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Sub Plans for the Non-Musical Sub

Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.

It happens.  A kid gets sick.  Your car breaks down.  You are suddenly called to go out of town.  The flu wraps its icy fingers around you.  You need a sub.

As a music teacher, I can't always count on getting a musical substitute teacher.  Actually I have only rarely had a sub that was comfortable doing musical activities like singing, dancing or playing instruments.  Due to this fact, I have created a sub tub with activities that even a non-musical sub would be comfortable teaching.

Currently I am teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th grades but I have used this system with K-8 quite successfully.  I organize all of my instructions for the substitute teacher in a binder.  Here are some of the things that are helpful to include:
  • Where to find things like the attendance book, seating charts, office supplies, bandages, hall passes, nurse passes, etc...
  • Procedures for emergencies.  If your school uses code words or special signals, be sure to include those in your plans.
  • Instructions for using technology in your room and any passwords that they will need.
  • A list of helpful teachers and where to find them.
  • A picture or drawing of how you set your room up.
  • An explanation of how to follow your emergency plans if no other plans are left.
  • General rules for the music room.  I have flexible seating choices in my room but I only use them for workstations or movie days, so I want to let them know how I use them.
  • Change for the soda machine. 
This is the first thing a guest teacher to my classroom needs to read to get acquainted with the music room and how their day will go. 

The sub plan binder also contains several different lesson plans for each grade.  These plans include a list of what they will need, where it is, what to do and a tracking sheet that I ask them to fill out so that I know what they have done and with which classes.  Keep reading to find out how to get these starter files for free!
Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.

When I return from an absence I can quickly browse through the binder and see what students have done.

The binder refers to materials in the sub tub.  These materials are either videos (some with worksheets, some without), worksheets or activities with children's books.  

Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.


Videos
Here are some videos that I recommend for the sub tub:

Kindergarten and 1st Grade:
Wee Sing Train
Wee Sing King Cole's Party
Wee Sing Big Rock Candy Mountain

2nd Grade:
Wee Sing in Sillyville
Wee Sing Marvelous Musical Mansion
Tubby the Tuba
3rd Grade:
Wee Sing Marvelous Musical Mansion
Overture to Disaster
Music and Heroes of America
Julie's Green Room (on Netflix)

4th and 5th Grades:
Stomp Out Loud
Composer's Specials (Bach, Bizet, Liszt, Strauss, Rossini, Handel)
Beethoven Lives Upstairs


Videos with Worksheets
I have created several resources that you might find valuable for your sub tub.  They are all actually bundled up in one bundle in my store (or you can purchase them individually).  Check out this Musicals Mega Bundle which includes tons of resources for these musicals:


Worksheets
I'm not a big fan of worksheets, but they do have their purpose and place in music class.  For substitute teachers they are often a familiar and comfortable activity that they can be successful with.  In my sub tub I use worksheets that reinforce skills we are constantly working on like note values, pitch names, composition and instrument identification and classification.

I pull those worksheets from the same sets that I have posted in my store.  They come in a bundle (that continues to grow) or you can buy the sets individually.  There are more than 400 usable pages in the bundle.  You can get it here:  No Prep Music Worksheets Endless Growing Bundle

Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.

Activities with Children's Books
Like many elementary music teachers I LOVE teaching with children's picture books.  I have dozens of books that I use regularly and some that work really well with substitute teacher lesson plans.

The Remarkable Farkle McBride by John Lithgow
This is such a fun story!  I have students complete a writing prompt that asks them to draw and write about an instrument they might like to play.  This book is also a great time to talk about onomatopoeias so we take time to write down some musical onomatopoeias.

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
This book is relatively new to my collection.  It's a delightful story about a boy who collects words.  After the story, students go on a word hunt around the music room to collect words.  This is also a great time to use some of the syllable search worksheets from my worksheet collections.
Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.
Tubby the Tuba by Paul Tripp
This is such a wonderful story!  In recent years I have stopped showing the movie very often.  It feels like it is 4 hours long.  The book, however, is delightful and not four hours long.  Subs love this lesson too!  After the story, I leave some discussion questions and a color the orchestra worksheet (color by instrument family) and a word search.

Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman
Another sub favorite is Moses Goes to a Concert.  This book talks about the experiences of a deaf student that goes to hear an orchestra perform.  The percussionist in the orchestra is also deaf and helps the students experience the music through vibrations.  With this book I leave a listening comprehension worksheet and a copy of the ASL alphabet.  After the worksheet questions have been answered and discussed, students can use the alphabet sheet to practice their names.  There are also TONS of YouTube videos of people signing popular songs that students love to watch.

The Rocket's Red Glare by Peter Alderman
This book tells the story of the "Star-Spangled Banner".  Although there are several books out there, this one has such beautiful illustrations that it is quickly becoming my favorite.  For sub plans, I have the teacher read the book, discuss the etiquette that we should display during the national anthem and then listen to the version that comes with the book.  After that, students receive sheets that are mostly blank with the exception of one of the phrases of the the "Star-Spangled Banner".  Students are then challenged to illustrate their phrase.  When they are finished it makes a beautiful display for the hallway or a bulletin board.

I have all of my children's literature sub plans bundled in my store.  Included are the ISBN numbers for the books, links to any pertinent videos to show as time fillers and all of the worksheets and activities listed about.  Get it here:  Sub Plans for the Non-Musical Sub

You might also like to watch this replay of a Facebook Live video where I take you on a tour of my sub binder and sub tub resources.





Ready to build your sub binder and Sub Tub?  Download these free starter files:  Sub Plan Starter Files

Like these ideas?  PIN them for later!
Music teachers often need to leave sub plans for non-musical substitute teachers.  This post is filled with tried and true lesson plans that are practical and comfortable for any teacher that steps into the music classroom.  Children's books, videos, worksheets and more are discussed.


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Classroom Tour 2018 - Jedi Musicians

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

I've been waiting for years to do this theme in my classroom.  My only regret is that my Star Wars loving husband isn't here to see it.  I think he would be proud!  This year's theme is Jedi Musicians.  Let me take you on a walk through of my room.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
This is the front view of my classroom and what the students look at most of the time they are in their chairs.  My instrument storage is easily accessible and they can easily see two character education bulletin boards and my awesome Millenium Falcon rug.  The large message across the front of the room is a bonus in the Jedi Musicians bundle.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
This is a closer view of the Be a Kindness Trooper bulletin board.  You can snag it here.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
Jedi Mindset bulletin board.  You can download it here.
Growth mindset is something that I have encouraged in my classroom way before it was a trendy buzzword.  It is important to make students feel that my classroom is one that is safe to make mistakes in and that the voice in their head is the most important one they will ever hear.  This year I decided to present this in a dark side/light side.  My students LOVE it!
Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
This view is of the corner of my classroom.  I store my Orff instruments, Boomwhackers and some miscellaneous things (pBuzz and steady beat swords).  The poster on the left is a painting that my son did.  He is so talented!  The song lyric posters are positive messages to me and my students.  They sit on the wall just opposite of my desk so I see them all the time.  You can get them HERE if you are interested.
Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

I keep a display of common tempo and dynamics terms as a reference during the school year.
Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

I also love to keep something up all year that reminds students of ensemble names and sizes.  We refer to this during listening lessons all year.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
Although the picture above looks like a word wall, it is actually my instrument family display.  I like being able to sort them into families in this way and love that it doesn't take up too much space.  This is at the back of my room because later in the year my third graders will take some quizzes on them and it is easier to cover up there.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
This is the back of my room.  I have one long bulletin board that I divide into several sections.  The board on the far left is my treble clef lines and spaces display.  The board on the right will be my Song of the Month display and the one in the middle will be changed out monthly.  These groovy borders are all from Creative Teaching Press.   
The shelves house textbooks I rarely use.  Under the table are foot stools that I use for flexible seating and to put glockenspiels on when we play them.  This makes it much more comfortable for students to play.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

This area contains a funny picture from Tone Def Comics about Jedis and Conductors.  Love it!  The Leia and Han Solo people were actually left from my farmhouse theme last year.  I just made them a little Star Warsy (is that a word?).  We don't use them as actual bathroom passes (because...uhm...gross) but they hang near the area where students sign out to leave the room.

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.
This is my favorite corner!  This is my reading area.  I will use these each time we do stations.  There are books in baskets on each side of the bookshelf and students are sure to be comfy with the pillows and R2-D2 rug.  Heck, I might curl up there during my planning time!

Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.

My desk.  I kept the faux wood contact paper I put up last year and added these Star Wars inspired letters from Aisnes Creations.  I have a cozy footstool from Five Below under my desk.

If you are interested in using the Jedi Musicians theme, you can find it exclusively on thebulletinboardlady.com

If you  like these ideas, PIN THEM for later.
Star Wars classroom inspiration can be found in this blog post crammed with pictures.  Classroom organization, decorations and more are included. The force is strong in this music classroom.  Be inspired.


Wanna see a video walk-through?  This Facebook Live has been archived for your enjoyment:

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10 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Classroom Management


Why does classroom management seem to come easily to others while you are still struggling?  Why don’t the brilliant plans you read about work for you?  Why are you so stinkin’ exhausted at the end of every school day?  You might just be sabotaging your classroom management plan and not realize it.

Here are a few things to think about if you are struggling with classroom management.

Jumping in Without a Plan
Remember that old saying “Look before you leap!”?  That is good advice for classroom management too.  If you are starting your school year or semester without a plan for managing your classroom, you will end up struggling with it the entire time. 
Think about classroom procedures, how you will redirect students that are off-task, what attention getting signal you will use and what you’ll do when a student is out of control.  Write it down.  Thinking about it is a great start but write it down so that you have a reminder for your students and for yourself.

You may be sabotaging your classroom management and not even know it!  Learn how to figure out a plan that works with teacher tested techniques. Preschool, middle school, high school?  These strategies work for controlling transitions, talking and can set your substitutes up for success too.Fred Jones, author of Tools for Teaching, says that teachers with the best run classrooms spend most of the first two weeks teaching procedures and routines.  My favorite quote: "Do it right or do it all year long."

Being Inconsistent
It is hard for students to know what behavior is acceptable if you aren’t consistent with what you are telling them.  If it is not okay for students to interrupt your lesson to ask to go to the restroom, but someone does, and you let them go, smile and then continue your lesson, your students will assume that it is okay.  

When I first started teaching being consistent was exhausting.  Why?  Because I had rules for every single thing and I was running around like a crazy woman trying to enforce them.  After much reflection (and too many headaches) I realized that I just didn’t care about some things and I could let them go.  For example, I don’t mind if students are chatting during workstations or center time.  If they are working and completing their tasks, I WANT them to have conversations about that learning.  I don’t care if they get up and get a Kleenex without permission or if they sharpen their pencil when it needs it as long as they aren’t disruptive. I used to have a rule for all of those things and I didn't really want to enforce them.

Now I have three classroom rules and my life is easier: Respect yourself.  Respect others.  Respect the property of all.  This allows me to be more relaxed AND more consistent.

You may be sabotaging your classroom management and not even know it!  Learn how to figure out a plan that works with teacher tested techniques. Preschool, middle school, high school?  These strategies work for controlling transitions, talking and can set your substitutes up for success too.Trying to Be Like the Teacher Down the Hall
A great mentor can make you a better teacher, but what works for them may not work for you.  Don’t get bogged down by trying to imitate every great idea you see someone else do.  Find what works for you.


Laughing a Little Too Much
I like to laugh, and I like kids.  I especially like funny kids.  Sometimes I find it difficult not to smile or laugh when kids say something to get us off track.  Laughing too much or smiling and chasing those off-topic rabbits can derail a lesson.  Use quick phrases to keep it light to refocus your group before you have to hear twenty funny cat stories.  I use statements like “Great story!  Let’s get back to Beethoven now.”  or “Thanks for making me smile.  You know what else makes me smile? Music theory!”

Not Taking it to the Hall
Guilty.  On occasion I have corrected a student in public rather than taking it to the hall.  This can be embarrassing for the student and is not a good way to prevent this behavior from happening again.  It can build resentment toward you and others. Always try to correct a student in a private way if possible.  Speak quietly to them at their seat or call them to your desk.  Ask them to step outside of your classroom and chat with them there if possible.

When directing large groups or rehearsing intensely I will pause and say “David, please see me after class.  I need to talk to you.”  Although this is a signal to David to stop the behavior I’ve noticed, it doesn’t let others know what’s going on unless they noticed it too.  I often have students stay after class for positive reinforcement, treats from the goody box or personal messages of encouragement.

Being Front and Center
You may be sabotaging your classroom management and not even know it!  Learn how to figure out a plan that works with teacher tested techniques. Preschool, middle school, high school?  These strategies work for controlling transitions, talking and can set your substitutes up for success too.Stop it.  Move around the room.  Always be a few feet away.  Even as music teachers we can step away from the music stand and be closer to our students as they work and perform.  This stops misbehaviors before they start and gives you a chance to redirect students and help them individually.

Getting Emotional…In the Bad Way
Music is such a passionate thing.  Sometimes it gives me goosebumps or brings a tear to my eye.  Students are passionate too.  Sometimes they give me goosebumps or bring tears to my eyes.  Sometimes they make me want to stomp and scream!  Your students know when you are frustrated or upset.  Don’t let it get out of hand.  Take a break.  Sip some water.  Breathe.

Be honest with them.  Plenty of times I have a heart to heart with them and say “I really want to try this activity again because it is a great way to learn *insert whatever skill we are working on* but it is too loud and too chaotic.  I don’t feel like everyone can learn and I’m getting frustrated.  Let’s talk about what we can do to make it better this time.” It works more often than not and gives me a chance to sit down and use a quiet, calming voice.

Decorating a Classroom without the Students in Mind
I see my students once a week for 50 minutes.  They are in my room less time a week than they are in the restrooms!  So for many years I decorated for myself.  I used colors and themes that I liked because I was the only person that had to be in the room all day long every day.

When I started decorating with my students in mind I created rooms that were bright and colorful, but not dripping with text everywhere.  Some students are overwhelmed and will spend their entire class time reading your walls.  Keep it simple and useful.

When I thought more about what my students needed in my classroom I added flexible seating options for centers, an easy access point for getting supplies and positive messages for them to read and reread on the walls.  If you are interested in learning more about setting up your room you might enjoy this blog post:  Questions to Ponder as You Set Up Your Music Room

You may be sabotaging your classroom management and not even know it!  Learn how to figure out a plan that works with teacher tested techniques. Preschool, middle school, high school?  These strategies work for controlling transitions, talking and can set your substitutes up for success too.Making it Personal
When kids are angry, embarrassed, scared or frustrated they can say some pretty mean things.  It is a symptom.  Something is going on.  Maybe it is something you can see: They aren’t understanding what you are working on, they are being picked on or they have a physical need that isn’t being met.  Yes, they could be hangry or uncomfortable.  Maybe it is something you can’t see like the big fight mom and dad had last night.  Don’t take it so personal.  Be professional.  Move on.

This isn't to say that you should allow them to be disrespectful.  Speak to them privately if needed.  Then move on.

Not Making it Personal
I know I just said not to take things so personal, but this tip is for your relationship with the kiddos.  Get to know them.  Smile at them.  Ask questions.  Help them make connections.  As a specialist I feel like this one is hard.  I see students for such a short time each week and there often isn’t time to chat as we cram in curricular and performance goals.  
To combat this I go out of my way to chat with them before school in the hall, at lunch or recess or any other duty I may be assigned.  Students need to know you care in and out of the classroom.  This helps classroom management issues disappear.  Seek out that attention stealing student and start a conversation.  Compliment that shy student when you see them in the morning.  Make connections.

If you are a new teacher or a veteran teacher looking to up their game, you might enjoy this blog post too: Advice for the New Music Teacher.   You can do this.

 If you liked these ideas for classroom management PIN them for later!
You may be sabotaging your classroom management and not even know it!  Learn how to figure out a plan that works with teacher tested techniques. Preschool, middle school, high school?  These strategies work for controlling transitions, talking and can set your substitutes up for success too.



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Take Music Class Outside

Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

Take your music classes outside!  No, not just for an extra recess.  Take them outside for an extra special music class!  When the days are sunny and warm, you can go outside to sing, dance, play and even assess.  Here are 9 practical ideas for beautiful days.

Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

1.  Musical Hopscotch
There are plenty of ways to play musical hopscotch.  With a little sidewalk chalk, create a hopscotch board.  What you put inside each square depends on what skills you want students to practice.

Note Values:  Draw note with values from smallest to largest on the blocks if you wanted to work on note values. Students would pause on each block as they counted the notes or said the syllables.  Add multiple notes to get all the way to ten or create a hopscotch board in a different shape to accommodate your needs.
Solfege:  I created a hopscotch board (pictured above) with the syllables of a major scale.  I added sol and do in the spaces of 9 and 10 on the board.  To warm up, we hopped and sang the syllables ascending and descending.  Then the game started.  Students would roll their rock and skip whatever syllable it landed on.  They hopped through the board singing each syllable except the ones that were covered.  This game was challenging and so much fun.  What I discovered was that when I wasn't actively engaged with a group, their singing skills weren't very strong.
Pitch:  I haven't tried this with students but I would love to try a version where some students jumped and other students played corresponding Boomwhakers.  That would be lots of fun too!

Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

2.  Treble Clef Twister
When I play Treble Twist Up in class, I use a shower curtain that I have created a treble clef staff on and students take off their shoes and play the game like regular Twister.  Outside the shower curtain could work, but it wasn't a different enough experience in my mind.  If you have a playground that has the large foam squares as the "floor" of the playground you could create a treble clef staff with chalk on it to play.  Another idea is to spray paint the staff onto a grassy area.  The next time the grass is mowed, the staff is erased.  (You might want to get permission before you do this!)  Add THIS spinner and you have a great outside game that reinforces pitch names.

Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

3.  Yard Dice - Roll and Cover
I needed an excuse to buy a set of LARGE wooden dice.  *giggle*  Outside music class seems like a great reason!  I must confess that I already have a collection of large foam dice that I use inside and they would work perfect outside as well.  So, what do I do with them?  I use them with Roll and Cover worksheets.  In a milk crate, I pack a few clipboards, pencils and a stack of Roll and Cover worksheets.  This makes the entire station easy to transport and gives me a place to collect finished pages. Check out the Roll and Cover sets here:  Music Roll and Cover

4.  Parachute Games
Parachute games are perfect for outside music class.  My current music room doesn't have a high enough ceiling for very many parachute games so taking the activity outside is the only way I can use them.

When planning parachute activities think about using songs your students already know that utilize direction words like up, down, around, etc...   I like to use "The Noble Duke of York" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider".

Add a football to the middle of the parachute and change the lyrics to "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and you have a fun singing parachute game. Just change the word "Bonnie" to "football".  Add more actions to make it even more challenging.

"Charlie Over the Ocean" is a fun song to sing with a parachute.  Before each round choose a weather forecast like: warm and sunny, windy, stormy, hurricane, blizzard, calm and cool.  Students sing and move the parachute to match the weather forecast.  It is even more fun to toss a ball in the middle and focus on keeping it on the parachute during any weather condition.

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Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

5. Ukuleles
I am relatively new to teaching ukuleles, but they have proven to be a versatile instrument and are perfect for taking outside.  Take a few song books for students to work on in small groups or move your whole group instruction out to the lawn.


Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

6.  Four Corners - Instrument Families
Four Corners is a game that has been around for a long time.  I use it to reinforce instrument families.  Draw the four corner boxes and in each one add the name of an instrument family.  One student calls out the name of an instrument and the players move to stand in the family box that it belongs in.  Anyone who is not in the correct box is out.

This game was great with second and third graders, but my 4th, 5th and 6th graders were too good!  To make it a little more complicated I created instrument cards for the caller to use.  I included many instruments from around the world, pictures of those instruments and then their name and family to make the game more interesting.  If the game gets to the point where no one gets out for 3 turns, then the caller turns around giving the players a chance to stand in ANY box and then chooses a family.  Anyone not in that family is out.  Play continues until there is one winner and that person becomes the new caller.


Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.

7.  Singing Rocks
Singing rocks are great inside or outside.  There's just something fun about taking them outside.  I explain how to make these rocks in this blog post:  Singing Rocks

Basically the rocks are used for singing improvisation.  Put the rocks in a bag or box that isn't easy to see into.  Pull out a rock and start singing about what is on the rock.  The song doesn't have to rhyme.  The next person pulls out another rock and continues the ballad by singing about what is on their rock.  This is a great way to introduce the idea of opera too.  I've used this activity as a workstation and as a whole group activity.

8.  Singing Games/Folk Dancing
Ah!  Finally enough room to do all of those dances as an entire class instead of a couple of different groups taking turn!  A sunny, grassy area is the perfect place for folk dancing and singing games.


9.  Music Symbols Chalk Drawings
My daughter and I love going outside to create chalk art and so do my students.  I give them a sheet with music symbols on it and challenge them to create art using ONLY music symbols.
 Purchase this as part of the Jazzy Jack-o-Lanterns bulletin board.
I love the results!  While students are creating I engage them in conversations about the symbols they are using.  Win!  Here are a couple of examples:
Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.
A tree composed of a whole note trunk.

Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.
I think this was really just a beautiful picture.  Although it wasn't a picture of something made with music symbols, it was a beautiful picture made only of music symbols.  The next picture is an example of one of "those" kiddos that technically followed the rules, but was obviously pushing the boundaries.  It made me laugh so while he was going to get more chalk to clothe the musical man below I snapped a picture.  I must admit that it was pretty good AND used only music symbols, but you know.


I hope that these ideas have inspired you to take your music class outside to enjoy a beautiful day.  Do you already take your classes outside?  I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

If you like these ideas, PIN them for later.
Outside activities for music class can be just as engaging as activities that you plan for inside the music room.  Sing, dance, play and assess in the sunshine.  Nine practical ideas for beautiful days in music class.



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Musical May


Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
Make it a musical May!  Every May (sometimes every March if the year is shorter) I plan to show a musical to all of my classes.  Many students are not exposed to musicals at home and this is a great time to introduce them to a genre they may just fall in love with!
Top 5 Reasons to Have a Musical May
1.  Most students are not familiar with traditional musicals and introducing your students to them now can create a life long love of musical theater.
2.  It's May.  It is possible that your schedule is just crazy with rescheduled classes from testing, field trips, assemblies, end of the year dodge ball tournaments or whatever.  Musical May is a great way to give your kids awesome musical content with little prep and maximum flexibility.
3.  It doesn't really matter if you finish the musical or not.  If you do, awesome.  If you don't, encourage your students to finish the musical on their own.
4.  It's a great excuse to try out some flexible seating options to see it is for you.  Students can use rugs, cushions and other flexible seating options while watching the movie.
5.  Musicals make people happy.  Don't you need a little more happiness during what can be the most stressful month of they year?
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
How to Make Musical May Special
I like to promote Musical May during the last week of April with signs posted around the school.  It's an easy and fun way to get students excited about it.  Sometimes I'll include quotes from the movie too.  For example before I showed "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" I hung up this sign:
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
When Musical May (or March) begins, I create a mini bulletin board on my door to highlight it and post some general questions. These questions about the musical really spark some great discussions as students wait in the hall.  Even teachers and staff members pop their heads in on occasion to see if they could remember the answers.  Fun!
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
Sometimes I'll have a little snack for students during one of the times they visit my classroom for Musical May.  At my local supermarket, they often have gigantic bags of popcorn for just a few bucks.  One bag per class was usually more than enough and it made Musical March feel like an event.  Another year (at a MUCH smaller school) I purchased ice pops for each class.  They were inexpensive and the lovely ladies of lunch stored them in their freezer until I needed them.  At another school I had an amazing PTO President that volunteered to come in every day for a week to pop enough popcorn for each student in music class.  What a blessing!
Weekly trivia questions over the intercom can be another way to make Musical May a special event.  Read the question and then give students a few second to think about it before giving the answer or have them drop their answers in a bucket or can and draw a winner for a small prize at the end of the day.
How to Make Musical May Educational
I do several things to make Musical May educational.  When working with third grade and up, they watch their musical with a viewing guide.  The viewing guides don't always focus on the musical aspects of the story, but more on setting, plot and interpreting the lyrics and motivations of characters.  
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
When the musical is finished we may play a melody from the musical on Orff instruments, sing a song from the musical, write a parody of one of the songs or even write our own review of the musical.  Older students enjoy creating slideshows that show the history of the musical too.
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.

 With younger students, we watch the musical for part of the period and then do an activity from one of my sets.  They may write about a character or a song or do a coloring sheet.  They next time they come we will do the same thing.  We will watch the musical for most of the period and then do a short activity related to it.  I have found that this works best for younger learners.
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.
Making Musical May Happen
I have created several resources that you might find handy during your Musical May or Musical March.  They are all actually bundled up in one bundle in my store (or you can purchase just what you need too).  Check out this Musicals Mega Bundle which includes tons of resources for these musicals:
Wizard of Oz 
Oklahoma
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 
The Sound of Music Mega Pack 
Mary Poppins Mega Pack of Activities 
The King and I Mega Pack of Activities 
Bye Bye Birdie Mega Pack of Activities 
Annie Mega Pack of Activities 
West Side Story
The Music Man
Singin' in the Rain

Other Musical Goodies:
My Book of Mary Poppins
My Book of The Wizard of Oz
Musicals Word Search Puzzles
Great ideas for showing musicals in your classroom and making it a special, educational event your students look forward to every year.  Great for music classrooms or any classroom! Musical theater is for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you show the same musical to all grades?
Right now I am teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th grades so I do.  When I taught K-8 I showed two different musicals.  One for the lower grades and one for the upper grades.

Do your admins support this?
You bet.  I show them the worksheets and other activities that we will do with the musical and they are all on board.  Sometimes they'll sneak in to watch them too!

Do you need special permission to legally show a movie in class?
Yep.  In all likelihood, your district or building already has one.  Learn more about copyright for schools here.
Do you show the whole movie or just clips?
It really depends on many factors.  The group I am showing it to, the amount of time I have to celebrate Musical May and the length of the musical are all things I take into consideration.  As a general rule, yes.  I try to show the entire musical.
I hope that these ideas help you have a happy Musical May!  If you liked these ideas, 
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