"What other ways can I introduce this song?"  I was asking the same question as I struggled through the first lesson to introduce our concert repertoire to a second grade class.  The whole class consisted of "I sing, you sing!"  The students and I were all bored and there was way too much sitting for an elementary music class.  That boring class led me to explore all of the ways I could find to teach new music without having the class echo phrases.  

If you struggle with the same challenges, whether you are in concert prep mode or regular class time, this video session is for you!  Originally presented during The Music Crew Virtual Conference 2021 held inside The Music Crew Collaborative Facebook Group, this 30-minute session presents two framework strategies and seven focus areas that will keep your classes or rehearsals engaging and productive.


In my last post, I shared many ways to use one song, Hello Everybody, across the grade levels.  In this post, you will find a small collection of my favorite hello songs from various sources. 


Hello! Welcome! 

Greetings are a common social norm whenever we are out in public or invite people into our homes.  Greeting songs serve the same purposes in our music classrooms - to make our students feel welcome and to set the tone for the day. Here is one of my favorites, Hello Everybody!

Name Games For Music Class

One cool thing about being a music teacher is that we get to see every student in our building. They are our students year after year. We watch them grow and develop long-term relationships.  

One challenging thing about being a music teacher is that we get to teach every student in the building. How to remember all those names! 

Name games are certainly the solution to the problem of learning and remembering hundreds of names! Because getting through the whole class will take some time, it is often best to keep it simple and focus on the names rather than the game.  Simple chants are quick and fun.  

Establishing clear rules and procedures which can be consistently and lovingly enforced is of the utmost importance in classroom management!  Rules help guide students and teachers towards appropriate behaviors, while procedures tell us HOW we should do the things that we do. Setting my music classroom rules to music has been one of my favorite back-to-school ideas!

Hey there music friends!  The total eclipse of the sun will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017.  I am fortunate to live in the path of totality, so excitement is building in my city.  After participating in several brainstorming sessions in music teacher Facebook groups, I came up with some total eclipse lyrics to the tune of Sally Go 'Round The Sun to use with my students this week. You can find the original song here:

There are several ways you could present this song, depending on the age of your students, and the amount of time that you would like to spend.

Movement Partners

Students begin with a partner, one is the sun and the other is the moon.  Crouch down to begin.  Phrase 1:  Sun stands up with hands outstretched.  Phrase 2:  Moon stands up.  Phrase 3:  Moon moves to stand in front of sun.  Sun should keep hands outstretched so they are visible, as the corona will still be visible during totality of the eclipse.  Phrase 4:  Moon moves to stand beside sun.

Circle "Dance"

Sun & Moon partners stand in a single circle to begin.  Phrase 1:  Suns step 2 steps to center, then back to the circle.  Phrase 2:  Moons begin to walk in a circle around their sun partner.  Phrase 3:  Moons finish their circle and stand in front of suns.  Phrase 4:  Moons move back to their spot.

At this point, you might repeat the dance.  Or, you might consider singing the original version of Sally Go Round the Sun as the "B" section, while students grab hands and walk clockwise around the circle.

Instrument Option

This is the perfect song to begin resting tone accompaniments for your younger students.  Just get out your tone bells and pass out all of the D's to a small group of students.  These children can play on the steady beat, while the others sing and move.  If you don't have tone bells, you could certainly use your Orff instruments, playing either the resting tone or a D-A bordun.

Free Resource

Here is a little PowerPoint that you can use if you would like to do with your students this song all week.  Total Eclipse Piggyback Song - Sally Go 'Round the Sun Free PowerPoint

Let me know how you use this in your classroom!

P.S.  The cute graphics are from Educlips and Messare Clips & Design

When I first moved to South Carolina, I began searching for songs from my new home state.  Right away, I fell in love with "I Got a Letter This Morning," from the sea islands of South Carolina.

There are many possibilities for inclusion in the elementary music curriculum across several grade levels.  "I Got a Letter This Morning" is in minor tonality and duple meter.  It has a limited pitch set, la-ti-do-re-mi.  The form is call and response, and each phrase begins with a syncopated rhythm.

I chose to focus on duple meter macrobeat/microbeat rhythms and have a little fun with my kindergarten and first grade classes. We would be reading and chanting 4-beat rhythm patterns using the mail as our notation!  To prepare, I gathered some regular business sized envelopes, and some larger greeting card envelopes.  On the business envelopes, I wrote the word BILL, and on the greeting card envelopes, LETTER.  I drew the matching rhythm notation on the back of each envelope, either a quarter note or paired eighth notes.  Then, I laminated them for more durability.

That was all I needed for kindergarten and first grade.  Older grades might need to use additional mail items to expand their rhythm vocabulary.  Possibilities include invitation, magazine, and sale flyer.

How to play:

Version 1
Students should be seated in a circle so they can see everyone.  Choose one student to be the mail carrier.  Teacher or students sing the song as the mail carrier "delivers" one piece of mail to the first four children in the circle.  Depending on the speed of the mail carrier, you might have to sing the song twice.  Children hold the mail up for everyone to see, and the class "reads" the four beat rhythm pattern using the mail words printed on the envelopes.  If your students are ready for notation, flip the mail over to reveal the notation, and read it using whatever rhythm syllables that you use in your classroom.  Repeat the sing & deliver process, stopping every four students to read, until everyone has a piece of mail.  As a final challenge, read all of the mail from the beginning!

Version 2
Rather than deliver the mail to individual students, have the mail carrier set out a row of four pieces of mail on a designated spot in the center of the circle, or on a pocket chart row.  Choose another student to be the pointer, and lead the children in reading the 4-beat rhythm pattern using the mail words printed on each envelope.  Flip the envelopes over to read the pattern from notation.  As an added challenge, allow the student pointer to remove one envelope from each row, creating a silent beat.

Version 3
Try creating a center with letters and bills and allow students to create their own rhythms.  For accountability, place some index cards at the center so students can turn the mail over and copy their favorite rhythm on the card.

Everybody loves to get mail, and the theme of this game may fit right in with your kindergartener's unit on community helpers!