Happy May, Happy End of the School Year (in the US) and Happy Almost Summer!
Can we just take a moment to pause and realize how immensely difficult this year has been? The third abnormal year of teaching during a Pandemic. I think we all thought yay, we're back in school after the craziness of Global lockdown, remote teaching, teaching in person, being hybrid, back to remote, back to remote, constant change and never quite feeling like the sand stopped shifting. I don't think any of us were prepared for the behavior challenges our students would have, or that consequences don't have the same meaning or are absent from students lives. Student interactions have changed radically - no touching, don't get closer than 6 feet, then 3 feet; sanitize or wash hands; mask up; don't breathe too close to me; don't sing; don't share instruments; don't touch anything! With this lack of interaction children didn't know how to be around other children, couldn't make a line, couldn't stand in line, couldn't stay in line. And the list can go on and on.
Take a moment and breathe and say, "Well done." No judgement - we've all done the best we could each day and that might look different hour to hour or minute to minute.
This summer I am going to be hosting a 4-part "Summer Camp" on my Patreon to playfully plan for next year! I hope you will consider joining us! Come join us here!
I always look forward to the end of the school year - not only because it is the end of the school year but because we sing songs around a campfire our last day in music and for the whole month leading up to it we sing camp songs, clapping games, and really fun and silly musical things that keep us laughing and singing all the way to the end. I do this with first through fourth grade (my highest grade level). All of my campfire songs (a book of over 50 songs) is posted for my Patreon subscribers. See all previous posts about campfire songs here.
I am excited to build my campfire next week. Here is last years:
Don't know where to get started? Here are a few from GoNoodle:
Boom Chicka Boom:
Peanut Butter in a Cup:
Little Green Froggy:
Coast to Coast:
For my littles we are also singing and moving but with less of a narrow focus. Kindergarten music focuses on ocean and butterfly themes, with lots of rich song material and children's books. Click here for the google slides with books, songs, and videos.
My students especially love Butterfly, Butterfly, which is a book that is out of print and currently $60.00 on Amazon! Here is a read aloud from youtube.
My littles - Junior Kindergarten - sing a variety of songs and the focus is on vibration (their classroom focus for science this month), so lots of instrument playing.
Both of these groups really love the Sylvia Pizzicato video from Musication.
I get out triangles, rhythm sticks, and shaker eggs. Students choose which instrument they want and then we watch and play when the bee lands upon each flower. This is also a great assessment opportunity to see if students know how to correctly hold instruments (triangles especially) and if they play with accuracy. Students holding triangles put them away and choose either sticks or shakers, those with sticks put them away and choose triangles or shakers, etc. Play again. Another assessment opportunity. Repeat and play a third time and students will have been able to play all three instruments and you will have three assessment opportunities for accuracy and understanding of playing technique!
Grades 2, 3, and 4 LOVE Pass the Beat and will play this (almost) all day long!
Hope you enjoy some of our favorite end of the year activities!