I usually had a difficult time getting some fun stuff in for Thanksgiving for my first and second graders because they were getting ready for their holiday programs. However, I thought it was important that we start rehearsals early enough to 1. incorporate concepts within the music and 2. add other fun stuff that had nothing to do with program songs.  In November, one of the most favorite games was "Shoo, Turkey." There are various arrangements of this song/game in publication, but the one I always used was from the Bessie Jones/Bess Lomax Hawes book Step It Down.  This is a great call and response song you can use for assessment! Alan Lomax, a well-known folk musicologist, recorded Bessie Jones singin g this ditty during an interview on the music she remembered growing up in a Georgia farming community. (By the way, her biographical information in Step It Down is fascinating! If you don't have this book, you should. It is a treasure.) The "call" in the record...
Carl Orff stated that "Dance has the closest relationship to music. My idea and the task that I set myself was a regeneration of music through movement, through dance." Later, he added that rhythm is difficult to teach, expressed only by "releasing" it. Anne Green Gilbert , who developed Brain Danc e, noted the connections between dance and human growth and development. Two Orff educators, Jenny Burnett and Laura Webster, wrote an article for the Orff Echo describing how to use movement to teach concepts (Orff Echo , Vol. 42, No. 4 ). Finally, as noted on this blog post on Walkabout , movement is a crucial tool in social emotional development, which is probably needed more now than in past decades. There's an issue: I KNOW some of you are thinking that it's tough enough to keep kids distanced from each other, much less let them move around the room! Non-locomotor ideas to the rescue. These ideas can be be used to reinforce concepts, expression, mindfulnes...
  As I type this, many of my music teacher friends and relatives are living through the planning or first day stages of distance learning experiences. Life has changed with plastic panels, new sit spots six feet apart (if you're lucky enough to either have classes split or a large class), or new experiences on a cart. OR, you are navigating through recording your lessons and working around various online activities. This is part two of a   three-part blog series collecting various  tip Memes of the Day on my  Facebook page ,  Instagram,  and  Twitter.   Because I'm retired, I've wanted to help, so I began posting these memes, but then realized having all of them in one place might be nice. Distance Learning Memes, Part 1 Distance Learning Memes,  Part 3 Part 2 Use Puppy Pads for Condensation.  Honestly, I can't remember where I read this, but it's genius. We had a package we never really used because our "adopted as grown" dog didn't need them, but the...
Right now, many of you have already started school. Some are still waiting, because your district might have postponed the start of school, hoping to provide staff more time to prepare. Some of you are fulltime in the classroom. Some of you are doing virtual teaching. Some of you are on a hybrid schedule. Some of you have been moved out of your rooms and onto a cart. Some of you have masks only. Some of you have shields. I'm willing to bet, however, you all are just a little stressed. This is part three of a   three-part blog series collecting various  tip Memes of the Day on my  Facebook page ,  Instagram,  and  Twitter.   Because I'm retired, I've wanted to help, so I began posting these memes, but then realized having all of them in one place might be nice. This third set is going to focus on YOU, and how you can care for yourself. Distance Learning Memes, Part 1 Distance Learning Memes,  Part 2 Part  3 Find an Easy Place to Dump Your Thoughts Music teachers are famous f...
       I am going to be honest: I have felt pretty helpless as my former colleagues are planning, worrying, buying, and collaborating to prepare for.....well, "How long will we be in the building?" "How long will we be virtual?" "How do I keep kids at a distance?"        It's not much, but I decided to provide a tip Meme of the Day on my Facebook page , Instagram,  and Twitter.  However, I started realizing that having all those memes in one place might be nice, so I wrote three posts to cover these issues. Part 1 Use SeeSaw or another video platform to sing your morning song to your kids. As teachers, we know how crucial routine is to our students. One of the biggest debates on school versus virtual is getting students back on a regular schedule. There is good and not so good on both sides. But, if you are going virtual, there is no reason why you cannot continue a morning song or teach a new one. SeeSaw has video capabilities to allow you to reach y...
(Disclaimer: I am a SeeSaw Ambassador, but I am not employed by the company. I just love it!) Educators are having a difficult time planning for distance learning. If they start at school, they have to worry about distancing and the possibility of having to suddenly teach from home again. And, obviously, music is performance-based. How do you assess singing and possibly playing? It can't take the place of consistent musicking together, but SeeSaw online portfolio  can make it a little easier. The platform makes it easy to go from school teaching to home teaching. Students can still sit apart and work collaboratively with peer assessments. Teachers can keep up with students with computer or phone. And parents can be involved while their child is at school by being able to check their portfolio. When I was teaching,  I absolutely loved to use SeeSaw. I'd set up "recording studios" with ceiling canopies or gym mats so pairs of students could help each other with recorder...