Favorite Elementary Music Lessons | February 2021

February has so many FUN activities that you can add to YOUR repertoire of favorite elementary music lessons! There are so many ideas and activities to integrate Ground Hog’s Day, Superbowl Sunday, and Valentine’s Day alone not to mention President’s Day.

And, the entire month is Black History Month. Spirituals are perfect for music classes year-round, but especially during the month of February.

Ideas, Activities, and Lessons for the Elementary Music Classroom | February Favorites

February Holidays and Observances

There is no way you could  celebrate all of these events in your classroom, but there are some important and interesting observances during the month of February. The most important of these is Black History Month. 

Take a look at the rest of this list. There are some other interesting and fun activities that you may want to include as well.

  • February 1 – National Freedom Day
  • February 2 – Ground Hog Day
  • February 4 – Thank a Mail Carrier Day
  • February 5 – National Weatherman’s Day
  • February 6 – National Chopsticks Day
  • February 7 – Super Bowl/Send a Card to a Friend Day 
  • February 9 – National Pizza Day
  • February 11 – Make a Friend Day/National Inventors Day
  • February 12 – Chinese New Year
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day
  • February 15 – Susan B. Anthony Day/President’s Day
  • February 16 – Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday
  • February 17 – Ash Wednesday/Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • February 20 – Cherry Pie Day
  • February 22 – Walking the Dog Day 
  • February 25 – National Chili Day
  • February 26 – Tell a Fairy Tale Day
  • February 27 – International Polar Bear Day
  • February 28 – National Tooth Fairy Day (also celebrated on August 22)
Monthly Observances
  • American Heart Month
  • Black History Month
  • National Bird Feeding Month
  • National Cherry Month
  • National Children’s Dental Health Month

The following songs for grades K-2 pair nicely with these monthly observances.

  • Skinamarinky Dink (I love you)
  • Here Comes a Bluebird
  • Brush Your Teeth 

Follow the Drinking Gourd | Black History Month

It is very hard for elementary-age children to understand the concept of the Underground Railroad. The storybook Follow the Drinking Gourd is a simple way to help students understand the concept of the Underground Railroad and some of the hardships of escaping to freedom.

There is some controversy about the book and song. Dr. Prince Brown, the Director of the Northern Kentucky University Institute for Freedom Studies offers some interesting insights in this succinct afterword, Follow the Drinking Gourd: A Cultural History, “Is This Song ‘Authentic’”?

There are several different versions of the storybook. There are also two videos based on the storybooks shown here. The Rabbit Ears Video is appropriate for students in grades 1-5. However, the Reading Rainbow Video of this storybook is much more intense than the Rabbit Ears version. It depicts slaves in chains in a very realistic and disturbing setting. This is a well-made video. I have shown it to students in grades 3-5 several times. However, I took great care to set the stage before viewing the video and we discussed the video afterward.

**DO NOT show the Reading Rainbow version of this video to your students without previewing it first. If you are in doubt, consult with your administrator before using this video in your classroom.

Follow the Drinking Gourd Storybook, by Bernardine Connelly
Follow the Drinking Gourd Storybook, by Jeanette Winter

Favorite Elementary Music Lessons | Spirituals

Spirituals are perfect for any time of year. There are several songs that I like to pair with stories of leaders of the civil rights movement. The lessons below all have Orff arrangements and short biographies of a civil rights leader. Each resource includes differentiated activities for students in grades K-5.

Click to listen to the arrangements in the video previews.

Favorite Elementary Music Lessons | Valentine’s Day

If sappy lyrics turn off some of your students, check out this song. I have found Valentine, Valentine to be the best received Valentine song for grades K-5. This differentiated resource includes music literacy activities geared to each grade level. The Orff accompaniments and recorder notation provide attainable, but challenging options for differentiation within grade levels as well.

Do you need activities to teach and practice rhythm reading? This helpful BLOG POST includes 10 Ways to Use Interactive Flashcards in the elementary grades. 

These rhythm flashcards include 8 sets of leveled flashcards with 16 cards each. That is 128 rhythm cards! My favorite is the iconic reading for your youngest musicians. But, your more accomplished musicians will be challenged by sixteenth note patterns, syncopation, and dotted rhythms.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BEGINS FEBRUARY 12

A few years ago I came across this beautiful FREE SONG with accompaniment mp3 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.

Chinese New Year | Ideas, Activities, and Lessons for the Elementary Music Classroom | February Favorites

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.

Prepare Your Students for Band and Orchestra

This is the season when students begin to register for classes for the upcoming year. For many students, this will be the first time they get to choose any of the classes they will take. They may have the option of registering for beginning band, orchestra, or choir.

You are the best advocate for these programs! Help your students make informed decisions by teaching them about the instruments and the various programs in your district. Build excitement for these programs, but also teach that learning an instrument takes practice and dedication.

The NO-PREP lessons included here include the major instruments in each family as well as OPTIONAL STUDENT WORKSHEETS. There are links to short, quality performances by professional musicians. These PowerPoint presentations are compatible with Google Slides. This makes them easy to use for distance learning as well.

This could be the start of a life-long passion for your students. I am currently playing in an ensemble with one of my former elementary students. And, I have had several students choose music as their careers. Do not underestimate your influence as an elementary teacher in helping to guide students toward positive musical endeavors.

Digital Interactive Notebooks

Using interactive notebooks is another FUN way to learn about the instruments of the orchestra or band. These activities may be completed as a class activity, as centers or stations, as individual activities, or as distance learning activities. These DIGITAL interactive notebooks are available in PowerPoint and Google Slides versions.

Just for FUN!

Do you need a simple activity just for fun? This FREE Valentine Break the Code Puzzle makes a great party day activity. It is fun for fast finishers or sub days. Best of all, it is FREE! Just download, print, and go!

Or, use the DIGITAL VERSION. This puzzle may be assigned with Google Classroom and completed online using the new TpT Digital Tool.

It is FREE to use. Currently, it is only compatible with Google Classroom. But TpT is continually upgrading and enhancing their digital offerings. Stayed tuned to keep up on new developments.

Conclusion

As always, make music literacy a priority. February is a short month. Be sure to schedule lessons that meet your music literacy goals first. Integrating multitasking lessons that teach music literacy skills while also observing seasonal events is a fun way to celebrate the season.

What are your favorite elementary music lessons for February? Leave a quick comment.

Share your thoughts . . . .