Monday, September 14, 2015

Three Things

It's getting into my favorite months of the year!  I LOVE fall!
I'm linking up today with a few fellow bloggers and Aileen Miracle from her blog here.  This post is about "Three Things" that worked for me and my students this week.  Enjoy!

Our family went apple picking in the mountains of NC this past weekend; a little over a 2 hour drive from home.  I love seeing the mist rising from the mountains, and driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway; those mountains really do look blue!!  So many varieties of apples but we were in luck as Honeycrisps were being picked!  We got a bunch and this week I am beginning the song "Apple Tree".  I posted about this here with a free pdf you can get by emailing me at  I love the game that goes with it and you can choose to make yours a more melodic direction activity or a rhythmic activity.
Hula Hoop Activities
I have a TON of things I do with hula hoops (and you can get them at Dollar Tree, hurray)!.  I lay 4 on the ground, put drums inside one, shakers in another, wood instruments in another and metals in the final one.  While we are learning about the percussion family, or during songs where specific instrument sounds play it is helpful to be able to have students together and a place for them to pick up instruments from and put them back into when they are done.  It makes organization and clean up easy, also. I also find it helpful to put more instruments than students in each grouping; if there are 5 children at each hoop, I place 6-7 instruments inside so there is still some choice.  Y'know they've gotta have choices! :)  This week my littles (Junior Kindergarten y'all!) I decided it was time to break them out into some extra movement time; they were SOOOOOO wiggly!! I put several hoops on the floor and tell them they are magical islands.  They can only go into the island when I stop the music.  Play something fun and fast and let 'em go.. well, I give mine a few additional directions, but do your thing!  A big rule - we MUST travel (they are in a transportation unit), they can fly, walk, skip, hop, run (carefully), be a train, etc.  Voices OFF!  I also do this with other grades and we have a dance party!  Once the music stops I call out a body part; pinkie finger.  ONLY pinkie fingers may go into the island.  They have to go to another island the next time.  When the music starts, off they go again.  Vary the "body parts"; head (really funny to see how they problem solve it), elbows, knees, big toe, belly button (yes, really!).  It's a great Brain Break, also, and really gets them into following directions. 
My fourth graders really love "Boom, Snap, Clap".  We use the song, "Chester" (from Action Songs Children Love, vol, 3) to go with it.
This is a great collection of action and substitution songs for older kiddos. 
Boom, Snap, Clap is full of body percussion and once you've learned the words to accompany the motions, you can perform it with body percussion alone.  I like to pair it with Chester; half the class performs Chester, half Boom, Snap, Clap.  The song isn't as long as Boom, Snap, Clap so at the end everyone gets to perform Boom, Snap, Clap with both hands. Boom, Snap, Clap will be in my next volume of Hand Clapping Songs coming out hopefully next spring!  Here it is now:


You can also watch it on youtube:


  1. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas on your blog. I am going to do the song Apple Tree with some of my classes next week, it's the perfect song for this time of year. Thanks for showing the video for Boom Snap Clap, it makes it so much easier to understand when you see and hear someone singing it and doing the actions.

    1. You are very welcome! Apple Tree is so much fun- I just did it today as a "new" song with First Grade and a review with Second- they LOVE it and it's great to hear them singing and giggling at the same time. Boom, Snap, Clap is a great body percussion activity to pair with many other folk songs- also consider transferring the body percussion to drums (Boom), woods (snap), shakers (clap). REALLY fun once it has been learned!!

  2. Hi, Aimee! Do you mind if I share the image you have of "Boom, snap clap"? I learned it aurally and think your written notation is very helpful!

    1. Would you please email me at Thank you.

    2. Would you please email me at Thank you.


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