Sunday, August 26, 2012

August Yummy Award - Back to School Edition!


"Howdi Do" by Woody Guthrie with pictures by Vladimir Radunsky

This is my FAVORITE book to use with young children during the very first days of school.  If you purchase the hardback edition the melody is in the jacket cover.  Each verse sets up different scenarios in which people say hello to each other.  This book is filled with well wishes and camaraderie.  My favorite portion of the lyrics is when we sing "I feel glad when you feel good, you brighten up my neighborhood".  What a sweet thing to sing to each other!

Typically, because I use this book at the beginning of the year in kindergarten and first grade, I sing the verses and they join me on the fun tongue twister chorus.  I typically sing it unaccompanied at first because the chorus is super fun to sing but a real doozy of a mouthfull. We have a chance to shake hands with the folks sitting nearby and we talk about the book.  There are two things in this book that your students will love! 
1. the dog - he makes an appearance on every page
2. the twins - there are several pair of twins

The chorus that we all sing together goes something like this..... (my copy is at school ready for the first day..... so I'm typing from memory)

Howjee Heejee Hijee Hojee Howdi do sir doodle doo
Howdi doogle doodle doozie Howdi Do Howdi Do
Howjee Hojee Heejee Hijee Howdi Do

SO MUCH FUN!!!!!  

Especially with the young ones I try really hard to include a "song book" in essentially every music lesson.  Sometimes if we are adding instruments or dramatizing the book, then the book is the lesson, but equally as often, the book is just a book that we sing.  I read this book after we've had a full lesson of musical play and we don't have time to introduce a new idea, but there is just enough time to listen to a story or read a book.  They love it and ask for it again and again..... 

We should never underestimate the power of just plain old singing together!  Sometimes the song is the soup that holds the whole meal together! :)

Ya'll have a great school year! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My music classroom doesn't have a STAFF! -

You never know how much you use a music staff board until you don't have one.  For 10 years I had one and then 3 years ago I moved to a new (to me ) school and was terribly disappointed to discover that I didn't have a staff board.  To make my staff board issue an even more entertaining  to try and figure out, the one board that I do have is not large and has recently been cut in half due to the installation of my activeboard.  I love my activeboard and typically go to that first, but there are times when technology is just not the way that the lesson is going and I find myself in need of a musical staff that is not dependent upon my computer.

Some of you may have joined the Pinterest craze in part for entertainment, but also because it is a nice and easy way to get ideas and inspiration for your classroom without the stress of really working.  :)

picture from Memos from a Multsensory Teacher

Back in the spring I came across a pin from a great blog called Memos from a Multisensory Teacher who uses painters tape on her white board to create an enlarged space for handwriting practice.  I placed this on my "classroom set-up" board and thought about how I might create a similar staff board using tape.

I typically keep all kinds of tape on hand, but when it came to this staff idea I couldn't settle on a type of tape and even more importantly - the width. 

When I got back to school at the beginning of August I looked at my room again and decided that I wasn't sure that I wanted to dedicate my one and only board to a BIG staff when I do use it for other very important things......

THEN I looked around my room  and I saw my  handy dandy easel that I got from a couple of years ago!  Do you know how often I have wished that this board on the back of the easel was a staff?  Well, let's just say forever, because it's been a VERY long time. Did I mention that the easel is magnetic?  Well, it is!  YAY!  ...... oh..... now I have to find the right tape.  

 Here is the tape that I found at OfficeDepot.  Yes is is electrical tape, and yes that means that if I ever remove it, or if a student removes the tape for me, then things will be sticky..... BUT the tape is thin AND I have "goo remover". So I decided that I didn't mind a little goo.

The family members of all teachers are pretty lucky because they often get recruited to help with those crazy teacher tasks that pile up  especially at the beginning and end of the year.  I mean, what could be more fun than tearing off the used stickers from last years recorders?  On the day I made the staff my mom happened to be helping me for a few hours to get my room in order. Her presence turned out to be extra helpful as it would have been impossible to take "action shots" of the progress of this little project.  Also, I seriously doubt that I would have gone to the trouble of finding the yard stick had my mom not been there to pester me into it.  As you see, I did get out the yard stick and I measured out marks in two inch intervals.

 The nice thing about using this small board is that I could easily hold both sides of the tape.... if the board were longer, then I would have had to get someone to hold the other end of the tape.
 I cut the tape longer than the board because at this time I didn't have a plan about how I was going to finish off the ends.

 I pressed down the tape little by little from left to right.
 I  "eyeballed" the second line and did pretty well, but decided that it would be useful to have guides.  I wouldn't use anything but dry erase markers to draw the guides because I found the guide lines to be useful, but I didn't try to tape exactly on them because I'm not sure that I drew my guides totally straight.

The nice part about the electrical tape is that it was VERY easy to re-position the tape on the end of the board.

 Here is what the 5 lines looked like fairly close up.  As you see, they may not be PERFECT, but they will work well.  I discovered that I will probably create and use magnets rather than try to write on top of the tape because it is slightly raised, but I CAN write on it if I choose.
I had to figure out what to do with the exposed and unattached ends of the tape lines. I figured that I shouldn't leave them unprotected because an unprotected piece of tape just begs little fingers to pull on it.

I decided that some ordinary blue duct tape would be the perfect protective border. 

I'll be sure to post whatever I end up using for magnets.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Update # 2 - SOLFA - SOLFEDGE - SOLFEGE Use What you choose!

Did you know that there are 3 different correct and acceptable spellings for solfa syllables?  Yep - I didn't either..... WELL..... I don't know if I didn't know or if I just didn't think about it until it was time to create this word wall.  

The good news is that because this is a FREE downloadable word wall - you can use whichever one you would like.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Word Wall Words - FREE UPDATE #1

Ya'll-  the response to the alphabet words and word wall has been truly overwhelming and exciting and really cool!  Thank you for your kind appreciation, patient responses and collaboration in helping me make sure that these downloads I've created are working properly so that you can get the things you need.

I've also gotten some great ideas for some words that should be added to the list.....

My "I" is very lonely! 
After all, we can't have a word wall with a lonely "I"

AND, if you are like me, if my resource doesn't fit the need that I have, then I just don't use it.

That is why having a downloadable AND expandable word wall is just perfect!  We can ADD to it! - It's always good to add more ingredients to our melodysoup!

Through comments and emails I've received enough essential new words that I am going to be able to create AT LEAST 3 Word Wall updates for several blog entries to come.  I hope you will join me in being both urgently expectant (I've GOT to get this done!) and patient (we're all starting a new school year) as we try to get everything done!

August 19 UPDATE!

As a quick disclaimer, these new words are sometimes words that I just simply forgot, but sometimes they are words that I had a hard time coming up with a picture to explain them because they are express more abstract concepts..... so as you see in the picture above, a descant is like "frosting" to the melody.... so I have a picture of a cake being frosted..... a little bit of stretch, but for me it is a pretty good visual of how a descant functions musically.

If you are just now discovering melodysoup Here are some links that you might find helpful 

As always I want to give credit to msn clip art and iclipart for the wonderful clipart.  I also discovered a wonderful website that I can tell has been around for a while, and yet it is a resource that I only discovered today.  That is

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Musical Alphabet in COLOR! = better letters!

Today I put up my new word wall!  I was so excited to put together all of my musical vocabulary words and my musical letters. 

First I put it here on my cabinets..... and then I thought..... NOPE!  That will only last 5 minutes.... my students have to walk by my cabinets to get in and out of the room and things that I put on my cabinets tend to walk off.  

Then I decided to place it here and thought..... This is WAY better!..... BUT I can't see the letters!  

See - they blend into the wall....

Especially the yellow letters

I'm glad that I was able to get up to school a couple days early to problem solve because this is a problem I can solve!  I redid the letters so that they will be easier to see.  I thought I'd share my "better letters" with you! 
Click HERE to download the alphabet cards in COLOR

I got the clip art that I used in these letters from the following sites MSN clipartICLIPARTClip Art ETCWP Clipart .

Now my new word wall looks better than EVER!

MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to see! 

The yellow letters are much easier to see now! 

Poor "I" doesn't have any words  : ( as I was putting
up my word wall a teacher friend reminded me of the word "Imitation".... I'll have to add it! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grade Level Labels - Do I ever have enough?

If you are a teacher who doesn't teach a classroom full of students, but a grade level full of students, then these labels are for you!

Labels are Pre-K through 6th grade

This is what the pre-kinder -6th grade labels looks like
 (minus the black line across the top)

CLICK HERE to download 4.25 x 4.5 labels! 
CLICK HERE to download 4.25 x 1.5 labels 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Musical Word Wall - Proof that Learning is Doing

I took some pictures of my "word wall" adventure.  I hope that these pictures might answer some questions that you may have.

If you would like to download my word sets click HERE!

Got these at Teacher Heaven

1. Here is a picture of the sentence strips that I purchased. The key to printing on them as I did is that the back side is blank. I printed them on the blank side.

What I saw on my screen.

2. Based on this picture on the screen and my printer settings, I thought I would have a white edge all the way around the word.  

3. This is what my words looked like when I got finished printing them..... They had 3 sides? of white and many of the shorter words were in need of trimming.  I LOVE my paper cutter!  Without cutting the the words didn't fit into my mini pocket charts..... I don't know if I'll use them with the pocket charts, but I want the choice to do so, so before I was done, I ended up cutting all of the words.       

I got these from Lakeshore!  Aren't they Awesome?

4. Here is what they looked like after trimming

5. See - they fit in the pocket charts just fine!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Musical Word Wall!

So all summer I've been working on creating a word wall that will work in my classroom..... maybe my word wall will work for you too..... Feel free to download it and print.

You might also enjoy the  Musical Alphabet that I created earlier in the summer. 

There are two versions of the word wall.  The first is intended to be printed on 8.5x11 card stock and does not include the colorful background.   The second version is intended to be printed on 3x11.5 sentence strips which depending on how the supplies work at your school may be easier to get a hold of than regular card stock.  I first learned about printing on sentence strips from pinterest.  Please visit the awesome blog that provided those very detailed and useful instructions click at  "A Turn to Learn" .

The pictures give an example of each sub group of words.  Don't be fooled by the pictures.  The height of each word and most font sizes are identical throughout the entire collection. The clip art I used came from the  following sites: MSN clipartICLIPARTClip Art ETCWP Clipart .


Notation and Theory

Musical Elements, vocal and instrumental words

(Musical Elements 8.5 x 11 corrected on August 21, 2012) 

Ensembles and Occupations

Types and Elements of Song

Performances and Genres

Tempo and Dynamics

Pictures of this word wall in my class are coming soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

MelodySoup Costume Solutions: The Brown Clown

Brown clown costume dressed up as gingerbread men. 
One of the most versatile and reusable costumes I have ever made has been my plain, brown clown costumes.  All you need is a clown costume pattern:  (Here s the McCall's pattern -  clown pattern ), some brown fabric and an imagination.  
As far as the sewing goes, just remember, no one who watches your elementary school show is going to inspect your seams......unless the costume falls off during the performance, so although your sewing doesn't have to be pristine, it does need to be serviceable.

McCall's clown pattern

Over the years my brown clown costumes have been gingerbread men, reindeer, the big bad wolf, 3 bears, dogs, cats, and chocolate. They would probably make pretty good tree trunks, weeds, or a beetle.  Anything that COULD be brown, will work.    The trick is to use accessories that are easily removed from the base costume so that your "brown clown" can be anything