Sunday, August 21, 2016

Classroom Management Tips 1

My students bring to a notebook, pencil and folder to class starting in grade two. The notebook is used as a creative journal and reference dictionary.

 Studies have shown if you write it down, you learn it faster.

 When I teach a new term, it goes in their book. Example: the Skill is Rhythm. We draw the note symbol-label it and define it.

 In the beginning stages when I do an aural review I sometimes ask: " by raising your hand and looking in your notebook, who can tell me about this note symbol?" Holding up a 1/4 note. The students should answer: " it's called a 1/4 note, has a filled in oval with a stem and gets one beat of sound. "

My students also use their notebook to write down any thoughts they may forget. This deters "calling out " while I am instructing.

My class routine based on a 40 minute session, is a short transition activity while I take roll.
This could be: find your spot, open up a notebook, write down or follow a quick written direction off of the blackboard (2-5 minutes); instruction (5-10 minutes) activity (20-25 minutes) cleanup and review (5 minutes)

Bonus BOOKMARKS: students are rewarded for positive behaviors and achievements.

The students have the option to collect the bookmarks and keep them or they can trade them in.

For example, one bookmark equals 1 aural answer pass or removing 1 written test question. Five bookmarks will add 5 points on a test or they may write their name on the back of their bookmark and put one in my Raffle Jar. At the end of the month I pull out a name and they receive a reward. Sometimes it is a pencil, a small toy, small candy, lunch with me or the principle, choose the activity for the day.

Click on the Link above to be taken directly to my product.

This is a Great Time to shop. My whole store is discounted on Monday, August 22nd.

Using the code: ONEDAY

gets you 28% OFF!!!

740 × 400

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Friday, August 12, 2016

A New School Year

Deep breath in

and out

That's the smell of a fresh new year of opportunity's and journeys whether you are a veteran , a novice or a student teacher.

I always look at every day as the beginning of a new fresh start .

If you are a veteran - Welcome Back!

If you are a novice - Welcome Aboard!

If you are a student teacher, 

be a sponge!

Be a sponge? You are thinking, (what the heck does that mean?)

Well, what I mean is, soak up all the knowledge and expertise of the veterans around you. Not just from your cooperating mentor. Walk the halls sometime and quietly listen, observe and soak in how the other teachers teach, manage and organize their classroom.

Keep a notebook. I am big notebook advocate.  
Just like a reporter, jot down notes to refer back to. 
Ask questions, the master teachers are there to help you. 
We all have walked your journey including these first steps. 
Reflect on what you observed and try ideas out. You'll know if they work for you only if you give them a try. You probably will not do things exactly the same-and that's OK tweak them to make them work for you. Some ideas may work and some may not. Once again, that's OK, throw the not's away!

As a music teacher, we tolerate a different level of sound.
Controlled sound.
After all, that is our subject  -  the Study of Sound. 
Yes, some of the traditional general classroom management skills do work for us with some tweaking. 
If you are new to a school I suggest making an inventory list if there is not one. It helps knowing how many tambourines etc.  you have to work with. 

For me, learning has never been measured against a group of people, but from the growth with in each individual.

As teachers we are not only planting the seeds of academics but the seeds of dignity and self worth.

The greatest reward for me, is watching and listening to my students bring to life what they have learned.

Teachers of all levels, become a child again, discover - learn - experiment, dare to go outside your comfort zone. 

Learning is only as fun and exciting as the teacher instructing the class.

Remind, teach and model that mistakes are not the enemy of success. 
Help your students analyze their mistakes, looking for the reason where it went wrong and to use these mistakes not a stumbling blocks but as steppingstones to learn.

Have a Great Year!

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Music Activities Sale!

740 × 400

Hello Readers!
We have been so busy getting ready for this Sale! We have some new AMAZING products and some future ones in progress.

We have 4 NEW Music Clip Card Products.
These are great for music centers, reviews or early finishers.
We created 2 Tone Color Instrument Clip Cards and 2 Rhythm Addition Clip Cards.
Now is the BEST time to shop when you can get them for 28% OFF!!!
The WHOLE STORE is 28% OFF August 1st and 2nd!

We are also working on polishing up some new Rhythm Cup Products and some new simple Dance Moves for a variety of Winter Holiday Music and some Country and Pop Songs.

We will also be getting back on schedule with our blog. It's been a busy, busy summer:)

Please stop by our store for some awesome savings:)
Just click on our store link in the Top Right Corner.

Have a Great Day!
♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Thursday, June 2, 2016

End of the Year Ideas

  • Improvisation: 1. Rhythm Instruments, play along to a favorite piece of music. 

2. Perform an ordinary task to an instrumental piece of music or a pop song (example making a hoagie) 

  • 1 to 2 minute Aerobics or Dance Routine 
  • Radio Station have students present a broadcast including music, weather, traffic, news, games
  • Name That Tune in _____ seconds
  • Finish the Song Lyric
  • Musical Talent Day: perform on instruments, sing, dance, gymnastics, tae-kwan-do or a body percussion routine to music, Lip sync 

(Talent day-invite the principal, secretary, maintenance man, supervisor, parent, a grandparent, or another teacher to perform something for the class when they are free. I had 4th grade teacher who played the TUBA! The kids love it! I also had a maintenance man who played an elf! What terrific motivators.) 

Create Team Roles: performer, MC, stage hand to help set up props if needed, operate music, scorekeeper, timekeeper

Review concert classroom performance etiquette:
The performer/s is/are introduced to the audience including what talent/s they're about to see
Audience applauds
Audience practices active listening skills during performances-no distractions
Audience applauds at the end of the performance
Performer bows to make knowledge audience

Consider taking still pictures or videos of the performances
Photos of the performers can be displayed throughout the school to reinforce positive self esteem and team spirit.

Remind students, if a mistake happens during their performance, don't worry,  just to keep going. Mistakes are a natural part of learning.

Group work: (for Aerobic/Dance/Radio Station in class working time)
Remind students to: listen to each other, stay on task, be open minded, everyone contributes a move or idea to the routine, everyone is responsible for the group's success.

When I choose a song for the group, I play the song section two times. I tell them to write down any moves that come to them as they listen. Then they split off into their small groups. I give them 10 minutes to discuss and organize. After 10 minutes, I announce I am going to play the section again and to practice what they have so far. Discuss and practice without the music-10 minutes later I play the music again-and repeat the process for the remainder of the period.

If the students are choosing their music, make sure it is appropriate for the classroom.

You can choose the groups or let the students do it. You know which classes can handle choosing their own teammates.

While they are either discussing or practicing moves, I visually and actively monitor each group, making sure they are staying on task and working together as a group. I make sure I encourage and praise the group effort.

 Assign one member from each group to write down the names of their group members and the name of their group for you. You will be the group name for the MC and the members' names if you're going to give individual grades.

If you have a favorite End of the Year Activity, please feel free to share it in the comment section :)

Here are some FUN GAMES for the End of the Year

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Helpful Websites

Use technology to:

Enhance your lessons
Great to leave for a Substitute Teacher

Here are some websites I have found helpful:
  1. Kahoot! is a Free Game based classroom response system. Build fun quizzes. Use any device to participate.
  2. Quizlet A Free resource to study anything.
  3. Interactive Sites for Education A K-5 online, interactive, educational game website lists: 
Subcategories under Music: A) Composing Music B) Music Fun C) Visual Instruments

Build a Music Resource and Teacher Tools Website List

Some of you maybe thinking "UGH!" another LIST!!!! I call it my "Go To On The Fly Lessons".
I have a couple lessons of every Music Element for every grade. 

Sometimes my schedule gets a wrench thrown in it at a moments notice. Administrators LOVE when you are flexible and do not bat an eye at a change and still provide an educational lesson. Maybe not the one that you initially planned, but life is messy and the best, learn to go with the flow. So your plan/s get pushed off for a week. No big deal. Just notate in your plan book the schedule change, the time and who informed you of the change. 

Not all of my "On The Fly Lessons" are website based. These lessons contain little or no prep. Just grab this and that and off I go. They are basically review lessons or singing lessons. Start small and in time you will build up your repertoire. (kind of like building up your retirement egg)

♫ "Surfer Girl" was the 2nd of 15 Top 10 Singles for The Beach Boys in 1963. Brian Wilson (age 19 at the time) came up with the Melody while driving to a Hot Dog Stand.

♫ Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack ran 24 weeks at the top of the U.S. Album Chart in 1984

♫ Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) born in 1943, is the oldest son of a Teacher :) Mick studied finance and accounting before becoming a Rock Legend.

♫ Paul McCartney (The Beatles) purposely used short words in the Lyrics of "Yellow Submarine" because he wanted the kids to easily sing along :) 

Summer Break is Coming!!!

Be a Tutor!

Many parents do not want their children to get "summer brain". is one site parents are using to find the best tutors.

Be an Online Test Scorer!

Check out companies like: 

This a Great "On The Fly" Lesson Resource!

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Listening - A Capella Performance Videos

Teaching A Capella?
We are!
Here are a few performances we would like to share - 


Disney On Broadway

The Phantom Of The Opera

♫Home Free♫

Elvira featuring The Oak Ridge Boys


Evolution of Music

Evolution of Michael Jackson


Sing (Ed Sheeran)

Hope you enjoyed and your students are inspired!

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3 Tips for the First Year Teacher (no. 1) plus Irish Video's for St. Patrick's Day

Tip 1: You Tube

Problem: A FREE Video resource to supplement your lessons which some school districts block. While other districts have slow broadband or suffer from lost connections. 
Some videos come with advertisements (not all age appropriate).

Solution: A FREE Web Video Converter
These Free Web tools allow you to convert a You Tube video to a Video File.
Now you can watch videos anytime without worry of Network Issues or Advertisements.
Search for "free online video converter". There are several.

How to: 
  1. Open up website
  2. Paste in the URL of the You Tube Video
  3. Choose your File Type (I use MP4)
  4. Convert
Video will download to your DOWNLOAD Folder.

If you created a separate Video File/Folder, you can move your videos from your Download Folder to one of these.

♫Some converters require you to download and install software to run their converter♫

Tip 2: Equipment

Problem: It's NOT working!


  1. Make sure it IS working BEFORE the first class.
  2. Know what to do to fix it AND
  3. Have a BACK-UP PLAN!
Tip 3: Activities

Issue: The Activity is marked for K-2.

Solution: Try the Activities yourself to find out just how difficult / easy the Activities would be for your students and assign which Grade Level/s accordingly.

♫If it is too easy for Grade 2 you may want to use it sometime for a sight reading assessment or a quick review♫


"The Unicorn" The Irish Rovers

Irish Dancing

Tap vs Irish Dance

"Lord of the Dance" Michael Flatley (My Favorite!)

"Lord of the Dance" Happy Feet 2

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Olympic Inspirational Music plus a Game Challenge

From the 1981 Movie "Chariots of Fire"
story based on runners from the 1924 Olympics, Eric Liddell & Harold Abrahams
"Chariots of Fire" composed by, Vangelis

From the 1988 Seoul Olympics
"One Moment In Time" composed by, John Bettis & Albert Hammond
performed by, Whitney Houston (one of her Best Loved Songs)
Top Spot on the Music Charts in the UK, US & Germany

From the 1988 Seoul Olympics
"Koreana" ("Hand In Hand") sung in Korean & English
Sold over 13 million copies

From the movie "Cool Runnings"
Story based on the 1988 Winter Olympic Bobsled Team from Jamacia
"I Can See Clearly Now" performed by, Jimmy Cliff

From the 2004 movie "Miracle"
based on the 1980 United States Olympic Men's Hockey Team
"Dream On" performed by, Aerosmith

After viewing a video/s, discuss how the Power of Music evokes emotions by
using Dynamics, Tempo and Tone Colors in multiple ways.

Viewing Options:
1. Show video or a clip of a video without sound. Ask your students to describe the emotion/s.
2. Show the video now with the sound. Ask your students to describe the emotion/s.
3. Ask your students if they think the music enhanced the emotion for the audience to experience what was being portrayed on screen or there was no difference.
4. If they answered yes, the music enhanced, ask them to explain using musical terms the musical effects that helped the emotions along for the audience to experience. Be as specific as possible.

Under A Minute: RHYTHM Bounce

24 Solo Plastic Cups
Draw on outside of cups: 
8 Cups with Quarter Notes
8 Cups with Double Eighth Notes
8 Cups with Quarter Rests
Teacher Created 1 measure Rhythm Patterns, Groups of 2, 3 or 4 Beats
2 Tables
Ping Pong Balls

* Place all the Rhythm Cups on 1 table ( I call this the Rhythm Cup Holding Table)
* Divide class into 2 or 3 teams
* 2 students per team compete at same time
* Teacher places his/her chosen Rhythm Pattern in a place for the entire class to see
* When time starts, Student 1 goes to the Rhythm Cup holding table, grabs the Rhythm cups that are  in the teachers Rhythm Pattern.
* Student 1 then takes these cups to the playing table and sets up the Rhythm Cups to match the teacher chosen pattern in the same order, then stands behind the playing table.
* Student 2, standing about 3 feet from the table, bounces the ping pong balls, one at a time, off the table or off the floor, into each cup, in Rhythmic order. If the ball bounces out of order or knocks a cup over Student 1 resets the cup.
* The first team to complete the ball bounce in order before 59 seconds is up, wins the points.

* 2 measure patterns (double the number of cups)
* Add Half Notes, Dotted Half Notes, Whole Notes, Half Rests, Whole Rests
* School wide competition: When you divide classes, assign each team a color, (use school colors or your country's colors) example: Red, White, Blue... each color represented in each class. After all the classes have played, tally up and announce the winner!

click on the link below

ACTIVELY ENGAGE your students in Reading, Performing, Listening, Creating and Writing with this collection of RHYTHM FUN!

Your students will not only ENJOY performing each included rhythm pattern along with its own Contemporary Accompaniment Track, they will enjoy CREATING their OWN patterns and arrangements to each accompaniment track.

Collection Includes:
♫ 5 Simple, 2 measure Rhythm Patterns in 4/4, using Quarter Notes, Quarter Rests, Double Eighth Notes and 1 piece uses Triplet Notes in Traditional AND Stick Notation.

♫ 5 Original Accompaniment Songs (MP3 format) 

♫ 4 DIFFERENT Versions of each song:
♪ Original Tempo Accompaniment Track Only
♪ Original Tempo Accompaniment Track recorded with the Included Rhythm Pattern performed on a Woodblock
♪ Slower Tempo Accompaniment Track
♪ Slower Tempo Accompaniment Track recorded with the Included Rhythm Pattern performed on a Woodblock

♫ Styles: Country Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Blues, Hawaiian and Balled

♫ Tempos: 85 / 100 / 103 / 120 / 122 / 132

♫ Lesson Tips Page

This Contemporary Accompaniment Rhythm Fun Collection makes a terrific Motivator for General Music Classes, Classroom Teachers who teach Music, Music Studios, Camps, Home Schoolers and Substitute Teachers.

This LONG LASTING VALUE, Multi-use Collection will become one of your GO TO Motivational Resources!

for all you do
Don't forget to take time for yourself Every Day!

♫Donna Marie & Mary♫