Thursday, June 30, 2022

I started this blog when I was teaching piano as a way to help other piano teachers with resources that I found or used.  I now teach Kindergarten but still play piano at my church and have kept the blog up for others who may stumble upon it.  I don't regularly check my email or blog, so I was surprised to find this sweet note from a year ago.  Enjoy the encouragement and link to a great article!

Piano Wrist & Arm Positioning and Playing Resources

I wanted to reach out to your quickly because I thought you might appreciate hearing how helpful your Piano studio website was for me and my family. We're not in the Greensboro area, but because my daughters' school is still remote learning I was looking for new resources to use with them.. They're pretty upset about missing out on music class in person - it's their favorite - and they both just started taking private lessons this year... Jaymee on clarinet and Jen on piano. BUT I wanted to get some extra music resources to use with them in addition to what their teacher provided and I was able to get some really awesome stuff because of the online games section you have on there.. which is helpful because I don't really have a musical bone in my body LOL !

Jen and Jaymee thought we should send a little thank-you note to let you know how you helped us, and I agreed that it feels like a good time after a year of this pandemic, to share a little gratitude and positivity, so thank you! =)

Also, Jen thought we could 'pay it forward' by sharing another online music resource for you to add to your resources... she found a great piano article and thought it could be of help to your newer players! I'll put the link to it down at the bottom.

Have a wonderful St. Patricks day and thanks so much again Jeana... Do you think you'll be able able to put Jen's piano link on your online games page? If you can I'll make sure I show the girls I think they'll be really proud to see they helped you out haha. Take care and best of luck on the rest of this crazy school year!

Jen's Piano resource:

Diane Henley

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 3 of Kindergarten

Week 3: We talked about Transportation (mainly the bus) this week.  We are still focusing on asking and answering questions.

We used the book "The Little School Bus" by Carol Roth and one of my favorites "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus."

We asked and answered questions about "The Little School Bus" and it was fun to see all the different things the illustrator did in this story.  Here are the questions I used:

The Little School Bus

Preview: What do you think this story will be about? 

Pg. 3 What is this (point to bus)  READ

Pg. 4-5 What is the first animal to get on the bus? READ  What is the goat wearing?

Pg.6-7 What is the second animal to get on the bus? READ  What is the pig wearing?

Pg. 8-9 What is the third animal to get on the bus? READ What is he wearing on his feet?  What is he missing?

Pg.10-11 What is the 4th animal to get on the bus? READ Who took the fuzzy chick to the bus stop?

Pg. 12-13 Where is the bus taking the animals? READ What are the animals doing in the bus?

Pg. 14-15  What animals gets on next? READ Why is the bear called hairy bear?

Pg. 16-17 After the bus picked up the bear, where did it go? READ  (Read with me)

Pg. 18-19  What is the next animal to get on the bus? READ Why is the worm squirmy?

Pg.20-21 After the bus picked up the worm, where did it go? READ (Read with me)  What other things do
you see in the town?

Pg. 22-23  What is the last animal to get on the bus? READ What did the sheep do?

Pg.24-25 Where was the next stop the bus made? READ What did the animals do?

Pg. 26-27 READ  What did the animals do during the school day?  What did the bus do?

Pg.28-29 READ What did the bus driver do when the school day ended? Why do the animals need to ride the bus again?

Pg. 30-31 What did the animals do when they got on the bus? Are all the animals on the bus? READ

Pg. 32 Where are the animals going now?  Which ones are waving? READ

Click here to get a download of the picture to retell the story:

We read one of my favorite books "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems

We discussed our opinions and voted if we wanted to let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  Each student got a pigeon to color and then we put them on a graph to vote.  Students came up one by one and told me why they think the pigeon should or should not drive the bus.  Click here for the pigeons
Then we wrote about different things the pigeon could drive.  Click here for this writing sheet.
I hope you can use some of these resources in your classroom!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 2 of Kindergarten

Here is a recap of my week in Kindergarten.

We studied our names this week and what makes us special.

We took the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and read it on Monday.  Here are some questions from my lesson:

During Reading: Ask the students some of the questions below.
  • Do you think all of the letters will be able to fit up in the top of the tree?  Why or why not?
  • Have you ever climbed a tree?  What was the experience like?
  • What might happen as more letters climb the tree?
  • Why do you think the letters all fell out of the tree? What happened?
  • Have you ever fallen down?
  • What happened when you fell?
  • Did someone come and help you? How did they help?
  • What happened to the letters when they fell down?
  • Where do you think the letters are going as their families help them get up from the letter pile? Why do you think this?

Explain the difference between a letter and a word. Write "Chicka, chicka Boom Boom, Will there be enough room?" on the board.  Ask students to find a letter, two letters, three letters.  Find a word, two words, three words.  Have names on sentence strips.  Sort names according to how many letters they have on a pocket chart.  

Try this chant: "Hickity, Pickity, Bumblebee, Can you clap your name for me?"

We completed the craft below during stations:

The next book we did during the week was Chrysanthemum.  Here is an excerpt of our lesson.

  •   Who is the main character in this story?
  •   Where is the story taking place? (home and school)
  •   What happens in the beginning and when she starts school.
  • What did the other students say that was not nice to Chrysanthemum? (many various answers possible)
  • How did that make her feel?
  • Who was the student who said, "She has 13 letters in her name.?" (Victoria)
  • Why were the other students speechless?" (They were surprised that the music teacher was named after a flower too.)
  • What did the other students then want to be called?
  • Who made a mistake in the story? (Victoria)
  • What did Mrs. Twinkle name her baby?"

We complete the following craft with the students:

During Fundations we learned the letter t,b and f.  We completed a worksheet from the Fundations Packet found here on TPT: Kindergarten Foundations Lowercase Letters 

I love this packet.  It really helps my students practice forming the letters and listening for the first sound.  Find it here.

For math we have been practicing number writing with Chester from the Kissing Hand.  I love this free packet.  It has so many great resources.  Find it here.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kindergarten Week 1 Pete the Cat

Here is a peek at what we did in Kindergarten during the first week of school.

The first day we went over many procedures and got to know each other.
We read Pete the Cat Rocking in my school shoes.

The next day we read Pete the Cat I love my white shoes.  All week we said "Do we get upset? Goodness No!"

Here is a peek at my lesson plans:
Introduce the parts of the book: Cover, back cover, title.  Who is on the cover?  Where do you think Pete will be going in this book?  How can you tell?  When we read we make connections.  A connection is something that makes you think of something else.  I can make a connection to Pete the Cat going to school to our class going to school.  Let's read to find out what happens when Pete the Cat goes to school.

During Reading: Stop at bus picture and ask the class: Who is in this picture? Where is Pete?  What is he doing?  We are going to make a connection.  What does this picture make you think of? Thumbs up if you rode the bus.  Thumbs up if you took a car to get to school.

Pg. 3 Teach the song and have students sing with you on "I'm rocking in my school shoes"
Pg. 5 Pause at the desk page and ask: What is Pete doing?  Who is at the board? Where is Pete?  Read the page.  Where is a room with lots of books?
Pg. 7 Where is Pete now? What is Pete's favorite book about?  How do you know?  What do you think worry means?  See if you can make a connection.  Have you ever worried about something, maybe coming to school for the first time?  I have another connection.  Our school has a library too!  Thumbs up if you have been to the library before.  What did you do there?  
Pg. 9  What is Pete's book about now?
Pg. 11 Where is Pete now?  How can you tell?  What is Pete doing?  Can you make a connection?
Pg. 13 Have students say Goodness, no!  What is Pete drinking?
Pg. 15 Sing the song.  What else is Pete having for lunch?  Thumbs up if you brought your lunch box.  Thumbs up if you are buying lunch fro the cafeteria.  Did Pete bring his lunch or buy his lunch?  How can you tell?
Go over some expectations in the lunchroom.
Pg. 17 Where is Pete now?  Can you make a connection?
Pg. 19  What are the other cats doing?  Who is making smart choices on the playground?  Go over expectations in the playground.
Pg. 21  Sing the song.
Pg. 23  What are some things Pete is doing at school?  What are some things you will be doing at school?
Pg. 25  Where is Pete going?
Pg. 27  Who is this cat?  
Pg. 29 Sing the song.  What can you tell your mom or dad about your day at school?
Pete the Cat I love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin 
Before Reading: Reinforce good listening and speaking skills throughout the lesson.

Introduce the parts of the book: Cover, back cover, title.  Who is this book going to be about?  What connection can you make?  Yes we learned about Pete yesterday.  Where did Pete go in our book yesterday?  

During Reading: 
Pg. 1 Who is walking down the street?  What color are his shoes? Thumbs up if you have on white shoes.  What color is Pete the cat.
Pg. 3 Teach the song I love my white shoes.
Pg. 5  What is happening on this page?  
Pg. 7  Pete is cool, he doesn't get upset.  He is happy.
Pg. 9 Sing the song
Pg. 11 Oh no!  What happened now?  What would you do if you stepped in blueberries?
Pg. 13 Have students say Goodness no! with you.
Pg. 15  What is happening now?  What did Pete do?  Where is Pete the cat?
Pg. 17 Oh no!  What happened now?
Pg. 19  Why didn't Pete cry?  He has a good attitude!
Pg. 21 Sing the song.
Pg. 23 Oh no!  What happened now?  What do you think will happen next?
Pg. 25 Why are his shoes squeaky?
Pg. 27  A moral is a lesson you can learn from the story.  What color are Pete's shoes now?
Pg. 29  Where is Pete now?  What is Pete doing?  Where are his shoes?

I started stations on the second day and the students completed these two activities:

Overall we had a great start to school and had a lot of fun with Pete the Cat!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Letter Fluency with Brain Breaks

I love Brain Breaks!  

We use several throughout the day and it keeps my students energized and focused.  I decided to combine our concepts with brain breaks in a PowerPoint.  This way students will drill and practice their concepts and have a short 10-20 second brain break in between.  My students love this and it really keeps them motivated to drill those letters and sight words.

Check out the video demonstration.

The PowerPoint is editable so you can move the slides around to keep your students guessing what is coming next.  You can also edit the timing of the slides if you would like to give your students more time or less.  There is a slide for each Uppercase and Lowercase letter.

There are 6 fun Brain Breaks that will get your students moving as they learn.  Each Brain Break is paired with a quick song that goes along with the activity.

To purchase the product click the image below!


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