Favorite Elementary Music Lessons | January

January 1, of course, is the start of a brand new year! No matter what the past year has brought, I always work to start the year off with a positive, fresh attitude. It is time to gather up all YOUR favorite elementary music lessons for the new year.

YOU are the most important factor in creating a successful, positive music program at  your school. This is a new year. Make it the best you can!

Read on for some inspiration and to see some of my favorite elementary music lessons. Don’t miss the FREE song link for Chinese New Year and the FREE Treble Clef Staff for use with manipulatives.

Favorite Elementary Music Lessons - January Calendar

My Favorite Quote of All Time

I love quotes! My favorite quote of ALL time is from Maya Angelou. It is a mantra that I try to live my life by.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Isn’t that what we always want our students to do? As teachers, we are always learning too. At times, we are even learning more than our students. If some lessons have not gone well for you in the past, get out there and research new lessons, ideas, and activities. Analyze what areas you need to improve and “do better”. That is all anyone can ask.

January Holidays and Observances

I had no idea there were so many holidays and observances during the month of January! Undoubtedly, the most important day to make sure you celebrate is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. His actual birthday is January 15, but this year it will be celebrated on January 20.

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • January 4 – National Spaghetti Day and Trivia Day
  • January 5 – National Bird Day
  • January 6 – Epiphany – Three Kings
  • January 12 – National Hot Tea Day
  • January 15 – National Hat Day
  • January 18 – Winnie the Pooh Day -The Birthday of A.A. Milne
  • January 19 – National Popcorn Day
  • January 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • January 21 – National Hugging Day and Squirrel Appreciation Day
  • January 23 – National Handwriting Day
  • January 24 – Compliment Day
  • January 25 – Chinese New Year begins
  • January 26 – Australia Day
  • January 28 – National Kazoo Day

Weekly Observances

  • January 12-18 Letter Writing Week

Monthly Observances

  • National Braille Literacy Month
  • National Hobby Month
  • Hot Tea Month
  • National Oatmeal Month
  • National Soup Month

Celebrate the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This lesson and song are truly among my most favorite elementary music lessons of all time! This Oh, Freedom Orff arrangement is a multitasking lesson which is designed for grades K-5. The lesson includes two short biographies of Dr. King, one for primary and one for intermediate grades. 

This 4-part Orff arrangement includes parts simple enough for even the youngest primary students and parts that will challenge more accomplished intermediate students. Click to listen to the arrangement in the video preview.

Start the New Year Fresh | Music Literacy Series

Yes! Music reading lessons can and should be among your favorite elementary music lessons. Why would you want to do anything that wasn’t your favorite?

If you are having trouble Integrating Music Reading into Every Lesson, be sure and check out the helpful post. If you need some ready-to-go guided music reading resources to keep you and your students on track or just to fill in a few gaps in your program, check out the bundles below. 

Favorite Elementary Music Lessons are Always Interactive

Do your students need to practice and develop their rhythm reading skills? These Winter 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.

Squirrel Appreciation Day | January 21

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 the song “Hop Old Squirrel“. If you haven’t done it yet this year, what better time than Squirrel Appreciation Day. I LOVE this song and game. More importantly, kids love it too! 

This guided music reading Kodály-style lesson from my Music Literacy Series includes the following and more!

  • Specific Student Learning Outcomes
  • Learning Targets written as clear concise student-centered “I can” statements
  • Iconic reading
  • Large easy–to-read music notation
  • Ostinato pattern for unpitched rhythm instruments
  • Solfege Signs
  • Differentiated recorder notation 
  • Fun Facts About Squirrels
  • “Take It Home” pages which may also be used as assessments

Chinese New Year Begins January 25

Chinese New Year is early this year. It begins January 25. A few years ago I came across this beautiful song by Nancy Stewart. Gung Hay Fat Choy translates wishing you good fortune and happiness. This is a beautifully crafted and tasteful song for Chinese New Year. And Nancy is sharing it completely FREE of charge. 

You may download the Full Performance mp3 and the Accompaniment mp3 for your elementary music classroom. You will be glad you did. We integrated sign language for a beautiful and memorable presentation. One of my school parents told me that this song touched her so much, it made her cry. She actually requested it several years in a row.

Tip: In order to avoid all the giggles and snickers from singing the word “fat”, I admit that I changed the word to “fa” with the same short a sound. We simply left off the “t”. That small change, made sure that students were all focused on the beautiful message of the song and not being silly about the lyrics

Boom Cards | Favorite Elementary Music Lessons

If you have never used Boom Cards designed for music classes before you are going to be amazed! These Boom Cards offer activities to develop music reading skills through ear training geared specifically for elementary-age students.

This month I am highlighting the Melodic Dictation Sets. The decks are sequential, building skills as students master each deck. Boom Cards are so versatile. They can be used as a station for centers, for individual or group learning, assessment, or home school. They can even be assigned with Google Classroom.

One of the great things about Boom Cards is that you can sample the first four cards in each deck. That way you make sure you know exactly what you are getting and that it is going to work for your students. Boom Cards may be purchased on TpT or directly through Boom Learning. Or, you can even create your own!

You do have to set up an account to use Boom Cards. Boom offers several different levels of accounts including FREE accounts. You do NOT have to have a paid account to use Boom Cards with your students. 

If you need some tips about getting started with Boom Cards in the music classroom, check out these helpful blog posts.

The decks currently available in my Melodic Dictation sets are as follows.

Click to read more and sample a few cards.

Using Boom Cards with Manipulatives

Boom Cards require an internet connection. They work with computers, white boards, chromebooks, most tablets, and even phones. But if you are not a 1:1 school, or even if you are, you can use these Melodic Dictation Boom Cards with an entire class using a printable Treble Clef Staff and manipulatives. 

Display the questions on a white board while students “write” the answers with manipulatives. Students love using manipulatives. It is so much easier to “erase” if they make a mistake. You may want to use manipulatives while teaching students how to use Boom Cards to ensure all students are actively engaged.

This FREE Treble Clef Staff is designed to work with pennies or inexpensive Bingo chips. (P.S. Rolls of pennies were even less expensive that the Bingo chips I found.) And you don’t have to use it with Boom Cards. I am sure you can think of lots of uses for this FREE large printable staff including practicing treble clef note names.

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and Productive New Year

I know that we are all in different places in our professional and personal journeys. Some of us have been teaching 25-30 years or more. And for some of you, this may be your very first year of teaching. I hope I have helped inspire you and give you some ideas to start off your new year fresh and motivated. I hope some of my favorite elementary music lessons will become some of yours.

No matter where you are in your journey, embrace it. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then do better.” ~Maya Angelou

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