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

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.

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Boomwhackers Songs With Storage, Playing, and Buying How-Tos

Let’s talk about storage, playing, creating, songs, and teaching music using these colorful Boomwhackers™ tubes!

Play Alongs

Stranger (Things) Rings-Notes BAGE

Boomwhackers! How many do I need?

How many sets do you need? Amazon is a mess when it comes to looking. West Music and other companies are better, but the actual Boomwhacker site is the BEST!
Whether you are playing mainly diatonic pieces or a mix of diatonic and pentatonic activities, the Classroom Pack (BW54TB) is the best deal. It comes with Chroma-note stick ons and a tote bag. While you can buy the same items individually $14 cheaper (less the tote and stickons) if you are going the diatonic route, it’s substantially cheaper for the ability to play pentatonic melodies too.

Let’s break it down. Four diatonic sets will give you 32 notes for diatonic melodies and 20 notes for pentatonic. (I’m not counting high C) If you do count high C, you could then get away with buying one less pentatonic set and save an additional $20 by not buying the classroom pack.

TPT Resources for Boomwhackers

Bought Me a Cat uses mi, re, do (BAG) patterns
The Mitten uses so, mi, re, do (G EDC)
Cobbler uses a pentatonic activity-do, re, mi, so , la (CDE GA)
Miss White uses la-based so, la, do, re, mi (DE GAB)
Turkey Strut uses a diatonic melody D, E, F, G, A, Bb, and C
Waltz of the Drumsticks uses chord playing to a “cantabile” song.
Over the River uses the diatonic melody in C of this classic song.

Storage Ideas

Storage Buying Options

AROUY Vinyl Storage Organizer – Vinyl Roll Holder Wall Mount/Over The Door, Craft Vinyl Storage Rack, Hanging Organizer Storage with 48 Roll Compartments (48 – Gray) (affiliate link)

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.

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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”

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”

Beginning of the Year Music Activities and Name Games

Beginning of the year name game activities.

You want your beginning-of-the-year music activities to be that perfect combination of fun and learning. Here you’ll find some name games and activities that will have your students interacting on the very first day in music class.

On this page…

Name Games

Beginning of the year music activities should let the teacher and students hear and interact with student names. Here are some fun lessons for all grade levels.

Name Name, What’s the Name?

The Never-Ending Name Game

This lesson plan is best spread out over multiple days.

Lesson 1: Introduction

  • 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 all 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?”

Lesson 2: 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.

Lesson 3: 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.
    • Now 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!!!

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4 Corners


Sitting in a circle works 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!

Beginning of the Year Music Activities

Madcap Rap

I saw this great beginning-of-the-year activity from an art teacher that was a great way for kids to work together to create something unique. It was called Exquisite Corpse and began with a long piece of paper folded 4 times. The first child would draw something on the first folded area.

The next child would continue the drawing on the adjacent fold, then two more students adding on. When unfolded, it was a tall figure with 4 unique areas that looked kind of zany and very cool.

How to play

I thought, “Why not do it with a descriptive sentence that creates a rhythm?” Using the below columns, run off the words in each column, each on a different color of paper.

Here’s a PDF with the four pages! Just copy and cut out the strips.

The mixed-up sentences will delight your students and get them working together to perform their Madcap Rap!

A beginning of the year game that uses four columns of sentence sections to form a crazy beat.

There are enough for a class of 32 but if you have fewer students, just make sure you hand out equal numbers of each color. If you have a number that isn’t divisible by 4, the teacher may have to step in to help out.

Have the students get in groups of four and say their sentences in your color order. For my example, the order would be red-orange-blue-green. The goal would be to try to say it with a good beat.

You might get “A spoon and fork were hiking in the mountains in the pouring rain. That’s so fire!”

Each group would get a turn “rapping” their sentence. The next step would be to ask all of the reds and blues to find a new group and repeat the above process. Ask the oranges and greens to find a new group for more madcap raps.

Add a fun mp3 loop for the performances!

Body Shapes Movement

Start your year with this best-selling resource that will set a standard for calm and focused beginnings in your music classes. SEL is achieved through music and movement. See and hear a PDF and video preview on TPT.

An SEL resource on TPT that uses music and movement.

Valentine Themed Music Resources

Find fun and engaging Valentine’s Day songs, games, dances, and activities to make a week of LOVE in the music room. Some “love” songs can be used any time of the year!

Continue reading “Valentine Themed Music Resources”

In the News

Special Days Celebrated With Music

Updated weekly, a national or world day is highlighted with a brief informational video and related music videos. It’s the MUSIC answer to Scholastic News or The Weekly Reader!

May 12 National Limerick Day

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May 5 International Tuba Day

Big Carl-An 8′ tall tuba!
How to play the tuba.

May 17 National Bike to School Day

This classic is in 3/4 meter!

Experience the 3s:
simple sway to the beat
pat one leg on 1 and with the other hand tap your chest on 2 and 3.

May 20 Armed Forces Day &
May 31 Memorial Day

April 3 National Film Score Day

Music of John Williams

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

April 22 Earth Day

April 30 International JAZZ Day

March 29 World Piano Day

The Wellerman-In Am, uses the full scale. If you want to play on Boomwhackers, put octavator caps on half of your A tubes. So A (oct), B (oct), C, D, E, F, G, A’ will allow you to play along!

March 21 World Poetry Day

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day

March 10 International Bagpipe Day

March 4-Marching Music Day

Blue Devils Drum Corps

Southern University Marching Band

US Marine Corps Band

The History of Military Marches

February 26-National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Check out the “How to Use Fairy Tales in Music Class” blog post!

February 15-National Gumdrop Day

February 7-World Ballet Day

Misty Copeland

January 28-National Kazoo Day

January 24-National Peanut Butter Day

January 17-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Follow the above link for LOTS of MLK resources!

January 9-International Choreographer’s Day

International Choreographer’s Day

Mambo from West Side Story

Thriller by Michael Jackson (shortened)

Evolution of Dance has lots of great dances and might be appropriate for some classes. Please review it before showing.

January 3-Women Rock! Day

Aretha Franklin
Joan Jett

My ❤️ FAVORITE rocker-H.E.R.

December 6-Walt Disney Day

Walt Disney Day-December 6

The first Monday of December (12/06/2021)

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 and began as an illustrator. One of the first characters he helped create was Mortimer Mouse who later was renamed Mickey Mouse. He is known for the animated features The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, and Mary Poppins. Disney was a pioneer in animation and introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.

Minnie & Mickey

Disney’s 2021 Release Movie-Encanto

December 13-National Violin Day

The violin, also known as a fiddle, is a wooden chordophone in the string family. It is the highest-pitched instrument in the family, has four strings, and is played by plucking or bowing.

Pictured is a violin from 1658.

Early stringed instruments came from the Greeks, Central Asia, and the Middle East and influenced the violin that we know today which emerged in the 1500s in Northern Italy.

The Kanneh-Mason Family

Braimah Kanneh-Mason on violin