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Rhythm Go Rounds

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!

I have really been having a great time with the Music-Go-Rounds that I received from Music in Motion.  In a previous blog post, I talked about how I used them with vocal activities.  You can read about those activities HERE.  In this post I want to share with you some of the ways I have used them to teach rhythm.  Although these manipulatives are called Music-Go-Rounds, I borrowed the name "Rhythm Go Rounds" from a clever student that dubbed them as such.

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Music-Go-Rounds are thin, silicone circles that cling to a variety of surfaces.  They are so much fun to touch!  While working at some of these rhythm stations I had to continually get on to kids that loved playing with them.  I found one student that had folded them and placed them between each of his fingers.  I scolded him, but not until after laughing at him.  I could completely relate!

At this station, I introduced students to the duration relationship between the whole note, half note, quarter note and barred eighth notes by setting the Music-Go-Rounds up in this order.  We clapped through the patterns together and then I left them to create their own patterns.  In the photo below, you can see one of their examples.  This activity gave me the opportunity to work with students in small groups and to differentiate if needed.  This is a cabinet door in my classroom.  It has a smooth surface the the Music-Go-Rounds cling to it nicely.

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!
This is another example from a group that only sort of paid attention.  I appreciate that they were sorting correctly though!

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!
In another activity, we used the Music-Go-Rounds to match the syllables of words with rhythm that could represent it.  After singing "Ode to Composers" from Music K-8 magazine, I thought I would use composer names for this closing activity of the lesson. 

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!
I do several different activities with body percussion from Kindergarten through 6th grade.  Students love to take the opportunity to create with body percussion.  I use the activities in THIS set from my store for composing with body percussion for lower elementary.  For upper elementary, we often transfer our patterns to a body percussion staff.
Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!
I used masking tape to create this staff on a dry erase board.  I labelled the staff with "stomp", "pat", "clap" and "snap".  Students arranged rhythms for their small group and the group performed them.  They had such a great time that they didn't realize how much they were reading and performing rhythms.  Teacher win!

There are probably many other ways to do this, but I prefer using the Music-Go-Rounds over dry erase markers.  For some reason, I always have kids that draw on themselves with them.  That makes me crazy.  The Music-Go-Rounds are also such a novel way to keep students engaged too.
Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!
After the small groups had a chance to experiment with this station, we created some patterns as a class.  We took turns performing each line, performing them all together and even reading the vertically!  

I hope this post has given you a few new ideas for teaching rhythm.  If you like these ideas PIN THEM for later. 

Great ideas for using Music-Go-Rounds to teach rhythm.  Use them in centers, to decode song notation, with body percussion and more!

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I Got Plenty of Nuttin'

Teaching music with no resources? How do you teach without text books, instruments, equipment or technology of any kind? This blog post explores ways to get what your students need to be successful by Martha Stanley.

Today's blog post is written by the extraordinary Martha Stanley, MME, NBCT EMC-MUSIC, 2002, 2012 (recently retired and currently rested).

   Twice in my 43 year career I have walking into teaching situations where there was very nearly nothing to work with, first in Florida and later in Arkansas. Both times I built a program and acquired materials and left those positions in far better shape than I found them.  I did have a decent budget, but it wasn’t sufficient, so I had to hustle to get what my students needed.  Since financing is always an issue, resourceful teachers find work-arounds.  
This article is intended to give you some ideas of things you might do to get things you need for your program.

My main reasons for success were based on five main activities.

1.  I kept my eyes open for what I wanted. Literally - I looked around. When I saw something that would be helpful, I took some appropriate action to secure it. It didn’t always work, but it sometimes I got great stuff like a LED projector on a cart and a class set of iPads.
2.  I asked around for what I wanted and for advice on how to get it. Many people knew things I wished I knew and when I asked them, I got great answers. Don’t be shy.
3.  I was active in my teaching peer-groups which put me in contact with people and situations that could be beneficial. This was possibly the most important aspect of my success. So, in answer to the question, “Should I join my professional groups?  They are soooo expensive,”  I wholeheartedly say, “YES.”
These groups included my local and state NAfME, Orff and union/professional groups. It also included being active in online music education groups.  I started the first online music ed bulletin board in Florida back in the 80’s.  There I met Artie Almeida and Laurie Zentz - good company, yes?  By going to conferences, I met well-known experts and authorities and quizzed them for ideas. I did one a favor and it has been returned ten-fold.  By being active online at Music K8 and much later Facebook, I met and have been enriched by Tracy King and many others.   By belonging to groups, I became aware of opportunities that turned into benefits for my students.    I did presentations locally, at state and national conferences and connected to a lot of people I knew only online. When I volunteered to re-do the Florida Elementary Music Education Association’s website, it connected me to the movers and shakers of the state level officers.  I suspect that was the beginning of why I was selected to be the Florida Music Educator Of the Year in 2009.  By putting myself in these places and situations, I was able to make nationwide (and one international) connections that paid off in free materials and more.
4.  I was willing to spend other people’s money for training in many things that are not necessarily music oriented.  But I saw how to transfer the learning into my teaching and as a result, I got knowledge and skills in topics that one wouldn’t normally expect a music teacher to have. Frequently, materials were offered as part of the training.  When federal funds were paying classroom teachers to participate in how to develop effective classroom groups, I insisted and badgered the administrators until they let me, a mere music teacher, join. I eventually turned that into my major paper for my master’s degree. I made sure I was in every technology opportunity offered to classroom teachers, even when it was initially offered only to classroom teachers. When national board teachers were invited to participate in a train-the-trainers course in Systematic Vocabulary Instruction, I rushed at the chance. Music teachers have vocabulary to teach, right?  I taught SVI at two schools and developed material for their classroom use that I was able to use in my music classrooms.  When I participated in union and staff development councils, I was sent to conferences on their dimes.   When an internship after completing Orff Level III was offered to me, I took it. All of these trainings impacted my students in positive ways, but I had to be open to the advancement and be willing to take it when it came along. These activities also connected me to people and programs that offered materials, grants and future contacts. And honestly, it showed that music teachers are more than “just music teachers.”
5.  I was willing to write grants. Yes, it’s a chore, but it sure honed both my ability to state succinctly what my students needed and also my ability to justify it to the grant readers, principals and other funders. I learned how to advocate for my program’s wants and needs and this helped convince others to give support.  My programs have been significantly improved by 12-15 grants - I’m not sure. I’ve lost track.   
           I stayed at the front of any new movements coming along, musical, classroom and technology, usually through being active in groups, and found that classroom teachers often failed to write grants which left me the opening to do so.  There are a lot of opportunities to get funding when you tap into classroom projects. For example, I got small percussion instruments which I used as wonderful adjuncts to a poetry writing unit.  When PowerPoint was the new thing, I figured out how to use it at school in new ways and got a big screen TV before projectors and flat screens were common. When Orff first came into my life, I figured out how I could get instruments (my first grant). Basically, I figured out what I wanted in my room and then dovetailed it into a grant somehow. You can do that too. Think creatively.

For what it’s worth, here are my biggest tips for writing a grant.  

  • Point out what your students CANNOT presently do because they don’t have the “thing” the grant is for. Figure out how to state what your students COULD do if you got the money for the grant. NEVER write it for how it will make YOUR life better even if that’s your main reason for writing the grant.  Make it about students, not you.
  • Don’t whine to me about how hard it is to do the paperwork and follow-up that may be required. Write it so that it’s realistic for you to do.  Don’t whine about how fake the project may be….”I’ll only do this for one year.”  YES!   One year to make your grant-funders happy and forever after, you do it YOUR way.
  • Figure out how it fits into something larger than your curriculum.  Twist your brain around until you can come up with how the students will benefit.
  • I used “assessment” as a hook more than once, for example. What education grantor can be against better assessment?? I included it as part of my professional growth plan as well to add more appeal to any grant I might want to write and because I was truly interested in doing better assessment. Without the grant object I wanted (a portable dry erase magnet board once and clickers/individual responders another time), my students would not be able to have effective individual assessment. Without the grant object (which just coincidentally was a wonderful thing for me - wink wink), they could not get high quality, tailored feedback that would inform my targeted instruction. Do you see how I used educational wording? So the hook was great for for the kids and I got things I drooled for.  Authentically and legitimately.  The grant readers, rarely music educators, could identify with the “assessment” and “targeted instruction” pitch a lot better than one that targeted getting kids to read staff notation better. (Yawn.) And in MY brain, how it played out in the classroom was going to look exactly the same either way plus it looked quite professional since it responded to my professional growth plan.
This is sometimes crazy-making, but it’s good for you and it’s really good for your students.

So with those five points in mind, I’d like to share what my no-cost materials acquisition process looked like in the real world, my last teaching assignment.  It was five years at two teeny, impoverished, rural north central Arkansas Title 1 schools where I had a total of 400 students and I taught K-12, instrumental and choral classes. I found a single box of crappy, pre-k type instruments to use for both schools. There was a collection of the previous 5 years of Music K8, Activate and Music Express, 5 keyboards, 2 bad boomboxes for sound. A nice piano at both schools was a pleasant surprise. I also discovered 52 VHS tapes that were clearly heavily used. One school supplied me with a new laptop. That, ladies and gentlemen, was the sum total of what the schools offered me to work with.

Materials acquisition became a high priority. Did I say that in an understated way or what?  As you read through the following, notice which “reason for success” or combination from above is being used.

Here is what I did to get free stuff.

  • I begged.  I got free buckets from a grocery store bakery, enough for both schools to do drumming.  The shop teachers furnished and cut up a bathroom wall board and I got 32 mini-white boards which I used extensively.
  • I whined.  One principal gave me the computer sound system right off his work computer. It was nice!  A community member who wished to be anonymous bought 30 ukuleles.
  • I went through the district technology dump rooms. More than once.  I found some truly uninspiring computer speakers that worked and voila, I had a classroom sound system. I also found a huge cork bulletin board and a smaller bulletin board which I had installed.
  • I searched every vacant room and closet for whatever I could find.  I found a projector on a roll-around cart and claimed it. I asked about the Smart Board that I’d seen just sitting around. It was being used as a room divider!  I asked every teacher in the building and no one wanted it, so I claimed it. I had to set it up, contact the company for software and do everything because it was the only IWB in either school and no one else knew anything about interactive whiteboards.  And it became MINE. All mine! (Insert evil laugh here.) It completely transformed my ability to deliver instruction.
  • I schmoozed the custodial and maintenance staff for anything I didn’t have.  They helped me get a dry erase marker board for one school, batteries for the clocks which I had to provide, and a whole lot of information about what was stashed where that came in helpful along the way. They came up with tables, shelving units, storage cabinets and file cabinets. Bless them.
  • I asked all the teachers for their ideas of what was available.  They knew things I didn’t about how to get supplies. I got a set of multi-fix cubes for composition and rhythm dictation from the math teacher. One teacher knew where a set of risers, unusable unfortunately, was in the tech dump room. One knew where there was a magnet dry-erase board and I got permission to get it, but we got a new principal who nixed that idea.
  • I used personal equipment.  No surprise there.
  • I wrote DonorsChoose grants. I got a Bose computer speaker that was great. I got a set of temple blocks for the high school drumline.
Teaching music with no resources? How do you teach without text books, instruments, equipment or technology of any kind? This blog post explores ways to get what your students need to be successful by Martha Stanley.

  • I checked with the other music teachers in the district and was able to get a conga drum for each school which I used a lot for movement and creative activities.
  • I was offered a complete set of usable risers from a teacher in a neighboring district and was not able to accept them because neither school would provide a storage space.  Sigh…...
  • I made friends with the tech people and tried to be interested, cooperative and supportive. I got quick fixes on tech issues and expert advice when I needed it. They helped me find equipment, carts, projectors, cords, plugs, and such so I could use the tech skills and knowledge that I’d built up over the years.  Once, in the tech office, I saw a pile of unopened iPads in boxes which sat there for quite awhile.  I asked about them.  There was, unbelievably, no plan for them.  I already knew how to use them better than anyone else in the school, so out of the goodness of my heart and my desire to use school resources to the max, I volunteered to use them in my classes and suddenly I had 10 iPads, a workable class set, at my disposal. I could have asked for more, but my conscience wouldn't let me.
  • I queried the school secretaries about everything to do with purchasing and schedules. They’re the ones who knew who the piano tuner was and what programs I was expected to set up and the workarounds I needed for all kinds of situations. They found me office supplies when others went without.
  • Before I moved, I was allowed to take some of the material I’d gotten through Florida grants with me including a generous set of Boomwhackers, which turned out to save my hide with high schoolers.
Teaching music with no resources? How do you teach without text books, instruments, equipment or technology of any kind? This blog post explores ways to get what your students need to be successful by Martha Stanley.

  • I had also volunteered to be on the Florida state textbook selection committee one year and got to keep the Share The Music teacher editions and support material that I reviewed, including the CDs. They were my only curriculum CDs in my new schools. Volunteering is a good thing.  Lots of useful payoffs come your way when you do.
  • I “cashed in” with amazing people I’d never met face to face who offered help.  As a result of being active online and in my state music education community (NAfME and Orff mostly), I knew a lot of people in my old state, my new state and over the nation.  These contacts were tremendously helpful in many ways as I worked to improve my new situation.  It was wonderful to have people I knew well online in my new state who could coach me about the differences in the two school cultures.  Laws, staff development issues, requirements that were totally new to me gave me fits but I had music people to help me out.  In my district, nobody knew much about how to feed and nourish a outsider music teacher.
  • I continued to whine online on Music K-8 (what a Godsend that site is), my go-to my online support community since 2003.  People generously started sending me things unsolicited! I was so humbled and grateful.
  • A well-known international music educator from Canada offered me a slew of materials left over from a conference.  We had created a good working relationship over the years and she pretty much saved me.  
  • A teacher from New York sent MIOSM stickers annually and a classroom set of recorders.
  • Another Arkansas teacher convinced her assistant principal who was visiting my area to bring me a complete set of old but really good Share The Music books.  Another sent a second set so I had a set per school.
  • A former Florida colleague sent me a pile of choral material.
  • TeachersPayTeachers was just getting started well and teachers asked me for feedback on their products pre-publication in exchange for keeping the materials.  I got some incredible resources that way. (Yes, Tracy King, I’m talking about you.)
  • While I was at a ArkMEA conference, I saw some flyers, just lying abandoned on a table in a hallway, for intriguing looking materials from a new Australian music materials publishing company. I remembered them when I saw their Facebook entries.  When they asked for volunteers, my hand was first to be raised. I got to try out and give feedback on several modules which turned out to be fabulous. And I got to keep the materials.
  • I researched online for free materials. I was especially strapped for high school instrumental material.
    I found keyboard material but I ended up needing to tweak it so much for my unique groups of students that it wasn’t very useful.  However, I discovered that bucket drumming was great for my middle and high school students. It didn’t take too long into the first semester before I was scrambling for age-appropriate material.  It had to be free and specialized for my students.  I found freedrumlinemusic.com! We ended up using it, with heavy adaptations, for a successful semester course which I taught three times.  
  • I also read Music K8 and Facebook music forums where people would mention free apps and I used apps to find free iPad apps.   I collected many freebies which I installed on the iPads.
  • Later, one school bought a pass at iTunes for iPad apps which could be downloaded to school iPads with a special password.  Few teachers took advantage of it so I asked if I could use the allowance.  I ended up spending quite a bit of money on big-time apps and got some fabulous music apps for the music iPads. With my unique curricular needs in middle and high school, some of the apps were wonderful for small group work in composition and research.  

All these little things accumulated until there was quite a bit of material added to the music program with no cost.  It did take willingness to put out some effort, to be an active part of professional associations, to read online material, to shake a few trees and do some work, but there was no cost for these things.  The program was being built.

My program was also supplemented by the budget provided, but don’t despair if you don’t have a lot of cash to spend.  Perhaps you can now see ways that you can augment your program after seeing what someone else did it with no cash.

Remember:  keep your eyes open, ask around, stay active and involved in professional activities, take advantage of training that may not be music-related,  and write those grants!
Good luck!
Martha is a happily retired music teacher, pursuing new activities and interests like gardening, playing old time/bluegrass music and studying herbalism. But she still has school dreams many nights.
She has been certified K-12 in music and gifted/talented in both Florida and Arkansas. Along with her MME and Orff Level III+ certification, she is National Board Certified, EMC-Music 2002 and 2012.
She was named Florida Music Educator of the Year in 2009.  

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Becoming an Exceptional Teacher to Exceptional Students

Today's blog post is written by my friend Dee Yoder.  Learn more about Dee at the end of this article.

One day I was walking around humming and singing all the songs I learned over the summer and hadn’t taught yet.  I was thinking about getting my room organized and ready for the new school year. Then the unspeakable happened.  I got that dreaded phone call.  You know the one.  The one you usually get at the end of the year. School hasn’t started yet.  I couldn’t be in trouble already, could I?  
Hesitantly I walked into the office and saw a chair facing away from the door.  My principal turned around and said, “I am not sure how to tell you this and I know that you won’t like it, but you have to choose which day you go the school for exceptionalities. I told them I thought you would prefer Monday or Friday.”

What? I was in shock. There was no warning. I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Why me? Don’t you know that I am more qualified to teach aerospace engineering than to teach special needs? What am I to do there? The only preparation I had been given was a catalog with adaptive instruments and told to hang on to it. Why isn’t anyone else going? What have I done?”

Friday came early that week. I put on my big girl panties and headed there. When I got in my car, I prayed to wake up from my nightmare the entire 30-minute drive. I couldn’t have dreaded it more. 
Like every school, the teachers and staff were hustling to get things done and ready for open house. I was greeted by many as I walked down to the office. Then it happened.  I saw my name on a mailbox. It was official.  I was definitely on staff there every Friday.

Determined to make the best of it, I met with my principal and asked to observe the first 2 classes.  I also requested the teachers stay and assist for the third class. As agreed, I observed each class and took pages of notes.  I thought I had covered every aspect that I could think of including students’ likes, dislikes and more.  My notes were very detailed. I even got the yearbook and copied the photos to put with the info that I had gathered on each child. The teachers showed me mainly smooth classes. The children were receptive and cooperative for the most part. I spoke with previous teachers and planned and planned.  I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t going to be as bad as I had first thought.

I went in the next Friday with my head held high and more confident than I should have been. I went in with a huge assortment of instruments, all laid out on the tables.   I had lots of dances and songs at my disposal.  I was ready.

What happened next can only be described as a disaster.  Some children screamed the entire time with me.  Others refused to take instruments and some even threw the instruments!  I tried to duplicate the way the classroom teachers handled the children, but some of my students even tried to run away. 

By the time I got home I felt defeated.  I knew that begging my principal to reconsider this placement would fall on deaf ears.   I looked back over the notes that I had taken, time and time again. This information was invaluable. I knew it had the clue to what I needed to do.  Exhausted, I took a bottle of wine into the bubble bath with me and replayed the day again.  (Don’t judge me!)

I realized that my perspective was that of a well-seasoned music teacher of typical elementary children. It would not work with those children.  It was then that I realized that it was not my job to teach them musicality. I realized that they needed validation, praise and independence as well as socialization. I had to figure out how to use music to do that and not sacrifice their dignity.

I started researching again.  I read many articles.  I planned lessons that only had 1 instrument and I personally took it to each child to play.  I made sure that I said their name over and over again and praised them with every other word. I sang books to them. I turned the lights down low and lowered the volume of the music and my own voice.  I realized that baby steps were what I needed to do.  These students were not going on to be music teachers or sing at the Met. They were students who could benefit from the vast wonders that music can provide us all.

Slowly, I gained their attention. I even began to gain their trust which was essential.  I stayed positive and I learned so much from them! 

I found out that I needed to refrain from touching some of them. If I did, then I needed to do it with a firm grasp. Light touching is much more stimulating than a firm but gentle touch. They may not like eye contact or direct conversation with anyone. I had resources like icons that they could use to show me what they wanted but I also learned that their assistants were there for a reason. I needed to utilize them for the sake of the child. I didn’t have to prove anything to them or the students.

All the reading proved to me that every one of these children were different. It was not anything that a book could tell me. I had to experience it with them.  Only .04% of the world population has perfect pitch. With the autistic population, between 40 to 60% of the children have perfect pitch. It makes sense to think they would scream when all they hear is out of tune overtones! I would, too!

There is an alphabet soup of different descriptions of these children. It doesn’t matter what you call them, except it matters that you call their name. The articles often spoke of the teenagers and young adults as having the IQ’s of a 3 – 7 year olds. It doesn’t say that they don’t want to hear music of that age person.  

I had an “aha” moment when I met up with a boy who begged not to come to my room. When I talked to him about it he told me he liked playing rhythms but didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it to his favorite country song, “Red Solo Cup.”  I immediately envisioned myself being publicly stoned if I used this song in class!  The reality was that he was 19 years old.  He listened to that music every day at home. I spoke with his teachers and they told me to go for it. So, playing sticks to songs like “Red Solo Cup” began.

His class was a higher functioning class which could read quarter, barred eighth notes and quarter rests. I wrote rhythms for them and put them in clear acrylic photo stands. They play the rhythms directly on the acrylics and keep up with where they were.

Now, here is what I have learned that will hopefully save you some headaches and heartaches.
1.       Take notes on your students, but also, keep notes on each class.
2.       Don’t take it personally when something doesn’t work, or they melt down. It probably isn’t you.
3.       Keep communication open with the classroom teachers, the assistants and attend the IEP meetings when possible. You will learn a great deal from these meetings.
4.       Don’t be afraid to change your plans.  When your students are having a tough day, (I call them screaming days) I will go in and just sing quietly on the carpet. This helps calm down the group and get them focused.
5.       Take time to look at the world through their eyes. These students will teach you more than you can ever teach them. They remind me to walk in gratitude always for life is fragile. Love them and they will love you unconditionally. You will know.

My lesson planning has become simplified as I plan with their ages and abilities in mind. I constantly differentiate and realize that I should do it even more in my regular music classes.  I repeat things over and over.  It helps kids connect and they love finding success in things they already know how to do.

For my younger children, I always do a simple hello song. We sing a book every week. I link my songs to YouTube videos that are purified in a Symbaloo. Allow the students to have a chance to choose a song. I have a Symbaloo board that has songs each class likes and some even that specific students ask for. When they are well-behaved or if we have a little reason to celebrate, they can choose the last song.  Participation is a giant step for them and a victory for you.  Here is an example of one of my Symbaloo pages.

Check out the rhythms in the lower left corner. If you work with your students, they can do these and do them often. I give them chopsticks, drumsticks, pencils, drums and any other thing they can do these rhythms on. They love them and so do my typical students.

If you have a SmartBoard or Promethean board, utilize it by embedding your music directly in the files you use. If you do this, make it a point to keep things in the same place each time or reuse the icons for things you are repeating.  I use several of Cherie Herring’s things. They can be found on Smart Exchange and Teachers Pay Teachers.

Working with exceptional children isn’t easy, but the rewards are amazing!
Dee Yoder is a mother of two amazing young ladies married to wonderful men. She counts her greatest blessings as her grandsons, one from each daughter. A vocalist, she is a graduate of Catawba Community College and Lenoir Rhyne University located in Hickory, NC. She has taught for Burke County Public School for almost 20 years. She has taught at a school for exceptionalities, severe and profound disabilities for 4 years. Dee is a member of NAfME and is currently the chair elect for the North Carolina Music Educators Association Elementary Division . She has been a clinician for NCMEA, the topics included Being a Portable Teacher, the North Carolina Evaluation of Music Teachers and Real Life lessons for Exceptionalities.

Did you enjoy reading about Dee's ideas for teaching students with special needs?  PIN IT for later!

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Singing Practice with Music-Go-Rounds

Recently I met with Mary Ann Stewart of Music in Motion and was delighted to learn about one of their new products, Music-Go-Rounds.    I must admit they caught my eye from a distance and up close?  Well I just couldn't stop touching them!  They are kind of squishy and incredibly satisfying to touch!  I knew that if I loved them, my students would too!

Mary Ann offered a few sets of these beautiful manipulatives to me and I couldn't wait to try them out!  In this article, I'm going to talk about using them for singing practice.  In future posts I'm going to talk about using them for rhythm, differentiating assessment and creative movement.

The Music-Go-Rounds are made from silicone and they are completely washable and stick like a magnet to your dry erase board.  I also have tried them on cabinets, my SmartBoard and even the floor.  Fun!

First, I set up the hand signs set and the numbers (which are conveniently color coded).  My middle school choral teacher prefers that students sight read using numbers and since my elementary person nor I teach one cohesive system, I've decided to teach numbers and use the Kurwen hand signs with them.  Students totally connect with this idea and will hopefully transition well to her middle school choral program.

After using these for a few weeks I set up a singing center during one of our center days.  I added some blank dots to the set up.  Students can use a dry erase marker on them.  I used a baby wipe to clean them after.

For the workstation I just wrote the instructions next to the display.  I know it is a little tricky to see in the picture.  Here's what I wrote:
1. Use a dry erase marker to write the syllable names on the dots.
2.  Sing the scale using the numbers and hand signs.
3.  Sing the scale using the syllables and the hand signs.
4.  Mix them up and then sing.  Hint:  Keep them in order from low to high.  Just mix numbers and syllables.

Here's one of the examples.  In this example students would sing "do re 3 fa 5 la 7 do" and then "1 2 mi 4 sol 6 ti 8".  They weren't really supposed to move the hand signs, but they were doing a fabulous job so I didn't fuss too much!

This was a fun workstation and using the Music-Go-Rounds kept students engaged.  They were amused that they stuck to the dry erase board and most groups tried sticking them on the walls, chairs, etc... to experiment with them.  I can't blame them.  I did the same thing!

You can take a look at all of the Music-Go-Rounds available at Music in Motion.  This is not an affiliate link.

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Music Inspires Bulletin Board

Music Inspires Bulletin Board. This music advocacy bulletin board is a great way to included EVERYONE in your building! Read about how to put this display together and inspire your school from the Bulletin Board Lady.

At one of the first schools I taught at I was inspired greatly by the elementary secretary.  Each quarter she designed a bulletin board that featured the names of every student in the elementary building.  I loved her creativity and I loved that she worked to make every student feel special.  Students would search for their names, the names of their friends and brothers and sisters.  It was truly a way to multiply joy in the building.

Music Inspires Bulletin Board. This music advocacy bulletin board is a great way to included EVERYONE in your building! Read about how to put this display together and inspire your school from the Bulletin Board Lady.
This colorful bulletin board is my attempt to do the very same thing.  Although that creative secretary worked with about 100 names, I took on around 450 students plus teachers and staff.  I used the message "Music inspires our minds to bloom."  This incorporates Nafme's "Music Inspires" theme and speaks to our outrageously warm March.  It feels like spring around here!

Music Inspires Bulletin Board. This music advocacy bulletin board is a great way to included EVERYONE in your building! Read about how to put this display together and inspire your school from the Bulletin Board Lady.

The tree is created with hundreds of small paper flowers.  I created the trunk to look like a person, inspired by the Nafme promo image.  I made time during each class period to talk about Music In Our Schools Month and to lead a discussion about the power of music in our lives.  Students them wrote their names on a flower and I put them up as time allowed.  

Music Inspires Bulletin Board. This music advocacy bulletin board is a great way to included EVERYONE in your building! Read about how to put this display together and inspire your school from the Bulletin Board Lady.
I used the Fiskars 3 inch Punch Pretty Scallop paper punch to make all of the flowers.  This would be fun to do with a music note punch too!

You could take this same idea and have students write not only their name, but something that music inspires them to do.  Run faster, dream bigger, dance, laugh.....I bet the answers would truly be inspiring!

Students and staff have enjoyed finding their names and this display is a huge explosion of color in the hall. I love that!

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