Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Easy Orff Arrangement And Lesson Plan

Adding Orff instruments to the African-American singing game Pizza Pizza Daddy-O gives you a perfect arrangement for concerts as well as extended lessons to explore and practice mi, so, la, and syncopation in the classroom.

Integrating culturally responsive elements into these lessons is seamless, as students can incorporate dances that hold personal meaning to them into the song lyrics.

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Game, Orff Arrangement, and Lesson Plan resource.

When to Use?

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O is such a classic, fun game and kids love to play it year after year. This resource extends learning with an easy Orff arrangement that can become a concert showpiece!

Available in both PowerPoint™️ and Google Slides™️ formats.

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Game, Orff Arrangement, and Lesson Plan resource with solfa and rhythm learning.

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Orff Arrangement Analysis

  • C Major tritonic scale
  • 4/4
  • Rhythmic Content-syncopation, quarters, barred eighths
  • Melodic Content-mi, so, la
  • Form-Rondo ABACA
  • Harmony-C chord only
Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Game, Orff Arrangement in extended form, and Lesson Plan resource.

Teacher & Student Benefits

  • to use speech, body percussion, and movement to help learn the instrumental parts
  • to create and improvise
  • to be guided through the learning process with a sequenced resource
  • students input their own background into the resource
  • to engage with a process that uses sequenced learning
  • learn with a presentation that uses differentiation through color-coding and varying text styles
Pizza Pizza Daddy-O Game, Orff Arrangement, and Lesson Plan resource.

Easy Orff Arrangement Instrumentation

  • bass and alto xylophones
  • glockenspiel
  • drums, guiros, claves
  • ukulele (opt) chord C or C6
  • recorder (opt) notes E, G, A
  • voices

Check It Out

  • Listen to the song in the Video Preview on TPT.
  • Look at the resource in the PDF Preview on TPT.

Auld Lang Syne | Easy Lesson Plan for This Classic Song

Let’s uncover the history, meaning, and music of “Auld Lang Syne” and listen to several famous versions in this easy lesson plan. The catchy tune is a must-know as New Year’s Eve turns into New Year’s Day, as we look back on the old year and look forward to the new.

In this lesson plan…

The Epic History of Auld Lang Syne

Scottish Vibes

Picture this: It’s the 1700s in Scotland, and a super famous poet named Robert Burns is on the scene. He whips up the lyrics for “Auld Lang Syne,” meaning “old long since” or days gone by. Fast forward, and the song becomes a global sensation, making its way into celebrations worldwide.

Meet Robert Burns, the Poetry Rockstar

Robert Burns, aka the Bard of Scotland, wrote the lyrics in 1788. He was all about celebrating Scottish culture and creating poetic magic. Now, his masterpiece, “Auld Lang Syne,” is a song sung around the world!

Image of Scottish poet Robert Burns who wrote the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.

The Feel-Good Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

Nostalgia Alert!

Ready to look back on good times? “Auld Lang Syne” is like a musical scrapbook, making us look back at good times with pals. It’s all about valuing memories and celebrating the awesome experiences that shaped us.

Friendship Rocks!

Guess what? The heart of the song is all about friendship. “Auld Lang Syne” tells us to raise our cup in a toast to the awesome connections and people in our lives.

Sing-Along with Auld Lang Syne

Echo Sing the Song

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne my dear

For old lang syne.

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

For auld lang syne.

Let’s Break Down the Lyrics

The lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” are like a friendship party.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?”
This means, should old friends be forgotten and never remembered? And the answer is-No Way! The song says we’re keeping those memories alive.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?”
Auld Lang Syne means “days gone by.”

“For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne.”
This just repeats how import the past is to us.

“We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.”
The song wraps up with a cheer for kindness and the friends of our past.

Let’s Sing Along!

Let’s continue this lesson plan by singing along with some famous performers!

Snoopy and the Gang

Jon Batiste & Stay Human


Pink Martini (sung in English, Arabic, French)

Let’s Play It!

Play the chords on ukulele or the bass line (root of chords) on Boomwhackers™️.

Extend This Easy Lesson Plan

The TinkerTar: For Music and STEM Learning Centers Magic

Here are some new ideas for music and STEM learning centers in the general and music classrooms using the TinkerTar!

The TinkerTar is an innovative instrument that provides a perfect starting point for kids in general AND elementary music classrooms. With a single string, its colorful fretboard, easy-to-read book, and sturdy construction, the TinkerTar is an excellent addition to any music and STEM learning center.

Designed as an alternative to the ukulele and guitar, it offers a beginning learning experience for students who may later try the guitar. Its simplicity also offers the chance for some great STEM learning as well.

The TinkerTar one-string guitar models and sound hole and neck images.

The Instrument

My Review

Color-Coded Fretboard

One of the standout features of the TinkerTar is its color-coded fretboard. Unlike Boomwhackers™️, the colors (red, orange, yellow, etc) on the fretboard represent half steps rather than a scale.

The color-coding matches the included folk songbook, making it even more accessible for young learners. The fretboard is well-designed and provides a solid foundation for understanding musical concepts such as half and whole steps.

A closeup of the TinkerTar back with access panel and strap buttons.
A closeup of the TinkerTar sound hole.
A closeup of the TinkerTar neck and fretboard with color coding.

Sturdy Construction and Easy Maintenance

The TinkerTar body and neck are made from a single piece of wood which may help with bumps and drops. Additionally, the instrument comes with replacement strings, making it easy to maintain and keep in tune. The tuning peg can be adjusted with a simple Phillips screwdriver, allowing for quick and easy tuning adjustments.

Uses In the Classroom

Versatility in the Music Classroom

The TinkerTar offers a wide range of possibilities for music education. It can be used in various ways, depending on the age and skill level of the students.

For younger students, the included book and color-coded fretboard provide a structured learning experience, enabling them to play melodies and learn basic musical concepts.

For older students, the TinkerTar can be used as a stepping stone to playing the guitar. They can learn simple folk songs and even try their hand at playing riffs and bass lines.

The Science of Sound for STEM Learning

One of the unique aspects of the TinkerTar is its ability to teach the science of sound. By placing their hands on the back of the instrument, students can feel the vibrations produced by the strings. The cut-out sound holes on each instrument (ears on the tiger 😁) start the conversation about resonator boxes and how sound travels.

The colorful fretboard shows how shortening or lengthening the string (by your finger placement on the fretboard) affects the sound. This hands-on experience enhances their understanding of sound waves and vibrations, making it a valuable tool for teaching the science behind music.

Objectives for Music and STEM Learning Centers

  • Pitch-understand how to change pitch based on the string length.
  • Vibrations-plucking, muting
  • Resonance-amplified sound, sound holes
  • Sound Waves-wavelength, frequency, amplitude

Interdisciplinary Units

What a great way to fuse music and the general ed classroom than with an interdisciplinary unit using the TinkerTar! It really is seamless and overarching.

Students use their science knowledge learned in their classroom in the music room. Then the songs, music theory, and techniques they learn in music transfer easily to their classroom.

Music and STEM Learning Centers

The TinkerTar is particularly well-suited for learning centers in a general or music classroom. While some students may spend extended periods exploring and playing with the instrument, shorter sessions of about eight minutes can be equally or even more effective.

These shorter sessions allow students to familiarize themselves with the instrument and pique their interest without becoming overwhelming. Learning centers provide a structured and engaging environment for students to discover and experiment with the TinkerTar.

Because I’d use it K-5, the investment of four instruments (a typical number for centers) would be worth it. For under $100, you could be up and running.

Playing a Bass Line


The TinkerTar is a remarkable instrument that brings a new dimension to both general and music classrooms. Its color-coded fretboard, sturdy construction, and versatility make it an ideal choice for learning centers.

Whether used as an introduction to playing string instruments or as a tool for understanding the science of sound, the TinkerTar has the potential to inspire and engage students of all ages.

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How to Use Rhythmic Building Bricks in Elementary Music

Rhythmic building bricks are often used in the Orff process and let students take simple rhythms and then create more complex ideas. Let’s look at the basics of how to use them for teachers new to the process and some special extensions for those who’ve used them before.

Simple building bricks using 1, 2, 3, and 4 sounds that can be combined to form more complex patterns.

The Origin of Rhythmic Building Brick

Rhythmic building bricks were designed by Carl Orff’s contemporary, Gunild Keetman, and explained in detail in her wonderful book, “Elementaria.” They are simple note patterns that can be combined into more complex patterns.

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What Are Rhythmic Building Bricks?

Rhythmic building bricks, sometimes called rhythm blocks, are 2-beat patterns using only quarter notes, quarter rests, and paired eighth notes.

Students brainstorm and find words that have the same number of syllables as the simple patterns so 1, 2, 3, or 4 sounds.

Then they string 4 or 8 bricks together to create a more complex pattern.

Teachers often use themes to support cohesiveness to the complex patterns that are created.

Older students can explore bricks in compound meter using 1 (dotted quarter), 2 (quarter eighth), and 3-note (3 eighth notes) combos. Valentine’s Day and February is the perfect time to try this variation.

How Are Rhythmic Building Bricks Used

Halloween/October is the perfect time to use rhythm bricks. Here’s what one class created.

The top of the board shows their brainstorming. The bottom shows the bricks they put together to create a more complex pattern.

Halloween-themed rhythmic building brick ideas.

In the above 8-brick pattern, students used repetition to create their “beat.”

Haunted House (3), Halloween (3), Jack-o-lantern (4), Boo (1). Black Friday (3), Frankenstein (3), candy (2), Boo (1).

Specific Learning Goals

Repetition: It’s a perfect time to teach them about repetition and that it might not sound the best to use “one of each pattern.”

Exploration: When working with a partner or in groups, learning to try different combinations is optimal. The idea of “one and done” is a big NO.

Form: What you create from the new patterns makes a perfect “B” section for a song or poem.

The Halloween beat above would be the perfect B section to an A of Pass the Pumpkin for a final ABA form.

If working in multiple groups, it becomes a great way to teach rondo form. ABACADA where “A” is Pass the Pumpkin and B, C, and D are the 8 measure beats created by different groups.

Tone Color: Taking the patterns and transferring to instruments is a great way to let students learn about tone color. What instrument(s) will sound best with your pattern and the overall theme?



Using whole-class instructions is a great way to learn about and work with bricks. You can extend and expand the learning in other ways.

Individual/Partner/Small Groups: Students can explore in these groupings in a regular class setup or in centers.

Music centers that use rhythmic building bricks with a hiking and animal theme.

Your music center setup will be a BREEZE with this easy-to-use and effective “Create a Songtale” rhythm resource using quarter notes and rests and eighth note pairs in a rhythmic building brick format.

Making Bricks

Make blocks for centers using building blocks or foam cubes. On the building blocks, use stickers or a permanent marker. I sprayed a coat of polyurethane on my blocks and it really helped keep the notes from rubbing off.

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I got the Mega Bloks below from my local Goodwill. Prextex Blocks are currently the closest I can find to them.

Mega Bloks that have been turned into rhythmic building bricks.
Foam cubes that have been turned into rhythmic building bricks.

Written Activities

A rhythm writing activity creating a restaurant menu using rhythmic building bricks made from food.

A fun writing rhythm activity using building bricks where students create a rhythm menu and take-out orders! 

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Effective Teacher Talk in the Elementary Classroom

A recent social media post about training students like you do a dog reminded me of when I took our first family pet to training. As the leaders impressed upon me, it’s actually not the dog you’re training but YOURSELF! And this is SO true in teaching. Here are actionable ideas and examples of effective teacher talk in the elementary classroom with direct, intentional, and engaging language.

How to use effective teacher talk in the elementary classroom.

On this page…

The Firmness Conundrum: Insights from a New Teacher’s Journey

New teachers often reach out for help because they try to be “firm” but nothing works.

Sometimes we need an out-of-body experience. We need to step out of the moment to think objectively, not react or overreact, and do something logical and thought out. This is hard for new teachers or when we are in new situations.

Here are a few ideas to train the teacher to be firm, backed with engaging and appropriate activities, learned the hard way by ME, and observed in other teachers in many schools over the years.

Crafting Effective Teacher Talk

The Power of Precise Communication

Effective teacher talk hinges on the power of precision. A common pitfall is the overuse of threats, which often lose their impact over time.

Don’t threaten over and over again.

They are just empty words. Actually, maybe don’t threaten, warn, or cajole at all. Instead, consider engaging activities that direct behavior.

Example: We can’t get rhythm sticks until everyone is sitting in their spot.

Replacement Action: Simply give out rhythm sticks, pick a leader, or choose who is “it” by choosing someone sitting in their spot or doing something else that you consider appropriate. Tell the students why that person was chosen. “Here you go, James. You get sticks because I can see you are sitting down and ready to go.”

The Payoff: The class lesson doesn’t bog down, you’ve made it known that sitting in your spot is a requirement for getting an instrument, and you’ve asserted yourself as the one in charge.

The Art of Mindful Communication

I spent a LOT of time thinking about logistics and language. How I wanted them to move around the room and how I’d phrase my directions.

LESS IS MORE! Avoid falling into the trap of excessive chatter. Overexplaining can cloud directives and overwhelm students.

Example: vocal exploration. If you start out saying, “Now we’re going to echo each other…” or “Now I’m going to sing then you be my echo…blah, blah, blah” you’ve said too much.

Replacement: “My turn (point to yourself), your turn.” (point to them) and then immediately bark like a little dog (high) three times. They WILL echo. Then you follow up with “Yoo (so) Hoo (mi)” then bark like a large dog (low), then an up/down swoop, etc. Or for older kids, just start singing that new song you want them to learn.

The Payoff: Better student focus and engagement.

Communicate Through Student Choice

Empowering students and student behavior through choice is a remarkable strategy. Games like “Charlie Over the Ocean” allow leaders to select participants based on desired attributes. This approach cultivates leadership qualities while promoting desired behaviors.

Example: When playing a group “it” game, student chooses whoever they want as the next leader.

Replacement: Let students choose who is following the parameters of the activity. Play games such as Charlie Over the Ocean that have a leader and tell the leader to choose someone who is (whatever you want here) in their assigned spot, sitting cross-legged, singing beautifully, etc.) to be the next leader.

Communicate With Actions

Don’t group negotiate. (similar to repeated threats)

Example: “When everyone is standing still in the circle we can play this game.”

A kindergarten class had a couple of students in a hold-hand circle who continued to yank on the arms of students next to them.

Replacement: I told those unsafe students to step back and sit down while the rest of us played the game. I also told them to watch how safe and kind everyone was to the person they held hands with. After a minute or two I asked the kids who were out if they had learned how to hold hands and they of course said yes and came back into the game.

Learn more about classroom management by checking out “Classroom Management Tips for a Successful Classroom.”

Adapting to Your Audience: Understanding Classroom Dynamics

You can’t discuss any part of classroom management without addressing quality and appropriate lesson planning. One size does not fit all when it comes to classroom dynamics. It’s not always just about effective teacher talk.

You can’t expect kids to be focused and engaged when you are not planning appropriate and quality learning experiences.

Example: Determine the optimal lifespan of activities for specific grade levels and classes. Flexibility is key – adapting your strategies ensures sustained engagement.

For instance, a 6-minute read-aloud may captivate one class, while a 3-minute version is better suited for another. I’ve taken a 6-minute read for a 3-minute class and paraphrased to turn those pages faster to keep their interest.

Pacing & Variety. In general, the younger grades need lots of different activities: sitting still (listening, singing), moderate (body percussion, instrument play, video play along), active movement (stepping, skipping, circle games, etc.)

Harmonizing with the Experts: Learning from Masters of the Craft

Throughout my career, and during transitions to different schools and challenges, I’ve actively sought out and observed exceptional educators who used effective teacher talk. These professionals possessed the knack for balancing authority and approachability. Incorporating their techniques was a deliberate process, as effective teacher talk wasn’t a skill that came naturally to me.

The True Test From the Students: She Doesn’t Play

Students often offer profound insights. When certain teachers were discussed, kids would remark, “She doesn’t play.” This resonated deeply and underscored the essence of effective teacher talk, the learning environment, and the teacher-student relationship – being genuine, caring, and staying true to one’s words.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

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Tideo Easy Orff Arrangement and Sixteenth Note Practice

Tideo, the classic folk song, is a great choice if you are looking for mi, re, do melody and sixteenth note rhythm practice packaged in a step-by-step presentation that includes a fun and easy Orff arrangement.

The classic folk song Tideo with an Orff arrangement, melody practice with mi, re, do, and rhythm practice with sixteenth notes.

Melody & Rhythm Practice

Students will love the singing games/dances while experiencing mi, re, do in the melody (a video Poison Pattern game) and sixteenth notes in the rhythm.

The classic folk song Tideo with an Orff arrangement, melody practice with mi, re, do, and rhythm practice with sixteenth notes.

Easy Orff Arrangement

In C pentatonic, Tideo’s easy Orff arrangement using three ostinati can be expanded to include an optional instrumental B section and an improvised C section.

The instrumental parts are taught using speech and body percussion in easy-to-follow slides. Use this multi-lesson low/no prep format in either Google Slides or PowerPoint.

The classic folk song Tideo with an Orff arrangement that includes 3 ostinati, speech, body percussion, then transfer to instruments.

The Presentation

  • Singing Game/Dance-the presentation teaches a double circle routine.
  • Rhythm-*quarters, paired eighths, and 4 sixteenths in the song.
    • Rhythm-*Eighth note with 2 sixteenths in the B section
  • Melodymi, re, do is highlighted in the presentation
    • Melody-the song also includes high do
  • Orff Arrangement-a 3 ostinati arrangement with additional parts for optional B and C sections
  • Other Instruments: Recorder/Boomwhacker-notation and melodic color-coding using C, D, E, G, A, C’
    • Ukulele-LOVE these pentatonic tunes so one chord, C, the entire time.

*Rhythms aren’t labeled so you can use your classroom rhythm counting system.

My Favorite Part
I LOVE that you can extend the form and add lots of different instruments to the point this fun song could easily become a concert piece.

The resource includes:
A presentation in both PPT and Google Slides versions
video preview of the song arrangement in each presentation
A PDF copy of the song arrangement sheet music

The classic folk song Tideo with an Orff arrangement, melody practice with mi, re, do, and rhythm practice with sixteenth notes that comes in Powerpoint and Google Slides presentation formats.

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How to Teach Kids to Play the Ukulele

Even if you’ve never played the ukulele, teaching and/or learning the ukulele is so fun and actually quite simple. We will explore an effective sequential curriculum for teaching the ukulele in elementary music lessons, providing a step-by-step guide to help you engage and inspire your young students.

Here's everything music teachers need to know about teaching kids to play the ukulele. Learn about curriculum, tuning, buying, and storing the ukulele.
Continue reading “How to Teach Kids to Play the Ukulele”

The Best Grandparent’s Day Songs And Program Ideas

Discover how you can create a meaningful and joyous celebration that embraces the spirit of Grandparent’s Day with the best engaging songs and program ideas. Find a new song or idea to make this year’s program fabulous.

Find new songs and program ideas for a Grandparent's Day celebration at your school.

Grandparent’s Day Songs By Theme

Thinking out loud here. According to Google 🤣, the average age to become a grandparent is in your 50s and 60s. If your grandchild is 5-12 years old, that makes grandparents in the 55-72 year range.

In 2023, it means those grandparents were born 1951-1968. If high school (16 years old) was a prime music genre era for most, that means music from 1967-1984 would really resonate with most of them.

Beatles’ Songs

  • When I’m 64
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Octopus’s Garden
  • Love Me Do
  • With a Little Help From My Friends
  • All You Need Is Love

70’s Songs

  • I Just Called to Say I Love You
  • Rainbow Connection
  • Lean On Me
  • ABC
  • Joy to the World
  • Top of the World
  • Love Will Keep Us Together
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
  • Rockin’ Robin
  • Rapper’s Delight (the first couple of verses only)
  • Greatest Love of All
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

80’s Songs

  • Walking On Sunshine
  • I’m Still Standing (wordy so you could have solos on the verses and then everyone come in on the chorus)
  • Celebration
  • Footloose
  • We Are the World
  • Up Where We Belong
  • True Colors

Find more great songs by subject/theme in the
BIG Song Database!

Grandparent’s Day Songs – Singles

Music K8 has LOTS of songs written about grandparents. Some teacher favorites are Happy Grandparent’s Day, So Glad to See You, A Song for Grandparent’s Day, Family Reunion, Blessings On This Day, We Love Our Grandparents, Happy Grandparent’s Day, What Do You Call Your Grandma/Grandpa? and more.

  • “A” You’re Adorable
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • Grandma and Grandpa (from Musicplay)
  • A Bushel and a Peck
  • Skinnamarink
  • My Girl/My Guy by Smoky Robinson changed to Grandma/Grandpa
  • Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers
  • Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days) by The Judds
  • Re-write of All About That Bass

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