A Peek at My Week- SPRING BREAK!!!

Today I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings "Peek at My Week Party."

I've linked up with her before and since I haven't done so in a couple weeks (and I'm on spring break this week), I'll share what I've done the past couple of weeks.

My 4th and 5th graders have been knee deep in drilling the treble clef since we start recorders after break.  Side note, I wish I could bring out the recorders all year round: having them available to play for reading skills and working that into my curriculum at a more regular frequency is a goal for next year.  Right now I do a "unit" and to be honest I hate units.  I love teaching on a spiral curriculum and units always seem to break the flow.  But on the other hand, it really is motivating in the final weeks of school.

Back to drilling and killing.  Horrible, right?  Who likes it?!  This year I created the "Treble Clef is Awesome" file and the kids ate it up.  But I always like to keep things fresh and fun.  You spend too much time on something it becomes stagnant.  I get a lot of emails about how I keep my older students engaged and this is key: keep them on their toes, keep the pacing fast and don't give them time to think about anything else.

So, since we had the Facebook Frenzy and I was working on a Lines and Spaces file I decided to extend it to the treble clef.  You see, I'm a manipulative-junky.  In the quest to figure out what I was going to do for the frenzy I ran across these Animal Foam Beads at Oriental Trading:
And then to make matters worse I found these MATCHING animal easter eggs and we ALL know I have a serious addiction to Easter eggs!  But check it out, there are 6 beads that perfectly match 6 eggs, how's a girl to say no?!!!  And better yet, when I bought my eggs they were NOT candy filled, now they're down to having just the candy filled eggs.
So, armed with my beads and eggs I set out and created an interactive word to staff game.  The students work in teams and then from a menu they choose the number of letters in their word:

From there they pick a mystery word:
We played the word to staff game, so they saw a slide like this:
Then they had to spell it on their staves.

We played this two different days.  The first day we played it like this:
I bought this fun "toy" at the beginning of the year, called the Eggspert (google it, you can find them at a bunch of different sites):
Around the room I placed 6 polydots: red, orange, yellow, green, blur & purple.  At each polydot were mini staves (for those cute foam beads) and a basket of my animal Easter Eggs. One dot was elephants, one was lions, one was monkeys, one was giraffes, one was zebras and one was tigers.  Then at each of the "eggs" on the eggspert I put a large staff and writing materials.  Rotating through, one student would come up to the Eggspert from each team.  Starting with the red team (and rotating teams each time), they would pick the number of letters and the mystery word.  The students at the Eggspert wanted to be the first to correctly spell out the word they saw on their staff. They "rang in" on the eggspert when they were done.  If they were correct then their team got as many points as there were letters in the word.  Meanwhile, all the players back at the polydots were also spelling out the word on their mini staves.  This kept everyone engaged and I "kicked it up a notch" at the end by awarding points to teams at the polydots where everyone had correctly spelled the work they saw.

The next lesson there were no large staves.  Instead, I positioned the Eggspert so it was in the middle of all the groups.  The teams sat around their polydot.  The play was essentially the same but they would ring in when everyone in their group had spelled the word on the staff.  To avoid fighting (you know they'll hold you to every technicality) they had to do it "Top Chef" style in that everyone had to have their writing materials down and their hands up:

 One of the benefits of doing it this way was that the stronger "spellers" helped the students who were having a harder time.

 I created tally cards too so that we knew easily which words had already been chosen.

The powerpoint and many other files can be found in my new Treble Clef Bundle: Treble Clef Safari and is on sale for $5 today and tomorrow.

My third graders are practicing ti-tika so they've been playing fun games like "Dic-Dic-Tation" that you can find in Susan Brumfield's book, "Hot Peas and Barley-O"

 (when I have them play this, they do so in small groups.  Once they have played one full game, they sit down and start a second game while the other groups finish their first game.  This keeps all students making music, engaged and thus you don't "loose" them)
They've also been singing the "Jumping Rope Song," "Fire in the Mountain" and "Fed My Horse."  They're working on low la so we've been playing, singing and analysing "Big Fat Bisquit," "Rosie, Darling Rosie" and "Old House," to name a few.

My first and second graders have a concert when we get back from spring break so they've been busy with that.

My kinders had the worst case of "Spring break-itis" I've ever seen!  So, the pe teacher and I combined last week and taught dance.  Many of the dances that we did came out of "Rhythmically Moving" by Phyllis Weikart.  If you're not familiar with this resource you should check it out!  It's really a great compilation of dances.  Phyllis Weikart was a pe teacher, so it's presented and lined up in her book a little differently but it's pretty easy to understand once you get the hang of it!

Thanks to Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for hosting the Linky Party!


  1. Hi Amy!

    My 4th graders are just beginning their recorder "unit" too in their music class. They love it and I bet they wish they could spend more than four weeks learning how to play. (For some kids, this may be their only experience with playing an instrument.)

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I was going to email you back but you are a "no reply blogger." It is amazing that your brother took his band students to Hawaii!! My kids had a blast at Disney but had to go back to school today. It was rough getting them out of bed after being gone for a week.

    Have a great spring break!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. Oh, man! That Eggspert thing is amazing. I am now dying to get two for my class. So cool!

  3. Oh, man! That Eggspert thing is so cool. Now I am dying to get two for my classroom. Very cool!


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