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November Lesson Plan Ideas for Elementary Music 2023

These multitasking November lesson plan ideas are perfect themes for music classroom activities or elementary music program ideas.

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The school year is flying by and the winter holidays are approaching. And, November is a short month with several days off from school. Choosing multitasking lessons will help you be more efficient with your limited class time.

These FUN activities are jam-packed with music literacy skills and incorporate seasonal themes.

Keep reading for inspiration and ideas that will quickly become your go-to elementary music activities for November and beyond. 🎵

Empty playground with fall leaves

Fun November Holidays and Observances

  • November 2 – Cookie Monster Day
  • November 6 – Saxophone Day
  • November 8 – STEM/STEAM Day
  • November 10 – Diwali (A Festival of Lights)
  • November 11 – Veterans Day
  • November 12 – International Tongue Twister Day
  • November 13 – World Kindness Day
  • November 15 – National Drumming Day/America Recycles Day
  • November 23 – Thanksgiving
  • November 29 – Square Dancing Day

Weekly Observances

  • Week 1 National Cat Week
  • Week 1 National Polar Bear Week
  • Week 2 National Children’s Book Week
  • Week 3 Random Acts of Kindness Week
  • November 20-26 – Game and Puzzle Week

Month-Long Observances

  • Native American Heritage Month
  • National Model Train Month
  • Peanut Butter Lovers Month

6 Patriotic Songs ALL American Citizens Should Know

When you weave patriotic songs into your lesson plans throughout the year, it’s much easier to prepare for patriotic performances such as Veterans Day, 9/11 Remembrances, Memorial Day, or the 4th of July.

Tap a peek at this blog post with tips to develop a core repertoire of patriotic songs and a leveled list of the 6 Patriotic Songs ALL American Citizens Should Know.

Body Percussion – Treat People with Kindness, Harry Styles

The third week of November is Random Acts of Kindness Week. This fun body percussion activity is perfect all year long but especially during November!

Thank you to Music with Mrs. Gibbs for posting this fun, upbeat song with a positive message about kindness. 😊

YouTube video

An American Indian Legend

The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomi dePaola is a meaningful storybook for the elementary music classroom. GoodReads describes the book as “An ideal complement to Native American and Texas studies…”

As you read this storybook, play Native American music softly in the background to set the tone. Then, challenge your students to create simple Orff accompaniments or an entire speech piece based on this legend.

**IMPORTANT NOTE – This story tells of a famine where many people died. This topic is similar to the pandemic which we have all had to endure. This story may NOT be right for your students yet You will want to talk to your counselor before you use this book in your classroom.

Harvest Song with Differentiated Orff Accompaniments

The Mill Wheel K-5 Orff Arrangement provides the simplest rhythm reading patterns for grades K-1 and challenging ostinato patterns for the mid and upper elementary grades.

Your students will enjoy the varied activities included in this multitasking resource.

  • Learn about mills
  • Optional video links to tours of real working mills
  • Simple song
  • Rhythmic ostinato patterns
  • Melodic ostinato patterns
  • Recorder notation
  • Simple game for early elementary

Celebrate Train Month with Songs and Storybooks

There are SO many fun songs with train themes. Below are a few of the standards.

  • Engine, Engine #9
  • Down by the Station
  • Get on Board (Little Children)
  • This Train (is Bound for Glory)

Pair one or more of these songs with a train storybook. My favorite is still the old standard – The Little Engine That Could. This book is a good way to help teach grit, determination, and perseverance and help your students develop a growth mindset. This is a skill that’s needed now more than ever.

One of My Students’ Favorite Songs

You know a song has become a favorite for MANY students when you hear them sing it on the playground or on the bus.

Land of the Silver Birch includes a differentiated Orff arrangement with attainable performance activities while challenging more advanced students.

Note: This song is a Canadian folk song. It’s not a song of Indigenous peoples.

Practicing Rhythm Skills is Fun

You don’t have to choose between focusing on music literacy skills or celebrating a holiday theme. These Thanksgiving Interactive Rhythm Flashcards are differentiated into 8 levels for grades K-5. Level 1 includes iconic reading for your youngest students, while levels 2 – 8 build sequentially using standard rhythmic notation.

And YES, learning rhythms can be fun! Take a peek at this post for 10 Fun Ways to Use Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards.

Note: These interactive flashcards are in PowerPoint format. You must have PowerPoint to use the flashcards as designed.

Free Rhythm Clip Cards

Do you need a FUN Thanksgiving music activity to practice or assess your students’ rhythm reading skills? This FREE Rhythm Pattern Clip Cards Set is perfect for your early elementary kids. Students are engaged as they listen and identify the rhythm patterns they hear.

Print a classroom set and laminate the cards to use with multiple classes for several years. The Complete Set includes 22 leveled clip cards for grades K-6.

Two rhythm cards with a clothes pin clipped on one rhythm pattern

Thanksgiving Rhythm Play-Along Video

Thank you to Elementary GrooveTracks for this cute simple play-along for found instruments. It uses the following rhythms and music symbols.

  • Quarter note/rest
  • Eighth notes
  • Repeats signs
YouTube video

Printable Music Playing Cards

The third week of November is Game and Puzzle Week. This might be the perfect time to play some music card games in your classroom. Don’t have any music playing cards? Take a peek at our PRINTABLE Music Playing Cards decks.

Print and laminate several decks to use with the entire class at once to learn about and/or review music symbols, instruments, composers, or jazz musicians.

Ways to use our music playing cards.

  • Class game day
  • Centers or stations
  • Fast finishers
  • Indoor recess You can print and laminate several decks to use with the entire class at once.

Our children need to learn how to play simple games. They need to practice taking turns, following a simple set of rules, and interacting with each other face-to-face in a positive manner. With musical decks of cards, they can learn about instruments, music symbols, master composers, and/or jazz greats as they play.

Celebrate Game Week with Digital and Printable Puzzles

These versatile puzzles are PRINTABLE or your students may complete them in a DIGITAL format. Have you tried Easel, TpT’s digital online tool? These NO-PREP worksheets are ready to assign and use on Easel.

Download the FREE Brass Instruments Puzzles and assign them to your students as digital activities or as printed worksheets.

Elementary Music Program Ideas for the Winter Holidays

This time of year most music classes are preparing for winter holiday programs. Like many districts, our area schools have diverse populations. It’s VERY important to mirror that diversity in our music programs.

Even if you teach at a school that is rather homogeneous, it’s still important to learn about other cultures and traditions. Take a peek at this blog post about Diverse Winter Holiday Songs in the Elementary Music Classroom.  (You don’t want to miss the links to several FREE songs with mp3 accompaniments.)

It’s hard to find songs and activities that have musical and rewarding performance opportunities for varied ages and abilities which also teach music literacy skills. So, over the years, I have collected songs and created my own Orff arrangements designed for elementary music. Some of my students’ favorites are below.

These diverse holiday arrangements are bound to become favorites, not just for you but also for your students.

Plan Ahead, Pare Down, and Enjoy

November is a short month and the holiday season can be a hectic time, especially in today’s teaching environment. Save some time for yourself. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each year. Take a peek at a few of the tried-and-true resources above to find your new favorite elementary music activities.

Plan ahead, pare down, and enjoy. 🎶

Best wishes,

Frau Musik USA

Lesson Plan Ideas for Planning Ahead

Meet the Author

Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.

She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.

More Ways to Connect – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.