Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Name that Note Scavenger Hunt!

Some people are just blessings!  My first few years as a music teacher I was blessed to work with Meredith Leblanc who because of our time of working together has become a dear friend.  When I was a clueless newbie music teacher, she was kind and patient.  When I was frustrated and at a loss for how to proceed, she was full of ideas and advice.  Then when I would come up with some idea that I was SURE would work with children but was really destined to flop, she'd smile, close the door between our rooms and teach her class beautifully while chaos ensued in my class as I learned how to teach rather than exasperate my students.   Meredith was the first music teacher that I really got to study to see how she practiced her artful interactions with children.   Meredith was the one who asked (told) me that I needed to go ahead and cough up the money, and write a letter to my new PTA so that I could go to Education Through Music which turned out to be the best advice she ever gave me.   To this day, if I want to know how to teach something in a fun, practical and easy way, she is my go to gal.

The seeds of this blog post were grown out of a game that Meredith came up with that I bet she will play with her students sometime this year for 3 reasons.... it's fun, it's easy, AND they learn the material!  

Note Name Scavenger Hunt

1. Download and print the Treble Clef Flash Cards from Making Music Fun 

2.  Cut up the cards and then "hide" the ones that you would like your students to review all over your room.       (I trimmed mine down some to make them easier to hide) 

DON'T FORGET - put numbers on the cards BEFORE you hide them..... if you don't you get to find them all again and put numbers on them......that's why my 12 looks so wompy...... I was working at an odd angle.  ALSO - go ahead and make a key so that you can give the correct answers easily.  

3. Copy a numbered sheet for each student so they can write down the name of the note next to the correct number.   This is the one that I created.......... (I'm not proficient yet on sharing my files, so please let me know if you are successful in downloading this one.) 

4. Make sure that everyone has a pencil, lapboard/clipboard and a paper before you begin. 

This one is under my board


1. My favorite part about this activity is that it adds movement and elements of play into a plain old review.  I also like the fact that the students can work together.  As I wander around the room with the class, I get a real sense of where the holes are in their thinking.  I also buddy up with students who are struggling and the playful atmosphere allows me to do some serious reteaching.  

2. I NEVER give prizes! 

3. If there are areas in your room that you want your  students to stay away from (like your teacher desk?), make that clear before you begin.  By nature, a scavenger hunt is going to lead your students into poking around your piles in their attempt to find that last item on their list.......I find that this activity is best when my room is mostly picked up, but not neat as a pin.... if things are too neat then the items that the students need to find are too obvious.  

4.  Be prepared to set up procedures for moving around the classroom...... I don't mind a little excited scurrying across the room, or an excited exclamation followed by a mad dash  when a student finds a new note...... but that may not be you....AND that type of self regulation doesn't suite every class...... so determine what noise and movement level you can tolerate and let them hunt to their hearts content! 

5.  Depending on how much time your students have spent on a particular subject of review, you may want to strategically place areas for students to check their work.  

This student has found a note right next to my easel
 where I had quickly drawn a  giant "cheat sheet" so that students could
 make SURE they labeled their notes correctly. 
Other ideas:

During a different, younger class, I had my students use the exact same notes, but instead of naming the notes, they found the lines and spaces.  Instead of writing a letter, these students would write and S or an L.  

I think I'm going to try this activity to review recorder fingerings..... I will re-hide only the notes that I need and use this sheet to accompany..... I plan on having my students name the note AND color in the fingering chart. 

Original Game as played by Meredith Leblanc - 

1. Cut out instruments from your favorite instrument worksheet
2.  Number them and tape them around the room.  
3.  Prepare two answer sheets.  The answer sheet for older students is a list of numbers next to a blank where there is room to write down the name of the instrument.  The answer sheet for younger students might be multiple choice for the names.  The answer sheet that Meredith used to use with kindergarten had numbers on one side and instrument pictures on the other..... the students would draw a line between the instrument and the correct number.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Yesterday on another blog that I write I told a story about a song my daddy used to sing to me when I was little.  A music teacher friend of mine asked me about the tune of the song because I had decided to only type the lyrics..

I wanted to answer her well, so I thought about using finale.  I typed the song in and then searched out the procedure for saving my file as a pdf or a jpeg file.  After reading the instructions and giving it a try I realized that my version of finale is either not new enough, or not substantial enough to have that feature...... so, I decided to look online for some help.

I came across noteflight.

Noteflight is a cloud based music notation service.  There is a free membership that allows 25 songs to be stored on the site, or you can pay a monthly membership fee and have access to more storage space.

There are memberships available for classrooms, schools and districts. I'm hoping that perhaps somewhere down the road my district will provide a subscription for us to use in our classrooms because I think it would be quite handy.

I found the interface to be somewhat intuitive, but not as responsive as I would have liked.  For example, I was asked right away if I was going to use an anacrusis.  I checked "yes" and then expected the notation to begin on the pick-up note.  Instead, there is almost an entire measure of rests before the song begins.  There may be a way to change that, but not one that I could find in the time I had.

THEN - here is the big flaw! When I changed the meter, it gave me the 6/8 measures that I requested, but it did so without changing the 4/4 graphic at the beginning of the piece.  When you click on the 4/4 it lights up as if you can edit it.  Then the box appears and it says 6/8.  So I have a functional 6/8 song with an erroneous 4/4 label...... weird!  Again, there may be a way to change that, but I couldn't find it in the time that I had.

In any case, noteflight offers a reasonable option for the sharing of simple musical notation, which is quite handy!

Here is the song that I notated.  Even though there are flaws, it didn't take very long.  If you know this song, or who wrote it originally, please let me know.... I would love to give credit for good work.

Here is the link to the page containing information about noteflight classroom  I hope that you find it helpful!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Classics for kids is a GREAT website that includes podcasts that are only about 6.5 minutes long.  My favorite part about the podcasts is that they do several episodes about each composer, so by the time your students have listened to each of them, they have received a huge amount of biographical and musical information in bite sized portions.  Did I mention that the podcasts are FREE?!!!

The only catch is that they don't keep ALL of the podcasts up on the website, so my advice would be to subscribe to the podcast through itunes and then collect the episodes so that you don't miss any.  My collection of episodes on itunes is MUCH more substantial than the episodes online.

.PDF information/worksheets are available for each composer featured in the podcast.   Each sheet is slightly different, but all of them contain biographical information and have some sort of listening map and activity that can be worked on while students are listening.  You can download all of those PDF files without ever listening to a podcast, so they serve as good reference material whether you choose to use any other resource or not.

My students were kept pretty busy this afternoon with four fairly intuitive online games.  There is a music composition game, a note naming game, a rhythm game and a "time travel" composer game.

There are even audio clips about various musical careers.  They are great because you can choose to listen to the entire thing, or just listen to segments based on interest.  I've found that resources for musical careers is rather difficult to come by, and this is a good source of information.

There is an interactive composer timeline and map that link you back to episodes of the podcast and biographical information.  I think sometimes it's hard for students to get a sense of time and place, so I especially like the way that visually overlapped the lives of the composers.  You can tell at a glance who which composers were alive at the same time and when you compare the geography you might get a sense of who was influencing whom in terms of musical style.  Very cool!

The music dictionary is nice as well as the information about instruments of the orchestra.

Most of the audio clips require Real Player  to be installed, so you might want to make sure that is taken care of before trying this website with students.  

I've found this to be a rather dynamic website with a vast array of resources ready for you and your students to explore.  There are many layers to this site that I didn't cover in this blog post, so please go and explore....I bet you'll find things that I don't even know about yet.  :)


Music listening club

I wish that I had time to teach my students more songs AND I wish that I had time to help my students listen to more music.  With that in mind, I decided that as part of my schools after school program I would have a "music listening" club.  I thought a music listening club would be a perfect Thursday afternoon activity because by Thursday afternoon, I am totally dragging and I want to do something that my students will enjoy AND that is somewhat relaxing.

We agreed that we would have popcorn and pillows at each club meeting to make the listening more enjoyable..... and now a few weeks in, I've finally quit burning the popcorn.  I'm still working on the pillows.  I'm collecting them at garage sales, then throwing them in the washing machine and sewing a cover for them....when they get done, I'll post a picture.  

After our first class meeting, we barely had time to introduce our first song, so for the first two weeks, we had a good look at Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns.  I enjoy this song, but I find it a little slow and long, so I knew better than to just throw it out there and expect them to listen to it just because.  I let them eat their popcorn while we watched this YouTube video.

They loved it!  We created a little book where we wrote the title, composer and took note of some elements of the music like instrumentation, tempo, and mood.  

The last couple of weeks, we have been studying Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin 

I read a book about how George Gershwin was inspired to write Rhapsody in Blue.  

Then while we listened to the piece, we drew city-scapes on blue paper.  Their pictures are beginning to shape up nicely.  

This afternoon, I got out my 3 macbooks and checked out several other macbooks from the library so that I could have partners use the computers instead of groups.  Then we went to classicsforkids.com where we listened to a quick podcast about Gershwin.  There are also several nice games on classicsforkids.com so after we were done listening, they got to play them for a while.  


As much as my crew loves their popcorn, we don't mix popcorn and sterling white computers, SOOOO we waited until we were all gamed and podcasted out before we got the popcorn out.  Then while we munched on our popcorn we watched wonderful pictures of NYC float by to a great recording of Rhapsody in Blue.  

Next week in exchange for the fabulous behavior I've had over the first few weeks, I am allowing the students to request music to listen to together.  

Today before they left, each student submitted music requests on post-it notes.  I told them not to bother requesting music that they thought I might find inappropriate.  I also told them that I would look up each song and make SURE that it was alright for school.  So starting next week, after I've done a little homework and bought a few tracks on itunes, we'll have a new listening experience where my students choose the music.  Because this is an afterschool "club" I feel that it is only fair that I be willing to incorporate music that they choose into what I would like them to learn.  Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Donorschoose.org - How did I ever teach music without it?

I'm currently right in the middle of my 13th year as a music teacher 10 years at my first school and  2.5 years into teaching at my current school.  And Ya'll I wish that I had found out about donorschoose.org a long time ago!

I FINALLY discovered donorschoose.org 2.5 years ago when I moved to my current school.  Everybody knows that any time you move, there are things that you loose from where you've been and things that you gain where you are going.  Well, at my previous school, I was seriously attached to my easel.......My easel was the focus of just about all of my teaching and since it had wheels, I would just drag it along behind me as I moved around the room....... it was GREAT!  When I moved, I wanted to take it with me so badly, but since I'm not a thief, my easel and I said our goodbyes and I went on my way.

Boy!  Did I miss that easel!!!!!
I'd find myself in a teachable moment and I'd look around my room for an easel that was only in my imagination..... it was just dreadful..... I felt like I was experiencing easel withdrawals.......I was also new enough to the school that I didn't want to be pesty with my requests for materials.  I wanted to save my requests for the real important stuff and since it was "just" an easel, I held my peace.

Until finally over Spring Break of that year, I did some research on my district website and found out that donorschoose.org was approved by our grants department.  YIPPEE!!!   (now what?)

Well, I found the website and started reading...... I fully explored the site so that I could get an idea of how things worked and then I submitted my first project.  I bet you can guess what I requested!!!!!

You are right!  AN EASEL!!!

My request for an easel was fully funded within 48 hours of posting!

Since that first project I have requested multiple projects.  Compared with other grant opportunities, the "extra" work is minimal.  All I have to do when I am blessed enough to have a project funded is to provide thank-you notes to the donors created by my students and provide photographs of my students benefiting from the materials.

Donorschoose.org is especially attractive if you are a music teacher like me who seriously dislikes the added responsibility of fund raisers.  My favorite part is that through donorschoose.org I never ever never ever have to deal with the money or purchasing.  Donorschoose.org handles everything.

Donorschoose.org requires that potential projects use vendors that they have partnerships with.  However, if materials that you are requesting are not available through one of their vendors, you can still request the items by creating a "special" project.  

My best advice for people considering submitting a project to donorschoose.org is to plan ahead.  There are tons of items that would benefit your classroom at any time.  If you are at an older school, chances are that you are still relying on equipment that is super old...... some of my instruments were rusted and virtually ruined by decades of lovingly hard use in the music classroom.  

Here are some pictures of some of the projects that have been funded for my classroom.... all in less than 2 years!  

1 grade level set of recorders

Music teachers need school supplies too! Folders, pencils, crayons

unpitched percussion instruments

recorder stands

recorder method books

gathering drums

hand drums

music staff lap boards, dry erase markers and erasers

1 years subscription to Music Express Magazine

2nd set  of recorders....
now I can teach recorder to two grade levels at once

book bins for our growing class library

classroom guitar for the teacher

guitar song book for the teacher

composer biographies

mallets galore! 

several sizes of cymbals

lots and lots of headphones and headphone splitters

For more information about donorschoose.org or to check out my classroom's project page, please feel free to visit......http://www.donorschoose.org/bmcspadden

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Googly Eye Guys meet the TEXTBOOK!

What do popsicle sticks and googly eyes have to do with textbooks?  Well, here is where you are going to find out!

In music class we sing, we play games, we dance, we play instruments, we compose, we tell stories, and put on costumes.....  BUT......

Sometimes we have to use the textbook.

In music class we use math manipulatives, we study maps, we construct models, read books, use comprehension strategies and Venn diagrams and we conduct science experiments........ BUT

Sometimes we have to use the textbook.  

In music class we have ever increasing access to a multitude of technological support.  In addition to video streaming through Discovery, Youtube, and Teachertube, We now have digital formats of just about every printable resource.(Both my set of textbooks and current issues of Music Express Magazine have digital formats)   Many of us have computers, projectors, iPods, iPads document cameras, activeboards and other devices that would allow for our students to "interact" with technology more easily than ever before... and every day there is new software developed just for us........ BUT

Sometimes we have to use the textbook.
The textbook dilemma

The problem with textbooks
Textbooks are difficult to pass out because they are heavy.  They require that procedures be set in place to handle them because they are expensive and easy to damage.  Textbooks also demand a certain level of book navigation skill otherwise they take forever to use..... If you're like me, time in music is VERY limited and I am always weighing the time-cost of the materials I choose and the procedures I set in place to manage them in order to increase the amount of time on task....Just like any other tool, sometimes textbooks don't fit the job.

The blessings of textbooks
On the plus side, textbooks offer access to hundreds and hundreds of songs that have been chosen with care to details like pitch and rhythm, vocal range and all sorts of elements that should be considered when choosing music.  If you use them as part of your instructional arsenal, you'll know that the students get excited to use them because they are becoming as novel and as outmoded as that huge set of hard cover encyclopedia on your grandparents book shelf. Some of my students have limited opportunity to really dig into a book of any kind, so a textbook is a great gateway book.....

The tactile experience of holding a book and of touching a musical score is something that we miss out on when we limit our music score reading to projections or skill isolating manipulatives, (i.e. ones that always isolate rhythm or pitch away from words).  Despite all of our technological advances, I don't believe that choirs and orchestras in our communities will have the funds to go fully digital for a few decades yet, so teaching children how to interact with a real score is still a viable skill.  The  way that we become good at reading music is first by creating music and second by actually reading music. Putting "real" music in the hands of our students is just another manipulative for the tactile learner. Aren't we ALL tactile learners?

So I ask myself.....
Do I want my students to spend 20 minutes finding page 325 or do I want my students to spend their time singing? The answer is YES to both! My students who struggle with basic book skills in my music class  certainly struggle with those same skills in their homeroom.  Finding a page number in any book is good practice on several different math skills. Having the class wait on you to find the page may be the  first time in life that a student's lack of basic "number sense" is really hindering them.  So I say.... the more practice, the better.....
In 3rd-5th grade I refuse to tell my students the page number.  Instead I give them the song title and I show them where they can find the index.  Textbooks may be going the way of the dinosaurs, but even online information is indexed, so practice finding what you need is always good whether it happens online or in a textbook. After a reasonable amount of wait time, I let students help each other get to the page.

The Real World
During the last two weeks I literally had all of my Kinder-5th grade students in textbooks!  I felt like I was drowning in them..... I got really tired of having the students put them back on the shelf, so I ended up with grade level stacks in various parts of the room. I don't have kinder text books, but I want to teach proper handling of all books early, so we  used our books to research Martin Luther King Jr. before learning our song. 

The MacMillan McGraw-Hill series has a WONDERFUL collection of songs about Martin Luther King Jr. as well as a fairly extensive collection of spirituals both written out for children AND authentic recordings.  In my opinion it is one of the best aspects of the series.

However, because this beautiful and meaningful music was chosen more for it's cultural and historical relevance rather than for it's melodic or rhythmic elements, in many cases the actual music I was asking my students to read was just beyond their reach. Their ability to sing and make the music beautiful outpaced their ability to actually read the musical score.

In 2nd grade things were tricky because the score layout stretched the song over two pages.  The refrain was a the beginning which forced the two stanzas to straddle the page break.  Going back and forth was tough for my second graders.

In 5th grade, we were working on the Follow the Drinking Gourd and The Ballad of the Underground Railroad which both have multiple verses.  These students navigated the scores themselves fairly well even with multiple page turns back and forth between 3 pages, but with 5 stanzas there were layers of opportunity to be in the wrong place

The other element that made these songs in particular challenging for the students to track successfully was the tempo of the music.   Each of these songs clipped along at quite a rate and students all over the room were catching up just to fall back behind again.  I needed a solution!

Here is how it happened...... 

Googly Eye Guys
It was the first day of our block rotation and there I was.........  surrounded by a group of 2nd graders who all had their very large textbooks finally open to page 345..... I wanted them to follow along in their books while we listened to the song we would learn...... Upon asking them to follow along, I got a wide variety of reactions.  I had 2 students who immediately placed their pointer finger on the correct spot in the book and looked expectantly at me, begging me with their eyes to get on with it.....  I had 10 students started flipping through their textbook looking at other pages, and I had 5 students lay down 2 of whom actually closed their eyes, and one girl opened up a free hair salon for all of her little friends.    Nooooo!  This will NOT do! As I desperately searched my mind for an instantaneous fix I remembered something my dear friend Pam Kang once showed me.  Pam is a wonderful pre-K teacher and so she makes all sorts of cool pre-k stuff.  She had made some little folder games for letter identification.  Each folder came with it's own Popsicle stick that had a googly eye glued to it.  In my moment of REAL and fervent need, I remembered that over the summer I had made some of those Popsicle eye thingies, with the thought that they might be handy.....  Well - today was the day!

Goggly Eye Guys to the Rescue!  

Students who were having trouble following ONLY
 the first verse were told to cover up the blue words.
(sorry for the blur)
As the song progressed, students were asked to "uncover" the
portion of the score we were singing. 
There is absolutely nothing remarkable about the Googly Eye guys.  They are large popsicle sticks with eyes glued onto them.  Everything I use them for could be done without taking the time to glue on googly eyes, but the googly eyes are what make them special.  I would say that the large popsicle sticks work better for textbook sized music because the size of the stick is almost the exact same size as  a system of music in our books. 
I sometimes asked my students to find specific score elements.
In this case I asked my students to put their "eye"
on "so la la so mi" or "ta - titi - ta

Sometimes these googly eye guys were named by the students who used them.  One whose eye fell off was taken to the "googly eye" hospital for repair.  A few of them even moonlighted as microphones, drum sticks and conductor batons for my more dramatic students.   The best part was that they were universally useful with kinder through 5th grade students.   

Also, for many of my special education students this was a great way to help them keep up with the other students.  Not only did the googly eye guys help them track the music better, but it was also MUCH easier for them to glance at a neighbor and actually be able to see where they were.  A model music reader didn't have to go to waste just because their classmates couldn't see their thinking. The Googly Eye Guy helped them highlight their good work.  

Every musician gets behind or ahead occasionally.    How do we teach pacing?  How do we teach kids to catch up or to slow down?  What aural cues do we listen for?  It was amazing how much the addition of these Googly Eye Guys opened up that conversation among my students WAY more than I had anticipated.  It was great to hear 5th  graders discussing their "anticipation strategies" .  

Here are some pictures from second grade with examples of how I used them.  I don't plan to ever use textbooks again without my Googly Eye Guys.   Having the students "see" new things about the music with their googly eye guy fostered lots of great questions and we had a wonderful time seeing if we could find everything on our musical maps. 

The students would go back and forth between using the googly eye guys
as a pointer or as a slider depending on the task
Students were actively engaged in following the score....
The googly eye guys made it MUCH easier for me to track their progress
and easily see who needed help from me.
  Goggly eye guys cut down on attempts at "fake" reading.
Even reluctant students couldn't resist reading with a goggly eye guy!  

I hope you've enjoyed this long post.  Now go find some of those popsicle sticks....  If you've got some googly eyes and Elmer's then get to gluing..... You'll be glad you did.  :) 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brains that POP!

This blog is taking me forever to write.  Not because it's so difficult but because it's Thursday night and I'm "Thursday Tired".  The only level of tiredness that can trump "Thursday Tired" is "Friday Tired" which is why I try to save my social life for Saturday :)

When you work as hard as we do to get as tired as we get there are many many things that can be forgotten.  When you've got so much to do, researching details is just not important..... so in an effort cut down on your research time, I'm going to give you a list.

Now I have to tell you that originally I received this list at one of those gloriously useful music professional development days that my district provides.  All the music teachers gather and create a perfectly wonderful, enthusiastic, encouraging, relevant and useful MUSIC professional development.   Afterwards  I eagerly grabbed up all of the handouts, talked to all of the other music teachers, went out to lunch and enjoyed each others company and then POOF!  Just like that, it was over.  SCHOOL started!  All of those beautiful handouts got filed and put away and not thought of again....

....Until last night when I sat down to write this post....... I remembered that I already had a list like this..... Where did I put it?  Who compiled it?  I can't remember.... I bet I'll remember after I publish this post.... when I do remember, I'll add an addendum.

Soooooo anyway, I'm going to tell you about BRAINPOP!

For those of you who DO use it, you'll know that BRAINPOP! is not the "end all be all" of musical resources, but it is a tool.... one tool.... that we can add to our arsenal of gear that we use to teach children through music. If you don't know about it, or didn't know that it had music stuff on it.... NOW you know!

Many schools and school districts have purchased subscriptions to this site.  Right now, our subscription is hosted on our district library resource page.  I can access it from my teacher computer, from all student computers and at home for planning purposes.  BRAINPOP is a collection of online mini-movies, games and resources.  Each little movie has a quiz and if you have an activeboard you can hook it up so that your activevotes work with it.

Now I'm not gonna lie, in comparison to other subject areas and what they COULD have, the arts in general are still somewhat lacking.  But just between last year and this year, the number of music movies has increased, so I hope that they will have even more new ones in the future.  I wish they had more Brainpop Jr. movies but like I said, as time passes their collection grows.  I like them because they are short, concise my students like them AND we can use them as a tool without being dominated by technology overload.... after all in my class we are supposed to be MAKING music, not merely learning ABOUT music, so a tool like this is useful.  I've used them as an introduction to a larger unit, and I've used them as part of an assessment.

Below are the episodes currently available that are about music.


Learning Music: 

  • Clefs and Time Signatures 
  • Musical Scales
  • Melody and Harmony
  • Reading Music

Musical Genres

  • 60s Folk
  • Country music
  • hip hop & rap
  • latin music
  • blues
  • jazz
  • harlem renaissance
Famous Artists and Musicians
  • Elvis Presley
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • The Beatles
  • Yo-Yo Ma
Making Music

  • Analog and Digital Recording
  • Brass Instruments
  • Percussion Instruments
  • String Instruments
  • Woodwind Instruments
  • Vocals

  • W.A Mozart
  • Musical Alphabet
  • Musical Instruments
  • Percussion Instruments
  • Pitch / Tone / Beat
  • time signatures and note value
  • woodwind instruments
As always, make it a great learning day! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guitars and all that!

Confession:  I am a music teacher who loves playing guitar, who plays rather poorly, but energetically.  My guitar knowledge is limited at best, but since my students know less than I do, it works out alright.

Having said that, I had a WONDERFUL guitar teacher  Joanne Darby back in McCamey Texas for about 3 months before I moved to Houston.  They had an AWESOME store that served all of West Texas for years and years.

McCamey Music Mart 
100 Thomas Drive, McCamey, TX 79752
(432) 652-3703 
I tell you this because I chose my guitar method books for my after school guitar class because I THINK that this is the book that I used when I took lessons at the Music Mart.  


I choose to use this particular method book because:1.  The cost is not prohibitive2. chords are introduced progressively, they have easy versions that allow for strength to build in the child's hand3. individual notes are introduced on page 25.....4.  the CD is helpful on days when I'm lacking in voice.... :) 5,  You can purchase the book with or without the CD. 
I don't teach chords or individual notes exclusive of the other, so in each lesson we spend some time doing chord work and then we skip over to page 25 and practice reading the notes and playing individual notes.... THIS pedagogy I can attribute to Ms. Joanne Darby at the McCamey Music Mart who didn't want any of her guitar students to be one dimensional.  Good guitar players need proficiency in both.  So, even though I don't have opportunity to bring my students very far along their guitar playing journey, I want what they do learn to be well rounded.  .  
Today I am going to face a real fear of mine.  I am going to restring 2 of my student guitars!  
This is problematic for me because 1. I typically just pay the guitar store to string my own personal guitar for me.
2.  I don't have very much practice stringing guitars 

3. My class guitar professor Dr. Zoe Kelly, who I love to pieces wore goggles every time she even tuned a guitar AND draped the strings with a bath towel.  
So my lack of experience coupled with the teachings of a very safety conscience professor mean that I've put it off all week in dread.  :)  
But it's time to put on my big girl britches and get the job done.  
Where do I go for info?  Youtube of course! 
I looked at several different videos and this is my favorite because the commentary is printed AND the camera work is up close so you can see what "wrap around" means.  

I love being able to rewind and rewind and rewind.  
I use these strings for my classical guitar strings at school.  

D'Addario EJ45C Pro Arte Composite Classical Guitar strings Set.  They seem to work well!  

I hope that this information is helpful to you.