Names. We see 100-1,000 or more kids in music class. Sometimes the kids have music every other day. Sometimes they have music a steady 3 times a week, 2 times, a week.....or a weird block schedule where they will not see you every week. How can you even begin to learn names in a music classroom? But, putting yourself in someone else's shoes: Do you have an unusual name or spell your name in a not-so "common" way?  Raise your hand if you got extremely frustrated when people would mispronounce your name, comment on how "ethnic" it is, or misspell it.   via GIPHY My maiden name is fairly common around the area where I grew up (Missouri "Rhineland") area, but it's not that common in the wider world. It's Whithaus (short "i"). It's a derivative of the original German name of "Witthaus". Anyway, when I went to college, one of the orchestra/strings teachers would insist on calling me "Veethaus". True, that's most...
I usually had a difficult time getting some fun stuff in for Thanksgiving for my first and second graders because they were getting ready for their holiday programs. However, I thought it was important that we start rehearsals early enough to 1. incorporate concepts within the music and 2. add other fun stuff that had nothing to do with program songs.  In November, one of the most favorite games was "Shoo, Turkey." There are various arrangements of this song/game in publication, but the one I always used was from the Bessie Jones/Bess Lomax Hawes book Step It Down.  This is a great call and response song you can use for assessment! Alan Lomax, a well-known folk musicologist, recorded Bessie Jones singin g this ditty during an interview on the music she remembered growing up in a Georgia farming community. (By the way, her biographical information in Step It Down is fascinating! If you don't have this book, you should. It is a treasure.) The "call" in the record...
Carl Orff stated that "Dance has the closest relationship to music. My idea and the task that I set myself was a regeneration of music through movement, through dance." Later, he added that rhythm is difficult to teach, expressed only by "releasing" it. Anne Green Gilbert , who developed Brain Danc e, noted the connections between dance and human growth and development. Two Orff educators, Jenny Burnett and Laura Webster, wrote an article for the Orff Echo describing how to use movement to teach concepts (Orff Echo , Vol. 42, No. 4 ). Finally, as noted on this blog post on Walkabout , movement is a crucial tool in social emotional development, which is probably needed more now than in past decades. There's an issue: I KNOW some of you are thinking that it's tough enough to keep kids distanced from each other, much less let them move around the room! Non-locomotor ideas to the rescue. These ideas can be be used to reinforce concepts, expression, mindfulnes...