Very engaging!
Songs of the Sea by Lynn Kleiner, is another book I was introduced to at the workshop, and I loved it! It is on my list to be ordered soon as well! The lessons and activities I was introduced to and loved at the workshop are:
- Russian Sailor’s Dance: This piece, by Giliere, helps students determine moods of music and act it out.
- Sandy Sandy Sand: Solo singing and instruments. Students fill (sing!) in the blanks with their own creative answers!
- Overture to “William Tell” (Dinghies in a Storm!) by Rossini: Students act out a wonderful story of dinghies being caught in a storm. Great for story time! I was so engaged!
- Larry the Lobster: I LOVED THIS ONE! Even bought me a mini lobster puppet! This song involves instruments, drama, music vocabulary (tremolo, crescendo, piano, forte) and solo singing.
- Mister Sun: Such a cute song and students can add instruments.
- Jungle Beat: Students play instruments and learn the different families in a fun way (metals, woods…)
P.S. CD’s are included in the Teacher Editions of all three books!
Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move! by Lynn Kleiner is the first book I owned of hers. This book contains “25 orchestral tracks with creative lessons for moving, listening, playing instruments, and having fun” (front cover). Some of the composers of the musical selections included in this book are: Brahms, Grainger, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Saint-Saens, Beethoven, Haydn, Dvorak, Orff and Kodaly.
A couple of my favorites (and my kids favorites) are:
- Run, Run! from Memories of Childhood by Octavio Pinto.
- Creatures of the Garden by Herbert Donaldson
- Viennese Musical Clock from Hary Janos Suite by Zoltan Kodaly
- Selections from Carnival of the Animals (Aquarium, Kangaroos,The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods) by Camille Saint-Saens
- Goodbye Songs: Come My Friends, a melody from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. Papa Haydn’s Goodbye, from “Theme” from Surprise Symphony. Adagio from Symphony No. 1 by Brahms. Making Music, from “Largo” from Symphony No. 9 “New World Symphony” by Dvorak.
I have others that I like, but my list would last forever if I included everything! Please go to www.musicrhapsody.com or www.westmusic.com to purchase this book!
It is a great orchestral music resource for elementary music teachers. Kids do not hear enough classical music. With these activities, they will not only enjoy the orchestral music, but they will beg to listen and participate over and over again!
In All Kinds of Weather, Kids Make Music by Lynn Kleiner, is another book of hers I love and own. This book contains “34 lesson plans, lots of photographs, puppet and felt-board patterns, movement activities and instrument playing [and a] special instrument-making section” with all the songs centered around weather or the seasons.
Lynn’s books are wonderful, because they give you her innovative lesson plan ideas. She never just gives you a song and only the song. She gives you her idea for a movement part, Orff instrument part, her manipulative patterns, homemade instrument patterns and game instructions. However, you never have to follow them exactly! She encourages you to adapt the lesson plans to fit you and your students.
One of my favorites, that Lynn did with us at the workshop this week is Mister Sun.
Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too! by Lynn Kleiner, is the final book I own by her. This is a recently owned one because I won it at the workshop, but she refers to it as the “meat and potatoes”. It is full of lesson plans, movement activities, instrument playing, puppets and more for babies through primary age students.
I have not had the chance to choose any favorites, or try anything out yet. However, if it is anything like Lynn’s other books, I will not be disappointed!