Saturday, August 17, 2019

Room Tour 2019

I love how colorful this all looks and it makes me happy when entering! Perfectly imperfect!
Content over cuteness and a purpose for everything. I love the positive song lyric posters from Tracy King!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Music Education - Blogs and Podcasts

I have one week left, although we only have three days in classrooms (most of that taken up with meetings) and students begin on Thursday, so next week I will be in my classroom, getting everything ready for another exciting year. Image result for teacher summer over meme

As we set sail on a new school year, many of us are in our first or second week of school and many others are preparing classrooms for students to enter in the next couple of weeks. Still others are on their final countdown of summer with their last few weeks spent swimming and adventuring.
This summer has been very different than my typical summer - school ended and the next day we left for 2 weeks in Maine, home a week, then my daughter and I went to NYC for a week, home a week and a half then I left for Estonia and the International Music Village, which was ESTonishing (Soili Perkio's word), just got home Monday and I will be in school tomorrow to get my room ready!  Not sure I like how little time I have had at home to do my usual re-organizing and relaxing. :)
Image result for summer reorganizing teacher meme
The best teaching ideas are often borrowed and adapted from others.  I have learned so much from watching, listening, and talking to other teachers.  There are so many excellent podcasts and blogs with ideas, activities, philosophical discussions, and information that is interesting and helpful! Thankfully, some teacher friends have organized and collated these into single sites that help us navigate and find the ones of most use!


Podcasts are usually free digital audio files, typically in a series, which can be downloaded and listened to at any time. They are a great way to engage with other's teaching perspectives, approaches, activities, lessons, and to get inspired.

 Evan Tobias recently published a HUGE list of podcasts both current and archived.  It is well organized and categorized.  He also provides a list of ways to listen to podcasts for newbies.
 Image of a massive list of music education and related podcasts


1.  MusicEd Blogs is a collaborative site which includes almost 40 music education blogs in one place, organized and categorized.  Check out their facebook site as well, @MusicEd Blogs Community.  
2. There are many other music ed blogs, this is a list of the "Top 100" Music Ed Blogs, along with links.
3. David Row from Make Moments Matter also includes a well organized list of music education blogs here.

I hope you find some of these useful and look forward to sharing more lessons and activities as school gets under way! If you are not already following ofortuna on facebook - make sure to check it out as I post videos and extras there - @o for tuna orff schulwerk music and on instagram -@Aimee_ofortunaorff.
Happy 2019-2020 School Year!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Target Finds!

I love the Bullseye Playground, AKA The Dollar Spot at Target. Especially this time of year. They load up on back to school items for the classroom that are fun, colorful, and meaningful. I always find something I can use for the beginning of the year.
While scrolling through instagram I saw a fabulous idea from mswonderlymakesmusic . Target had these wooden wood turners. The white letters are painted on and can be painted over with a red paint sharpie. I did not find that took enough of the white out from the letter and it was still visible after my first two attempts so I am headed to Lowe's tomorrow for red spray paint. Then use black sharpie to draw rhythms on and voila! Students can turn these to create 4 beat rhythms to go with so many different activities. This could be a great addition to center/rotations. I bought enough for small groups of 3 to share within a whole class activity. If you color code, you could also spray paint them different colors. I am also going to try to create a variation of these with pool noodles and will share that when it is finished.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summer Giveaway!

Yup, you read correctly! If you have followed the blog for any length of time you know my feelings on sharing resources. I love to "share the love".  This summer is a big one as I am celebrating my 4th book being published so this is a BIG share. You will need to check it out on facebook @o for tuna orff or instagram @Aimee_ofortunaorff. You are going to want to enter this one!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Ending the School Year with Purposeful Fun

It's the end of the year and once again many of us are questioning HOW to end the school year.  Do we show videos or musicals? Do we do singing games? A composition or writing project? How to finish strong?

Much depends on the culture of your school and your students. Much also depends on you.
Where are you at with meeting the needs and behaviors of your students?
 I had a wonderful teacher friend many years ago encourage me to meet students where they are at. If your students come in bouncing off the walls crazy, it is going to be difficult and painful for all to attempt to immediately make them sit, be still, and quiet.
I have found it to be so much more enjoyable for all to spend the time meeting them where they are at (Seven Jumps dance always is my opening activity when classes are like this), then leading them down the path to where we need for them to be. Doing so is purposeful yet playful, and encourages relational teaching and builds community.
Enforcing immediate compliance without time to transition into your class is similar to a prison guard trying to re-establish control during a prison riot and can lead to you and the students feeling like this:
Upset, Overwhelmed, Stress, TiredCrazy, Irate, Angry, Mad, Upset, Person
Ugh.. or uh oh.. or grrr, right?

So, what to do?  Some use the following:

  • Practice Songs/Concepts Already Learned
  • Project Based Learning
  • Prepare Concepts/Skills/Sequences for Next Year
  • Active Music Making - Vocal or Instrumental or Both (Orff Pieces)
  • Show Video Musical with Writing/Drawing/Fill in the Blanks
  • Games/Fun

There are pros/cons to each one - some have more teacher prep, some leave the kids bored and disengaged at what is usually the craziest (and funnest, let's be honest) time of year, and others engage the students in a meaningful, purposeful, and memorable experience!

I choose to meet my students where they are at with playful, meaningful, purposeful fun!

The What:  

The Why: 

  • Purposeful - Review Concepts and Skills Previously Learned
  • Active, Engaging, and FUN!
  • Memorable
The Process:

  • Allow several class periods to teach songs (about 20-25 campfire songs/games/activities total).  
  • Last day of music with each class we have a campfire sing along. I project a campfire from youtube (lots out there like the one below):

  • Build a campfire using tissue paper folded and tucked into black plastic plant pots from Dollar Tree and flickering tea lights.  The logs are made out of construction paper and are taped into place around the plastic pots.  The sticks each have a white label sticker with the name of a camp song printed on it. Each student picks a stick one at a time and that is the song we sing. 
  • Image may contain: flower and plantNo photo description available.Image may contain: people sitting
My students LOVE this so very much and it makes our last music together truly special and memorable. When I announce we are getting ready for campsongs they are so excited and teach me new ones they may have learned at camp last summer!
No matter what you are doing with your students, I hope you are having fun!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Favorite NEW Games

I do love a good game!  I also love singing games and clapping games, as you can see from my books on the left! Check out the newest one, Sing a Song Play a Game: Singing Games from Around the World; there are 71 singing games in the collection! Shameless plug. :)
Play Stone, Colorful, Smilies, Funny
I love the giggles and fun and I value the "work" on rhythm, beat, and singing! SO many good music skills and content to be learned with games!
These are some new favorites of my students, hope you enjoy them also.

1.  Pass the Beat

In action:

2.  Pass the Rhythm

You can see this one in action here:

3. Numbers Game

This is SO fun - first time after I played it the kids BEGGED to play it again- now when I see them in the halls they ask if we are going to play it again!

Hope you enjoy some of these - perfect for this crazy time of year!


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Lemonade, Crunchy Ice Twice as Nice

If you have been on my blog for any length of time, you know my love of clapping and singing games. I liked them so much that I wrote two books of clapping games and one book that just came out about singing games! See on the left side or go to to see all of my books.
This is a natural pairing - two songs with Lemonade in the title and therefore, "twice as nice". This works beautifully when paired together!  Summer is almost here and it's soon to be time for lemonade stands and the very expensive lemonade at fairs and festivals.
This is a perfect mixer dance/game/activity and will keep your kiddos singing into the end of the school year.

Clap Partner - Clap partners hands
Flip Clap R - Right hand palm toward floor, left hand palm up. Clap right hand down on partners upturned palm.
Flip Clap L - Left hand palm toward floor, right hand palm up. Clap left hand down on partners upturned palm.

Twist dance down - Twist hips one way and upper body the other way, reverse, back and forth down towards the floor.