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Music Workstations for Fall


Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
I LOVE workstations!  If you are a frequent reader, you probably have read many of my posts about centers.  If you are just getting started using workstations in your music classroom check out these three posts:
Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
This year I am teaching in a room that is much smaller than the rooms I have been in for the last 20 years or so.  Centers still work perfectly!  This is a picture of some of my groups working on centers this fall.

Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
Candy Corn Puzzles
At this workstation, students put together candy corn puzzles as a group.  Once they have assembled the candy corns they fill out a simple chart.  This set is the dynamics set so they are recording the symbol, the Italian term and the definition.  You can find these sets in my store:  Dynamics  /  Notes and Rests  /   Recorders    /   Symbols

Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
For some centers I put down a large throw rug.  Students can sit on it or do their activity on it.  Sometimes using the rug just helps define the space you have designated for the workstation.


Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.

Clip-It Rhythms
At this workstation, students say/clap the name of the picture on the card.  They decide with rhythm matches the syllables of the picture and clip-it.  Each set comes with an answer sheet, but most groups use peer checking successfully.

Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
Jazzy Jack-O-Lanterns
This is actually a bulletin board set that I have used for many years.  See it HERE.  At this station, students get a blank pumpkin and must use only music symbols to create a face on it.  I have sometimes just provided blank paper, but students seem to take so much time drawing their pumpkin that they don't get to using the music symbols.  A blank template gives them more time for that.

Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
You can get the bulletin board HERE.  It doesn't come with a blank template, but you can find one online or in a bulletin board book you may already have on your shelf.


Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
Pumpkin Patterns
I found these packs of foam pumpkins at the dollar store about five years ago.  I've seen similar ones at Hobby Lobby and Joann's that might work.  On the back of each pumpkin I drew a four beat rhythm and on another pumpkin the exact same rhythm.  Essentially, this is a memory game.  Students turn over a pumpkin, clap the rhythm they see and then try to find its match.  If they get it right, they keep the match and if they don't they turn them back over and it is someone else's turn.

Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
Reading Station
I love to incorporate a reading station during workstation days.  I include books that we may have used for classroom activities, books about musicians and instruments, songs made into books and biographies.  Some of my favorites for October and November are:
Blowin' in the Wind by Bob Dylan
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat by Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro
What Does the Fox Say by Svain Nyhus
Pete the Cat Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry
The Spooky Wheels on the Bus by Elizabeth Mills
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Dem Bones by Bob Barner


Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
Rhythm Stick Reading
If at all possible, I like to include a workstation that includes singing or playing an instrument.  This  was the first time my 3rd graders had worked at centers and I wanted to choose something with which they could have immediate success.  The rhythms in this file are easy.  It includes ta, titi and sh.  Actually, the notes aren't used.  Icons of rhythm sticks are used instead.
Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.

Rhythm sticks are also a nice instrument to start with because they are not particularly loud and annoying.  With a classroom full of learners in a small space, this is important!  They did a great job and demonstrated a great deal of self control.

You can find the Rhythm Stick Reading set HERE.  You might also like the one for several different rhythm instruments, maracas, tambourines, hand drums, triangles or cowbells.



Music workstation ideas for fall include playing instruments, pumpkin matching games, candy corn puzzles and more! High engagement, active learning, high level conversations and smiles are all part of these centers for October and November in music class.
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Books You Need in Your Music Classroom - Upper Elementary List


Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
I love incorporating books into my music lessons and I am adamant that I have a classroom library of books that teach about music history, explore music genres and dance, serve as a reference and more.  This year I moved to a new classroom that had NO music classroom library.  None.  Zilch.  Since I use a reading station in almost of my workstation rotations, I new I had to do something.

I have my own library of books that I've purchased during the last 20 years, so I had a few things to start with but soon realized most of my books were for primary aged students.  I'm currently teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th graders and most of the books that I had were for Kindergarten through 2nd grades.

Off to Amazon I went!  I would love to say that I researched for hours and consulted a stack of teacher resources, but I already had a wishlist a mile long for this age group!   Below you'll find a list of the books I have in my library that are appropriate for upper elementary classes.  

This list is not even CLOSE to being comprehensive.  There are hundreds of books that I could add to this list and more being published every year.  This list may be a good starting point for you if you are building a library for your music classroom.
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop      Chris Raschka
Leaf Man             Lois Ehlert
Max Found Two Sticks   Brian Pinkney
Thump Thump Rat-a-Tat-Tat       Gene Baer
Abiyoyo               Pete Seeger, illus by Michael Hays
The Music Teacher from the Black Lagoon            Mike Thaler
We All Went on Safari:  A Counting Journey through Tanzania     Laurie Krebs and Julia Cairns
Chalk     Bill Thomson  (This book is GREAT for introducing opera.  Students sing an improvised story to this book.)
M is for Music    Kathleen Krull

Dance
Dictionary of Dance         Liz Murphy
My Many Colored Days   Dr. Suess
The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet   Deborah Hautzig

Sing the Book
America the Beautiful    Scholastic

Blowin' in the Wind         Bob Dylan, illus John J. Muth
Don't Laugh at Me           Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin
Froggie Went a-Courtin'                Iza Trapani
Grandma's Feather Bed     Christopher Canyon (lyrics by John Denver)
Puff the Magic Dragon      Peter Yarrow, Lenny Lipton
Senor Don Gato     illustrated by John Manders
Take Me Home, Country Roads     Christopher Canyon (lyrics by John Denver)
Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs  Alan Katz
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow        Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat      Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell     Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly       Simms Taback
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell  Lucille Colandro
What a Wonderful World             Tip Hopbood
Possum Come a-Knockin'             Nancy Van Laan

Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
 Biography and Careers in Music
Some of these books are chapter books, so students may only get to read a portion of the book during workstation rotations.  My room is used as a bus room and so students also have the opportunity to read during bus room.  I do not lend my books out, but if something is quite popular I let our school librarian know.
Who Is Dolly Parton?      True Kelley
Who Was Elvis Presley? Geoff Edgers
Who was Michael Jackson? Megan Stine
Who Were the Beatles?  Geoff Edgers
There are more titles in this series that you might like.  Elton John and Bruce Springsteen are a few more musicians you can find.
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Marvin Makes Music      Jim Madsen
When the Beat was Born:  DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop        Laban Carrick Hill
 
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Composers
Aaron Copland (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
Duke Ellington (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)          Mike Venezia
George Gershwin (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)   Mike Venezia
George Handel (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)        Mike Venezia
I, Vivaldi               Janice Shefelman
Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
John Philip Sousa (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)    Mike Venezia
Ludwig van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart         Mike Venezia
Young Mozart    Rachel Isadora
Famous Composers Reference Book      Usborne

Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Patriotic
I teach a "Star-Spangled Banner" unit and like to have a few books on hand for students who finish early.  These are a couple of my favorites.
By the Dawn's Early Light, The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner    Steven Kroll
Can You Sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"?          Martha E.H. Rustad

History
Do Re Mi:  If You Can Read This Thank Guido A'rezzo       Susan Roth
Everyday History: Song and Dance           John Malam
The Rock and Roll Alphabet         Jeffrey Schwartz
V is for von Trapp:  A Musical Family Alphabet    William Anderson
We Shall Overcome:  The Story of a Song              Debbie Levy
When Marian Sang          Pam Munoz Ryan
Before John Was a Giant              Carole Boston Weatherford
John Henry         Julius Lester, illus Jerry Pinkney

Instruments
I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello        Barabara S. Garriel
Lemony Snicket The Composer is Dead  Nathaniel Stookey
M is for Melody                Kathy-jo Wargin
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo John Lithgow
The Remarkable Farkle McBride       John Lithgow
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin       Lloyd Moss
Moses Goes to a Concert             Isaac Millman

Getting Your Library Ready
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.

Every teacher has to find what works best for them, but here are some things that I do to keep my classroom library in good shape:
1.  I put my name on the inside of the front cover, on the back cover and inside the book.  I use a permanent marker and a paint pen on books with a dark cover.
2.  Some of the books have CDs inside of them.  I prefer to keep the CDs in the book, so I tape them in and write "Do not remove." in permanent marker in an obvious place.  I must admit that this works great for every class except Kindergarten.  *giggle*  They rip the CD out and bring it to me so it doesn't get broken.  
3.  I usually keep my library on a shelf, but you could use milk crates, a rolling cart or even a book bag if you were only going to use them during workstations.

I hope that this list is helpful and would love to hear other suggestions for books to add to my library.  Leave the title of your favorites for upper elementary classes in the comments.  If you liked these ideas, pin this post for later!
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.

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