Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter Activities

Let's face it.  Coming back to school in January is hard, especially after a relaxing Christmas break, chock-full of sleeping late and lounging around for two weeks.  It definitely took a few good days for the students and I to get in the groove again.  Secretly, we've all been wishing for a snow day or two.  Unfortunately, here in TX, we've had no ice, no snow, just cold - brrrrrr!  Well....I say cold!  If you live in the Lone Star State, you'll agree with me that 30 degrees gives us quite the chill.  Of course because our state is a woman (I really believe this), she can change her mind on a whim.  Thirty degrees one day.....70 the next.  Yep!  Texas definitely has a female mind :) 

To ward off the cold days of no outside play, I kept the students busy with all kinds of winter/football themed activities in my music classroom.  Here's a brief summary of our Brrrrr-y good month.

1st-3rd -
We used a giant floor staff with die-cuts to practice our melodies.  They worked in small groups and had a blast helping each other.  Our biggest issue was spacing.  Most of the children wanted to stack their notes like chords.  After a few tries, they were all on the right track.  

For rhythm practice, first and seconds used Music a la Abbott's "Winter Themed Beat Strips."  Using rhythm sticks, at first I would tap and say the pictures for the line I wanted them to create.  After a few rounds, I used the sticks and said the rhythm only.  The students had to figure out what picture matched that rhythms.  Last, I only played sticks, and they had to use their listening skills to create the correct pattern.  We even used a blank space for a rest.  This was a fun activity and allowed me to assess while they played.

Since our snow day wish hasn't come true yet, the students had a "Snowball Challenge" to see who could collect (pin) the most snowballs.  Though I would normally do this in a small group/center situation, this time we grouped up and shared our boards.  This provided a great review of the concepts that the students have learned over the last few months.

4th-6th -
I love these age groups because everything is about competition.  Very rarely do I play a game with my older students where there is no "winner."  I enjoy seeing their wheels turning as they attempt to answer correctly.  It's just plain fun.

We've been doing a lot of staff practice with note names.  Soon we will begin playing recorders and I want the students to be proficient in reading music.  In the spirit of football season, AND since the Cowboys made it to the playoffs, I incorporated some football helmets into our note names game.  I began by calling one, then two, then three letters on the staff.  Students had to race to put the correct helmet in its place.  To change it up, I also called just a line or space number.  This challenged the students to not only place the helmet in the right location, but also they had to know what letter was on the line or space.

Later in the month, I used the same idea, but this time using staff words.   I called a word and the groups had to place their die-cuts on the staff to spell that word.  For some it was a challenge because of spacing their notes correctly.  I had to do a "mini-lesson" on how we read words from left to right, and music is the same.  Of course, this was a huge competition as well.  Three letter words earned 3 points, 4 letter words - 4 points, etc.

Another activity I used with 4th-6th was "Mystery Song."  I used a simple song that everyone knew (Twinkle Twinkle) and challenged them with using the barred instruments to solve the mystery.  I told them nothing about the song except that the first and third phrases are the same.  After working out the first few measures, the light bulbs came on!  It was fun seeing them READ music without me rote teaching.  My plan is to do one "Mystery Song" each month.  

 It's been a great month for some fun learning in music.
  Thank you for visiting The Bates Clef.

Monday, January 26, 2015

$2 Tuesday Sale

Tomorrow begins another $2 music sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You won't want to miss some great deals and big markdowns on some much needed/wanted products.  Lots of fantastic music products will be eager to be downloaded and put to good use in your classroom over the next few months.

This is a new product I created and can't wait to use it for all my students in the next few weeks.  I've got several different levels to suit my students' needs, and each come with worksheets for added practice.  Here's an example of stick and standard notation...

 It's great to get students up and moving around the room.  Really, they don't even count it as "work."  This will provide great writing practice for them, and an easy way for me assess their understanding.  

Happy shopping on the Terrific $2 Tuesday!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Giveaway Results!

Thank you ALL for entering in the Follower & Feedback Frenzy Giveaway!  I am happy to announce the winner of $10 credit to The Music-Go-Round TpT store...Tracy L Stephens.

Stay tuned for more sales and giveaways in the near future.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year GIVEAWAY Frenzy!!

Join the FRENZY!
I am super-excited to join some friends and fellow music educators for a Follower and Feedback GIVEAWAY!  Whoop Whoop ;)
Entry is simple.
Prizes are $10 credit to our TpT stores.
What a FANTABULOUS way to begin the new year! 

Follow, follow me!
You can learn about new products, free stuff, GIVEAWAYS (like this one!), and about me and my classroom just by following me on Facebook, Blogger, TpT, and Pinterest!  Come along and join the fun.

Feed me!

It's really easy to leave feedback on TpT purchases.  Just a simple click rating system, plus a few helpful comments, and is done!  The best part is your return of TpT credits to be used for other products on the site.  Now, who doesn't want to get free credits?  Not only that, but it truly does help to get useful feedback for future creations.  Be mindful though, your rating and feedback helps others determine whether or not to look into my products.   Please be kind.  If there is a major issue, I would prefer to handle it through the "Ask a Question" tab.  Any and all things can be corrected without jeopardizing my store :)

It's Your turn!

Entering the GIVEAWAY is easy as pie.  Follow the steps on my Rafflecopter and receive an entry for each completed section.  When you've finished entering, visit one of my FABULOUS music friends by clicking on the links below.  Visit their sites and participate in their own giveaways!  Sounds like fun doesn't it.  Well, don't delay.  Get your clicking fingers ready to go.
Best of luck to you all!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

Now THAT's exciting!  
I can't believe last year has come and gone so quickly.  Looking at my blog, it appears as if the last couple of months happened in a blink of an eye.  I had every intention of writing about my exciting December school activities, but time simply got away because of busyness.  Hmph.  Oh well.  Onward to the new year!
I decided to link up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room about New Year's Resolutions.  You can check out my resolutions here and click on the pic to see what others are resolving. 

 Personally, I seriously need to get in shape.  Over the last few years, I haven't led a very healthy lifestyle.  I hate to exercise and rarely have time to do so.  Not only that, but I currently live by the philosophy that I'll eat whatever doesn't eat me first.  Not really a good mind set for this 40-something girl.  I'd also like to spend more time with my family.  Everything feels so "rush here, rush there" all the time.  I'd love to just enjoy some time with my hubby (maybe a date or two:) and my 3 precious kids before time slips away and my nest is empty.  

Professionally, I'd like to become a leader within my district.   I've done a lot of observing and listening, with little contributing, in my school district over the last few years.  Maybe it's time for me to step up and start leading, especially those who are new to our profession.

In the classroom, my biggest struggle has always been relating to and finding entertaining activities for 5th and 6th grade students (more specifically 6th.)  You know how it is when 6th is still in elementary school.  They push the limits and despise the fact that they have to share their space with the younger grades.  It seems as though every time I have a "great" idea or plan for these pre-teens, it turns into a flop.  My goal is to find things suitable for their age and interests that we can at the very least enjoy our teacher/student relationships and learn from each other.

Well, as mentioned in the first paragraph, I have found my blogging skills aren't what I had initially thought.  With that being said, I plan to blog my classroom activities at least once a month.  In my TpT store, I would love to add more products that not only I enjoy in my classroom, but also that will be useful to others.

Just for a career full of negatives and lack of appreciation among colleagues as well as those we serve, I just want to keep a smile on my face and know that somehow, somewhere, I am making a difference!