It's Music Time!

My twin girls started preschool this year, and they have absolutely been loving it! The school sent home a note last week that they need a new music teacher, so I decided to go for it! I have only taught second graders, so it is a bit of a change for me, but I am excited to get involved with teaching again. It's only once a week for a couple hours, and today was my first day! Here's an outline of what we did: (click on the pictures to go to the link for the song)

Materials needed:
Two egg shakers, each with a different sound. I used one filled with popcorn kernels and one with oats.
Egg shakers for each student
Play microphone
Fall leaves (real leaves, or cut out of construction paper)
Vivaldi's Four Seasons, "Autumn"

Welcome Song (I will share this later)

"I brought some special instruments today. These are called egg shakers. Touch your nose if you have ever used egg shakers. We are all going to have a chance to use them today. Listen to these egg shakers. Do they sound the same or different? Listen to the pink one, and listen to the green one. I am going to hide them and when I shake it I want to see if you can tell by the noise which color I am shaking. (do that a couple times)

Hickety Ticketee bumblebee, can you say your name to me? 
Dallin, Dallin, that’s a very good name.
(loud, soft, fast, slow)

Go over the rules of the egg shakers (keep on the floor until I say pick up your egg shakers. We wait until everyone has their shakers to start, because that is the polite thing to do.

While you pass out the shakers, sing a song (maybe a repeat song?)

Pick up your shakers. 

Everyone can shake shake shake, everyone can shake shake shake,
Everyone can shake shake shake, and now everybody stop.
Everyone can tap, clap, wave

Shake your shaker, shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake shake shake
Shake your shaker, shake shake shake, shake your shaker.
Shake your shakers high high high,
Low low low,
Fast fast fast
Slow slow slow  

Egg shakers up, and egg shakers down.
Egg shakers dancing all around the town.
Dance them on your shoulders, and dance them on your head.
Dance them on your knees and tuck them into bed.


Talk about autumn/fall, and if they have noticed the leaves falling down.
Do you like fall? Tell me about fall. There was a man named Antonio Vivaldi, who lived a very long time ago. He decided to write songs for each season of the year. He thought about how the seasons made him feel, and how they would sound. We are going to listen to his song called autumn and pretend to be leaves falling from the trees.
Drop the leaves and notice how they fall. Can we make our bodies move like that?

Put arms up in the air, attached to the tree, and during the song, we dance around the room like we are leaves. When the music stops, head back to your spot and fall on the ground like leaves.

Vivaldi Four Seasons (Autumn)

Sometimes we help our parents rake the leaves, then jump in a big pile, or a heap of leaves. Practice doing motions with the kids, then sing song:

(London bridge)
Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down,
Autumn leaves are falling down, it is fall.

Find a rake and rake them up, rake them up, rake them up, find a rake and rake them up, it is fall.

Make a pile and jump right in, jump right in, jump right in, make a pile and jump right in, it is fall.

Here comes the wind to blow them round, blow them round, blow them round,
Here comes the wind to blow them round, on the it is fall.

The classes went really well! I ended up doing the Hickety Tickety Bumblebee song first with each class, because they all really wanted to tell me their names. 

Teacher to Teacher: Tips for Enjoying Your Summer Break

Ok, so I am not a teacher anymore, but I used to be, and oh boy, did I love summer break. But I found that some summers it just seemed to fly by, and I hadn't done anything I said I was going to! Has that ever happened to you? I have thought about it, and I have some ideas to help you have the best summer ever.

1. Keep a calendar
Does it ever seem like the school year sneaks up on you suddenly, without warning? If you keep a calendar, you can avoid this problem. It is a visual countdown of how much summer you have left. I always had so many fun activities I wanted to do, but then the school year grew closer, and I found myself trying to fit them all in. Write down the things you want to do, and make a tentative plan on your calendar. That way you won't run out of time.

2. Don't completely forget about school.
When that final bell rings for summer break, I know it is tempting to want to forget about school until the end of August. But if you do that, then you will spend your last few weeks of vacation in your classroom, trying to get everything ready. When you are planning out your fun activities for the summer, be sure to plan in some school time too. I always thought it would be great (although I never did it!) to schedule in two days a week at the school. Those would be my working days (or half days), so I would be sure to get things done over the summer too.

3. Spend time with your kids and family during the day.
During the school year, you don't get to spend family time together during the day, because you are working. Use the summer to do fun things with your kids and really enjoy them and get to know them. Also, if you have family members (sisters, parents, etc) who live close and don't work, use this time to go out to lunch or have picnics with them too.

4. Get Outside.
If you love being outdoors like me, summer is the perfect time! Unless you live in Arizona. ; ) But otherwise, take advantage of the time you have during the day, and the extra time in the evening when you don't have to be planning lessons. Get a hammock and relax, go on a hike, go swimming. This is why I love summer.

5. Sleep in. (or don't!)
It seems like when you are talking about summer break, people always tell you to enjoy it and sleep in. When I was growing up, I was notorious for sleeping in LATE. Like, I remember sleeping in till 11 or 12 sometimes. I loved to stay up late and sleep in late. So when I started teaching and got summers off, I was so excited to be able to sleep in! Hallelujah! My first summer teaching, I did just that. (although, by then, 9:00 was late to me).  I slept in and loved it. If that is what you like to do, do it.

But then I started to feel like I was wasting my day, and I felt like I was more sluggish when I slept in. So the next summer I decided to just sleep in a little bit. I still got up fairly early, but not as early as when school was in session. This worked great for me. I would wake up with the sun shining, feeling happy and able to get a head start on the day. So if you don't feel like sleeping in, don't. Do what suits you. That is what's great about summer break! (Until you have kids. Then you probably have to get up early.)

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have an AMAZING summer break! What tips do you have for enjoying summer break? Leave a comment below!

St. Patrick's Day Classroom Activities

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

St. Patrick's Day is quickly approaching! Do you have fun plans for your class or kids? I love St. Patrick's Day, and there are so many great activities you could do with your students. Here is a quick roundup of a bunch of activities that you might want to try out:

St. Patrick's Day Mosaic Shamrock. I think these are super cute. You could use scrapbook paper or paint chips. You could read your class about the origins of St. Patrick's Day, or read a fun book while they work on these.

 Shamrock Number Line. Write numbers on shamrocks, and hide them around the classroom. Students then find them and put them in order on the number line. You could even do skip counting numbers.

Sight Word Matching.This is a super simple activity your students could do as part of a center, or a fast finisher activity. They just look for matching sight words and get some extra practice!

Shamrock Family. Send a shamrock home for your students to decorate with their families. They decorate the shamrock about why they are lucky to be a family. So sweet!

Prefix Rainbows. Add some color to your classroom with this rainbow activity, and help your students practice their prefixes!

Well, I hope you can use some of these fun ideas in your classroom. If you are looking for a cute little gift for your students, here are some pencil toppers you can download. Just get some cute St. Patrick's Day pencils like these or these, print and cut the toppers, and pass them out to your students.

Click Here to download
You can also download and print these cute bookmarks for your students to color.

Click Here to download

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Five of My Favorite Children's Books for the Classroom

I love, love, love children's books! This love started in college with my children's literature class and my amazing teacher, Dr. Elaine Byrd. She had a love for books, and shared that love with her students. She spent time during each class reading aloud to us. Through this I was introduced to so many fun children's books. Today I am linking up with Busy Bee's Activities to share some of my favorites that I used in my second grade classroom.

When Stephanie's classmates start copying her hairstyles, she starts wearing her hair in crazy ways and finally outsmarts the copycats. What a hilarious book. I love Robert Munsch.

This is a great book for the beginning of the year and talking about students' names. Chrysanthemum goes to school and gets embarrassed about her unique, long, name. In the end she realizes to be proud of who she is.

This is such an amazing, touching story about the importance of telling the truth. Ping is a young Chinese boy who tells the truth in a difficult situation and is rewarded for his honesty. One of my favorites!

There are so many kids who feel like they have to be perfect in everything they do. In this story by Peter Reynolds, Ramon learns a valuable lesson that his artwork does not have to be perfect. It is such a cute story. I also love The Dot, also by Peter Reynolds.

Alex really wants an iguana, so he writes a letter to his mom. They negotiate back and forth, until a decision is made. This makes a great intro to persuasive writing.

Some of my other favorites you should check out:
A Bad Case of Stripes
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
The Paperbag Princess
Enemy Pie