Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Halloween Party without Candy???

A Halloween Party without Candy???
A Halloween Party without Candy???

Last night, my friend and I put together a Halloween Party for our children that emphasized games instead of candy!

It was a HUGE success!

Read about our sensory rich games and allergy free menu at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Finger Play Fun Day: 5 Little Pumpkins

Finger Play Fun Day:  5 Little Pumpkins photo
Finger Play Fun Day:  5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Fence

Finger Play Fun Day:  5 Little Pumpkins photo

Halloween is on its way!
Today is Finger Play Fun Day and we will be sharing 5 Little Pumpkins.
My students have been enjoying this finger play all month long.  I made 5 jack-o-lantern finger puppets to add to the fun!
There are different variations for this finger play but here is my favorite!

Here are the words I like the best:

5 Little Pumpkins

5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "Oh my its getting late."
The second one said, "I hear a noise."
The third one said, "It's only some boys."
The fourth one said, "Let's run. Let's run."
The fifth one said, It's Halloween fun."

Then oooooo went the wind and out went the lights.
And away rolled the pumpkins on Halloween night.

Trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

Carolyn, at Wise Owl Factory, made an awesome skip counting Power Point with Pumpkins!  Count by ones, twos, threes, fives,
and tens!  The children might watch silently the first time through and then count aloud while watching the second time!

Free Power Point Skip Counting
photo of slides in the Power Point about skip counting

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Finger Play Fun Day: The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Great Big Hairy Spider

Finger Play Fun Day:  The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Great Big Hairy Spider photo
We Sing About a Variety of Spiders in the Popular Children's Song

We are continuing with our Halloween theme this month for Finger Play Fun Day.  Today's song is the very popular children's song - The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  But in our version, a few other spiders come to visit too.

We have the Great Big Hairy Spider,

the Very Fast Spider and

the Very Slow Spider!

Children enjoy songs that they know but with a little twist.  These variations help develop a bigger vocabulary, including opposites such as fast and slow, itsy bitsy and great big.  I encourage you to be creative and make your own pairs of opposites!

Trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

Carolyn, from Wise Owl Factory, has made a Free Itsy Bitsy Spider printable plus a great book review and worksheets to go with Gail Gibbon's book Spiders.

This book has a lot of fascinating facts about spiders that will interest you and your child!


Free Spider PDF from Wise Owl Factory



Monday, October 15, 2012

An Easy Quarter Note Chant

An Easy Quarter Note Chant photo
Children's Song to help them learn the quarter note.

One of the first musical notes my students learn is the Quarter Note.  I made up a chant to help them remember its name and its number of beats.

Quarter note = 1 Beat

I have made a video to demonstrate the chant.  If you have trouble viewing the video click here.

Quarter Note

By Tonya Dirksen



Quarter note

Quarter note

Tap your knee


Quarter note

Quarter note

Black and neat


Quarter note

Quarter note

Has one beat!
 Carolyn, at Wise Owl Factory, has a fun Free Do You Know Your Music Notes Power Point  This is perfect for learning and reviewing notes.  It also shows the relationships between the different notes.  Be sure to check it out!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Music and Movement - Carnival of the Animals

Music and Movement:  Carnival of the Animals photo
This semester I have been introducing my students to Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens.  But we don't just sit and listen! 
 We get up and move!
Today I am writing at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finger Play Fun Day: Oh Once I Had a Pumpkin!

 Finger Play Fun Day:  Oh, Once I Had a Pumpkin photo
Pumpkin and Jack-o-Lantern Finger Play for Halloween
Fall has arrived and Halloween is just around the corner!

Today's finger play "Oh, Once I Had a Pumpkin," is a wonderful song about turning a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. 

To make the song even more fun, I made a simple pumpkin out of orange felt.  I also cut out 3 black triangles for 2 eyes and a nose and a funny mouth with teeth cut out. 

I have been singing this in all of my classes for the last few weeks and the children love helping me make the jack-o-lantern.  They take turns putting on the eyes, nose and mouth and then laugh at the funny face they made! 

I hope you all enjoy this song!

Trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

Carolyn, from Wise Owl Factory has a great Free Pumpkin Writing PDF with prompts for writing about pumpkins.  Be sure to check them out!  She also made a free power point presentation with the same pumpkin worksheets!

 Free Pumpkin Power Point

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall and Christmas Recitals for Strings, Keys, and Melodies

Fall and Christmas Recitals for Strings, Keys, and Melodies photo
Music is meant to be shared!
I have always believed that music is meant to be shared and it is an important idea to teach our students. Studies have shown that sharing music actually uses the brain in a different way then music created and played alone! Plus it is just a great thing to share with our family, friends and community.
Our programs and recitals will include all of our voice, piano, violin and Music and Movement students!
Our first Fall program will be at a Senior home. Music is a wonderful thing to share with older people because that is the last region in their brains to be touched. Stroke victims that can't talk anymore can often still sing! The seniors are eager to sing with us so we will include some folk songs and rhythm instruments so they can join along. We are going to play and sing at:
Sunrise at Laguna Creek
6727 Laguna Park Dr
Elk Grove, 95758
Saturday, November 3
1:30-2:30 (arrive at 1:15 for tuning)
This program will be mainly for the seniors and as a place for the children to practice playing in front of people. So we ask that only one or two adults accompany the students. The whole extended family can come to our Christmas recital!
Our Christmas Recital will be a great time to invite the whole family and friends! It will be held at:
Valley Hi-North Laguna Library, Community Room
7400 Imagination Parkway
Sacramento, 95823
Saturday, December 1
3:30-4:30 (arrive at 3:15 for tuning)
We are getting the details finalized for 3 more recitals and programs in the Spring for February 3, April 6, and Year End Recital on June 1. I will get you those details as soon as I can!
Thank you for supporting your children in their study of music. Creating music with others for others to enjoy is an important part of their education!
Title picture created using artwork by Trina Clark at

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finger Play Fun Day: Tres Colores Que Me Encantan

Finger Play Fun Day:  Tres Colores photo
Fun Children's Song that Teaches 3 Colors in Spanish
Finger Play Fun Day:  Tres Colores photo
Tres Colores, Three Colors
Today is Finger Play Fun Day!  We are going to learn 3 colors in Spanish.  Tres Colores Que Me Encantan translates as Three Colors I Really Love!

Yellow = Amarillo

                                       Red = Rojo    
                                       Blue = Azul

Watch the video to learn the song.  Then be sure to practice with the worksheets that Carolyn, from Wise Owl Factory has created!

                            Free 19 Page PDF Los Colores, Learn 6 Spanish Color Words

Trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

Singing simple songs is a wonderful way for children to learn!