Kindergarten/First Grade

November 20, 2013
We have been learning all about "tempo" (the speed--fast or slow--of the beat) and "rhythm" in kindergarten and first grade classes.  We also learned a new song called "Apple Tree."  Students played a steady beat on instruments while singing the song.  We used a rotation system (I use "One, two, three four..." from Mallet Madness) so that students were able to play more than one instrument throughout the activity.
Lyrics of the song:
Apple tree, apple tree
Will your apple fall on me?
I won't cry, I won't shout
if your apple knocks me out!
After playing a steady beat with the song, we played a game with the song.  Two students start as "trees" and at the end of the song they "catch" another student.  We played until all students were caught.  Not only did this activity reinforce use of the singing voice, sol and mi pitches, but it also created a lot of fun and laughter.  And those are the memories that last.

September 13, 2013

Kindergarten and first grade students are learning and reviewing "steady beat" (a beat that never gets faster or slower) as well as learning about our singing voice.  Students played a game from Game Plan Grade One during which one student is the "monkey in a chair" who creates a steady beat for the class to copy.  While playing this game, I assessed each students' ability to show a steady beat.

This week we played "The Key Game" (ideas from Music for Children).  One student is "it" and another student hides a key behind their back.  The "it" student sings "Who has the key?"  using a sol-mi-la-sol-mi pitch pattern.  The student with the key responds with "I have the key," using the same melodic pattern.  With this game, I assessed each students' ability to use their singing voice, rather than a whisper or speaking voice.  (We learned about our "three voices" by singing a "Peanut Butter and Jelly" song.)  

Needless to say, the music room is already full of music-making fun.  We're off to a great start!

May 18, 2013

This week, kindergarten and first grade students learned the song, "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."  After reading the book and listening to the song (from Share the Music), students were chosen to represent the characters in the song.  

The "old lady" walked around the circle, "swallowed" the animals who then went into the old lady's big blue stomach (the carpet).

The animals then had to catch each other inside the old lady's stomach.

Students who represented the characters chose a new student to take their place after the song was sung in its entirety.

This activity gives students opportunities to sing, act, move, and experience basic elements of drama as they create movements that represent each character and act out the song's story.

More fun to come!

April 19, 2013

"Pease Porridge Hot" and "Hot Cross Buns" are the newest songs kindergarten and first grade classes have learned.  Students learned a simple hand game to play while singing the songs.   

We also played the steady beat on drums while singing:

Click here to learn what "hot cross buns" are.

March 28, 2013: Easter and Solfege

When kindergarten and first grade classes come to music, we spend the first five minutes doing warm-ups together.  We warm up our bodies for moving, our voices for singing, and our ears for hearing music.  All kindergarten and first grade classes are learning do, mi, sol, and la solfege syllables.  Students are now able to see the solfege hand signs and sing pitches.  This is great skill development!  This means that not only can students identify do, mi, and sol, but they can also hear the pitches.  Here's a short video:

Kindergarten and first grade students composed rhythms this week using ta (quarter) and ti-ti (eighths).  Of course, we had to be festive so we used Easter eggs. 

First, we used a SMART board file to label ta's and ti-ti's with eggs.  One page looked like this:

The hidden rhythm is "ti-ti ta".  This file can be found at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

After identifying rythms on the board, each student received an egg.  Students worked in pairs to create a rhythm using ta and/or ti-ti, practiced the rhythm with rhythm sticks, then performed for the class. 

These girls added "shh" (quarter rest) to their rhythm.

This activity was not only fun, but also an easy way to perform individual assessments.  I assessed each student's ability to compose and perform a simple rhythm.

All these eggs and springy colors have definitely put me in the mood for spring (and spring break)!  Have a wonderful and safe break, everyone!
February 26, 2013

With Dr. Seuss's birthday just around the corner, kindergarten and first grade classes played do-mi-sol on xylophones and glockenspiels while we read There's a Wocket in My Pocket.  In our previous lesson, students practiced singing do-mi-sol with the solfege hand signs.  This lesson transferred our learning to instruments, and they did a great job!  Students used good playing technique--pinch and wrap--and were even able to sing while they played. 

Here is a picture of the solfege syllable hand signs that we're learning.  So far, kindergarten and first graders know do, mi, and sol.

January 26, 2013

The last two weeks in music class have been filled with high, low, big, small, snowmen and mittens.  We learned "The Snowman" song and played it on glockenspiels.

I have a little snowman.
He is so fat and round.
I made him from a snowball
I rolled upon the ground.
I gave him eyes, a nose a mouth,
a nice warm scarf of red.
I put some buttons on his coat,
a hat upon his head.
Watch him as he melts to the ground.

We also talked about how we make a snowman.  Which ball is the lowest?  The highest?  We decided, generally with much laughter, that this is not the correct order of snowballs:

But isn't he cute?  :)
The small snowball, we decided, is not the lowest, and the biggest is not the highest.  Students guided me carefully to create a correct snowman then we dressed him up like the one in our song.

Besides trying to have the class erupt in laughter with the upside-down snowman, discussing the size of the snowballs and their placement on the snowman serves as an introduction to the concept of big equals low and small equals high. 

We reviewed this concept in the following lesson--this week's--by playing bass, alto and soprano xylphones.  Though this concept was not the focus of the lesson (the goal was for students to play ta-a on xylophones), it was an easy way to review the concept from the last week.  I also believe this is a form of enrichment for students who are already grasping lesson objectives.

Students played "ta-a" (half notes) on the xylophones while the rest of the class sang "The Mitten" song. 

Next week, we will read Jan Brett's The Mitten and add some music and sounds to the story.  There might be some other fun things involved as well! 

January 12, 2013

In kindergarten and first grade classes we kicked off the new year learning about lines and spaces.  We did lots of different things to learn about the lines and spaces.  First, we learned the "Music Staff Rap":

The music staff, the music staff
There are five lines on the music staff
A one, and a two, and a three, and a four
And a five, five, five
And a five, five, five

Next, we looked at lines and spaces on the SMART board.  Students realized we have a very big music staff on our music carpet.  We tossed beanbags onto the carpet and identified where they landed.

After everyone had a chance tossing a beanbag, students worked with a partner to label lines and spaces on a music staff board with marbles.  (The "boards" are large staff sheets that have been laminated.)

After being assessed, students were then able to do some activities with the beanbags with music from the Rhythmically Moving #2 CD.  More exciting things to come!

December 8, 2012

Kindergarten and first grade classes have learned about forte (loud) and piano (quiet), and we have identified striking, shaking, and scraping instruments as "percussion" instruments.

We have also been learning and singing about holidays around the world.  We sang a song about Kwanzaa while playing striking, shaking, and scraping instruments for each of the three colors of candles on the Kinara.

"Kwanzaa Candle Song"
Song resource found here.

After singing about Kwanzaa, the next week we sang a song about Hanukkah, "Burn Little Candles" (from Share the Music, Grade 1).  With this song we talked about getting higher and lower and matched what we heard with pictures of candles going up and down on the SMART board.

Here is a kindergarten class singing the song with movements:

(Can you tell I have a bit of a KY accent by the way the kids sing "burn"??)

October 12, 2012

In kindergarten and first grade classes we have been learning about tempo (students can show movements with the definition, "tempo is how fast or slow the beat is."), getting faster, getting slower, high and low, and how to respond appropriately to music.

Parents and guardians, your child may have told you that they pretended to be toys in music class, and that's exactly right.  One week, we read a story about a toy store where the toys (students) came to life at night when they heard music from a magic music box (piano).  The storekeeper (I, the teacher) was very surprised to see that toys had moved around the store (music room)!

The music room has also been filled with buses!  Bus drivers (students) drove buses (paper plates) around town to the music they heard played by a piano.  When the music on the piano got faster or slower, bus drivers drove their buses the same way.  :)

This week, we showed high and low movements when we heard music get higher and lower.  We sang a song about leaves and showed movements for the words of the song:

See the leaves up in the trees
then there comes an autumn breeze
makes the branches swing and sway 
blows the branches every way
blows the leaves out all around
'til they tumble to the ground

After singing and moving to this song, we talked about seeds growing into tall trees.  As we sang about seeds growing into trees, students moved up.  Here are the seeds:

 And here are the tall trees:

Then we sang down as the leaves floated to the ground.  We also held paper leaves and sang another song as we moved up and down with the music:

Leaves are floating all around...

Leaves are falling to the ground...

Needless to say, we are keeping busy, having fun, and learning a lot about music!  

September 15, 2012

In kindergarten and first grade classes we have started learning about "ta" and "ti-ti" (quarters and eighth notes) as well as the "shh" symbol (quarter rest).  This week we played rhythm sticks to a poem called "Loose Tooth".

We've also been reviewing what a steady beat is (a beat that never gets faster or slower) and learning all about tempo (how fast or slow the beat is).  See if your children remember the motions to help us remember steady beat and tempo.  They should also be able to pat and/or march to show you real examples!

We read the book, The Train Ride and played rhythm sticks when we heard the patterns for "What shall I see?" and "That's what I see" (ta ti-ti ta).  Students are doing an excellent job handling the rhythm sticks correctly and showing excellent class behavior.

This week, we'll be moving to music, creating shapes with our bodies, and reviewing steady beat and tempo.

Have a wonderful weekend!

August 23, 2012

We've been having a great time in our kindergarten and first grade classes so far!  For the first week of school we sang lots of songs.  Parents and guardians, ask your children if they remember these songs and chants:

Going on a Bear Hunt
Five Little Monkeys (hanging on a tree)
If You're Happy and You Know It
All Around the Kitchen
Down By the Bay

Also, see if your children can show you what a "copy clap" is.  :)

Next week, we will talk more about "steady beat" (a beat that never gets faster or slower) and do lots of moving and singing with a steady beat!

August 1, 2012

What will we be doing in music class in kindergarten and first grade this year?  These charts show us what kindergartners and first graders will be able to do by the end of the year.  We will be busy making music!


  1. hey ms.benson its jeffrey. i love music

  2. Your rug is awesome! Where did you get it?

    1. Thank you! The rug is wonderful and helps with so much, especially for younger students. I believe it was ordered from the John R. Green company. The name of the rug is "Note Worthy."

    2. i found you through pinterest and love your rug as well! what size did you order? (i went to their website but they have the stock photo for all the sizes and i see that yours has 24 spot around the circumference.)

    3. Our carpet is 13'2" in diameter. We needed one this big in order for all students to be able to sit in the circle. (I actually pulled out a tape measure during a class to make sure this would be the appropriate size.)

      You're right! There are 24 squares on the carpet. Since most of our K/1 classes have more than 24 students, we usually "sit behind the piano keys." This is also fun because then the children can pretend they are playing the piano. :) We also do a lot of Gordon exercises and the kids "play the keys" when we do those also.

      Have a wonderful summer!

    4. WOW! You are an amazing teacher and I love everything you are doing! This gives me so many great ideas to use for next year. I love the creativity.

  3. Such great ideas. Thanks for sharing. Starting to get ideas for next school year.

  4. What a great blog! You are clearly a GREAT teacher! I'm starting K-4 music in the fall and am in need of some resources. It looks like you have some great sing along books and other reading books that you have gotten creative with. Would you mind sharing a list of your favorites?? Thanks so much!!

    1. Thank you!

      I have some books and resources on the right sidebar of the home page. These are one the "Shelfari" shelf.

      I really like Music for Children, Vol. 1, American Edition. It has tons of games, songs, and activities.

      Hand-Me-Down Songs by Alice Parker has been great for American folk songs.

      Eurhythmics for Young Children: Six Lessons for Fall by Monica Dale. Ah! This one is great, but it may be out of print!

      The Mallet Madness books are also very good.

      I hope that is helpful!

      Keep in touch about your K-4 experiences!

    2. Oh! And Denise Gagne's The Orff Source!

  5. I like your I Can posters for Kinders and Grade 1. Have you formed similar posters for other grades? I teach pre-k to grade 8 and the use of I can statements is something my principal looks for.

    1. Hi, Carol.

      I have "I Can" posters for K-5. If you visit these pages on the blog, you should find them towards the bottom of the page.

      I don't teach pre-k or 6-8, so I haven't made posters for those grades.

      I hope these are helpful.

  6. This is my first year teaching and I love these lessons! This page is an excellent resource for future lessons. Thank you so much for posting such great activities for young music students! Amazing!

  7. I love these ideas, I think they work perfectly well with young learners. I am actually thinking of using some of them while teaching my own kids.

    lessons for kids

  8. I just stumbled upon your blog on pin, and I have to say this is SO amazing! I'm a homeschooling parent from Kentucky, believe it or not! lol When I was growing up and in school I really loved music and the art and wanted to be sure that my children are taught a love for it as well and your page has absolutely given me many tools to give them that! Thank you SO much!

    1. Thanks so much, Kate! That's really encouraging! I hope these ideas are helpful for all teachers--whether that's in a school, home, church...or wherever else learning will occur. -Kayle

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  10. I absolutely love your blog! How can we purchase your giant musical rug? Thank you for sharing! :)

    1. Why, thank you! My school purchased the rug from the John R. Green company!


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