Monday, May 7, 2018

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I am a gardener at heart  - love to dig in some dirt and make something grow!  I have about 200 perennial plants- at least. I really love irises- they are one of my favorites and work for my no-fuss gardening style- if I have to mess with a plant in order to make it grow, I am not supposed to have it.  This year my irises went a little crazy- I have about 15 different colors and need to divide and give some away. If you live in NC give me a holler!
I have always loved this rhyme - here's a little twist! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Games to Play Outside (Or In) FUN!!!

Singing games are so much fun and there are so many fun games that work inside as well as out!
Here are a few of my favorite:

One, Two, Three O'Leary/One, Two, Three a Learie

This song is often cited as Irish, although it was first collected in California as an Anglo-American playground game, see Sail Away book, page 24.
There are several versions and ways to play.  My favorite way to play is version 2 (see songs below) and can be found here:
 Here is a different view:

Hope you enjoy all of these and get outside (or stay in and have some fun)!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

No Robbers Out Today

End. Of. The. School. Year.
Those words can bring a slight feeling of dread to even the most seasoned teacher.  This time of year the kids can become a pack of wolves, feeding on the excitement of field trips and field days, summer birthday celebrations and the impending excitement of summer!  I am getting ready to start camp songs for the last four weeks of school, which for me begins next week into May 29th, the last day of school for us.  Check out @ofortunaorff on facebook as I just this morning posted a video of "Alligator" - one of my students favorite camp songs!
For now, with my first graders, we are reviewing rhythms, learning a game of teacher vs. student "Poison", and also playing songs with games which keep them singing and moving!
This lesson starts with the song, "Not Last Night But the Night Before" and the book, "Twenty Four Robbers" by Audrey Wood. I posted about the book and song before - check it out here.
I prep the students with the "response" of "step back baby, step back".  I tell them no matter what I sing, they sing their part, "step back baby, step back", not mine.  This takes some practice if you haven't done a lot of call and response with your children. 
The entire book can be sung to the melody - until you get to "H O T....".  I prep this part before we read the book. I tell the children that the robbers had a little crazy dance moment because they got so excited about the hot peppers!  We speak: "H O T, H O T, H O T, hot peppers, whoo! (repeat).  Rhythm is titi ta, titi ta, titi titi tikkati then quarter note glissando on "whoo".  They stand up and dance, throw hands in the air on "whoo".  This gives them a quick movement section in several parts of the book.  They think this book is so funny and the illustrations are zany and fun!

Then we move to "No Robbers Out Today".  For the full pdf, email me at and I will happily share it!  There are several versions of this North Carolina folk song; one which uses Sol La and Mi, another with SM only. I have included both along with teaching pages with rhythm and solfege and the game instructions-  SO fun!! The game uses unpitched percussion - we chose to use drum, tambourine, maraca, jingle bell, rhythm stick, triangle, coconuts, and a frog rasp.
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vamos a la mar

Let's go to the sea!  I love the ocean - I recently did a video on my facebook site - @ofortunaorff with the ocean in the background while I sang a beach song and used cockle shells!
This is a lovely song from Guatemala and has a rhythm activity where small groups create rhythms using ocean animals. You can choose to have the students create the contrasting sections in Spanish or English and there are four different "sets" of rhythmic building blocks - colored, black and white, with rhythms, and without.
Consider adding ocean drums and rainsticks.  This is also a good one for ukulele - F and C7!
Email me for the full pdf -
Now make plans to go to the beach!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

There Was a Crocodile Substitution Song

I love substitution songs, do you?  These are songs where the subject is sung with a motion, then the next time the song is sung, the lyric is substituted with only the action.  These kinds of songs were a favorite with my Orff Master's Level course teacher, Jos Wuytack.  In fact Judy Sills adapted a book of his songs called "55X Funtastic - 55 Songs with Motion for Children". Not all the songs have substitution games, but most do and they are so much fun!
I recently found this substitution song, my students love it!  This one is about that wonderful critter, the crocodile!

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Wide Mouth Frog book and activity

Happy Spring! Here in the South, we have green grass, budding trees, and daffodils are swaying in the wind!
This time of year always reminds me of frogs, for some reason, and so I break out all my frog songs in addition to flowers, rain, chicks and bunnies.
This lesson uses a book, The Wide Mouthed Frog, pop up edition, and a frog puppet, which you don't need but it makes the lesson much more fun.  You may also want some young children who haven't learned quarter rest yet or you want to reinforce quarter rest with them. 
For this lesson, you are going to need to head over to facebook and check out the ofortunaorff page - there is a video with me going through the lesson!
You will need this book available here.
And a frog puppet,