Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jump In, Jump Out!

Summer is officially over, and I've had my first two days with students. I needed a name refresher activity that my students would enjoy, and "Jump In, Jump Out" was the perfect start to our school year. When a sixth grade student lingers after class, beams, and exclaims, "Thank you! That was SO much fun," you know you've picked well. 

There are different versions of the poem floating around, and there are different ways to perform it. I usually tweak things a bit, so I came up with the following format:

Jump in, jump out! Turn yourself around.
I said, jump in, jump out! Introduce yourself.

Soloist: (Class)
My name is__________ (yeah)
And I like __________ (yeah)
And I can __________ (yeah)

All right, all right, all right!

Circle game:
  • Jump in, jump out: everyone jumps in the circle and back out
  • Turn yourself around – turn in place one time
  • Jump in, jump out (repeat as before)
  • Introduce yourself – one student steps to the center of the circle to speak the solo part. (I placed a polyspot in the center and instructed children to step to the spot to speak.) 
  • Class answers each statement with, “Yeah” and copies the action of the soloist on “All right, all right, all right!”
  • Repeat poem with the next person in the circle stepping forward as the soloist. Continue until everyone has had a turn. Students can add claps or teacher can add a drum to help them speak in rhythm.
Here is a video of 4th graders and 6th graders demonstrating the game:

I created a PowerPoint presentation with a few examples for students to read and practice speaking in rhythm. I displayed the final slide with blanks for them while they played so the soloist could look at the lyrics if they needed assistance.

The complete PowerPoint presentation is available at my TpT Store:

Teaching Process:
  • Teach poem by rote, using the first lyric slide and completing the blanks with personal information.  Demonstrate speaking in rhythm and performing an action on the “I can” statement.
  • Lead the class in reading the next 3 slides together in rhythm. Divide into two groups and take turns reading the solo and class parts. Point out the option of “My name is” or “My name’s,” depending on which works best with the name.
  • Display the final slide with blanks. Instruct students to think of what they plan to say for each blank. Remind them the “I can” statement should include a movement for students to copy. They should silently practice speaking the poem in rhythm while they wait for everyone to get ready. Students could also practice with a partner to make sure they are prepared with good choices.
Looking for more name games and other activities to start your year? Check out these previous blog posts:
All in all, "Jump In, Jump Out" was a great way to start back to school with my 4th-6th grade classes. Thinking about using this game with your students? I suggest that you go ahead and "Jump In!"

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Olympic Fanfare

The Olympics are on the horizon, and I plan to celebrate during music class! If you have access to older Share the Music books, there is a listening map in the second grade book for "Olympic Fanfare" that I have used with my classes. Here is a quick rundown of a quick activity to commemorate this wonderful event, even if you don't have access to the listening map.

1. Brainstorm and list Olympic events. Here is a complete list: Summer Olympic Sports

2. Listen to "Olympic Fanfare" and follow the listening map, if available. Note the different sections. Have students give a signal to indicate when they think the sections change. 

3. Discuss the form (ABCBA) and the tempo of the different sections.

4. Listen and move to the music:

  • A: March in place, as if participating in Opening Ceremony
  • B: Jog in place to the beat (Students can pretend to carry the torch)
  • C: Act out a sport in slow motion (Teacher can call out sports, or students can pick their own. They can change sports during this section, since it is long enough.)
  • B: Jog in place again
  • A: March again
5. You can add a game by playing the slow section and allowing different students to act out a sporting event in slow motion for the class to identify.

This would also be a great time to review the national anthem and discuss how each country's anthem is played when they win the gold. 

(UPDATE: I have created a PowerPoint file with a listening map and clipart of Olympic athletes for movement inspiration. It is a FREE download in my TpT store using the link below.)

Try this activity with your students. I love it, and I hope you will, too. My only complaint is that I have to wait so long before I can use it again!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Coming Soon!

Ideas and Resources I Want to Try 

Summer is a wonderful time! Time to sleep late. Time to enjoy leisurely days outside. Time to enjoy free time. Time to use that free time to plan for next year!

I enjoy using my free time to search for new ideas to incorporate into my teaching. Finding new resources or lesson ideas builds excitement for the new year. Thank you to all the wonderful music teachers who share on Pinterest, blogs, and in Facebook groups. Your knowledge and creativity is invaluable to us all!

I'm sad to say that my summer is over, but I'm excited to think about the newly discovered goodies I plan to try this year. Take a minute to scroll through these ideas and resources. You might want to try some, like I plan to do!

Everyone Asked About You

I heard about this book from a music teacher in a Facebook group, and I've already ordered it from Amazon. She said that she uses the book with her young students at the end of class, and it leaves them mesmerized. There is a song by Bob McGrath (Sesame Street) that fits with the book that I bought through iTunes. Here it is on YouTube:

My Roots Go Down

I fell in love with this song the moment I watched the video someone posted on Facebook. Maybe it's the catchy song, maybe it's the sweet way the dad allows his daughter to figure things out on her own, or maybe it's just the adorable girl singing so joyfully. I don't know, but I had to research and find out more. I found the composer's website with lyrics:, and noticed that the lyrics were a little different. Pirtle states that she wants people to sing and share, so I'm sharing these simple lyrics and chords if you are interested. After you watch the video, you'll want them. Trust me!

My Roots Go Down
By: Sarah Pirtle

am a (G) maple tree growing at the school
I am a (C) maple tree growing at the (G) school
I am a maple tree growing at the (em) school
My (D7) roots go (G) down

(D) My roots go (G) down, down to the earth.
My roots go (C) down, down to the (G) earth.
My roots go down, down to the (em) earth.
My (D7) roots go (G) down.

* I am a wildflower growing in the meadow
* I am a mountain strong and still


This is an app that allows you to scan a photo that opens a video. You can video a class, put a photo in a newsletter or post in the hallway, and parents can watch the video. Perfect for Open House! I could write more, but I haven't used it yet. You should check out this blog post from Mrs. Dennis:  Aurasma in the Music Room.

Here is a video demonstration of how a music teacher utilizes the app:


BrainDance is a series of eight developmental movement patterns that humans naturally move through during the first year of life. The "dance" is said to be a wonderful full body and brain warm-up. I feel like I need to try this out in my classroom! You can read more about the philosophy and the specific movements here: Creative Dance or watch the video below for a quick demonstration of each of the 8 movement patterns. There are more videos on YouTube for more ideas.


I'm not ready to teach ukulele. I'm simply ready to learn how to PLAY one. Our school just added a preschool unit this year, so I figured it was the perfect time to pick up a stringed instrument to accompany simple songs. I thought I'd start with 4 strings, instead of 6 on a guitar. I am not great, but as long as I can play a I, IV, and V7 chord in a couple of keys, I'll feel like I've accomplished something!

How about you? Have you found some new ideas to try this year? It's a great way to stay fresh and excited about what we do. Have a happy new year!