One of my strategies for surviving the last month of school is to get kids moving!  The popularity of Cinco de Mayo in recent years gives me a great excuse (as if I needed one!) to teach Los Machetes, a folk dance from the Jalisco region of Mexico.
Today I am linking up with Noteworthy by Jen for Five Favorite Music Freebies!

Who doesn't love a freebie?  These fabulous teacher-authors have offered some of their work as freebies.  Let's see what we can find!

 Cooking Up Some Melodies (With a Side of Fun) by SingtoKids is a great way to get kids thinking musically.  I realize that I spend too much time asking kids to echo and "be the same as me."  I need to get kids using the patterns and melodies that we have learned to create their own music, and "be different from me."  Jennifer's songs are so creative, and the activities are wonderfully age appropriate.  This freebie is just a sampler of a larger product, which is also great!

Tchaikovsky Staggered Book Freebie by Rhythm & Bloom will be a great addition to my 3rd grade Nutcracker unit.  It has just the right number of pages and facts about Tchaikovsky presented in an engaging format.  The other benefit will be that this could go into my sub tub because we all know that I will get sick sometime during the fall, and my students will have the benefit of working on relevant and interesting project!

Personages with Long Ears Listening Map by Cowgirl Compositions is so cute!  The animated donkey, hopping up into the air will keep kids engaged!  The music is not included for copyright reasons, but I had no trouble inserting my own sound file on that page.  (I did have to click on the animation tab, and move (reorder) the sound file to the top of the list so it plays first, before all of the donkey jumps.)  My students will love this one!

"Toad"ally Awesome Music Awards by Music with Sara Bibee are great little classroom awards.  My students seem to need extra incentives in the spring time!  This cute little set has several frog-themed sayings, such as "You had a 'TOAD'ally awesome day in music class!"  To make this extra special, there are also blank cards and an editable PowerPoint version so I can personalize the awards just for my kids.

This Year Rocked! End of the Year Memory Book Freebie from The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King is an easy to use activity.  Just print only the pages you wish to include, and you are ready for class.  While this is not music class specific, and could be used in a regular classroom, the cute rock music theme works well for me.  My district supports the arts with one fine arts field trip per year for grades 1-4.  I'm definitely using the "Rockin' the Field Trip" page!

Here is a freebie from my store!  Spring Flowers Animated Vocal Explorations PowerPoint and Worksheet will help you young students explore their voices in a guided manner.  I am convinced that doing regular vocal explorations, insisting that students use their singing voices, and find their high, light range has made my students better singers!  The animations include a butterfly, bee, and a grasshopper, and will only work when in presentation mode.  One printable worksheet is included to encourage students to create their own pathway and follow it with their voice.  

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these freebies!  Let me know about your favorites in the comments, and be sure to check in with Noteworthy by Jen's linky party to find out about more great freebies!


Today I am joining up with the Totally "Tuned-In" Teacher for a Making May Musical link party in celebration of the TPT Teachers Appreciation Sale.  My store, along with most others, will be offering a 20% discount and TPT will add an additional discount when you enter a code (which we will find out soon) during checkout. (Please watch my social media accounts for the current discount code!)

For the link-up, we each are sharing one item in our own store that we are excited about, one product from another music store that we are excited to purchase.

Summer Shells Tonal Pattern Hunt

I'll get started with a product that I love using with my students in May.  

As the year winds down, both teachers and students will look towards summer. I am excited to have a way to bring summer into my classroom musically with this set of easy tonic and dominant tonal patterns in D Major. 

At first glance, Summer Shells Tonal Pattern Hunt is a set of flash cards.  

It is indeed THREE sets of flashcards, one large set for displaying on an interactive whiteboard, one half-sheet set for easier printing, and one composite page containing all eight patterns.  

Why tonic and dominant patterns?  These are the two major chord functions in major tonality.  Many folk songs that we commonly use in our elementary classes contain only these two chords.  It is great for students to recognize these aurally and visually!

What to do with all of these pattern flashcards?  Herein lies the flexibility in this set.  Here are some suggestions for use.

  1. Begin by practicing the patterns with your students.  Play them on a melody instrument and allow students to echo.  Sing them with neutral syllables or solfeggi and allow students to echo.
  2. Sing the patterns on solfege and students answer with the function of the pattern: "Tonic" or "Dominant".  In this set, tonic patterns are various arrangements of do, mi, and sol and dominant patterns contain 3-pitch combinations of sol, ti, re, and fa.
  3. Display the composite page on an IWB.  Sing or play a pattern and students identify the notation.
  4. Print the half-sheet patterns and scatter them around the beach (classroom floor or walls).  Play or sing a pattern and students must find the matching card.  This game can be played with the individual searcher, or multiple students searching at the same time.
  5. The teacher or leader calls out "Tonic" or "Dominant" and students must find a tonic or dominant pattern and bring it to the designated area.  This can be individual or team play.  Bonus points if the student can sing the pattern back to the teacher!
  6. Print out the composite page (use grayscale printing for the low ink version) and copy it for students.    One assessment option would be to ask students to label each pattern as tonic or dominant.  Another option would be to sing or play the patterns and students would number the patterns in the order that they hear them.  For example, the teacher would say, "Pattern 1 sounds like this..."  Students would listen to the pattern, find it on their paper, and label it "1".  

Recorder Workstations

I recently added Tracy King's Recorder Workstations to my wish list. This was a great purchase for me and my students!

Tracy always has wonderful products, but I have not been a big fan of teaching recorders and especially letting students loose for individual work.  This year has been different because we have been using the Quaver recorder materials and my students are playing beautifully!  Using Quaver has significantly cut back on all of those nasty intentional squeaks and my students have been engaged for far longer into the year than previously.  

I am ready to do some final individual assessing and would love to have something productive for other students to be working on while I work with a small group. Recorder Workstations have been a perfect way to finish up our recorder year.  I love the idea of using graphics showing the recorder fingering as a way to compose music.  Try it out!

Making May Musical

I am really hoping for some beach time this summer, but in the meantime, I will be Making May Musical!

Musically yours,