Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Camp Songs

I have posted before about the end of the school year and how I sing camp songs with my kiddos.  They love it and can't wait for the end of April to start singing these crazy, silly, hysterical songs!  It has become a much anticipated tradition!

Here are a few I recently learned and my students love!
1.  Alligator
This is serious fun here, folks!  Dramatize the first call and response part and then really let loose with the craziness on the "alligator" chorus part. You can see it in action on the youtube video below the music. 


2.  Big Camp Mambo
I love (almost) anything with syncopation and this one has it in spades!

3.  Boom Chicka Boom
This is the first one I always teach them and I can't tell you how much they LOVE it.  The sillier you are, the more they will love it!  We start with the traditional while performing a patsch, clap pattern, then we do their favorite "styles":
Girly style (high voice, pretend to fix hair, put makeup on, fan your face, etc.)
Muscle Man (make bodybuilding gestures and use "Arnold" voice.. y'know what I mean!)
Underwater (speak the chant and move pointer finger up and and down on lips very fast)
Baby Style (a goo goo ga goo goo ga... high baby voice)
Barnyard Style (I said a moo chicka moo... I said a milk chicka moo, chicka milk, chicka moo)
Surfer Dude (I said a dude chicka dude.. I said a whoa, chicka, narly, chicka wave, chicka dude)
Opera Style (use your imagination)
Grandpa Style (use your imagination, yes, again)
Parent Style (I said a room, go to your room... I said a room, go to your room, don't come out until next June)
Star Wars Style (OH, they LOVE this one and I always end with it! I said a zzzzt chicka zzzzt... I said a Luke I am your Father, join the dark side chicka doom.. end with "Jedi" instead of "uh huh" and "Dark Side" instead of "oh yeah" and then I end with "The Force Be With You".  WINNER!!!

Friday, May 6, 2016


I am one of those *ahem* strange people who teach, write, sing, compose.... in their sleep. I wake up at 2:00 AM with songs, lessons, and blog posts in my head. Such was my night last night, and, as often happens on these nights, I can't get back to sleep because I keep thinking about it. And then if I don't write it down or use my phone to record me singing the song I "wake" up after falling back to sleep at 5:30 having forgotten what the heck it was that was such a great idea it woke me up at 2 AM! 
Alas, my idea came back to me...
Did you know hummingbirds nests are the size of a walnut shell?  And they lay only 2 eggs?  And the mama hummingbird wraps her head with spiders web and then pushes it against the nest before she lays her teeny tiny eggs?  Why, you ask?  So the nest will s-t-r-e-t-c-h as the babies grow. 
Just as her babies grow, so do ours; Kindergarten students become first graders, firsts become seconds, and so on, and every year I watch with equal parts giddiness and tears as my fourth graders move into middle school next year. 

No, not the exercise, yoga, twist yourself into a pretzel kind of stretching... stretching goals, stretching teaching techniques, lessons, activities, songs, and stretching our abilities to fine tune our craft.  The stretching of our mind and will.
It's the end of the school year; we have 11 days left with kiddos.  Now I am a realist and know there's not going to be a whole lot of heavy-duty learning going on over the next 11 days. But I do want to stretch myself as a teacher and stretch the kids a bit and so we are continuing to shake things up; singing camp songs, sing-alongs, game songs, clapping songs, etc.  We are also stretching ourselves further with instrument play, composition activities using pieces of art, and reading complex 16 beat rhythms.  The funny thing is, my kids often remember those silly camp songs and funny game songs we sing once or twice more than they do the art pieces that I we work on for several class periods and that I so long for them to remember! 

I am also stretching as I look ahead at next school year and all that I would like to do(notice I said "I would like" and not "I will do")  over the summer to re-organize and revamp my curriculum.  Our school has begun a new chapter in "deeper learning" and so we have integration days in our schedules that provide us additional time to work with classroom teachers to integrate our subjects and theirs. This week I team taught hula dancing with the media specialist during our third graders Tour of the States celebration.  We talked about storytelling, taught a hula dance, and the students created their own hula dance. It was amazing to realize how this integration model impacts and deepens their understandings not only of geography, economics, and culture, but of the arts as well.  After each rotation through a region the children then "travelled" in small groups as airplanes, trains, boats, cars, and by foot to another region of the country for another hands-on activity with co-curricular teachers.  Integration times stretch me to think outside the box.

What are you doing to stretch yourself at the end of this school year? How are you going to stretch yourself this summer to become a better teacher next year?  I feel your mind stretching already.... August and September will be here before we know it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

More Singing Games

I posted last week a collection of 18 Singing Games you can download.  Click here for the original post and to get the link for the download.
  I am fascinated and a bit obsessed about singing games and clapping games!  While I was working on the project, Denise Gagne of Musicplay contacted me about some singing games. She has several resources, including several volumes of "Singing Games Children Love" that I have used many times. 
Denise also has a new resource, .  Once you have registered you can search for songs a variety of ways and several have videos with song notation and a demo of children playing the games.  The two games below, Seven Up and Our Old Sow, are presented here with permission.
Seven Up is available to watch on the site and is in Singing Games Children Love Volume 3 and Musicplay Grade 3.

Our Old Sow is another game my students LOVE!  It is available in Singing Games Volume 4 and Musicplay Grade 5.  This is also available on the musicplay site and there is a video of children playing the game there and also one available on youtube. 
Have fun with these! :)