Skip to main content


It is a dark and stormy night

This is an awesome lesson for October for either remote or in-person learning. My students LOVED it. Step 1: read the story to the students, having them do the sound effects as you read.  You can use this story, like I did, or you could use this one. Any other ideas? Leave them in comments. Step 2: Have students submit their responses The motivation to do this lesson is so great, it's a great way to teach students how to submit their work via Nearpod or Flipgrid or Google Classroom. I had children in second and third grade submit sounds after 4 weeks of in-person learning. I made this Nearpod lesson. Step 3: Listen to the responses and mix them into individual effectsThere's so much math involved in this with calculating decibels and times, fading, distorting, reverb, etc, that it would be an excellent project for middle school students to do. They could mix and make the soundtrack for the elementary students' project! You could make it a spring project so kids the next Sep…
Recent posts


This Native American game from the Pacific Northwest is a delight. I've never been able to do it in the regular classroom, but it works well in the remote classroom. Here is the sequence. 1. Introduce the song. I just play this video as kids join the class. It's a "while you are waiting" activity. 

2. Scavenger HuntWho wants to be it? Everybody! Well, you need two different objects. Each object has to fit in your fist. One will be good, the other, bad. I'll set the timer. Ready, set... (share your screen) 

3. Kids get to be "it"Since our classes are so small, everybody can be it. You can have one who guessed the right side be the next it. You can go in order on your screen or in your grade book. It doesn't matter. This game is a huge hit with my kids. 4. Asynchonous learningLittle Kids can use this worksheet. They have to drag and drop something they would use as "bones" in the Slahal game. Make sure that, if you use this in Google Classroom…

Black Lives Matter

I write this with a heavy heart. My students matter. My family matters. The ancestors of my students and my family came, in no small part, from Sub-Saharan Africa. Everyone has bias. Even people of color. Our institutions and society has formed, over the last centuries, with fibers of evil sewn into them. Here's a brief explanation

I am appalled that Confederate statues are still standing in my home state of Massachusetts!
I am appalled that the Confederate Battle Flag is ever flown anywhere!
I am disgusted that The Confederate Battle Flag is routinely associated with the current president and therefore his policies. 
I am furious that my president said that people who wave this flag are "good people" and that he defends them at every turn.

I don't have the time nor the inclination to catalog his racist and hateful remarks here. Suffice to say, the KKK is enjoying a surge of members and power under Trump. The phenomenon has been documented both in the United States …

What do you hear?

This is an interactive solfeg activity.

How do you make interactive Youtube quizzes like this? Here's a step-by-step.

Step 1: Develop Content

What tone set and rhythm set will you use?How many questions will you have?Will the questions all have the same difficulty, increasing difficulty, a lull in the middle before more difficult at the end, or getting a little easier as you go along?Write down the questions and answers.Write out a script.Take pictures of your choices and number them in order. Make sure the pictures are cropped or adapted so they are under 2000 pixels. 
Step 2: Organize Content into videos

Get a decent video editing software. I understand that Apple has a good product. I have a PC so I use this one. I used Powerpoint to make the opening video. I used it for the visual effects and transitions. All videos need to be over 25 seconds long. Have a still image at the end or consider a longer beginning image to extend the time. Have a thumbnail that is 2000 pixels or unde…

4-Beat Dictation and Form dictation Second Grade Rhythms

Lesson Objective #1 The students will know how to take dictation using a pre-recorded video. They will understand that patterns translate into musical rhythms on beats. They will be guided through the first example and led through the entire process of hearing, repeating, and notating rhythms using ta, ta-ti, rest, and ta-a.

Lesson Objective #2 The students will know how to listen for patterns of rhythm during melodic dictation. They will understand that the rhythmic patterns can be simple while the song can be more complex. They will be led through examples, increasing in difficulty in the forms: AAAA, AABB, ABAB, and ABAC. 

Lung Health

Every time I sneeze or cough, I freak out.
How about you?
This video is to help your students be proactive about their pulmonary health and become better wind players and singers in the process!

Birdsong Listening

How I came up with this lesson Most of us are finding ways for our kids to remote learn. I was woken up at dawn by some amorous cardinals. I thought I was listening to chickadees in danger. I listened and listened. I saw some crows. I heard different calls. Later, I found resources that told me what the bird calls were and learned that I was actually hearing cardinals.

Why the lesson works This activity is wonderful for children and adults to listen for timbre, pitch, articulation, and call and response. Cardinals and chickadees have the same general pitch and timbre, but their articulation and melodic patterns are very different. Same for robins. Native Americans knew the danger calls of all their local birds. Hunting big prey is best, so when they heard a particular danger call, they knew a wolf or fox was near. Using knowldege the natural world to help you understand how to proceed is a theme for this quarantine time. It's also a human trait as old as humanity itself. This les…