Saturday, May 9, 2015

Five Favorite Music Freebies

Hello! Today I am joining up with Jen at Noteworthy by Jen for her Five Favorite Music Freebies Linky Party! To view all of the bloggers that have linked up, click the picture below:

I'm certain I'll be sharing at least some of the same items as my blogging colleagues, but here goes. Click the product pictures to be taken directly to that item on Teachers Pay Teachers.

1. Looby Loo from David Row at Make Moments Matter

I love, love, love this entire series of Favorite Folk Songs! They make both fantastic projectables as well as fantastic bulletin boards. David did wonderful research on each of the folk songs he includes. 

2. Inner Hearing Signs and More from Lindsay Jervis

These signs are a great way to get kids practicing their voice types, and going between auditing, solfa, and words. I did not turn them into the hand puppets, but attached them to large craft sticks instead. My students like getting to be the leader and deciding when we switch (even when it is not in the most musical place to change).

3. Music Composer of the Month: Antonin Dvorak from Music with Sara Bibee

This is another freebie to give buyers an idea of what the entire series looks like. I adore these composer packs and think that they are fantastic for teaching elementary (and probably middle school) students about composers. She also has packs for jazz artists and a series of woman composers.

4. Bird Songs Music Listening Freebie from Cori Bloom

This sampler from Cori's year-long listening and writing product is great for older students and perfect for your sub tub if you teach 5th grade and up. I don't own the full product since 5th graders are my oldest, but I have many of the other sets/products for writing integration and love them.

5. Walk and Running Rhythm Cards Freebie from Aileen Miracle

I love using these cards with my kindergarteners when we are practicing long and short-short (ta and ti-ti). They are great for kinesthetic practice, although I do find that they work better staying in one place rather than moving through the room.

BONUS: Aileen's Font Freebie from Aileen Miracle

There are so many free fonts on TPT, but I like Aileen's because it looks very much like a student's printing (like I would typically use Comic Sans MS for). This is the first one I found on TPT and I think that's one reason I keep using it - consistency!

Enjoy - and let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lesson Planning Made Easy!

Several years ago, I decided I had had enough of lesson plan books that did not fit my needs as a music teacher. I spent one year with a template that I created in Microsoft Word, but even that was not flexible enough for the crazy schedule I had. So during the fall of 2011, I searched and searched and searched the internet for an online tool that would help streamline lesson planning.

Enter -

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with other than being a loyal user and fan. I receive no compensation of any kind for this post.

There are so many things to love about this platform. First, it is web-based, which makes it easy to plan anywhere. The home screen comes up with a weekly view that you can customize to meet your exact needs.

Second, they have pretty much EVERY standard set possible available for every type of teacher. It is as easy as clicking to add the appropriate standards to your lesson plan (ah-ma-zing!). And if they don't have what you need, the customer service is second-to-none! They will add whatever you need if you just point them in the right direction!

Third, iPad app!! And the best part is, you can work offline on the iPad and sync when you get wireless access again!

So now that I've got your attention with the first awesome parts, here's a rundown of some more:
  • Add attachments - I use this for my .ppt, .notebook files, etc. Some teachers use it to post the homework for their class (and then share the "student link" with their classes)
  • Bump/Extend/Delete lessons - have a fire drill you didn't know about? Right click, bump to move the entire lesson to the next day and delete it from the current. Just didn't get through everything? Extend the lesson from 1-10 days!
  • One class for the day cancelled for an assembly? Click no class in the editor and the class vanishes from the day!
  • Snow Day/School Holiday/Conference/PDH? Insert a no school day with your event name when you set up your planner and all your lessons will skip that day and move to the next available day!
  • STAAR/SmarterBalance/PARCC testing on specific days? Lock lessons to the day and make sure that no matter what happens before, the testing will be on the right day!
  • Import lessons from one year to the next - Gone are the days of rewriting every lesson from scratch! Did you like your Kindergarten sequence last year? Import it and you are ready to go (of course we don't teach 100% the same way each year, but the skeleton will probably be very similar!). Make changes as necessary and additions (extensions/interventions) as needed.
Do you co-teach? Planbook has you covered there too! You can share lessons with other teachers and import between planbooks!

The best part - it's super-easy to set up and use! This is by far the best $12 I spend each year.