Song Wheel

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Archive for July, 2012

Web Sites

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 24, 2012

Freddie the Frog   Freddie the Frog and the Thump in the Night

Games for identifying treble clef notes, bass clef notes, and creating/playing rhythms (quarter, two eighths, quarter rest, 4 sixteenths)

Phil Tulga

So many great games.  My favorites are      

Unifix Drum Machine (rhythm patterns)

Musical Fraction Bars (pictures to the right, scales and rhythm patterns)

Morse Code (my kids love hearing their names in Morse Code)





I will continually add favorites as I find them!!!

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Four Voices

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 23, 2012


Here are four posters I made to represent the four voices; sing, whisper, speak, shout.

I found these pictures at google images, trying to show diversity in regards to race and gender.  I use them with kindergarten and grade 1 students.

Here’s my progression for teaching the Four Voices.  This is over about a four week period.

1.  Echo teacher.  “This is my speaking voice.” (spoken)

“This is my singing voice.”  (sung)      etc.

We continue echoing for several class periods.

2.  Teacher holds up a picture and says, “What voice is this voice?”

Students sing/whisper/shout/speak the sentence in #1.

3.  Same as #2 except Teacher hides the pictures and in the appropriate voice

sings/whispers/shouts/speaks the question “What voice is this voice?”

Posted in Vocal Exploration | Leave a Comment »

Rhythmic Building Bricks

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 17, 2012

From my Orff classes and “Elementaria” by Keetman, I created what are called RHYTHMIC BUILDING BRICKS out of these foam cubes I found at Target in the $1 section.  I used a Sharpie to draw on the notes.

     Both sides have a rhythm so many combinations can be created.

     The bags are ideal for partners so in the tub at left, I have enough for a class of 34.

The blocks in the below picture are available for sale from Etsy!!!

BEAT BLOCKS - Rhythm building blocks that promote musical literacy

Posted in Foam Bricks, Manipulatives, Rhythms, Two eighths/Qt. | 5 Comments »

Hush Little Baby

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 14, 2012

This is one of my FAVORITE songs with so many great resources.  Hush, Little Baby


Using a Feierabend idea, I sing the song to the class without the book.  We may do this for a couple of class periods.  We might get out our stuffed animals and puppets and rock them since this is a lullaby.  Then over a period of a few weeks I use all the media below.

This wonderful book by Brian Pinkney uses African-American characters and some verses not in the traditional folk song.  LOVE IT!

Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures

The next book is illustrated by Marla Frazee and the Appalachian family is stuck with a crying baby.  My kids LOVE the reaction of the baby to all of the attempts to get her to go to sleep.  There’s some sibling rivalry infused, too.

This last version by Sylvia Long has a bunny family as the center of this classic folk song.  It adds a diversity to the main characters in the song.


Find the notation HERE.


The COOLEST video EVER!!!  Bobby McFerrin and a string trio (Yo-Yo Ma on cello, violin, string bass) performing Hush Little Baby in classic Bobby style.

Posted in Hush Little Baby, Songs | 4 Comments »

Eddie’s House

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 11, 2012

I wanted to change “Mr. Everybody’s Musical Apartment” book into something that was simpler and reflected my school population.   I have friends who use Mr. Everybody with TREMENDOUS success.  My version is called “Eddie’s House”.

The line notes (in black) are the people who live in Eddie’s House.

E=First floor is Eddie who is in ?fourth? grade.

G=Second floor is Grandma.

B=Third floor is Uncle Bobby.

D=Fourth floor is older brother DeQuan.

F=Fifth floor is teenage sister Fantasia.

Instead of ghosts in the house (Mr. E’s book) I had mice living between the floors for the space notes.  (in red)

F=Fifi,      A=Aaliyah,      C=CeCe,      E=Ebony

And yes, there’s a mom and dad in Eddie’s House.  They live in the basement; Denise and Curtis!  ; )

You can download my PPT Eddie’s House

Posted in Melody, Note Names | 2 Comments »

Dry Erase Rhythm Templates

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 9, 2012

I plan for about 5% of my yearly curriculum to involve writing music in some form.  I insert a template into the plastic pocket,then students use dry-erase markers to fill in the template.

We practice “drawing” notes, taking rhythmic dictation, singing scales, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  Templates are generic so that I can use the same one for simple or compound meters.  Using the pictured “job tickets” has been highly effective because it involves no paper copies for every class.  The materials are all reusable once you have everything set up.  I do a quick visual assessment, then tell the students to erase their work and the insert is ready for the next class.

1.  Job Tickets are thick plastic pockets used to post information on job sites.  You can find the educational equivalent on education supply web sites, but I found the job tickets were cheaper.  Here’s an example.

2.  In the picture, there’s a bucket holding the dry-erase markers and erasers.  I just cut up little squares of felt for the erasers.

3.  Because the pockets are plastic on both sides, I load both sides so that we can do one activity on one side, and a different one on the other.

4.  Examples of rhythmic dictation.  Hot Cross Buns is an easy example.  Let’s say that the past two weeks we have been singing the song, playing the song, determining as a class the rhythm of the song.  On a subsequent day, we get out our plastic inserts and practice writing quarters, eighths, quarter rests, and half notes.  (middle template in picture)  Then we turn it over and I clap measure one of the song.  Students write it in box 1. (left template in picture)  Continue on with measure 2-4.  I walk around a visually assess then we determine the answers.  Using our answers (some have needed to make some corrections) we go back and speak it with our rhythms, clap it, speak it with words.

5.  More times than I can count, students say how much fun they are having doing this activity.

Downloads (you can substitute your own music fonts, I used musisync)

Template Blank and Notes Simple  (left and middle templates in picture)

Template Dry Erase Compound (not pictured)

Posted in DryErase Template, Manipulatives, Rhythms | Leave a Comment »

“Alex, I’d like Music for $500.”

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 5, 2012

Jeopardy Board

This is one of my greatest creations because it’s cheap and easy to make, easy to use, and the students love it and learn so much!

It’s made out of two poster boards, 4 x 6 index cards, 3 x 5 index cards, glue, and post it notes.

1.  Tape two poster boards together.

2.  Lay out the 4 x 6 cards horizontally until you have the number of categories and amounts you’d like.  I did 6 categories and up to $500.

3.  Put your dollar amounts on each card then put a bead of glue along the back left and right sides of each card.  The sides of the cards then will be glued, but the top and the bottom edges are open. You can glue the bottom edge, it doesn’t really matter.

4.  Then all you do is take the 3×5 cards and write the question/answers to your categories.  The are just inserted in the 4 x 6 pockets and pulled out when playing the game.  Use the cards to keep score.  Make a pile of correct cards for one team, another pile for the other team.  Don’t forget to put the category and amount on each card so you can easily return them to their correct spot when the next class comes in and you want to play again.

5.  I use Post-It notes to mark the categories.

6.  Lots of people have smartboards and PPT Jeopardy games, but this can be created by simply writing on 3×5 cards.  When you are done, you just store the 3×5 cards and Post-Its and the game folds along the tape lines for easy storage.  During remodeling one year, I was a teacher on a cart and easily took this to the classrooms.

7.  My favorite Jeopardy game “Instruments of the Orchestra”- Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Potpourri, Listening

8.  Cost?  Next to nothing, not even printer and ink costs as you can see from my beautiful handwriting.  : )

9.  I usually play boys vs. girls and have the two teams choose a captain.  ONLY THAT CAPTAIN communicates with me to give me their choice of question and the answer.  Once they give me their answer, I say “Is this your final answer?”.  By designating a captain, I don’t have a bunch of shouting out.  The teams almost always have a discussion about the correct answer with the captain making the final decision based on the discussion.  This is so cool!  If a team does not get the correct answer, it can pass to the other team.

Here’s a close-up.

Posted in Games | 1 Comment »

Vocal Exploration

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 5, 2012

After taking a Feierabend workshop, I added so many new elements to vocal exploration.  Some come directly from the workshop while others are from blogs and my own use of resources available to me.


I call this the Frog Family and there’s Freddy (dad), twin cousins Huey and Louie, and Baby Frog.

The big frog has long arms so I use him lots for beat bonding activities.  I have a small parachute and we raise and lower it, making appropriate sounds with our voices.  I throw daddy frog in the middle and the upward vocal slides increase because the frog gets tossed in the air on the ups.  Then baby joins daddy and then finally the cousins get in.  By the time we’re finished, it’s only been a couple of minutes but we’ve done vocal glissandos MANY times.

Other Great Tools

I got almost all of these things at Dollar Tree.  From left to right, the three pencils and purple crayon are used to draw letters and shapes in the air with accompanying upward, downward, and same vocal sounds.  I draw and sing, class echoes.  I have three so I can use them at a learning station.

The microphone is another fun echo sing ploy; teacher holds mic and sings then points it to the class or to an individual.  Fun!

A ball or anything that can be tossed in the air can provide an opportunity for upward/downward glissandos.

The pipe cleaner can be easily shaped and then as you follow the shape with your finger you make the appropriate sounds.  Since pipe cleaners are cheap, this is always one of my make and take activities.  I ask that the students take it home and make shapes and sing for at least 5 people.  These are also great for learning stations.




Here’s a video showing how I use a puppet spider and how to make your own spiders for a make and take activity!

Posted in Puppets, Vocal Exploration | Leave a Comment »

Magic Circle

Posted by lbbartolomeo on July 2, 2012

I LOVE my double circles drawn on my music room floor.  I have a black outer circle and a red inner circle. They have SAVED my life and made classroom management and teaching in general so much better.  I use a permanent marker.  I have to redo it every couple of months because it fades, but I couldn’t live without it. You just have to find a way to MAKE them let you do it. I would think custodians would like it better because it doesn’t leave any residue like tape leaves.

Here are more details.

Why I love my circle.

1.  Kindergarteners can make a circle in 2 seconds flat because you don’t need to HOLD HANDS with all that pulling and tugging.

2.  I can make single circles and double circles.

3.  I can have students on the black outer circle and take three small steps in to the red circle (step, step, step, touch) which is so common and no one goes past the red circle.  It sets boundaries.

4.  You can circle right or left without the circle collapsing on a side or a student passing the person in front of them.

5.  As far as classroom management, if I ask students to stand with their toes on the black line, it’s very concrete.  A student is either in compliance or not.

Posted in Eqpmnt/Logistics | Leave a Comment »

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