The Last Days of School


I’m baaaaaack.

I haven’t posted here in several weeks, and I humbly apologize for my absence.  Aside from a couple of major personal issues, I’ve been riding the Retirement Rollercoaster……the emotional ups and downs which occur at the end of one’s career.  Nevertheless my presence and participation were required, so here are some of the activities I used to keep the kids as productive and attentive as possible.


To keep the little ones going, I resort to books at the end of the year.  Some of my favorites:

“This Old Man” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”  by Carol Jones.  Each illustration is covered by a page with a hole in it.  The students can only partially see the picture, and must guess what the next item is before we turn the page. (e.g.  He played knock knack on my DRUM).

I love “The Musical Life of Gustav Mole” and its sequel, “Gustav Mole and the Lost Music”.   “Musical Life” begins when Gustav is a baby mole and chronicles his experiences with music growing up.  He winds up becoming a composer with a wife and 5 little moles of his own.”  “Lost Music” continues the story, when Gustav’s children decide that they will never practice music again.  He takes them around the world showing them how important music is in other lands as well as their own.  Of course, there are demonstrations of all sorts of instruments that are native to other cultures.  Both have recorded narration and music.

Some of my favorites are authored by the actor, John Lithgow.  “Marsupial Sue” and “I’m a Manatee”  are both songs by Lithgow which have been turned into children’s books, and come with recordings of him singing the songs.  I always read the books first to the kids so we can discuss any words they might not understand and to be sure they catch the gist of the book.  Then we read it again as the author sings it.

I’ll be listing all of these books and others in the never-ending retirement sale soon, so stay tuned if you’re interested.

Music Express Magazine

Music Express is a great source for wonderful musical arrangements, but also for listening maps and composer lessons.  March of 2003, Vol. 3 #5 contains a partner arrangement for “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that was perfect after our “Quaver” video on form.  I used “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as A, the partner song “Triple Play” as B, and had them first sing it as an ABA arrangement, then AB partner songs together.  There is a third spoken part, but because I used this in 2nd grade I just went with the two.  Used as presented in the magazine’s teacher edition, this is actually an intermediate lesson. The following week we reviewed and followed the listening map for “Casey at the Bat” in the same issue.  The whole 12 minute poem is there, set to music.

First grade used the same issue to learn “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”  Some already knew it, but many did not.  Once everyone could sing the song, we played the “B” game.  Students stand or sit each time they sing a word that starts with the letter “B”.



Have the students count off by fours to divide them into 4 groups and place each group in separate areas of the room. Each group should have 1 recorder with a sheet of paper and a pencil. The students are given a category, and 5 minutes to list everything they can think of that will fit into the category. They should work as quietly as possible, since the other groups are allowed to steal their answers. (This actually works. Heheheh). The group with the most correct items on their list wins the round. Categories: Composers, Musical Symbols, Instruments, Songs We’ve Learned, (at any time), and Scientific Terms that Relate to Sound.


I have a video series at school called “Amazing Music”.  There are 4 videos in the set:  Emotions in Music, Pictures in Music, Instruments and Jazz.  They were recorded by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and hold the students’ attention well.  They are available from Plank Road Publishing.

Other videos that have come in handy are “Bugs Bunny’s Overtures to Disaster” and “Make Mine Melody”….soon to be listed in the retirement sale.


Jane Rivera, May 2012, All Rights Reserved


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martie Mutz
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 18:24:49

    Thank you Tuesday Music! I just want you to know how much I have appreciated your blog — I only discovered you in Feb. 2012. What a great lesson to us all: share what you know. Share what works and what doesn’t… Thanks so much!


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