Instruments, Movement, Rhythm, Seasonal, Singing, Solfege, Teacher Ideas

Back to School

This is my second week of school and we are in full swing now!  For me back to school is an exciting time and I love seeing my students again and getting to make music with them.  I teacher 1st-4th graders, so it is nice when I see my 2nd-4th graders they already know my policies and procedures; that way we can jump right in.

I have had a lot of people ask on my Instagram, what are some of my favorite activities for different grade levels for the beginning of the year.  Well here they are!

1st Grade

Steady Beat:

You have to start working on establishing that steady beat right away.  The chant: “I Think Music’s Neat, I Can Keep A Steady Beat” works great for that.  Students can follow the teacher chanting and keeping the steady beat on different parts of their bodies.  The first day I choose some body parts to have the steady beat go on, then the second day the students give ideas where to keep the steady beat.  I also love this chant because it says steady beat in the chant so the kids know exactly what they are working on.

Singing Voice:

Come ride on the “Singing” Roller Coaster.  Another concept to get started with right away, finding that singing voice.  My students and I strap into our singing roller coaster and then they echo my voice as we go up and down and around and around.  It’s fun to pretend and it gets their voices going.  This can also be revisited throughout the year to reinforce.  You could also do it with airplanes, animals, ghosts or lots of other ideas for exploring the students voices.

2nd Grade

Sarasponda: Dutch Spinning Song

I love to do songs and play parties with movement, especially on the first few days of school.  Kids are sitting down so much listening and beginning to work, when just a few days ago they were probably running around playing with their friends.  They need to get up and move!  This song is perfect.  I don’t have a personal score for this song, but it is an easy google search if you are looking for it.

When teaching the song I created my own movement for the students to do.  We learn the movement and words together because they correlate:

Saraponda, Sarasponda, Sarasponda, Ret-set-set (6 steps right around the circle, 3 jumps to other side on Ret Set Set)

Saraponda, Sarasponda, Sarasponda, Ret-set-set (6 steps right around the circle, 3 jumps to other side on Ret Set Set)

Saraponda, Sarasponda, Sarasponda, Ret-set-set (6 steps right around the circle, 3 jumps to other side on Ret Set Set)

Ah-do-ray oh! (Face center, arms go up high)

Ah-do-ray-boom-bay-oh! (arms go up high, tip toe in place)

Ah-do-ray-boom-bay, Ret-set-set! (slow spin in your own space)

A-say-pa-say-oh! (shake your booty!)

After the students are comfortable with the song, now we change our locomotor movement.  I have the students tell us different ways they want to move around the circle at the beginning.  Hopping is one of their favorites, but they also surprised me this year by rolling on the floor!

The other parts of my classes for second grade at the  beginning of the year consist of state testing that I have to do.  You can see more about that in my post: Performance Assessments

3rd Grade

My beginning of the year activities change every year for 3rd grade because we have to start on their concert right away.  The third grade concert is always in the beginning of October, so we jump right into doing and learning songs for that.

4th Grade

Old Man Mosie – Doug Goodkin

51TlZktYZJL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_This song is soooo fun!  You can find it in Doug’s book Intery Mintery.  The kids learn the song and act out the movements.  Doug also gives you some jazzed up body percussion to go along with it.  I think doing to jazz based rhythms in the body percussion is a good preparation for teaching my 4th graders Syncopation.  It doesn’t directly have the Syncopa rhythm in it, but it gives them the same feeling.

Welcome to Music –

2018-08-23 06.58.27 amAnother great way to start exploring Syncopa, or just having a good old fun name game!  I learned this song from my Orff Level 1 course, so I can’t share the score with you (sorry!).  The first day we do this song, I put the words on the board, gradually adding different underlines and shapes.  For each underline or shape we add a body percussion to our singing.  Then on the second day we transfer the body percussion to un-pitched percussion and add the students saying their names.


Hope your first days and weeks back to school are amazing! Have a Fabulous Day!


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