Songs and Dances From Culture Bearers and Authentic Sources

It’s been eye-opening to find that much of the music I used in my 40-year career was NOT authentic or had a questionable past. Unfortunately, many educators are still using these same songs and dances. This page is my aim to give you resources that I’ve researched or from sources who aim to research with the same authentic goal. However…

…our job requires much more than the planning time we are given. In your haste to get things done, don’t trust someone’s say-so, even mine. Always do your research.

On this GROWING resource page…

  1. Global Variety
    1. A. Cuthbertson Consulting-Black Musicians, Global Music
  2. India
    1. Bhangra – Dance of the Punjab with Gurdeep Pandher
  3. Native Land
  4. Indonesia
  5. Aboriginal Australian Songlines
  6. Latinx Heritage Resources
  7. Black History Resources
  8. Literature

Global Variety

A. Cuthbertson Consulting-Black Musicians, Global Music

This website is dedicated to culturally responsive music and lesson plans for your classroom. A. Cuthbertson’s site has music from many different cultures.


Bhangra – Dance of the Punjab with Gurdeep Pandher

Native Land

Information about Native lands and Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages including a teacher guide, searchable map, and other resources.


Aboriginal Australian Songlines

Some authentic sources for songlines, art, and music.

Latinx Heritage Resources

For any time of the year, but collated for Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, a growing group of resources.

Black History Resources

For any time of the year, but collated for Black History Month, a growing group of resources.


A growing list of literature for the music classroom with a wide variety of cultures represented.

The Mitten

Many of us are familiar with the Jan Brett book, but this 
Ukrainian folk tale has a very interesting history! Here are songs, lesson plans, and resources for the beautiful story.
Continue reading “The Mitten”

TpT Music Resources Quick Look

If you’re looking for inspiration for today, tomorrow, or a future lesson, take a glance at what is available in my TpT store.

Expert Tips for Viewing

  • Click the resource, go to the video previews (triangular play icon) and you can hear songs and pieces to get a feel for the product!
  • Look at the regular preview (green button) and you can see lots of the pages available in the presentation. Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words!
  • Go to my TpT Index if you are looking for specific musical elements.

Upcoming by Season





Movement & Rhymes

Get a potential idea on TpT or in the Oodles weekly newsletters!

Success! Use the PW: Oodles21 to unlock FREEBIES on the Subscriber Spot tab in the top menu!

Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) Heritage Month Activities

The resources on this page have been researched for their authenticity and respect for Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) heritage, using culture bearers as much as possible!

This nationally recognized heritage month extends from September 15-October 15. Originally named Hispanic Heritage Month, the name has been slowly changing into Latinx Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate Latinx culture, people, and history.

Continue reading “Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) Heritage Month Activities”

The Oodles of Music Subscriber Newsletter

The newsletter offers weekly updates on everything from

  • new ukulele play alongs
  • classroom management
  • the latest YouTube videos for your classroom
  • new additions to the song, winter, and video databases (CONCERTS!!!)
  • TpT resources

And Freebies

When you sign up, the confirmation message will have the password for the free resources available by clicking on the heading at the top of the blog, “Subscriber Spot.”

I try to add a new resource to the Freebies every month!

Sign up HERE

Success! Use the PW: Oodles21 to unlock FREEBIES on the Subscriber Spot tab in the top menu!

How-to Guides for Teacher Planners, Curriculum, and More

Image describes page resource for teacher planners and curriculum.

This is an ever-growing page! Keep up with new additions by joining the Newsletter. ➡️

Success! Use the PW: Oodles21 to unlock FREEBIES on the Subscriber Spot tab in the top menu!

Digital Planner for Microsoft Word & Google Doc

Master File Planner Instructions DOWNLOADS

These downloads will make MUCH more sense after watching the above video.

Microsoft Word

Google Docs

Name Games to Start Your Year In Music Class

On this page…

  • Name, Name! What’s the Name?
  • The Never-Ending Name Game
  • Four Corners
  • Blast Off Challenge

Name, Name! What’s the Name?

The Never-Ending Name Game

This lesson plan is best spread out over multiple days.

  • Sitting in a circle works best
  • K-2
    1. T speaks every student’s first name and students echo
    2. T speaks and claps student’s first name and students echo
    3. Ss clap and speak their own name and class echoes
    4. Ss clap and speak their own name and NO echoes, just right around the circle.
  • 3-5
    1. Same as K-2 above.
    2. Go around circle and Ss only clap their name, no speaking.
    3. Go around circle and class claps and speaks every student’s name.
    4. Go around circle and class claps, no speaking, everyone’s name.
    5. The class claps each student’s name going right around the circle (this is a fun challenge)

Rhythm & Accent

With 3-5, this is a great activity (if you choose) to talk about natural ways of speaking and rhythm. The name “Ellen.” Is it El-len with 2 quarter notes or with an eighth-dotted quarter pattern?
You can also talk about anacrusis. The name “Latasha.” Is it a two eighths/quarter pattern with the accent on “La” or two eighths/dotted quarter, with the accent on “ta?”

Transfer to Instruments

  • K-5 (Pick and choose from these ideas, although I tried to sequence them from easy to advanced)
    • Take any part of the above activities and transfer to UPP. Drums are wonderful but you could also use rhythm sticks.
    • Add a simple refrain to play after every 4 names. “Name game, name game. Let’s play a name game.”
    • Create a class ostinato using 4 student names. Discuss which order sounds best. See if the class can play it over and over without rushing. Did you use just bass or tone sounds? Maybe add taps to side of drum or other ideas to create some diversity to the tone color if the students are able to remember the patterns.

Group Work

  • Now…put students in groups of 4 and have them do the SAME activity and have them create a name ostinato. (It helps if you have the whole room practice several times with you keeping a stick or clave beat. I’d say, “Ok this may sound messy with all of us practicing at once, but concentrate on your group’s ostinato. 1-2-Ready-Go) You are walking around coaching and helping where needed.
    • Have them play AND speak the names the first time. Each group SHARES their ostinato with the class.
    • Tell them they can keep their previous ostinato or change it but this time just playing it and NO speaking.
    • Try layering in (and out) the group ostinati. FUN!!!

Join the weekly newsletter BELOW and get a PDF copy of the above lesson plan.

Join the weekly newsletter and get a PDF copy of the above lesson plan.

Success! Use the PW: Oodles21 to unlock FREEBIES on the Subscriber Spot tab in the top menu!

4 Corners


Sitting in a circle works the best.

  • Teacher claps and speaks each student’s first name and the class echoes
  • Students clap and speak their own name and the class echoes
  • Have a discussion about syllables and then ask who has a name with 1 syllable, 2, 3, etc.
  • As a class, go around the circle clapping and speaking each student’s name. (This is a fun challenge to keep it going with no stops)
  • As a class, go around the circle clapping (no speaking) each student’s name. (An even bigger challenge!)

The Game

  • The four corners are names with ONE syllable, TWO syllables, THREE syllables, and FOUR or more syllables.
  • Students choose a corner and T draws a name out of a bowl. (or any method of randomly choosing from the class list)
  • The number of syllables of that person’s name determines which corner is OUT.
  • So if the name is Marcus, everyone standing at the 2-syllable corner is out.
  • Play until there is one winner or you are out of names!

Blast Off Challenge

Sitting in a circle is best. The teacher can stand behind each student to facilitate the flow of the game/rhythms.

  • Pick a starting point in the circle and then students clap and speak each student’s name FOUR times. Try to get the kids to feel the beats in 4 and move seamlessly from one student to the next.
  • If they are successful, clap and speak each name THREE times. Their tendency is to pause after the third repeat to make it feel like 4 so that is a great time to talk about 3 vs. 4.
  • If they are successful, clap and speak each name TWO times.
  • Then, of course, ONE time and if successful, they earn a BLASTOFF! (see video below)


  • Don’t pause between rotations but go directly from 4X to 3X, 2X, 1X, and Blastoff!
  • If the class is quite proficient, try the entire process with clapping and only THINKING the names. Audiation!
  • Kindergarten and first-grade students usually don’t know everyone’s name or know them well enough to keep within a beat scheme. Put them in groups of four and have them try saying and clapping everyone’s name in their group 4x, then on different days, 3X, 2X, and 1x. Each group can take a turn and share to the class. Check out my Columns and Rows system for quickly making groups of 4!

Technology Tips & Tricks for Teachers

A growing group of videos to help you make effective resources for your classroom.

If your principal wants to know how you DIFFERENTIATE for students who need extra help, you can point to many of the tips on this page.

Manipulating text and images through highlighting, enlarging, separating, and many other techniques, help all kids focus on your lesson, especially those with challenges.

On this GROWING page of resources…

  1. Great Websites
    1. Paint With Music
  2. PowerPoint
    1. Custom Line Spacing
    2. Change Cursor/Pointer Size & Color
    3. Finding Folders Faster (on a Mac) with Add to Sidebar
  3. Noteflight
    1. Getting Started, Input of Notes, Rhythm, Melody, Key, Meter, Lyrics.
    2. Instrumentation, Formatting & Mixing Panels, pdf/mp3 Downloading, Organization Tips

Great Websites

Paint With Music

I didn’t think I could love something more than Chrome Music Lab but this Google Arts and Culture feature, Paint With Music, is FANTASTIC. Here’s my tutorial and how you can teach melodic direction, rhythm, tone color, harmony, vocal exploration, texture, and so much more!


Custom Line Spacing

Change Cursor/Pointer Size & Color

Finding Folders Faster (on a Mac) with Add to Sidebar


Getting Started, Input of Notes, Rhythm, Melody, Key, Meter, Lyrics.

Instrumentation, Formatting & Mixing Panels, pdf/mp3 Downloading, Organization Tips

The Best Children’s Literature for the Music Classroom

Elementary music lessons based on books.
Elementary music lessons based on books.

A growing compilation of great books and musical connections that work with them!

Books Reviewed + music connection ideas

The Mitten

This Ukrainian folk tale has been rewritten by many authors. The most obvious music connection I found is the addition of animals to the mitten which just screams CUMULATIVE form. This resource has a single song with cumulative form OR the form could be the skeleton of an entire program where each animal is a section of the concert.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” (paid links above)

The Secret of the Plátano

Set in the Dominican Republic, this gorgeous book is about the love between abuela and her grandson, and the magic of dancing and nature.

The Year We Learned to Fly

“Fly Away” is a companion resource to “The Year We Learned to Fly.”

Change Sings

“The Change Is You” and “Change the World With Kindness” are companion resources to “Change Sings” by Amanda Gorman.

Ohana Means Family

A great book about Hawaiian culture to use with multiple grade levels! K-2 can use movement and un-pitched percussion and grades 3-5 can use movement and barred instruments!

A song that would complement the learning in the book.

This old chant was set to music by Winona Beamer. The kahuli (tree snails) or pūpū kanioe (land shells) are the singing snails of legend.  Winona Beamer was a champion of authentic and ancient Hawaiian culture, publishing many books, musical scores, as well as audio and video recordings on the subject.

In My Heart

Sun Wishes

Just Help by Sonia Sotomayor

Next books to be added:

  • Wutaryoo
  • The Earth Gives More
  • Holi Hai

Each new book addition will be announced in the Oodles Newsletter

Success! You're on the list.

If you have a book you’d like for me to include, please comment below.

How to Use Columns & Rows In Your Classroom

Current Poll Results

Please let us know what YOU do in your classroom!

Current results (August 2022) have sit spots and chairs firmly in the lead!

Columns, Rows, Partners, Small Group, Circles, and Other Configurations for the Classroom

Here’s a class with 4 rows and 7 columns. I usually sat students alphabetically in this arrangement which helped me more quickly take grades and helped with learning names. Unless we were playing drums, K-5 sat on the floor.

My 6-8 sat in chairs and I tried to keep the columns in even numbers so that stand partners were easy to set up. I used a seating chart with middlers where I paired them up in those stand partnerships based on their musical/behavioral skills. I’d put someone with behavior challenges with a student with a strong calming influence, or a student who had good skills and interpersonal qualities with a student who needed help with their music skills. More on Classroom Management.


  • Looking at the above picture, row 1 and 3 turn around and you instantly have partners. #1 and #8 are partners, # 17 and #24, etc.
  • To shake this up, ask rows 2 and 3 to switch places, then have row 1 and 3 turn around and everyone has a new partner. #1 is now partnered with #15.
  • Column 1 and 2 face each other. They are partners. #1 and #2 are partners, #8 and #9, etc. Columns 3 and 4 face and columns 5 and 6. If you have a column 7, quickly pair them up.
    • You can easily change the partners by pairing the columns in reverse order: columns 7 and 6, 5 and 4, 3 and 2, then figure out column 1.
    • And again another change: pair columns 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 7 and 6, and 5 will be your odd column.
  • That’s lots of partner combinations but sometimes with even that many, kids get tired of it. “I Let Her Go Go” is a circle dance partner changing game. We played it a lot. Sometimes if I wanted the kids to work with partners, I’d play “I Let Her Go Go” for about three or four repeats and then I’d say, “This is your partner.” Then I’d give them their instructions for the activity. It added some variety and was very quick to do.


Join the Newsletter for updates on ukulele songs, videos, song & video databases, freebies, and so much more!

Success! Use the PW: Oodles21 to unlock FREEBIES on the Subscriber Spot tab in the top menu!

Small Groups

  • I would quickly point and say, “You 4. You 4, etc” I was pointing to 1, 2, 8, and 9, then 15, 16, 22, 23, the 3, 4, 10, 11, and so on. The last column would be left out, but it’s 4 kids so they are a group OR let’s say there are only 26 kids in your class, then that last group would only have 3 members.
  • Column 1, you are a group. Make your circle by #22. Column 2, you are a group. Make your circle by #2. Column 3, you are a group. Make your circle by #17, and so on. You’ve put different kids together and quickly spread them around the room.


  • My circles were in alpha order and could be created very quickly. No running to be by your friend.
  • If you want two circles, you can just split the big circle in half and ask the two halves to join hands to make the circle.
  • Two circles can also be achieved by having row 1 turn around and then rows 1 and 2 form a circle. Very little foot movement is needed. Row 3 turns around and rows 3 and 4 form a circle.