Tuesday, January 19, 2021

High Low Fairytale

Greetings! I have a new update for my TPT store that I would like to tell you about. I used to tell this story to my younger classes (PreK-2nd grades) about a Beautiful Princess and her Royal Horse.  The concept was pretty simple and it grew and evolved over the years, but basically it was told in person by me and with actions for each character.  It was much like an old timey Melodramatic performance where the audience is instructed to sigh whenever the princess was mentioned, boo whenever the villain was mentioned, cheer when the hero arrived, and etc. . .    

For this story, we sigh a soft high pitch sliding down to a lower pitch for the Beautiful Princess, "Ahhh" while following the shape of the downward arch with our hand.

The Brave Knight requires us to sing "Bum buh Daaah!" (Do, Do, Sol) while placing our right forearm across our chest, hand fisted, almost like we are holding a shield and raising our arm high on the last pitch.

The Evil Villain causes us to take our fingers and to pretend twisting a mustache while chuckling softly to ourselves (He he he).

When the Royal Horse is mentioned, we simulate galloping by patting our legs alternately and saying "Gallop, Gallop".

The other elements to the story are pretty self explanatory. If your kids are advanced enough to do the solfege hand signs for the Tall Tall Tower, do so.  If not, use a flat hand and follow the pitches up.  

Always make sure that the audience participation has movement along with the spoken or sung elements.

The story itself has about a 5 minute run time.  The more experienced you and your students are at it, the faster it will go.

Right now the Google Slides version of the story is FREE on my TpT page at this link:


In the weeks to come, I will be adding manipulatives and activities to go along with this story that will be sold at a small cost.  

In the meantime, visit the Hungarian Folk Tales YouTube channel to get your students into the fairytale mood. I have not watched all of them and cannot promise that they are all appropriate for young viewers, but the Salt Princess was clean and the art and music were beautiful.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Teachers Pay Teachers (Inevitable) Retraction

I KNOW! I KNOW WHAT I SAID!!!!  I can't deny that the reason I had nominal success on Teachers Pay Teachers was because I shared my stuff for free.  Yes.  Well, I'm not teaching now, so now I'm making materials for an imaginary classroom and I really need to explain to my husband why I spend so many hours for nothing. . . and since I'm a certified stay at home mom, the extra income would be nice.  

I will be using this blog from now on to continue posting ideas and experiences from my classroom days, and to tell you about the materials I am selling on TPT.  Ugh!  I knew my "teachers shouldn't sell to other teachers because we are POOR" rant would come to bite me in the rear. . . .

I am open to suggestions about my current priced products and any ideas for future products.  While I do not plan on creating for hire, I would love to hear your needs and thoughts. If I do decide to create or update an item because you suggested it to me, I will give you said item for free! 

As for the items I have up for free, I am leaving them up for the time being.  I might go back and rework the idea with properly licensed materials, and in that case take the free items down.  We'll see.  I'm rethinking the Halloween Match Mine activity and may have a new one up sometime in 2021.

Thank you for your support!  If you would like to visit my page, you can find it at this link:


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Virtual Teaching

For those of you who are teaching remotely this year, here is a schedule that was shared on a Music Teacher Facebook Group not too long ago.  I asked the author if I could share it and she agreed.

"I am teaching fully remotely. My classes are all 30 min. For kinder, I structure my lessons like this.

1. Hellos - we sing “hello everyone”/“hello Mrs. marsh” (m-r-ddd). We sing once or twice as a class with mics off (I sing both part, and use two stuffed animals to represent both parts. I say, the ____ is my job, the ____ is your job). Then I invite kids to sing on their own, 2-3 solo singers who turn their mics on while they sing. We say “good job, _____” to each kid.

2. Attendance - I ask a This or That question and give a motion to represent each answer. When I call their name they leave mic off and answer the question with a motion.

3. Movement Activity - we use a song or recording for a creative movement or steady beat song.

4. Song - I used the stuffed animals again for an echo or call-and-response song. Start with “match the ____” and then “sing the ____ part without my help”. Normally (in person with no singing restrictions) I would not have them sing WITH me but I worry that never having been in music class in school they may need another voice to help build their musical confidence. Normally they would have their classmates for that.

5. Read aloud/SongTale - I read or sing a songtale to the kiddies and incorporate as much interactive and movement as possible, as well as literacy strategies.

This leaves me with a few minutes at the end to sing and say our goodbyes and for me to hear any non-sequiturs that the kiddos need to share.

For a 45 min class, I would separate the movement activity into creative/expressive moment, and beat motion activity; I would also do at least two songs.

I have also a few times give the kids the last 10-15 minutes to work on a Seesaw activity. I have them at the end of the day so if they finish the activity they can just sign off for the day.

It’s a LOT of energy to be this engaged for the entire 30 min and I can imagine it would be more exhausting for 45. But my kiddos are doing AMAZING. They are working so hard and are so engaged and I draw my energy to continue from them, somehow even from the screens. It’s so cute, when they want to show me they are singing they get really close to their cameras so I can see their mouths. I do a lot of “lip reading” to see if they understood what I was asking. “I see you sang ‘Hello Mrs. Marsh,’ good job Cesar!”

 I currently have lost all references to who this is, but will post it later when I find her.  She gave me her permission and her Instagram page, but I waited too long to publish this post and now it's gone.  This is the detailed, step by step plan I needed when I started out teaching and can only imagine how helpful it would have been transitioning into virtual teaching for the first time. Having this plan would give me the confidence to springboard into my own schedule eventually.  I just thought it was a terrific place to start.  Thank you, nameless one, for your insight!    

<a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/education'>Education vector created by pikisuperstar - www.freepik.com</a>

Friday, April 8, 2016

Music Kagan Quiz Quiz Trade

Okay, so maybe I fall back on Quiz Quiz Trade a lot when I do Kagan activities in my room. . . I know I posted a Round Robin activity earlier, but when push comes to shove in my room and the powers that be want to see Kagan, I use Quiz Quiz Trade.  A. Lot.  A couple of things I have used are now on my TPT page (free as always).

The first one is my Cats in Clothes Music Go Fish Cards.  Super cute and super fun.  I originally made these for music centers.  I printed four sets and the kids play Go Fish Like normal, only they have to say the rhythm on the card before they can take a card from someone else.  In a pinch, though, they have been great for Quiz Quiz Trade and even Round Robin.  Here's my 3rd grade kiddos using them with Quiz Quiz Trade.

The kids love the colorful dogs and cats and get excited when they trade and get a new one.  It's loads of fun. The cards were made with permission using Heather Mattoon's Cats in Clothes art.  You may download a pdf version using this link:   https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Go-Fish-Music-Cards-2491600

I uploaded a couple of new things onto my TPT page, so check them out.

The Quiz Quiz Trade activity I did this week with phenomenal success wasn't even my creation, but I'm adding it here because I used in the Kagan structure of Quiz Quiz Trade and it was a hoot and a half.

I put a picture of all the movements on the board and we talked about each one.  I then gave each student a cut out and laminated individual circle.

I got the images for free from Susan Fitch Design.  The kids had to hide their cards from their partners and do the action, making their partner guess what it was they were trying to do.  I did leave the images on the screen so that the kids could reference.  Lots of fun, lots of giggles.  All grade levels loved doing this one and since Kagan is used so much in my school, I was able to do it K-5 with little instruction.  Even hard to impress 5th graders were chatting about the ones they got to do and lamenting about the ones they didn't get to do.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Boomwhacker Sharing/"Whacky Old St. Nicholas"


Hello!  I just found something free online (and you know how much I love free things!) Raeanna Goss, whomever she is, has uploaded an awesome resource that I just used to notate my Music K-8 "Whacky Old St. Nicholas" song (Music K-8, Vol 16.2).

Could I do this myself?  Sure.  Would I pay $$ to download it from TPT?  No.  Will I download it for free from this website?  Heck yes I will!!!  She took the time to make the little ovals and color them appropriately for boomwhackers and gather (most of) the notation symbols needed to make a boomwhacker song.  Thank you, Raenna Goss.  Thank you.  

Well, in an effort to pay it forward, I will include the slides that I just created for "Whacky Old St. Nicholas".   I am so sorry if I made mistakes and didn't catch them.  If you would like to have these slides in PowerPoint so you can edit them, just leave a comment or email me and I will send it to you when I can. (Summer break is difficult b/c I'm not at my school computer, but during the school year my replies will be pretty speedy.)

Merry (early) Christmas!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ravensburger Labyrinth

It's Sunday and POURING outside. My husband has gone in to work for a couple of hours and I'm sitting here thinking about Ravensburger's Labyrinth.

We picked up this game at an estate tag sale yesterday for $1.50.  It's a really simple concept.  There are a series of tiles on a game board that make up a labyrinth.  Some tiles are fixed to the board.  You are given cards with images of different magical objects that match the images on the tiles.  Your objective is to collect the items on the card by following the maze and you do that by taking the one extra tile and using it to push a row of tiles and thereby change the maze to advance your piece.  Confusing?  Yes.  Let me cut and paste the official directions just in case. . . .
The game board has a set of tiles fixed solidly onto it; the remaining tiles that make up the labyrinth slide in and out of the rows created by the tiles that are locked in place. One tile always remains outside the labyrinth, and players take turns taking this extra tile and sliding it into a row of the labyrinth, moving all those tiles and pushing one out the other side of the board; this newly removed tile becomes the piece for the next player to add to the maze.
Players move around the shifting paths of the labyrinth in a race to collect various treasures. Whoever collects all of his treasures first and returns to his home space wins!
We played it last night and I was fascinated by how simplistic it was.  There was no reading involved, just pictures.  Of course, being a music teacher, I thought how cool it would be to have a musical version of this. What if there were musical symbols or notes on a staff that the students would have to find in the maze instead of the pictures?  The problem with that, sadly enough, is that music is written in black and white.  While it can sound wonderful, it doesn't look as cool on a game board.  Well, that lead to considering instruments and instrument families, but I already have a game that I've altered with musical instruments and I haven't even used it once this year.  (Why haven't I used it?  It looks like fun!)  So on and on the thought process went until I landed on using the items on the maze in a song.  Maybe there is a short, Sol Mi La song I can write that the kids could sing after they reach their item.  They would have to fit the name of the item into the song, teaching musical rhythms.  I would just have to come up with a song. . . .

The next problem I have is convincing my husband that one more cool thing we have from home needs to go to the classroom with me ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boomwhackers and the 5th Grade

My 5th graders are playing with the Boomwhackers this week!  Here is the lesson in PowerPoint*:

 We started with a review of boomwhackers using this guy's video:

Then we reviewed the Boomwhacker colors and their relation to the pitch and solfege syllables.

Then we did a review of the Music K-8 "Whacky Do Re Mi" vol 11.1.  The kids did it for their program last year, so we didn't spend much time on it.  If you click on the picture, it should link you to the youtube video.

This is a side note:  The official Music K-8 "Whacky Do Re Mi" video is available on youtube, as well. It's pretty cute.

The kids had a chance to use the boomwhackers as accompaniment, so I gave them an opportunity to play the melody with this slide. . . 

Next we reviewed chords.  Again, we've been working on chords for over a year now, so these slides proved to be a great visual to reinforce what the kids (should) already know.

All of this chord review was in preparation for the song "We've Got the Music" from the Australian 'Music: Count Us In' project.  If you haven't heard of it, click on the link and check it out.  It's pretty cool. "We've Got the Music" is from 2011, I think, and because the nature of the project, there are tons of resources all over the net including multiple youtube videos and music/chord sheets.  Again, the image below should link you to youtube.  I use this video when we are playing with boomwhackers. The song cuts off early at the end, but it works for practice.  Again, search youtube for other recordings. There is even a performance version with no vocals!

Well, that took up a whole 45 minute class period, and the kids had a ton of fun doing it.  Hope this gives you some ideas!

*If you would like me to email this PowerPoint to you, please leave your email address in the comments section below.