Favorite Elementary Music Lessons | October

By October, whether you are teaching in-person or online, school is in high gear and you are 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 need to be modified due to COVID19? What lessons went especially well? What lessons did not go very well? Where are your students excelling? Where are your students struggling?

Elementary Music Class Activities for Classroom or Distance Learning | October Favorites

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.  

If you teach around thematic units, I have also included special dates and observances that you might want to use to “tie everything together.”

October Holidays & Observances

  • October 1 – International Music Day
  • October 2 – World Farm Animals Day
  • October 3 – Look at the Leaves Day
  • October 6 – National German-American Day
  • October 7 – Balloons Around The World Day
  • October 7 – International Walk to School Day
  • October 8 – National Children’s Day
  • October 10 – International African Penguin Awareness Day
  • October 12 – Columbus Day
  • October 12 – Indigenous People’s Day – October 12
  • October 14 – National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day
  • October 17 – Black Poetry Day
  • October 21 – Unity Day
  • October 24 – National Crazy Day
  • October 25 – International Artists Day
  • October 26 – Pumpkin Day
  • October 31 – Halloween

Weekly Observances

  • September 15-October 15 – National Hispanic Heritage Weeks
  • September 19-October 4 – Oktoberfest
  • October 2-4 National Storytelling Weekend
  • October 4-10 – International Post Card Week
  • October 5-11 – Fire Prevention Week
  • October 18-24 – National School Bus Safety Week
  • October 23-31 – National Red Ribbon Week
  • October 30- November 15 – Pirate Weeks

Monthly Observances

  • Bat Appreciation Month
  • Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
  • Fire Prevention Month
  • Italian-American Heritage Month
  • Stamp Collecting Month (There are a TON of music stamps. Collecting digital music stamps could be a FUN project.)
  • Squirrel Awareness & Appreciation Month


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. These PowerPoint Games are perfect for Microsoft Schools.

Note: For the interactive features to be used, these MUST be used in PowerPoint.

Treble Clef Note Names, Interactive PowerPoint Games for the Elementary Music Classroom
PowerPoint Interactive Games

Boom Cards are always a favorite. And there is no better way to get started that with a FREE set. 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

Online Elementary Music Activities for Distance Learning | Treble Clef Note Names Boom Cards
FREE 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. Getting started is NOT hard, I promise. But, there are a few tips that you will want to know.

Elementary Music Online Activities for Teaching and Learning | Treble Clef Games
6 Sequential Boom Cards Sets
More Ways to Teach Treble Clef Notes Names

For more ways to teach treble clef notes names, check out this blog post with Tips for Teaching Treble Clef Note Names and links to FREE online Quizlet Games. We made the Gravity game into a friendly classroom competition that then turned into a grade-level competition. 


I love to use seasonal lessons that multi-task. Using seasonal lessons that teach new concepts or reinforce previously learned music reading concepts makes them more “educationally valuable” as well as FUN. 

Some of my October favorites include the following.

Interative Rhythm Flashcards

Do you need  a FUN way to practice and develop students’ rhythm reading skills? These Halloween Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards are differentiated into 6 different levels for grades K-5. Level 1 includes iconic reading while levels 2-6 build sequentially. 

Check out this post for 10 Ways to Use Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards for ways to integrate them seamlessly into your lessons.

Halloween Music Activities - Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards for the Elementary Music Classroom
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Yes, we are supposed to appreciate those little critters that hang upside down and eat all of the bird seed out of our feeders. Oh well, they are hungry too.

Any time of year is a good time to learn Hop Old Squirrel, but, what better time than during Squirrel Appreciation Month. 

The rhythmic ostinato and recorder notation allow this lesson to span several grade levels. I LOVE this song and game. More importantly, kids love it too! 

Favorite Elementary Music Lessons - Hop Old Squirrel
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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. 

Oktoberfest Music Activities for Early Elementary Grades
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Join in the FUN with one of these unique lessons which include two German pronunciation screencasts. 

Oktoberfest Music Activities for Upper Elementary Grades
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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.

True Story – My kindergarten teachers made me promise not to teach this song because they couldn’t get the kids to stop singing it in class. I reluctantly agreed. The next year, their kindergarten students began singing it. They had learned it from older brothers and sisters. 🎃

Pass the Pumpkin Halloween Song with Orff Activities
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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.

Pass the Pumpkin Fall Song with Orff Activities
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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 very important in our society. 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 tried and true lessons which I have used. I am working on adding more as time allows. Check out the BUNDLES below if you need to supplement your music reading lessons.

NO-PREP Kodály Style Music Reading Bundles

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 (if they are being held in your area), 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.

Auf Wiedersehen,


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