Friday, June 6, 2014

Perfect Poolside Planning: Summer Blog Hop

Even though summer has officially begun and is in full swing, my type A personality paired with those creative "elementary music teacher juices" can never fully shut down to take that much needed vacation.  You just can't escape those middle of the night "light bulb" moments no matter what time or season of the year it is!!   

I am so thrilled to have the wonderful privilege and opportunity of being a member of a group of fabulous music teachers from all over the world that have come together via various networking connections/communities.  We have recently teamed up to bring this blog hop event with the purpose of sparking some ideas and helpful hints that you can hopefully find useful in your music classrooms.

When deciding what I wanted to blog about, the topic of "how to incorporate larger thematic music units of study" into your music curriculum and lesson planning came to mind.  Along with this topic also comes the question of how to decipher what music topics are age & skill appropriate for the grade levels you teach.   So, without further delay, here it goes!!

Over my 13 years of teaching, these units have proven time and time again to be the "traditional" ever faithful favorites!!   I certainly don't have time to squeeze EVERY single one of these units listed into my planning EVERY single year.  Many times, as you well know, we are hammered with so many expectations of not only fulfilling our daily lesson plans and curriculum but we are also expected to produce wonderful, elaborate grade level music programs/productions at some point in the school year as well (along with being ready to handle many other "hats" that are thrown our direction at any given moment throughout the school year :).  These units listed below are ones that I have used and rotated throughout the years.  I will list them for you by grade levels as this is how my brain functions and this helps me to sequentially process my long-term linear planning as I am a Kodaly certified music teacher and that is how most of us "Kodaly Types" roll!! :):)

Kindergarten - 

  • Basic Beginning Elements of Music (high/low, loud/soft, fast/slow, long/short, jerky/smooth, steady beat, etc.) - these elements coincide with my sequential Kodaly curriculum.
  • Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales in Music Unit

First Grade - 

  • Peter and the Wolf (I usually revisit this with deeper details in 3rd grade as well)

Second Grade - 

  • Carnival of the Animals 

Third Grade - 

  • Instruments of the Orchestra Unit 
    • Luigi's Baton Series by: John Jacobson's Music Express Magazine is a GREAT resource that I have used the past several years to help supplement this unit. 
    • Another gem of a resource that I've recently discovered and have started using to help supplement this unit, which happens to be created by a fellow colleague who is also a member of this music teacher networking group, Mrs. Sara Bibee, is her Instrument Resource Packets.  You can find her on Teachers Pay Teachers. She has created/published these EXCELLENT packets that are loaded with SO MUCH great information, media, etc.  Thanks Sara for making this unit a blast to teach!! 
  • Peter and the Wolf (I use this as a follow up to the Instruments of the Orchestra Unit as a review and testing the student's understanding/knowledge of what they've just learned).

Peter and the Wolf - Smart Notebook Title Sample Page, Mrs. Kuchta's Corner (TpT)

Fourth Grade - (The "spooky" music year :) 

  • Danse Macabre (I cover this unit in October around Halloween time)
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Peer Gynt   

Fifth Grade - 

  • Spotlight on Broadway
  • Show Tunes
  • Careers In Music
  • Experimentation w/ Non-Traditional Music (STOMP, Virtual Music, Etc.)

Sixth Grade - 

  • The History of African-American Music and It's Influence on Our Music Today (A Study on Genres from Slavery to Present Day)
  • The History of Rock & Roll

Other Units That Can Be Covered Over A Span of Grade Levels or By A Yearly Rotation Schedule - 

  • The Nutcracker Suite - (I usually split this unit over a 3 year time frame among my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes as there is usually not enough time to cover all the details as in depth/detail as I would like, especially since these grade levels are typically preparing for their grade level musicals/programs during the fall semester and into Christmas time).
  • Composer(s) of the Month, Quarter, Season, Etc.
  • Music from Around the World

Please keep in mind, these units are just general suggestions and can be tweaked to fit the needs of you and your students.  They have been successful, fun, and engaging units for my students over the years.  I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and success stories!!!!  

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