About six months ago, I wrote a song for the book One Day In the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree. It's a charming story about a little boy who gets swallowed by a snake and how he cleverly escapes. It was such a hit with my students, that I decided to contact the author, Daniel Bernstrom. I told him how much my students LOVED his story and that it inspired me to write a song. I sent it to him and asked if it would be ok to share with other teachers. To my delight, he responded! He said he loved the song and was happy that his book inspired me and my students. He thanked me for "making his story come alive" and encouraged me to share it with others. Then, he challenged me to write a song for his new book, Gator, Gator, Gator!, about a young girl who goes on an adventure searching for a giant alligator. I bought the book, picked up my guitar, and it didn't take long before I heard the melody that matched Daniel's words. I sent him a short video of me playing and singing a verse and chorus to see what he thought, and he immediately wrote back giving me the thumbs up! He spoke about the music theory in his books with "syncopated rhythms" and "changing metrical feet within metrical lines," which explained why his books so easily translate into song. Once it was finished, I read the story to my students and played them the new song I wrote. I told them about my experience communicating with the author and they were thrilled. They loved the new story and song, Gator, Gator, Gator!, and I hope you do too!
I encourage you to buy both of Daniel Bernstrom's books to add to your library. I promise your students are going to LOVE them! To listen to the song I wrote for One Day In the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree (Click HERE). To purchase Daniel's books, click the button below.
If you haven't already done so, click on our Teacher Resources page. You'll find links to great websites that will inspire your lessons and make you a better teacher! Today's spotlight is on a website called Cult of Pedagogy. I stumbled on it while searching Pinterest for ideas on how to incorporate centers into my classroom. I watched a great video by Jennifer Gonzalez on her concept of "chat" stations. In her own words, chat stations are "a watered-down version of learning stations that keeps the movement, interactivity and variety while minimizing the prep work." What I like most about them is their flexibility! See it for yourself below...
Do you need posters for the NOTES & RESTS? This is what I have displayed in my room. You can download and print below!
Have you visited the Composer page? There's a different composer featured for every month of the year. This month's composer is Lin-Manuel Miranda! Since the TONY Awards are held every June, I decided to feature a musical theatre composer, and who better than Lin-Manuel? Best known for composing and starring in the smash hit broadway musical Hamilton, Miranda is currently one of America's leading composers of musical theatre, film and television. He is also a singer, actor and dancer who just had a starring role in Disney's Mary Poppins Returns. Click the button below to learn more about Lin-Manuel Miranda and watch clips from his musicals, including some rare video clips from his earlier work on the kids television show The Electric Company!
I found a really great book called "All Are Welcome" by Alexandra Penfold. It's about how a school is a community where "All Are Welcome", no matter your race, religion, age, gender, size, ability, etc. It promotes tolerance and acceptance, and its words and overall message are beautiful and necessary for children to hear, especially in the current climate. I was inspired to write a song using the words of the book and I'm planning on using this at the beginning of the school year with my classes as I welcome them to music.
Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas on how to use the song/story in a lesson!
Every teacher has their own special way to manage behavior or "keep the peace" in their room. As music teachers, we usually service most, if not all of the school, so coming up with something that works universally for every class is quite the challenge. In my room, I've created two different kinds of incentives for my students: individual and whole-class.
INDIVIDUAL - I created a set of grade-level specific music flash cards that are color-coded for each of the grades I teach (1st - 5th). They are in the front of the room and separated into individual bins labeled 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. When a student answers a question correctly or assists me or another student with a lesson, they can go select a card. At the end of class, they hand the card back to me for a skittle or a sticker. If there is time at the end of class, I'll ask those students who have cards to come up to the front and share the musical term/definition on their card with the rest of the class.
WHOLE-CLASS - I have a clip chart in the front of the room with every classroom teacher's name on it. The chart is color-coded as follows:
Blue - Standing Ovation
Light Blue - Bravo
Green - Round of Applause
Yellow - 2 thumbs up
Orange - 1 thumb up / 1 thumb down
Red - 2 thumbs down
Purple - Award Winning
All classes start the year out on "Yellow - 2 thumbs up". During each class period, depending on class-wide behavior, their clip moves up or down. At the end of each quarter (9 weeks), the classes whose clips are on "Purple - Award Winning", get a prize or game day. All clips move back to yellow at the beginning of the next quarter.
What do you use in your classroom that works? Comment below.
It took me a while before I found classroom rules that I liked. I wanted something positive but effective, and I also wanted them to be musical and interactive. I searched Pinterest and found some rules with a rhythmic pattern, and with a little tweaking, I settled on these eight "RHYTHM RULES"...
What rules do you use in your classroom? Comment below. If you like my rules and would like a copy, you can download them FREE here...
A new school year is about to begin and it's time to put together your music classroom. Bulletin boards, posters, instruments, rugs, chairs, tables, etc. We all use similar materials but have unique ways of designing our rooms. It's always fun to see other music classrooms to get new ideas. Here are some pictures of my room...
What are some things that are important to you or that you always like to include when designing your music classroom? Comment below. You can also email me pictures of your classroom and I will share them to this blog.
Hi there! I'm Mr. Q, an elementary music teacher from Florida. I created this website to be a place where kids can come learn all about music, and teachers can find and share great lessons to use in their music classrooms. I'd love to hear from you! You can email me at: email@example.com or simply comment on any of the blog posts with your ideas!