Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Three Things Link Up

I am linking up with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for a linky party in which music teacher bloggers write about three things that have worked in our classrooms.

I just got back from Spring Break in Phoenix, Arizona and, wow, love that place!  I also have really fallen in love with cacti, especially saguaro cactus, which grow everywhere near where my parents have a winter home. They live in the Sonoran desert, one of the few places these lovely creatures live.  They are funny and each one is so incredibly different; it's like they have their own personalities!
This is snap I took our last evening.. gorgeous sunset, but I really love black and white, too, and as I was shooting, a cowboy came right into my frame. Lucky for me!


1.  Listen to the Rain

In Arizona, they have been without rain since January so I think there is a bit of rain dancing going on, which led me to this post about the book, "Listen to the Rain" by Bill Martin and John Archambault.

 Available  here from Amazon.com.  My students love this lesson and it's a great one for talking about mood!  Enjoy.. and hope you are having a green spring! 

2.  Spring Bunny and Chick Rhythms

Wandering through Target a few weeks ago and I came across the cutest eraser packs with bunnies and chicks.  I have a bit of a collection of these as Target puts these out seasonally in their "Dollar Spot".  I have pumpkins, Frankensteins, candy corn, flowers, and other seasonal goodies to create word chain rhythms.  Yesterday my first graders were loving these little guys!

I was in the process of making a printable when I was on one of my facebook pages and Erica S. posted the one pictured!  She had such overwhelming response to everyone wanting it that she made it a freebie on TpT and offered an optional Notebook file for purchase.  You can get the freebie and file here.  Thanks, Erica!!! On the front of the page you notice 5 rhythms the children can write.  For the super achievers, on the back there are 10 more! Woohoo!! No, "I'm done, now what?".  My students were given about 7 minutes to complete 5 and most everyone got 5 and several went beyond!! Woot Woot!!!  They were then figuring out what they could use at home to make more rhythms.. can you say "flower/grass" or "Star Wars/Luke" or "cookie/milk"?  They were so funny! 
We began the 30 minute lesson using the book, "Bling Blang".  CUTE!  We used the basic outline found here for the activity, prepped students on movement first, sat and looked at book and did hammer and saw movement, then stood with a partner and performed hammer/saw movement with partners, walked to the beat (played softly on drum) during the verses.  I whispered "find new partner" a few beats before the chorus began again.  One note about partners; my students have many partnering opportunities but I always review the rules; the first person that asks you/that you ask is your partner.  We talk about hurt feelings if someone leaves you for a "better opportunity" and to always show respect and kindness. If two people ask at the same time they "rock/paper/scissors shoot, one and done unless it's a tie".  We then played Salami (Sol La Mi) game, then I had them find the beat while I played "There's Music in a Hammer" from Grade 1 Gameplan, pg. 83.  We sang the song, walked the beat, then hopped the beat like a bunny.  Why a bunny?  Cats like to chase critters, and bunnies and chicks are cute critters, which led us into the writing activity.  Students each picked up 3 bunnies and 3 chicks (no chances for all "Ta's/Ti-Ti's!!".  Ha!! The room was so quiet as they were each writing and whispering/tapping their rhythms.  GREAT fun!  If we had more time I would have had them partner up and create 2 rhythms to perform as a word chain to create alternating "B"sections with the song.  Oh, time... such an enemy, isn't it??

3.  Avocado Hand Clapping Game

My kids have been obsessed with this game this year; it started when we returned to school in August and one of our students had learned this game from a cousin. It spread like wildfire with crazy lunch time battles of Avocado.. so much that some teachers banned the kids from playing it at lunch!!
This will be included in my new book, we are in the editing process right now!  My last book was hand clapping games from around the world, available here from Beatin' Path Publications.  The new book will be available soon, also from Beatin' Path and will be all North American games and songs, some with Latin American roots, but all in English! 

Palm Push – Own palms facing each other, thumbs and fingertips touching, quickly flip palms down and out away from body, push palms out towards partner

Game continues until someone makes a mistake in the clapping game; the person who made the mistake is either called “avocado” for 10 minutes, or they choose a new name from the letter they made a mistake on; “L”; they could be called “Lily”, “Lucy”, Leon”, etc. for the next 10 minutes.

Teacher Tip:  It will make more sense with the palm push to think of it as an extension of the “clap own” so that once you clap your own hands you keep the fingertips and thumbs together and push the palm out towards partner.  My students can’t get enough of this game and the upper elementary students love it!



  1. I love it when you link up, because your blog posts are FULL of good ideas! I have the "Listen to the Rain" book but love the idea of adding a song to it. And the "Avocado" chant looks so cute! Thanks, Aimee!

    1. I think we need to get together at some point.. wouldn't that be fun!! Haha! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I have those rabbit and chick erasers! I'm so glad you shared the link to the free printable- I'm excited to use it with my kids. And I'll be checking out Listen to the Rain too. You seem like a really fun teacher!


Submitted comments will be posted after approval.