YouTube Tip: How to get rid of commercials

I often use YouTube in my classroom as a way to engage students when they are listening to music.  The problem is that the ads that are on the side and often before the videos (and let's face it, the comments below the video!), are often not appropriate for students to see!  Well, I have a wonderful tip for you that I've been using this year:  quietube.

How to Use Quietube:
1.  Go to  It won't look fancy at all (see below).  Drag the quietube logo up to your favorites bar. 

2.  Next, go to YouTube and find a video you want.
3.  Then click on the quietube logo on your favorites bar, it will take you to a new page with the video.
4.  There will no longer be an ad at the beginning of any video you show!  The side bar is gone too!  The pop-up ads can still happen, and there will be a small ad at the bottom on the quietube site.  I have yet to see one that's inappropriate.  In fact, once a student wanted to sing a song for me on YouTube and it was blocked by quietube because the video was considered inappropriate. You can also make it full-screen for no ads :)
5.  And just in case you want a different background, there's an option to switch between black and white.
I hope you find this quick tip to be helpful in your classroom!  The YouTube videos I use are part of my composer of the month activities.  Using YouTube means I can save money on buying examples of a composer's music and the students are very engaged watching the videos.  If you'd like a free sample of my composer of the month products, go here!
Catch you next time I have something noteworthy!

Five Favorite Music Pins of November
It's that time again!  Here are five great pins I found this month.  Click the link above to find others that have posted their favorite five as well.

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear paper plate Sol-Mi notation

  What a fun idea and great way to get kids to be interactive and excited about notating music.  She also gave out awards for students who sang their pattern by themselves.

2.  Glow Stick Drumming

This is an expensive proposition, but might be a cool addition to the end of a musical production!  Find some thick glow sticks and use them as drum sticks.  I've done a glow stick routine with my kindergarten students, but this takes it to a whole new level!

3.  Recorder Reminders

I have something similar up on my wall already, but I REALLY like how these are phrased.  We can always take what we have and improve it by tweaking it, right?

4.  Show Ta and Ti-Ti with shoes on a beat strip

What a fun idea!  There are lots of other ideas on this pin too, but that's my favorite--kids LOVE taking their shoes off :)  I'll take smelly feet if it means they are learning about music!

5.  Christmas Sing Along Idea

Here's a Christmas sing along idea if you have each grade sing their own song.  Have the oldest grade at your school sing this!  Have them dress up to make it even more fun :)  If you are a regular follower of this blog this may look familiar to you!


     My daughter LOVES to read books from the library and every once in a while we find a gem that she just can't put down.  Most recently, she has been addicted to this book:
     When I opened it up to read it, I realized it was a song that I heard the Carpenters sing growing up (no, I'm not quite in that generation, but it's what my parents listened to!).  Anyway, Lexi wants to read the book over and over again because she loves that a little bird learns how to sing!  What a great message for our students to hear.  You DON'T need to be the best singer in the world, you just need to find YOUR own voice and USE it!  Without everyone's voice, the world is a less beautiful place. 
      To prove my point, the actual composer of the song is heard in the recording below.  Not the best voice, but what if he had never used it?  I bet we would have never heard this song:
     Let's encourage all of our students to SING! 

PS--Oh, and the book comes with a nice CD recording of the song performed by Becca Kauffman with The Midnight Sun Ensemble :)

A Christmas Sing-Along Idea!

     Each month our school has an assembly to give out our monthly awards to students.  But, December's assembly is different, because each grade level also sings its own Christmas song for the rest of the school.  Nothing crazy fancy, they learn it in their classrooms and stand up and sing it from their spots.
     Several years ago there was this really great group of 6th graders and we wanted to make sure they had a great last Christmas singing experience, so I wrote a song for them.  Feel free to use it at your school!  Please direct others to this page to get the words if they want to use it :)
     For the full effect, have students dress up in Christmas colors, wear some shades, and design their own paper guitars using templates designed by an artistic student of your choice (we had a LOT of talent that year).  Or get blow up guitars from Oriental Trading Compay!  We sang a few of the traditional verses first and then followed it with our new verse in a grandiose style and the crowd went wild! 
       What have you done to let your students know how special they are?

Graphics by:

Five Favorite Music Pins of October

1.  I Knew You Were Treble
My students loved this video--nothing makes my heart happier than when my students understand music well enough to laugh at a music parody and start singing along with it.  And it helps them learn the names of the notes on the staff!

2.  Recorder Karate Loom Bands
This is a great idea that I got from this pin.  If you want to read more about some great Recorder Karate pins, go here.

 3.  Name that Solfege Tune
What a fun idea and a great way to reinforce the solfege they are learning in class!

4.  So Mi Fishbowl Notation
How cute is this?  Students will love this activity!  And it's very economical :)

5.  Note-Go-Find
How fun would this be to have a scavenger hunt around the classroom?  And it's easy to differentiate this activity!  Click on the picture to read more about it.


Recorder Karate Ideas Galore!

So, I have seen a TON of good ideas on Pinterest for Recorder Karate.  So, I thought to myself, why not compile them all in one place?  :)  Here's some info on Recorder Karate and also some cool ideas I found.

What is Recorder Karate?
Basically, students master certain songs on their recorder to earn "karate belts."  It's a great idea and comes from this book.

What adaptations have people made?
I personally have found that you need a lot more than just the songs in the Recorder Karate book to help them be successful recorder players.  They need more in-between songs to help them learn the notes.  I have also found that I don't necessarily agree with the sequencing of the original book--shouldn't the black belt be harder than the blue belt?  So, this year I've taken Recorder Resource 1 and adapted it for my school to help there be a more sequential order.
Yes, it's a bit more expensive, but it's very sequential and it comes with Power Points that include the backgrounds to the songs.  I also like that it has a version of the songs with "kids notes."  Basically, the note name is written inside of the note head.  I think this is great for students who are getting additional help in reading--we should be differentiating our instruction in the music classroom too! 
So here is my version:
I made my own spots in the Recorder Resource Kit packet that are the required songs for each belt.  I pasted a cute little karate kid next to each song that is required for a belt.  Speaking of belts . . .

What do you use for Recorder Karate belts?
I used to use thin ribbons, but they often fell off of the recorder, and it took a long time to cut them all.  And I still hadn't found a good way to organize them.  I had also seen people use yarn--which is fine, but I wanted it to look a bit more fashionable :)  So then I saw this beautiful post on Pinterest about using loom bands and wahlah:
An organized assortment of Recorder Karate belts for $15.  It will last me for YEARS before I have to get more.  AND they are latex-free!!
Here's what they look like on the recorders:
Pretty sweet!  And I also bought silver, striped, and glow-in-the-dark belts for my students to earn if they get to their black belt.  FYI--I also keep track of their progress in a notebook, so they can't just go home and add some loom bands to their recorder . . .

And now the biggest question--HOW TO SHOW THEIR PROGRESS!!
This is where there are lots of great ideas on Pinterest.
Here is my set-up for this year:
Each belt has it's own colored paper in the back of the room (with a cute clip art from the original Recorder Karate book--if you want that clip art, it's worth buying the book for it!).  

Then, each student has their own clip that they put on the belt they have most recently earned.   I also used the clip art to make these :)

Other great ideas I saw on Pinterest:  (Click on the picture to get to the pin.)

And here are some other cool Recorder Karate pins that may peak your interest:
Storage Ideas:
Belt Ideas:
Other assessment tools:
How to use recorder karate with Recorder Express:
Differentiation with SMARTBoards and iPads:

Practicing tips for students:

Organization and procedure tips:
Procedure ideas:

     I would also recommend posting recorder rules somewhere in your room along with the fingering charts for the notes they have learned.  
     Hope it was helpful to have all of these ideas in one place!!  Feel free to comment with any ideas you have used--I would love to hear them!

FREE Website for Brain Breaks

     I have a class that really needs A LOT of movement this year to help them focus.  One of my colleagues had sent out a website for us to look at earlier this year, but I never tried it.  Later, I asked my principal if she had a tips to help me with one class and she suggested trying the website out.  The site is called GoNoodle and the best part is that it's FREE! 
     Here's what you do to use it:
Create an account and sign-up under a school.  Mine was already listed!

Once you are in, you can test it out with a demo class by clicking on the question mark.   Later you can go back and add a specific class.  I have added about 10 of them and it hasn't made me pay yet :)

 Then you have to pick a "champ."  The students love these!!
 The teacher-only demo are is great because it lets you figure out the program before you try it out with a class.
 Here is what the initial choices are:
 I haven't had that much luck with the YouTube videos running (and the videos have less structure for the students to engage with).  But the other videos--WOW!  Here is an screenshot of some of the Zumba kids videos:
 And here is Run With Us:
  The Run With Us warm-ups are great for the focus of students and they actually enjoy them!  Most of the time when the students have completed an entire video, they get a point towards earning a new "champ." 

     One of the reasons I like these brain breaks is that students love to have choices, and this is an easy way to give them a "say" in what we do.  This website also takes no extra planning time on my part (which is a huge plus).  Also, I have not found one video that the students have been bored with.  In fact, my 4th graders picked one that was made for maybe 1st grade, and they were giggling the whole time they were doing it! 

     So, whether you are a music teacher, classroom teacher, or stay-at-home-mom and you are looking for a way to help your students/children get their wiggles out, check out GoNoodle!