Song Wheel

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Archive for June, 2012

Yankee Doodle

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 30, 2012

I love this song for a variety of reasons.  It’s a classic, kids love it, great quarter/two eighth note patterns, and it can be a jumping off point to talk about the Revolutionary War era.

Great Info Here       Wikipedia


I LOVE this video from Sesame Street for kindergarten and first grade.  They giggle non-stop.



So many cute versions.  This one has a trio of girls who are seen in every verse following the dashing young man around.  Kids get a kick out of it.  It goes through three verses.

Product Details  Illustrated by Amanda Haley

This book by Mary Ann Hoberman takes the story and embellishes it to the point that YD and friends open a restaurant called “Yankee Doodle’s Noodles”.  My kids loved it because of the silly word play, fun illustrations, and crazy characters such as a poodle.

Yankee Doodle (Sing-Along Stories)

Teaching Ideas

1.  It has a great steady beat so any activity related to beats, especially marching.

2.  It’s in AB, verse/refrain form so the opportunities for STEADY BEAT movement and non-pitched percussion play are endless.

March on A, turn to your partner and make up a movement for B

With partner do a non-locomotor movement on A, locomotor on B (or reverse it).

Play woods on A, metals on B.

Get in groups of four, everyone has  rhythm sticks and come up with a way to play on A and B.

3.  The verse has a beautiful rhythm of two eighths (6x) followed by two quarters to which you can sing whatever rhythm system you prescribe to.

ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ta, ta (repeat) then sing the more complicated chorus with lyrics.

As a class, notate it and sing the rhythms.

Take rhythmic notation in grades 2 and 3 on the verse rhythm.

Posted in AB, Movement, Patriotic, Rhythms, Songs, Two eighths/Qt., Verse/Refrain, Yankee Doodle | Leave a Comment »

Air Force Bakesale

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 29, 2012

Do you remember this bumper sticker?

” It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need

and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

My dad was in the Army during WWII and I have the utmost respect for our armed services.  This is more about priorities with resources and the value of education.  Teachers use their own money and ingenuity to get the job done.  Those of us in urban districts don’t usually have a PTO to help us, either.

Here’s a fellow music teacher’s ingenuity at work.  She CONSTRUCTED her own xylophone carts!  GENIUS!!!

Posted in Instruments, Musings, Xylophones | Leave a Comment »

The Star-Spangled Banner

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 28, 2012

Here are my tried and true media/resources for this song.


The Star-Spangled Banner (Reading Rainbow Books)

Illustrator Peter Spier is one of my favorites.  Although this book has all four verses of the SSB, I use mainly verse 1.  The intricate pictures invite so much discussion.


I like the ones in the textbook although singing unaccompanied is my favorite.


Take 6 -sung slowly, acapella, an oldie but gorgeous.  VIDEO

Beyonce-Beautifully sung, relatively straight-forward. VIDEO

Children’s Trio-I’m guessing 11 year old children, beautiful.  VIDEO

Seven Year Old Girl-my kids are fascinated by this child.  VIDEO

SoundChoice Karaoke-great for all ages but especially new readers.   VIDEO


I base everything on 16 phrases in the song.

#1.  I type the phrases in a large font, copy enough for partner work (for me that’s about 18 copies), and cut them out.  Partners then put them in order.  I walk around and slowly sing SSB over and over.  When everyone has it completed, we go back and sing the entire song.  Then I tell them to turn over ONE phrase, I don’t care which one.  We sing.  We continue turning over one more phrase until we have all the phrases turned over.  Believe it or not, this is never tedious, they love the challenge.

Download the sentence strip document here.  SSB Sentence Strips       

#2.  With kindergarten and first grade, I hum the song and ask if anyone knows it or where they heard it or who sang it.  I get some pretty funny answers.  Then we echo sing the song and I read a book (see above) about the song.  We watch a variety of videos.  I think echoing the words and then listening to it over and over is the way to go with my little ones.

#3.  The dreaded worksheet, but actually they like this one and it gives older students, especially ones who haven’t done much with the SSB a chance to work with the difficult lyrics.  (we have lots of transiency at my school)   WS is re-ordering mixed up phrases, written fill in the blank, and a history timeline.  Will get this ASAP.

#4.  Fill in the blank.  This partner activity gives them a large template with missing words.

“Oh say can you ____, by the _____ early ____.”  I try to hit key words, difficult words.

Download the SSB fill in the blank template here.    SSB fill in blank template

SSB Medal Poster

#5.  The SSB Olympics-In grades 4-6, I begin with a pre-test.  (see below)  Based on 16 phrases, GOLD is getting 13-16 correct, SILVER is 9-12, BRONZE is 5-8, and PLATINUM is 1-3.  You can base your medals on your own set of criteria.  My children need encouragement and a few didn’t even place.  I don’t actually give them ribbons/medals but place their names on a large board with those four categories.  Here are the poster icons I used.    SSB medals    Then after we do our SSB unit, I give the same test and get to move all the names, which is thrilling because almost everyone moves up a level or two.

The TEST—I use the whiteboard or a poster board and list the 16 lines, giving them the FIRST word of each line.  They copy on paper and fill in the rest.

Posted in Patriotic, Songs, Star-Spangled B. | 2 Comments »

131 Days

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 28, 2012

Presidential election years are GOLDEN opportunities to hit Patriotic Units in a big way.  I go back to school on July 31 (OMGosh) and I want to have a plan in place for my unit.  With the end of October dedicated to Halloween, I will probably be using the end of September/beginning of October for everything patriotic.  My next Song Wheel then should be “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Posted in Musings | Leave a Comment »

Good Grief Goodwill

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 27, 2012

UPDATE to the below post.  Here is how I made the puppet that the MK8 lister described .  Here’s the link to the archived message although joining the MusicK8 listserv and reading all the posts is AWESOME.  So many great ideas.

Made the slit and pulled stuffing out of the body and part of the head.  Left stuffing in the nose and legs.  We’ll see how the kids respond to having it there.  It may all be out eventually.  : )

Since it’s not on my summer to-do list, I’ve decided to go to Goodwill today.  I have a route of 4 of my favorite Goodwill stores.  And Wednesdays are SENIOR CITIZEN days!!!  And according to Goodwill, I AM a senior citizen because I’m older than 55.  Well that’s the rule here in central Indiana.  I get 30% off.  I am going to look for stuffed animals.  The newest hint on the MK8 listserv,  was from a teacher who takes stuffed animals and makes a slit in the back, takes all the stuffing out and POOF you have a puppet.  Kindergarteners and first graders will do anything with a puppet on their hand.  They keep the beat, sing, move creatively.  Well, off I go.  I swear just yesterday I was 18.

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments »

Distracted Chillaxing

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 27, 2012

As music teachers we try to relax during the summer.  Our school year is filled with so much STUFF; tight teaching schedules, administrative demands, new trends (Common Core Standards), performances, and a million more bits and pieces.  So as soon as vacation begins I make a list of things to do-personal, house, garden, social, school, financial.  In an effort to use my time wisely, I come up with this monster that in the end robs me of my RELAXATION.  Then to top it off I find myself on the computer cruising from one idea to another.

I started out needing to order replacement rubber for an old xylophone and because I didn’t want to pay the shipping I decided I should find something ELSE to buy to make the shipping worth it.   Then I get on the magnificent Music K8 site and there are so many fantastic ideas that I hop from thread to thread.  If you want to join this free mailing list, you can simply read and stay in the background.  But if you ask a question, you will receive so much great advice.

I guess the point is to strike a balance with the scale being more on the side of chillaxing.  But I don’t want to get to the week before school starts and wonder why in the heck I didn’t revise that lesson plan template or put together that new learning station for kindergarten.  Well, here’s to me striking a balance.

Posted in Musings | Leave a Comment »

America, The Beautiful

Posted by lbbartolomeo on June 22, 2012

Here are some of my best resources for this song!


“Songs of America” by the Cedarmont Kids, four verses, Key of Ab Major (key change on fourth verse), coda.


This video has beautiful children’s voices, two verses, and lovely pictures.


Lots and lots of great books out there.  This one from Scholastic has beautiful photographs, and each half phrase gets a two page spread.  The type is large and is great for reading to the class or to be used in a learning center.


Drawing Template-These work so beautifully because students represent the meaning of the song with pictures.  This is challenging for such phrases as “God shed His grace on thee”, but I always go back to the fact that the words were written by the inspiring trip to the west by Katherine Lee Bates and so students need to just guess what they think she meant.

America The Beautiful Template

Posted in America, The Beaut., Patriotic, Songs | Leave a Comment »

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