By October, school is in high gear and schedules have gotten CRAZY busy! There is always way too much to accomplish and way too little time. Sometimes we can accomplish more by planning carefully and paring down lessons.
Take a few minutes to evaluate your lessons from last year/last month. What lessons went especially well? What lessons did not go very well? Where are your students excelling? Where are your students struggling? Check your curriculum map or yearly plan and focus your efforts. Build on or emulate lessons that went well. Revamp or cull lessons that didn’t live up to your expectations.
Below are some of my favorite elementary music lessons that have been highly successful in my classroom. If they fall into a category that you need to “beef up” or where your students are struggling, check them out. Maybe, they will become some of your favorites too.
Treble Clef Note Names
I am not sure how many music teachers would consider teaching treble clef note names as some of their favorite elementary music lessons, but I do! There are so many FUN ways to learn and practice. Check out this blog post with Tips for Teaching Treble Clef Note Names and links to FREE online Quizlet and PowerPoint Games. We made the Gravity game into a friendly classroom competition that then turned into a grade-level competition.
Boom Cards are always a favorite. There are many different treble clef sets of Boom Cards available at BoomLearning.com or you can create your own. I created sets with a FUN soccer theme – Treble Clef Boom Cards. One of the great things about Boom Cards is that you can try out the first four cards of any set FREE so you really know what you are getting. If you are new to Boom Cards, check out this blog post to learn more.
Seasonal Favorites | October
I love to use seasonal lessons that multi-task. Using seasonal lessons that reinforce previously learned music reading concepts makes them more “educationally valuable” as well as fun. Seasonal lessons can also be used to introduce a new concept and then follow up with targeted lessons to reinforce that concept.
Some of my October favorites include the following.
In Munich, the site of the original Oktoberfest celebration, the holiday is traditionally celebrated the last two weeks of September into the first week of October. In the USA, Oktoberfest celebrations may continue throughout the month of October. Check out these FUN and unique lessons which include two pronunciation screencasts.
Pass the Pumpkin
OMG! My students could never get enough of this song and activities. They would want to sing it all year. This K-5 differentiated lesson includes a full Orff arrangement with a game and something for each grade level as well as differentiation within grade levels.
Pass the Pumpkin Pie
Not all schools or all families celebrate Halloween. If that is your school, take a look at Pass the Pumpkin Pie. This lesson has all the same type of activities as the previous lesson but with a neutral theme. Please note that this is NOT a Thanksgiving lesson. If you have students who do not celebrate any holidays, they should be fine with these activities. And as a bonus, you can use this lesson all season long.
Planning Ahead | Winter Holidays
The winter holidays are right around the corner. If you are beginning to plan for holiday programs and classroom activities check out this blog post about using Diverse Winter Holiday Songs in the classroom and for performance. Teaching diverse holiday songs provides the perfect opportunity to teach about cultures different from our own. Learning tolerance and respect for other cultures is a nice “side effect” of using such lessons. This post includes links to songs for Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year.
Sequential Music Reading Bundles
As always, my sequential music reading lessons are among my favorites. Life is too short to be teaching lessons that are not among your favorites. Sometimes I have to put my music reading series on the back burner while we are preparing for programs or doing a quick special unit. But I always try (try being the operative word) to Integrate Music Reading Into Every Lesson. For more on integrating music reading into every lesson check out this blog post.
Using multi-tasking holiday lessons (which also teach music literacy skills) allows for flexibility with music reading lessons. When we finish a holiday lesson or special unit, we pick up right where we left off in our standard music reading series. I have published many of the lessons which I have used. I am working on adding more as time allows. Check out the activities below if you need to supplement your music reading lessons.
Enjoy Your Fall Season
Planning and creating lessons that meet your student learning objectives can be very time consuming. Hopefully, some of the lessons presented here will help you take back some time to spend with your family. I hope you are able to enjoy all the fun fall festivals, the cooler weather, and the changing of the seasons.
Take a few minutes to check out any lessons that may work for you. If you have a specific need that you would like help with, send me a quick email. I will see if I can help.