The 5 Minute Challenge

The 5 Minute Challenge is something I do with my students K-12, though mostly with K-8.  We use MusicTheory.com’s Note Identification Exercises. You can customize them however you would like in the top right corner.  I give the students 5 minutes, put the activity7 on the Smart Board, we make a loop around the room and GO!  If they talk, they get put on pause but the timer is still going.  I keep track of my scores on the white board.

I have each grade do an exercise that is appropriate for their level.  For these scores, my Kindergartners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders did ONLY the treble clef notes.  3rd and up did the entire grand staff!  As you can see, third grade is a little slow – but they are accurate!  7th grade is currently leading the challenge.

This is just a great activity to promote a little healthy competition among my classes.  I will say, that my high school choir does not do this very often, so please don’t judge me for their lower score!  As you can see, they don’t even have a regular spot on the board!  We’ve been swamped with contests this time of year, so they rarely get to do the 5 Minute Challenge.  Also – Kindergarten is on the bottom because they originally weren’t in the competition, later when they started learning the notes of the treble clef (yes, they CAN do it!) they joined.

 

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Classroom Tour

I have a bit of a unique classroom – it is half of what used to be one HUGE room.  A few years before me, teacher situations changed.  They took the music room, cut it in half and made separate band and choir rooms.  So, to get to my choir room, you actually have to walk through the band room – it’s a little different but it works!  Also, when I took these pictures we were prepping for a concert, so I had risers out in my room.  Typically I have chairs set out in rows.  But here is my classroom!

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I love my back wall!  My mother-in-law let me borrow her Cricut a few summers ago.  I cut out a ton of music notes.  Several of them didn’t survive the first year, but the ones that are still up have been on the wall for about 2 years now – not bad!  I also love my Boomwhacker storage (velcro on the wall, small strip of velcro on each boomwhacker – works great).

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Here is the front of my classroom.  This is where I spend quite a bit of time (the piano, the Smart Board, etc.)  You can also see our tubanos which we just got this year through a big Donor’s Choose project!  I leave the left side of my board dedicated to keeping track of our 5 Minute Challenge Scores (read more about that here!)  On the left side of my white board is my dynamics display.  These are great to have front and center in the room to help forgetful students.  Purchase them from my Teachers Pay Teacher’s Store HERE!

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Up next is one of my students’ favorite parts of my room – Dave, the minion!  I drew the minion and colored him in by hand (much cheaper than a big print).  This is another Pinterest find!  You can download my signs that go with my minion for FREE from my Teacher’s Pay Teachers store HERE!

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This isn’t the prettiest part of my room – but it is definitely practical.  Here is the obligatory folder rack.  I get so much space and function out of this beast!  Choir folders, microphones for jazz choir (keeps them organized and protected), and my elementary folders.  Each class has a color folder (K=Red, 1st=Orange, etc.).  Each student has a folder with a number.  When my students need to get their folder they go to their slot number and find their color folder.  So each slot will have 5-6 different colored folders in it.  It let’s them find their folders quickly without taking up a ton of space!

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This is my “stuff” wall.  We have all our ballots from contests throughout the year, pictures from our events, our calendar, and our classroom rules.  You can purchase my classroom rules from my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE!

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I can’t remember where I came up with this next idea – maybe it’s my idea originally – who knows!  On the back of my door I keep all of these little signs to tell my students what they need to bring when the come in to the classroom.  I put the signs I need on the opposite side of the door, they take a look and grab what they need for class without me having to say a word.  Works like a charm!  You can make your own or purchase mine from my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE!

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Only a few stops left!  This is my word wall and solfege display.  Sorry for the glare in the pictures!  Purchase my solfege display from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!  My word wall is pretty minimal, maybe I will tackle a more large scale one for next year.  Purchase what I have available (hopefully to be updated soon) from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!

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Our last stop is on our way out the door.  I have the students line up at this door before they leave.  If they’ve had a good day – their behavior was “Grand” and they get to move up in the staff.  Read more on my Grand Behavior system on my other blog post by click HERE!

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That’s it folks!  Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoyed!

Music Culture of the Month

UnitWe’ve all done a “Composer of the Month”, why not a “Culture of the Month”?  If there is one thing I struggle with when it comes to Standards tracking it is music cultures.  This year I decided to do a “Music Culture of the Month” and the students LOVED it!  Create your own OR – I have posted my creations on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  9 guided notes (with linked FREE access to the corresponding Prezi and YouTube videos), an assessment, and a project.  GET IT NOW!  Below are a few of my favorite videos from the Prezis!

 

Grand Behavior

Grand BehaviorWe have all seen the “NOISE” post on Pinterest (when the students are making noise – they lose a letter).  I’ve taken that and combined it with a behavior chart!  I call it “Grand Behavior”.  It’s perfect because it also teaches the students about the grand staff!

When a class is misbehaving, or their behavior isn’t “grand” – they lose a letter at the whiteboard (bottom picture).  If later they show me behavior that is “grand” they can earn a letter back.  At the end of class time, if they still have all of their letters they have had “Grand Behavior” and they get to move up a spot on the grand staff.  I have them all start at the lowest line of the bass clef.  When they get to Middle C, they earn an incentive (center day, treat, game).  When they get to the top F of the treble clef, they also earn an incentive (similar).  After that, they have to start all the way back down at the bass clef. I usually get a little healthy competition among the classes!

Removing a letter from the whiteboard is a huge visual that all students notice without you having to use your voice.  As music teachers – we all know our voice is precious!

I created the chart using a whiteboard, painters tape, colored foam sheets, and magnets.  The foam sheets make very durable items.  I attached magnets on the back with hot glue.  These have lasted 2+ years.  The letters on the whiteboard are wooden letters you can buy at any craft store.  I spray painted them black, and hot glued magnets to the back of them.

Try it out!  Follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas!  Also, be sure to check out my Teachers Pay Teachers page for awesome products including several FREEBIES!

American Folk Songs for the Modern Classroom

American Folk Songs for the Modern Classroom
A collection of 20 folk songs and sing-along audio files to be used in any classroom.

2Hello readers!  I received a grant from the Mary Chilton DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Foundation to create a songbook of folk songs to be used in the modern classroom.  American Folk Music is an integral part to America’s culture and heritage.  Sadly, many of these songs are no longer being taught as they are seen as “too old,” or “not standards aligned.”  These songs are a huge part of our culture and used constantly within other compositions.  Students are missing out on the experience of them simply because they do not know them!

There are two ways for you to get this awesome product:

Check them out at my Teachers Pay Teachers page.  It is my featured free download.

The files are also available to download for free at AmericanFolkSongs.org.
Here you can also find additional MP3 files with alternative verse options for select songs.

These files are 100% free to you and ready to use.  Simply download and enjoy!