Friday, June 6, 2014

Perfect Poolside Planning {Blog Hop}

Welcome to stop #3 here at Sew Much Music! I am so excited to be participating in this blog hop with wonderful music educators around the world. Thank you to Lindsay Jervis for hosting! 

After just finishing my last day of school, I can't believe it is already time to start planning for next year.  My summer goal is to revamp my entire curriculum as my district begins a new curriculum mapping system.  What better way to plan, then planning while laying by the pool?! If only we really had a pool! So as I sit here throughout the summer planning for next year, I will just have to imagine a nice cool pool!!! Maybe this will help :)

If this is your first time visiting my blog, I'll start by explaining my current position. I am the only elementary music teacher for my district. I, along with my music aide, teach at all four elementary schools. As a result, I am the one and only person in charge of creating a curriculum map for my district...yikes!  I look forward to hopping through these blogs to learn some new strategies for year long planning in order to help with my curriculum mapping adventures.  

For today's blog hop, I will discuss daily lesson planning in my classroom, along with my favorite curriculum resources. I will also provide some links to useful and excellent lesson plan templates.  

Daily Lesson Planning

Being the only music teacher in my district, I have a music aide that teaches the same lessons as myself.  Even though he has a musical background, he is not a certified teacher.  We operate on a two week rotating schedule, where the students see me every two weeks.  They then see my aide during the weeks I am not there.  In order for my students to stay on the same page in the curriculum across the district, I provide my lessons to my music aide.  As a result, I provide extremely detailed lessons. (And I mean extremely detailed.)  My lesson plans are typically two to three pages long, due to immense detail dedicated to the teaching process. 

To begin my lesson plans, I always list the unit title, lesson title, and grade level at the top of my lessons.  I then make sure to include the lesson objectives, state standards, and national standards.  Next, comes the list of needed materials.  Listing the materials needed for a lesson is a huge time saver when prepping for your classes.  Just glance at your created list, and set the items out so you are ready to go! Following the materials, I begin my very detailed process of teaching the concepts.  To conclude the lesson, I always list my assessment process.  

As I began to write this blog post, I realized I needed to find some other templates that could be useful when planning for music classes.  When looking on TPT recently, I found a couple of music lesson plan templates that each have their own special features that I really enjoy. I hope to give these a try as I begin my summer planning. And the best part, they are all FREE!

1. Lesson plan template from Fruity Music and Things. It fits my typical lesson planning style, but with clear boxes and divisions. 

Like many available templates, you will just need to update the standards to the new National Coalition for Core Art Standards that were released this week! 

2. Lesson plan template from Marissa Colon. I LOVE the clear, color-coordinated boxes in the lesson plan template. With the check boxes, it makes it simple to just go through each category and mark the boxes. It also provides a section for ESL/ELL accommodations. 

3. Lesson template by David Row at Make Moments Matter (Also, the next stop on the blog hop.) 

In this lesson plan, David includes a section to mark the lesson focus, along with the national standards and assessment tools.  However, my favorite feature of this template is that he dedicates a section to transitions. In college, there wasn't a lot of focus dedicated to transitioning in the classroom.  This was an area I really struggled with during my first year of teaching (along with many other things as a first year teacher.)  By having a section to record the transition activity, it allows the teacher to plan what type of transitions will occur. 

What does my daily classroom lesson look like? 

On a typical day, my lessons are always filled with movement, singing, dancing, and playing.  Having my first two levels of Orff Schulwerk training, my lessons greatly reflect this approach to music education.  Like many of you, I try to incorporate movement activities and songs around a specific theme or music idea for a lesson in a unit.

When writing my lessons for the week, I could not plan without some great curriculum resources.  

Here are a few of my favorite resources: 

Even though I don't follow this curriculum exactly, I find that this active Orff-based music curriculum is an excellent resource! I recently purchased this series last summer during my Orff Level 2 training. Even though it is a little pricey, the elementary curriculum is totally worth the investment.  The set does not come with student books, only teacher manuals and visuals.  Each grade level book contains 35 weeks of lesson plans. Each plan is estimated for a 60 minute lesson. This series outlines musical objectives in a logical progression that are developmentally appropriate throughout the entire elementary curriculum. 

2. Any book by John Feierabend

John Feierabend is the author of numerous, and may I say fabulous, music resources.  From circle games to movement activities, Feierabend has written a book that engages students through the traditions of folk music and creativity.  

Feierabend's "The Book of Movement Exploration" has seen a lot of use in the past couple of years.  He includes activities that are not only fun, but also develop students' knowledge and awareness of time, body, space, locomotion, flow, and shape. 

Another one of Feierabend's books that I continuously reference is "The Book of Beginning Circle Games." 

From stationary circles to traveling circles, this resource includes a variety of circle games. Even though I use most of these activities in the younger elementary grades, there are activities for all ages. 

I hope you enjoyed my favorite resources for lesson planning, along with the sharing of some music lesson plan templates. Do you have a favorite lesson plan template or lesson planning resource? I would love to hear about them in the comments below! 

Now hop on over to David Row's blog, Make Moments Matter, by clicking on the picture below for more planning ideas! Then you can go take a dip in the pool! Have a great summer!


  1. Thanks for sharing the links for lesson plans! I will be downloading those soon. :-) Happy planning!

  2. Hi! You said that you provide detailed lesson plans to your music aide. Would you ever consider selling those plans? If much would you charge?


    1. Unfortunately, I can not sell these lesson plans due to the fact that many of the songs or ideas are from a variety of resource books, such as Game Plan or Feierabend, and therefore, would violate copyright laws. However, there are a variety of detailed lesson plans for sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I know Aileen Miracle and Lindsay Jervis both of detailed lesson sets available.