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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rhythm & Poetry

Cross curricular activities are great. But sometimes it's tough to marry two subject areas evenly. While using songs to teach addition, grammar, and other concepts is helpful for students, it may not truly be teaching or reinforcing musical concepts. Incorporating rhythm and poetry into a lesson can give both subjects equal attention.

Marry rhythm and poetry together into one activity with rhythm haikus. These fun, easy poems are a great opportunity to incorporate cross curricular activities into the music classroom.

I like to use haiku poems. They are fun, fairly easy to write, and come with a rich history. Students may even be learning about them in their reading class! A haiku is a traditional Japanese poem written in a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. When translating this into music, I use one syllable=quarter note and two syllables=eighth notes. 

Pick a topic that you want your students to write about. Depending on the grade level and student ability you may choose to provide them with a word list or you may want to brainstorm words with students and categorize them into 1 or 2 syllable words. To help students determine how many syllables a word has, I have them place their hand under their chin and count the number of times their chin taps their hand while they say the word. If a word has more than 2 syllables, you may consider discarding it or fitting it across 2 rhythms (e.g. butterfly as 2 eighths and a quarter). 

Guide students through the haiku 5-7-5 pattern and give them time to work on their own. After writing their poem, students can practice saying the rhythms and/or saying the words rhythmically.

Interested in incorporating rhythm haikus into your classroom but short on time? Check out my pre-made ones! They come with rhythm sheets, word suggestions, and slides briefly explaining haikus and how to write them.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Halloween Costume Ideas for Music Teachers

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I love planning my costume and seeing all of my students dressed up as their favorite characters. Here are some musical ideas to get your creative juices flowing for this year's costume.

It can be tough finding a fun costume as a music teacher. Love these music themed halloween costumes!  Some are easy and others are definitely a project.

Under A Rest

Grab yourself a striped shirt or an orange jumper, print a rest on some card stock, and attach to a headband. You've got yourself a very punny costume that your students will love!


If you have another music teacher at your school or just a friend or significant other that wants to play along, you could dress up as enharmonics. Just pick your favorite pair and puffy paint them on a plain t-shirt.

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

This is one of my favorite books and one my students love! Running low on time? Linda from Floating Down the River has a great set that you can easily print, cut out, and tape in a pinch. Check it out here!

Double Bubble

Does your school use thinking maps? Why not turn them into a fun costume? Grab another specials teacher and compare and contrast your hearts out! 

This costume would definitely require some creativity and craftiness. With a big piece of card board and some white yarn, you could turn yourself into a musical masterpiece. You could spray paint the body of the ukulele your favorite color!

Ukulele Costume:

The Beatles

Why be just one Beatle when you can be all four at once? Pick your favorite Beatle and print out the other three out and glue to cardboard. Bonus points if you carry around a real guitar and sing Beatles songs all day!

The Beatles. | 31 Splendidly British Ideas For Halloween Costumes  RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES live on stage at the Sacramento Community Center Theater March 17 - 22, 2015. For tickets and info: http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com/events/rain/:

Have a creative Halloween costume idea? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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