Elementary Music Activities | May Favorites, 2021

The month of May has many observances that are extra special this year. Appreciation days for nurses, teachers, and police officers are even more poignant during a pandemic. In this post, you will find some FUN elementary music activities for your classroom or distance learning. Don’t forget to take a few minutes to acknowledge a few of these special days of recognition.

Some other special observances for this month may spark an idea for a lesson or activity for your music classes this month. Read on.

Elementary Music Activities  | Ideas for Classroom or Distance Learning - May Favorites

May Holidays and Observances

  • May 1 – May Day/Mother Goose Day
  • May 4 – Star Wars Day, May the 4th be with You!
  • May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
  • May 7 – International Tuba Day
  • May 9 – Mother’s Day 
  • May 12 – International Nurses’ Day
  • May 13 – Frog Jumping Day
  • May 22 – Buy a Musical Instrument Day
  • May 31 – Memorial Day

Weekly Observances

  • Teacher Appreciation Week – May 3-7
  • Wildflower Week – Week 1 (First Full Week)
  • National Police Week – May 9-15

Monthly Observances

  • Asian American Month
  • Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • Foster Care Month
  • National Bike Month
  • National Hamburger Month
  • National Photograph Month

Books Make Perfect Elementary Music Activities

Books are a staple in elementary music classes. If you have never used TumbleBooks online E-books, click here for more about using TumbleBooks for Elementary Music Classes. They have some great titles for music classes including two Joshua Bell stories. They even have a series of sing-along books! 

I have used The Best Mariachi in the World during the month of May for several years. Don’t forget Cinco de Mayo is May 5.

Another book that would be perfect for any time of year, but especially now, is He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson. I picked up a “brand new” used copy from an independent bookseller on Amazon at a very reasonable price. (There are NO affiliate links here. I simply highly recommend this book.)

He's Got the Whole World in His Hand by Kadir Nelson

International Tuba Day

Who could let this day go by without a nod to the brass family, especially the tubas? I have a couple of free brass puzzles if you need PRINTABLES to use for your elementary music classes. Click here to download them FREE from TpT.

Or, use the DIGITAL VERSION. These puzzles are ready to assign with Google Classroom and may be completed online using Easel, TpT’s Digital Tool – How to Use Easel.

Both the puzzles and the Digital Tool are FREE to use. Currently, the TpT Digital Tool is only compatible with Google Classroom. But, TpT is continually upgrading and enhancing their digital offerings. Stayed tuned to keep up on new developments.

Composition Templates for Elementary Music – Printables

Teaching composition to young students can be tricky even if you are face-to-face in the classroom. If you are teaching online, the process becomes even more difficult. Using templates makes composition projects much more successful for beginning musicians.

Click here to read Music Composition Templates for Elementary | Digital and Printable to learn more about using composition templates.

These PRINTABLE Composition Templates include 9 DIFFERENTIATED rhythm sets to meet the needs of kindergarten through eighth grade. Some teachers have even used them with band and orchestra students as well as vocal or general music students. These versatile printables may also be used for melodic composition. Click here to preview and learn more.

Some schools are using printables for distance learning. If your school has gone totally digital, check out the online composition activities below.

DIGITAL Drag & Drop Composition Activities

Composition templates may be PAPERLESS, digital activities as well. And, they may be structured so that even young students who do not yet have knowledge of music symbols can be successful. Take a look at these Farm Animal Drag & Drop Templates using ICONS. Iconic notation allows even early elementary children to be successful in creating their own music. If your students are ready to use STANDARD MUSIC NOTATION, a standard set is available as well.

Sequential Differentiated Composition Series

The various forms that composition templates may take are limitless. I LOVE using my duplo-style rhythm blocks, but, I never had enough blocks for my entire classroom. So, I created these DIGITAL Drag & Drop Rhythm Blocks sets.

This bundle includes a series of four separate DIFFERENTIATED composition sets using different rhythms. And, each resource includes four separate compositions.

Composition 1 focuses on METER and NOTE VALUES, while composition 2 focuses on PHRASE FORM. Composition 3 focuses on adding LYRICS to compositions and composition 4 is a FINAL PROJECT that puts everything together. That is a LOT of composing.

Click below to see a video of each set in action. (Video link is in the description.)

Child Creating Music Composition Using Rhythm Blocks and a Template

These Composition Templates are also available as PowerPoint Versions.

Boom Cards for Music Literacy

Many music teachers have recently “discovered” Boom Cards for the first time. Boom Cards definitely have a place in helping students to develop their music literacy skills. There are many benefits to using Boom Cards. 

  • Boom Cards are SELF-CHECKING and give students IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK. 
  • Sets may be designed in a SEQUENTIAL series that builds one upon another. 
  • Teachers can DIFFERENTIATE by assigning different sets of cards to different students. Or teachers can simply allow students to work through a series of cards at their own pace.
  • Students may REPEAT and PRACTICE the same set of cards multiple times to improve their performance. All of my cards are set to “randomize” so the order changes every time.
Elementary Music Online Activities for Teaching and Learning | May Favorites

If you are new to Boom Cards, click to read the following blog posts and see a few sets in action. Using Boom Card is easy, I promise. But, like anything, there are a few tips you need to know to get started efficiently.

Sequential Boom Cards Music Literacy Series

Each of these bundles includes sequential decks that you may use for MULTIPLE GRADE LEVELS or for DIFFERENTIATION within grade levels. Click to preview the series that best meets the current needs of your classes.

Keep Learning on Track, But, Keep it Simple

Teachers, students, and parents all around the world have been struggling to stay on track and stay focused during a pandemic. Look back through this post and browse through these straightforward elementary music activities and determine if any are right for your students and families.

It is your job to simplify learning and help your students be productive. That’s what teachers do. We also bring joy, compassion, and grace into the classroom, no matter if you are teaching in a school building or learning at home.

Best wishes, friends!

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