What’s Your Favorite Back to School Activity?

Some teachers have already gone back to school, some will be going back next week, and others within the next 3 or 4 weeks. SO…… What is your favorite back to school activity to do with your students?  Submit yours by August 13 by typing it into the comment box.  All submissions will remain on the blog for others to use.   Stephen Rivera, middle school general music, Melanie Hazelrigg, k-5 general/vocal music and I will select the winning  submission.  The winner will receive  “From Sea to Shining Sea.  A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs.”.  Brand new, hard cover, 399 pages of songs and folk tales.  It’s win/win!  Everybody gets multiple back to school activities to try, and one person wins a book!  The winner will be chosen on August 20.

From Sea to Shining Sea


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kay Humbert
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 14:21:29

    My favorite Back-to-school activity is to read the book “Rules Rap,” by Dr. Jean. We listen to the CD and sing along. Then we add rhythm instruments (by family type: woods, metals, drums, etc.) for each verse. Everyone plays and sings on the chorus. We also make up our own verses. I use this for grades K – 2, but grade 3 often asks for it, too.


  2. Jane
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 14:59:51

    Thanks Kay!

    After I read about Kay’s activity I found an online pdf of Rules Rap:



    Here it is with teaching instructions:

    And here’s a link to Amazon’s Page:

    The cd is called “Is Everybody Happy”, and you may be able to pick up the individual song on iTunes. (Not sure about that.

    Thanks again, Kay….great activity for getting the kids involved right away, while also going over rules and expectations!


  3. Leeann
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 08:51:18

    Jane, thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your music ideas in this blog! As a first year music teacher, I don’t yet have favorite activities, however, I will share what I’ve come up with as rules for KPrep – 2nd. I combined a few rules ideas I found here and there and set the words to “Frere Jacques.”
    1) Hands to myself, hands to myself (hands fisted in front of belly);
    2) Raise my hand to speak or to leave my seat (Raise hand and then lower to head making speaking motion with hand, then raise making walking motion with index and middle fingers);
    3) Be very smart: Listen and take part (Point to temple, then wiggle ear);
    4) Give my teacher a happy, happy heart (Cross arms over chest)

    If anyone likes this (or uses something similar) and improves upon it, please let me know!


  4. Jane
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:57:45

    This is great Leeann! Are you familiar with Power Teaching? Attaching motions to the concepts or words that you want the students to remember really helps it stick! AND, when the kids have an off day, you can just stop everything and say, “maybe we’d better sing our rules song and review appropriate school behavior before we continue.”. Thank you so much!


  5. Jane
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:59:12

    You could even have them sing it in their heads and just do the motions. Great for audiation, and for attaching a sign to the rule you want them to remember.


    • Leeann
      Aug 06, 2012 @ 13:29:32

      Well, “Whole Brain Teaching” was one of my sources for the above rule song. But I didn’t look into it beyond the rule ideas until you mentioned Power Teaching – now WBT has new meaning. Thank you, Jane!


  6. Beth
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 21:35:29

    My favorite first week activity is a Body Percussion powerpoint by Linda Abbot found at http://www.musicbulletinboards.net/downloads_nonmk8.htm It’s found under the list of instructional powerpoints. It’s fabulous and I use it with grades 1-5 starting slow and going faster/backwards/etc. I even printed it out and put it on posterboards because I don’t have a classroom computer. Love it!


  7. Stephanie
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 12:32:57

    This is a great idea. Always looking for something new.
    After quick rules…I do much more the following classes. We play a getting to know you game.
    K- If they aren’t all crying. 😉 Hicketty Ticketty Bumblebee. Throw a ball or a bean bag across in a circle. 1st/2nd- Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?
    3rd/4th- Black Socks (I don’t know this person in this video. But this is the tune (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC6C1KXIunQ&playnext=1&list=PLDFDD907D35D05ADC&feature=results_video only I sing it much higher in my head voice- rant for another day…) I play it kind of like musical chairs. I put a tape square on the floor (in a circle) for all but one student. “it” stands in the middle. 1. Sing Song 2. “It” tells something they like (ex. a food, a sport, song etc) Everyone who likes that thing switches spots. (Fun chaos!) The person who doesn’t find a tape is “it”. 3. Do it all again. Kids love it and want to play EVERY class….


  8. Jane
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 20:02:11

    It SOUNDS like something kids would like to do over and over! Black socks is a great little round too. I never heard “Hickety Tickety Bumblebee” but just the title sounds really cute!


  9. Jane
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 10:56:53

    Thanks Lorena!

    Music Lesson Plan written by Lorena Abbott

    Grade Level: k/1 Title: 5 Little Monkeys

    TSW play low and high sounds on the drums.
    TSW play with alternating hands

    Play recording of 5 Little Monkeys showing the kids where to “snap” when the alligator snaps. (have the kids clap once, but making their arms/hands look like alligator mouth)
    About half way through the song add some movement on Oohs and Ahhs to fit the idea of low/high (pat legs on oohs, tap shoulders on ahhs)

    Move the kids over to the drums. Have them play the “snap” on the drum. (teacher taps the side of the drum before the snap to signal for later when the kids move to another drum.)

    Ask the students if thinking about low and high sounds, what is the pattern of low and high when they do the oohs and ahhs.

    At their drums, the students explore for a minute to find where to make a low sound and how to make a high sound. Then they practice playing the pattern of oohs and ahhs on the drum. (ooh ooh ahh ahh, etc)

    So now perform the song playing the snap and the oohs and ahhs on the drum. When you get to 1 little monkey, the students can improvise their own pattern of low and high for 4 measures. Teacher tapping the side of the drum is their signal to stop.


  10. Trackback: And the Winner is……. « Tuesday Music
  11. Kelsey
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 18:35:06

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading
    through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same
    topics? Thanks a lot!


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