March is Music in Our Schools Month, and this post is for all of you lovely hardworking Music teachers out there that make the lives of your students something special.
As you may or may not know, I am the Head of a Creative and Performing Arts Department at a large New South Wales High School. In my state, High School is from years 7 through to 12—and this means that we have to be able to deliver lessons to a very broad range of ability levels. The majority of my teaching load is devoted to teaching year 7 Music. In my state it is compulsory for students in years 7 and 8 to complete 200 hours in Music and Visual Arts. This means, at my school, students complete their hours of Music in year 7 and Visual Arts in Year 8. At my previous school they did both Music and Visual Arts in both years—it depends on how the individual school wants to structure their timetable.
However, for me personally, teaching Year 7 has both it’s rewards and challenges! It is challenging because students don’t usually have any sort of music or instrumental experience—but that is also the fun part, as I have the chance to ignite a love of Music in my students from the beginning of their High School experience.
So after years of teaching junior classes, I have learnt a trick or two in surviving and thriving teaching students at this level. It has been this group of students that has led me to the creation of so many of my products at Teachers Pay Teachers, as well as TPT being a lifesaver with products available and ready for me to purchase, print and teach! Below are a few of my favourite, and time saving sanity savers—enjoy 🙂
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My Music Mega Bundles
These two Bundles are what I have used, for a long time, with a lot of success and engagement, to teach Year 7 and 8 students. Each Bundle contains everything that you need to teach a WHOLE YEAR of Music!!!! Now that is a time saver. After purchasing this product, if you would like my actual “programs” that go along with these units of work, please email me at—firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly send them on to you—another time saver!!!
They each contain Units of Work, Assignments, all marking criteria, Rhythm and Pitch Theory, Games and Writing Strategies. All of my Units of Work include the Super Six Reading Strategies to help improve the Literacy needs of your students.
Products from TPT
Here are some of my favourite products that I have used in teaching Year 7 Music the last couple of years.
To accompany the teaching of the Guitar, I cannot recommend enough the Kids Guitar Jams by Kelly Weeks! This is a little gem. I have used it with soooo many classes, and every time the kids are engaged, learning good, solid technique and playing something from the very beginning. Do yourself a favour and buy this—it has saved me so much time and effort, everything you need is right there for you to use. The only adjustment I made to this product was to embed the sound files into the PDF, that way I didn’t have to go swapping pages to play while the students could view it on the Interactive White Board.
This year, my colleagues and I , have introduced Bucket Drumming to our Year 7 students. This has been a lot of fun, noise and sometimes even actually Music! It has been a really good way to reinforce the reading of rhythmic notation through performance. We have been using the Bucket Drumming Karate from Ceecee Lynn. The students have had a lot of fun with this one, but it proved very interesting from a teaching and assessing point of view—we found our kids really struggle to perform in time as a group! Some classes have been really good at acquiring the skills, and others haven’t. It was also very interesting that across all 8 of our Music classes in Year 7, that all of them struggled to put rests into the drumming, but they could do clicks really easily—go figure!?!
I have also been using an Orff arrangement, that was intended for Buckets and other instruments, with success on the djembe. The “Let’s Go” arrangement from Craig Hurley has been a lot of fun to perform. The arrangement has 5 different rhythmic parts and includes an MP3 recording. I found with all of my classes, including Year 11 (I tried everything out with them first) that one of the parts just created chaos—more because they found it difficult to keep it in time with the other parts. I was so excited last Monday when my 7Y class could actually perform all parts, in time, for an extended period of time!!! Believe me, this was success that was celebrated with lots of extrinsic rewards (lollipops).
My music teaching just wouldn’t be the same without the Graphics from Dancing Crayons. Last year I had the chance to meet the lovely lady behind this brand, and was able to thank her for making my life so much easier. Dancing Crayons has a huge range of music related clip art and graphics that are of an excellent quality, and they always seem to be just what I am looking for. I love that in each product are both a black and white version and a full colour one. I use the coloured graphics in the Interactive White Board PDF and put the black and white graphics into the student hand outs. Shown below are just some of what is in my collection from Dancing Crayons.
There are always new products being added so don’t forget to sign up to follow Jooya Teaching Resources by email so you can be the first to know about new products, teaching tips and ideas.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya