Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Energize a Music Curriculum with Creative Materials

Most music teachers can't afford to supply their classrooms with all of the fun and necessary materials right off the bat. Usually they build their core of materials using donations, fund raisers, tax credit money and district funding.
There are so many things to consider when purchasing and organizing a music classroom.
I put together a bundle of resources called Music Class Essentials. You can use it to establish your basic classroom organization using songs, chants and games.

But there are so many other things to consider. Here's just a few questions you might be asking yourself.

What grades will you be teaching?
What is the core curriculum focus?
What kinds of activities will you use for each grade level?
What kinds of sound equipment will you need?
What kinds of technology will you use?

I developed a core curriculum at my school with some specific focus areas that looks like this:
K-2 Kodaly  (Kod├íly in the First Grade Classroom: Developing the Creative Brain in the 21st Century (Kodaly Today Handbook Series) 
3-Kodaly and Ukulele's
4-Orff-Recorders and more-"Exploring Orff" 
5-Keyboards-Music History and Theory
6-Music History-Guitars
I created a basic music curriculum which can be found in my Music Class Essential Songs, Games, Chants- with a planner, sheet music, mp3's and more.
Music Class Essentials comes with a booklet of all of the songs, games, chants and the planner so that you can put it in a notebook for future reference. 

It also comes with ready made Body Percussion, Kodaly, Choral and Rhythm activities to use at the beginning of the school year-or anytime.

You'll also find a complete Music Classroom Decor set that blends well with any classroom decorations you already have displayed.

I do a lot of movement activities including folk dances, multi-cultural games and dances along with scarves and bean bags.
I developed units that coordinate with holidays. For example, in March, I do a whole Irish music unit with activities and lessons that reflect learning about Ireland and it's traditional music.
Since I teach all students K-4, I developed a rotating curriculum of more in depth units that I rotate through those four years so that students have the opportunity to experience each unit at least one time.

Some of the units I've developed are:
Music from the Caribbean
Music from Japan
Music from Around the World
Music from America

Before you get too overwhelmed, there's one more thing-
Programs and Concerts!
Since I also compose music, I have written many of the songs that my students sing in their concerts. I have also created a set of four core program themes that I rotate every four years. Sometimes I use the same songs, but many times I will change them.
Here's my basic plan:

Desert Habitat
Rain Forest
Gardens and Bugs- You can grab this FREE song "GERMINATION" HERE

Each grade presents songs and dances from countries around the world.
You can check out my FREE multi-cultural program suggestions HERE.
                    Music Program Sampler: Multi-Cultural Music Program Editab

Each grade will present different songs from the core classroom curriculum.
Some song selections:
"Rain, Rain Go Away"
"Hot Cross Buns" (recorders)
"Chicken on the Fence Post"
"Riddle Ree"
"Pizza Pizza Daddy-O"
Partner song: "This Old Man", "Michael Finnagan"
"I've Been to Haarlem/Sailing on the Ocean"
"I Love the Mountains/Heart and Soul"
"Music Alone Shall Live/Bravo, Bravo"
"Ah Poor Bird/Hey Ho Nobody Home"
"Swing Low/When the Saints"
"Hey Ho Nobody Home/Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

Valentine's Day
Martin Luther King Day/Freedom
Veteran's Day
President's Day
Holiday (Winter/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa)

Patriotic Music Program or Readers Theater with Script, So

I also run an extra-curricular Chorus Program. We sing a lot of Acapella songs and use Orff Instruments, guitar and piano accompaniments.
Here's our welcome song and opening number:

Kodaly Round "Come Along and Sing with Me" FREE HERE
                     Freebie: Kodaly Song "Come Along and Sing With Me" 2 part round.

Here's some of the very basic supplies that I find essential:
Xylophones-Soprano and Bass first
Hand drums-1 for each student
Shakers-1 for each student
Wood Tone Blocks 4-5
Scarves-1 for each student
Bean Bags-1 for each student

I love to do movement and I really like "Singing Games for Children" by Denise Gagne 
I hope you'll check out my Songs, Games, Chants for Classroom Management and Community.
                        Sing Play Creatively Music Class Essentials

Don't forget the classroom Decor either.
What are your favorite colors?
Do you like to decorate?
Do you have a bulletin board?
I use butcher paper from the school work room for many of my boards and my decor.

Hand painted flags on regular sized poster board.

Another necessity is some kind of floor markers for students. I have velcro that I marked with numbers and sit spots to mark my circle.

Hopefully you've got some ideas now about how to organize your music classroom or maybe just some inspiration to change up your routine.
I hope you'll share your ideas below.

By the way, I do not receive remuneration from the links to products. I just choose to share them with you.


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