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Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

Bell Horses

Posted by lbbartolomeo on August 26, 2017

IMG_5526This is a great song to teach SLS and quarter note/rest and eighth note pairs.  Here’s my process.

After learning the song by echo singing with a pat/clap steady beat pattern, I told the Ss the history of the song from the info I found HERE.  That info led me to have the students get in groups of 3 with two horses and a driver.  I cut lengths of rope for the reins that went around the torso area of the two horses in front, with the driver holding the ends behind. We trotted around the room after singing the song, with the idea that the horses had done their work for the day and were heading home.  We switched until everyone had been the driver.  Lots of giggles and fun!

  • The next music class we sang and clapped the rhythm, then partners got bells or other non-pitched metal percussion and played the rhythm as they sang.
  • The third music class, as a group, we sat at my large rhythm chart, and together determined the rhythm of the song.  How I made my chart is located HERE!


  • The fourth music class, partners got a 16 beat template, an envelope with the necessary rhythmic icons, and then wrote the rhythm.  After a few minutes of them working on it, I clapped the first line, let them look at what they had, then I put it on my large chart for them to check and see if they were correct. I continued this method until all 4 lines were complete.  Then one partner touched the answers as the other partner clapped and sang the song.  They switched roles.

Here’s the version of Bell Horses that I use!

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 11.27.08 AM


Posted in Bell Horses, Manipulatives, Quarter note, quarter rest, SLS, Template for rhythms, Two eighths/Qt. | Leave a Comment »

BIG Rhythm Chart

Posted by lbbartolomeo on August 26, 2017

IMG_5528I needed a big chart for K-2 so that we could write song/rhyme rhythms.  I wanted something cheap! 🙂 I bought a black foam board (20×30″) at Dollar Tree, then added strips of thick paper such as card stock to form the pockets.  The actual rhythms are written on blank 4×6 note cards.  I laminated them but that isn’t completely necessary.

A foam board is about 20″ wide.  The pocket strips were cut to 20″ wide and about 2″ in height, and then I glued the strips on the left,right, and bottom edge, and then a vertical line about every 4.25″, enough room to slide a 4″ note card into.

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 10.51.54 AMThe glued bottom edge serves as a stop for the note card.  The red lines on the photo to the right show where I used glue.




This picture shows rhythmic icons, which required that I copied images onto the note cards.  This is what I use for the song “Bell Horses”.IMG_5526


Posted in Bell Horses, Quarter note, quarter rest, Rhythm Chart, Stuff, Two eighths/Qt. | 1 Comment »

12 Days of Christmas

Posted by lbbartolomeo on December 13, 2012

the12daysofchristmasI LOVE pop-up books.  This is a fascinating book with beautiful pop-ups of the twelve days.  I use it in grades K and 1.  We begin by counting to twelve, then backwards from 12.  I sing the song slowly as I unfold each page.  The repetition of this cumulative song in combination with the book really cements the song.

Author:  Robert Sabuda

The below video is wonderful because it has bold, large-scale characters and has lyrics included.  It’s the perfect combo with the above book.

Posted in 12 Days of Xmas, Christmas, Songs | Leave a Comment »


Posted by lbbartolomeo on December 4, 2012

The Kenya Rock Star Madness Band came to our school, part of a promotional tour highlighting the new Kenya dolls.  Our students loved their program and their song “Proud” which has a positive message about pride, doing well in school, etc.  I’m going to use this song for our Black History Month concert.  The song and karaoke are available on iTunes!

Posted in Proud | Leave a Comment »

The Monster Mash

Posted by lbbartolomeo on October 20, 2012

My students love this classic song.

The FORM:  Intro A B A B C A B A B A B Coda       All sections are 8- 4/4 measures.

A-verses, B-chorus, C-Bridge

Movement Idea: 

Start lying down. On Intro, slowly stand up, walk like Zombies on A and C, do hand jives on B, slowly lie back down on Coda.

Rhythm Band

The great steady beat makes it perfect for reading rhythms to rhythm band.

Primary can just keep a steady beat using different non-pitched percussion.

Intermediate can manipulate different given patterns for A, B, C.  I use these patterns:  4 quarter notes, 3 quarters and 1 quarter rest, quarter note quarter rest quarter note quarter rest, etc.

Posted in Monster Mash, Rhythms, Songs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Halloween (H-A-double L-O)

Posted by lbbartolomeo on October 19, 2012

This is an oldie goldie with fun singing and movement possibilities.  Here’s the video.

Introduction A Interlude B Interlude A Interlude C Interlude A Coda


The introduction, interludes, and coda are all the same instrumental music. It’s on these instrumental parts where I like to have movement.  Students get in groups and come up with 8 slow movements. (It is 8 measures of a fast 3/4)


Great fun with students spelling out the letters to the word Halloween with their fingers.

H is thumb tips touching and pointer fingers pointing up like you’re making a football goal post.

For A, keep the H and put your pointer fingers together to form the top point of the  A.

Double L is simply both hands making an L shape. (yes one will look backwards, but hey!!!)

O is just circle your hands into an O shape.

W is like the H but your thumbs lift up to form the inner part of the W.

E is three fingers turned sideways, using both hands. (again one is backwards)

I gave up on N and just drew it in the air!!!


The two verses here can be swaying or walking like a zombie or an endless number of simple moves.  I like to keep it simple because it goes into the instrumental portions with their created movement and I want them to be ready.

Posted in H-A-Double L-O, Rondo | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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 »

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. | 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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