I Love The Mountains | Round With Orff Arrangement, Motions, and Creating

If you’re looking for a multi-lesson flexible unit that includes a fun round with an Orff arrangement, this is it!

This low-prep resource can be used for

  • classroom learning
  • a spring concert
  • an Earth Day selection
  • subject integration (geography, science, language arts)
  • rewritten BY YOUR STUDENTS for any special event! (see below)

Get it on TPT!

Continue reading “I Love The Mountains | Round With Orff Arrangement, Motions, and Creating”

How to Use “We Shall Not Be Moved” In the Classroom

“We Shall Not Be Moved” transforms itself into a song to remember Black History, Civil Rights, freedom rights around the world, and the power of music with its simplistic style perfect for learning in the music classroom. Perfect for exploring in class or performances, and easily integrated into-

  • Black History Month,
  • Women’s History Month
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Juneteenth
  • Civil Rights Lessons
  • World History

Table of Contents

  1. Protest & Spiritual Black History Song w/Orff Arr. on TPT
  2. Origins of the Song
    1. African-American Spiritual
    2. Early 20th Century
    3. 1930s Labor Rights Song
    4. “I Shall Not” to “We Shall Not”
    5. Union Song to FREEDOM Song
      1. The Freedom Singers at the March on Washington, 1963
    6. The Benefit of Protest Songs
      1. Mavis Staples
    7. “No Nos Moverán”
      1. No Nos Moverán with Joan Báez
    8. The Song Travels Around the World
  3. Summary
  4. Verses
  5. Performance Videos
    1. Mississippi John Hurt
    2. Rhiannon Giddens
  6. Books to Reference
  7. References
Continue reading “How to Use “We Shall Not Be Moved” In the Classroom”

Whether the Weather | 6/8 Meter Rhyme for Barred Instruments With Orff Arrangement

If you are looking for an accessible instrumental piece in 6/8 meter for barred instruments with an Orff arrangement, this is it! Taught step-by-step, this classic tongue twister rhyme is perfect for winter, spring, or really any time of the year there is weather 🤣.

An added plus is the language arts lesson on synonyms. Put that on your end-of-year evaluation!

For grades 3-6, this over 50-slide resource is in both PowerPoint and Google Slide versions.
Listen to the music on TPT!

Multi-Lesson Resource

Introduce the Rhyme

Beat & Rhythm

Teaching the Melody & Ostinati

Hanukkah Activities for the Music Room

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and is celebrated on different days every year. Based on the Hebrew lunar calendar, it usually falls in December.

In music, I like to take all celebrations, holidays, and observances and look at several factors that are common to all of them-food, colors, traditions, and music! I then love to teach about them using a book, game, dance, and music. Wish we could add FOOD!

October through December is a perfect time to talk about traditions including Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. I always asked, “Does everybody in the world celebrate everything?” It was a way to say that we can learn about it all, even if we don’t personally celebrate it.

Some links may contain affiliate links.

Hanukkah Resources

I love to use board books or ones with rhyming words. I want the learning to come from mainly the images.

I Have a Little Dreidel SONG

The Game

We always played the Dreidel game in class. I projected the meaning for each side of the dreidel so groups could refer to it. I played with K-5 and they always looked forward to this every year.

I found dreidels in bulk at Target (ages ago before Amazon) 🤣 and then bought pony beads for the “candy.”

Ukulele C & G7

Hanukkah Google Slides Presentation

This Google Slide presentation was shared by Ms. Stern from the Facebook Music Teachers Idea Bank group. It has lots of different activities to learn about Hanukkah. She says to feel free to change the bitmoji and make it your own!

Nutcracker Activities for Music | Tried, True, and New

Here are some favorite lesson plans and activities for the music classroom to teach The Nutcracker Ballet plus some NEW resources to spark life into our teaching of this perennial classic.

On this page…

  1. Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)
    1. Tea Dance Video
  2. Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker
  3. Books
  4. Nutcracker Museum
  5. Lesson Ideas
    1. Unit of Study (in progress)
    2. March | Stretchy Bands
    3. Trepak | Plate Routine
    4. Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio
    5. Waltz of the Flowers
  6. Ballet Videos
    1. Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)
    2. Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS
    3. Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)

Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)

With its call and response form, this is the perfect barred instrument activity for December! PLUS, movement ideas using partners and the whole class with and without props! Ribbon sticks/wands, scarves, partner parachutes, and a classroom parachute!

Tea Dance Video

Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker

Each performance of the Nutcracker uses an artistic director who helps determine the costuming, dancing, makeup, and scenery for the ballet. The ballet dates back to a time when ethnic caricatures were standard practice in the performances. This is particularly true in Act II with the dances related to the Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and Spanish dances.

As music specialists, this is important to take into consideration if we choose to use videos in our teaching. Read more.

Here’s an excellent interview on NPR about “Rethinking Cultural Stereotypes in The Nutcracker.”

Books

Nutcracker Museum

At this school, students were asked to bring in a family Nutcracker and were put into this fun Nutcracker Museum display! (Remember to have the student’s name and room clearly labeled.)

Add this to your end-of-year evaluation Danielson (or similar) Domain 1b: Teacher-designed opportunities for families to share their heritages.

Lesson Ideas

Unit of Study (in progress)

  • K-1 Read a book about ballet and a book about The Nutcracker
  • K-1 Learn a movement routine to the March
  • Grades 2-3

March | Stretchy Bands

Trepak | Plate Routine

Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio

Waltz of the Flowers

Ballet Videos

Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)

https://www.pbs.org/video/hip-hop-nutcracker-at-njpac-an-all-arts-presentation-czdp88/

Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS

This performance is on PBS and you may need to confirm your local PBS station.

Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)

Spotlight Musician José Feliciano

I remember my older brother playing (on guitar and recordings) José Feliciano songs. I instantly fell in love with Feliciano’s sound and cool vibe and have followed him for years.

Laura

José Feliciano is a musician, singer, and composer. His greatest hits include “Feliz Navidad” and “Light My Fire.” “Feliz Navidad“, was written in 1970. Feliciano said the feeling behind the song was what he felt in his home country of Puerto Rico, celebrating Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, eating pasteles and lechon, and caroling in parrandas.


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50th Anniversary

Biography

José Feliciano, one of 11 children (all boys), was born in 1945 in Puerto Rico and moved with his family to New York City when he was 5. He was born blind from congenital glaucoma.

By the age of 9, he was performing in theaters. One of his first instruments was a concertina but then he switched to guitar.

He continued to perform and gain in popularity because of his ability to play the guitar (virtuoso) and sing, and how he arranged the songs to make them sound so unique. He became popular in the 60s and still tours today. (2020s)

Light My Fire

This shows his incredible guitar and arranging skills.

Listen to the Falling Rain

Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music

Integrate literature into the music class with these lesson plans for Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens and illustrated by Monica Mikai. This book is based on the song of the same name and is the story of what happened to enslaved Africans after the Emancipation Proclamation.

  1. The Review
  2. Official Video of the Book and Song
  3. NPR Book Interview with Rhiannon Giddens
  4. Rhiannon Giddens & Yo-Yo Ma Play “Build A House”
  5. Breakdown-The Song
  6. Lesson Plan
  7. Buy the Book
  8. I Will Not Be Moved
    1. Links for “I Will Not Be Moved”
  9. The Whitewashing of African American Roots Music
Continue reading “Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music”

Give Thanks | Echo Song for Orff, Movement, Ukulele, Scarves

Pull out this versatile echo song for primary students that’s about appreciation, thanksgiving, and thankfulness in November or for other celebrations throughout the year. A simple Orff arrangement, one-chord C ukulele part, scarf activities, and movement will make this a great concert piece or SEL activity in the classroom.

Give Thanks is available as a single resource or part of this Thanksgiving Bundle!

Continue reading “Give Thanks | Echo Song for Orff, Movement, Ukulele, Scarves”

Indigenous American Resources

  1. At My School
  2. Music Workshop
  3. Native Land
  4. Crow | The Legend
  5. Ojibwe Powwow Dancing
  6. Powwow Dancing
  7. Hoop Dance from Winnepeg Canada
  8. Powwow Child Grass Dancer

There is no single American Indian culture or language. Researching tribes in your own area is the best way to learn about and honor Native Americans. Each tribe has its own unique traditions, history, and terminology.

At My School

When we know better, we do better.

Doing better was researching my local tribes. I did Google searches and searched on YouTube. I eventually found a YouTube video that was of a powwow in my area with a link to a culture bearer. I was able to contact that person and after some conversations back and forth, he gave me a drumming piece.

My guidelines from him were the same as what I read everywhere, that teaching without background, meaning, and significance is wrong. I’ve never shared this resource because my conversations back and forth with the culture bearer were like a mini-workshop and allowed me to learn from him all about the above-mentioned particulars.

When I brought the activity to the kids, it was with all of the information that I had been given and was a meaningful learning experience for them. I’m forever grateful that he took the time, trusted me, and gave me this precious part of his tribe’s culture.

Music Workshop

This is a (free) subscriber site and has full lesson plans, videos, and resources.

Native Land

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

Crow | The Legend

Crow: The Legend is an exciting new animated movie starring John Legend as Crow, the most popular and admired animal in the forest with his magnificent colors and beautiful voice. But when the very first winter arrives, can Crow make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends?

Inspired by the original Native American legend, this story of sacrifice and community features Randy Edmonds, Kiowa-Caddo tribal elder and founder of the National Urban Indian Council as Narrator and Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, as Luna.

Ojibwe Powwow Dancing

A tutorial on the dress and steps and meaning in powwow dancing.

Powwow Dancing

A short demonstration by a young dancer with information on the regalia, meaning, and steps of powwow dancing.

Hoop Dance from Winnepeg Canada

Not sure of the tribe but this reiterates the one-two steps in the powwow dance above along with hoops, accompanied by drum and singer.

Powwow Child Grass Dancer

From the Manito Ahbee Festival, the site says, “The Manito Ahbee sacred site is located in the western Whiteshell area of Manitoba.  Manito Ahbee, an Ojibway word means, “where the Creator sits.” The site is recognized and honoured by Indigenous peoples across North America as a sacred place for all people. The name of the province, Manitoba, is itself derived from the name of this sacred site.”

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 and/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. West Africa
    1. Sona Jobarteh, Gambia, West Africa, and the Kora
  2. Diwali
  3. Global Variety
    1. A. Cuthbertson Consulting-Authentic Resources in the Classroom
  4. India
    1. Bhangra – Dance of the Punjab with Gurdeep Pandher
  5. Native Land
  6. Indonesia
  7. Aboriginal Australian Songlines
  8. Latinx Heritage Resources
  9. Black History Resources
  10. Literature With Cultural Variety

West Africa

Sona Jobarteh, Gambia, West Africa, and the Kora

Sona Jobarteh has become one of the most renowned kora players in the world, an instrument that traditionally was only played by men. The kora is an instrument of West Africa and dates back to the 13th-century Mali empire.

Sona’s academy focused on learning through Gambian culture, not a colonial focus. Lots of info here on Gambian music and arts culture.

Diwali

Global Variety

A. Cuthbertson Consulting-Authentic Resources in the Classroom

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

India

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.

Indonesia

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.

Literature With Cultural Variety

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