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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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Preschool Music & Active Movement: Ocean Theme (1)

Today I taught an ocean theme in our preschool music class.  I'm teaching a preschool class this year that combines music and movement to teach basic music concepts like pitch and listening skills while letting our preschoolers sing, run, and play! 



You can also use a lot of these ideas and activities with toddlers or kindergarteners...just adapt them for your kid's abilities!

I'm sharing my lesson plans here in case anyone else wants some ideas for Music Time!

Themes we've already done for our music class are Moon & Space and Dinosaurs!

This lesson is already tested--we had a great time! This is a 40-minute class, and includes transition and movement time. :) 

Theme: Ocean (1)

Gathering Activity: Play with musical instrument toys.

Hello Song: Hello Song:   
Hello *kid's name*
Hello *kid's name
Hello *kid's name*
We're glad you're here today!

to the tune of "Goodnight, Ladies."

Warm-up SongWhen I Sing La, La, La by Janeen Brady with sock puppets. Check out my Moon & Space Music Time post for more background on this song! Emphasize opening your mouth really big like the puppet when you sing, lift the puppets high for high notes, and lower the puppets low near the floor for low notes.

Action SongThe Goldfish (Let's Go Swimming) by Laurie Berkner. We acted out the action suggestions throughout the song, and "went swimming" all around the room every chorus.

Instrument: Rhythm Sticks. We reviewed sounds the rhythm sticks made, played with them, and then tapped them to the beat of Baby Shark while we listened to Super Simple Song's version of Baby Shark!

Instrument: Shaker Eggs: We talked about how fish and sharks lay eggs that hatch into more fish and sharks and then shook our eggs while marching, sneaking, walking, and running (as suggested) to the song "I Can Shake My Shaker Egg" by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael, singing "shaker moon" instead of "shaker egg." I actually forgot to discuss how fish and sharks lay eggs until right after the song when one of my girls asked! It worked out great because we also talked about how seahorse males carry the eggs around (as if they were pregnant)! This led right into the next song...

Theme SongAnimals in the Ocean! by Kiboomers. We talked about some of the animals in the ocean, how you could act like those animals, and then we acted like each animal in the song (including crabs, seahorses, clams, and others).

Instrument: Bells: I absolutely love the Preschool Prodigies music curriculum, and pull their bells out whenever I can! Today, I pulled out an E and high C bell, and the kids took turns playing them. When they played the E bell, everyone "swam" around the room like slow fish. When someone played the high C bell, everyone "swam" like fast fish!


Parachute Fun: We absolutely adore parachute games and songs! This week we started by making little waves and big, stormy waves. Then we practiced pulling the parachute down by our ankles, lifting it high above our heads, stepping underneath it, and sitting down on the parachute, creating a mushroom-y "ocean" above us. 

The Shark Game: Start out by choosing one or two "sharks." Everyone else will sit with the parachute on their laps and their feet under the parachute. The sharks will crawl around under the parachute "catching" kids by touching their feet. Once they're "caught" the kids become a shark too! We played this about five times in a row--it works out because each time only takes about 30 seconds!

Walk Around (the Moon) by Music With Nancy: I love ending our parachute time with this! Everyone holds one handle of the parachute and walk in a circle...or jump, or whatever the song suggests. ;)  When it finishes, everyone sat on top of the parachute in the middle, and the adults made a few final waves around all the kids.

Goodbye Song: I'm doing the same tune for this as the Hello Song, just singing "Goodbye *name*."  


I know I've mentioned this before, but it's related so I'll tell you again! If you're looking for a music curriculum that teaches all the music basics like pitch, rhythm, and even reading notes I have a program that I 100% recommend!  Here's my affiliate link: Preschool Prodigies is absolutely "open and go!" AND your kids learn a musical instrument (bells) through the program! We are actually using this as well, and ALL my kids LOVE it (this includes my preschoolers, elementary kiddos, and my middleschooler)!! In addition to the bells curriculum for preschoolers, they have lessons for recorder, ukulele, and more!  I am super excited about this program and am sharing it with everyone I know! I simply have not seen any other system as fun and effective for teaching music. 


I hope all of this is helpful for you! Let me know if you use any of it in your Music Time!!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




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Saturday, August 31, 2019

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Why Preschoolers Need Music Classes & 4 Ways to Make it Happen!

I really love music, so it is natural for me to want music in my kid's lives! Amazingly, research tells us that music instruction (even for young children like preschoolers) does incredible things for their mental and emotional development! Today I'm going to share some of the reasons why you want music classes for your kiddos, and some fantastic ways to get that instruction!


This article contains affiliate links.

1- Music helps brains develop! A five-year study from the University of Southern California found that children's brains develop more quickly when they have music instruction, especially if they learn to play an instrument! This is one of the reasons I LOVE Preschool Prodigies--they actually teach preschoolers to play an instrument {bells} through fun pre-recorded lessons that feel more like playtime than lessons! They have lessons for older kids too! Click here to check out their incredible program!

2- Music helps other academic subjects! Statistics show that children who have music instruction score better on math and English tests, have larger vocabularies, can focus better, develop more advanced reading skills, and have better memories than children who do not have music instruction!

3- Music helps reasoning skills! Another study suggests a correlation between music instruction and nonverbal reasoning skills, fine motor skills, and auditory discrimination skills! This study suggests that music training helps children develop skills that will cross over into many subjects and help them succeed in different areas of life.

4- Music improves mood and quality of life! A very fascinating study from Finland acknowledged all the above benefits, and then went on to look at social benefits. The results were reported by students, but they found that children involved in a music program at school enjoyed school more. If there was a simple program you could get your child involved with that would help your child enjoy life more, wouldn't you want to do it?!

5- Music training in childhood strengthens the brain and nervous system into adulthood! This is really incredible and, by itself, reason enough for a music program! This study found that music training programs in childhood actually created changes in the nervous system that lasted years and years after those music lessons!

How to Start Music Lessons With Preschoolers


1- There are SO many ways that you can begin music lessons for young children! My new favorite lessons are from Preschool Prodigies (you can read my complete review about them HERE) because they are super fun and teach SO much. Preschoolers (and children in general) learn best through play, and the Preschool Prodigies lessons feel just like playtime! They have the bells lessons for preschoolers, lessons for older kids, ukulele lessons for older kids, and more (like piano!) planned soon! And they have different payment plans for every budget--you can get a monthly streaming plan, pay for a whole year, or even get a lifetime membership!  HERE is the link to their site to learn more!!

This is a picture of my 3-year old playing the Preschool Prodigies bells:



2- Another way to teach music classes for your preschoolers is by hosting your own Music Time or Music Class. I am sharing my lessons for an Music & Active Movement class this semester, and I would love to know if you can use them! Here is the first (Space themed) lesson!

3- You can also create your own playlists of fun, educational music and share those with your kiddos too! This isn't quite as structured as the first two options, but it can still be a fun way to introduce a love of music to your preschoolers that can transfer into lessons as they get older.

4- Finally, I always recommend a good old fashioned "dance party" with your preschoolers whenever the mood strikes! It's a great way to expose them to music with a strong beat, and practice moving your body in concert with music. Just turn on a favorite song and start dancing!

What is your favorite way to share music with your preschoolers? I'd LOVE to hear about it!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Preschool Prodigies. Like always, you get my honest opinions, and I ONLY recommend companies that I 100% love!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




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Friday, August 30, 2019

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Moon / Space Rhythm Sticks Activity

I'm teaching a Music & Movement class for preschoolers this semester, so I'm excited to share some of the activities we'll be doing with you here! This little activity is a moon or space themed activity for rhythm sticks! I included it in our Space Themed Music Class!



Rhythm sticks are TONS of fun to play with, but in addition to being super engaging, they also help your preschoolers develop skills like the following:

* eye-hand coordination
* fine and gross motor development
* a sense of rhythm, beat, and tempo
* directions like up, down, right, and left
* following instructions
* taking turns
* math and music skills
* creative thinking (like in this activity!)

Our first music class's theme will be the moon and space, so I decided to do an astronaut rhythm stick activity. Here it is in lesson-plan format:

1- Show rhythm sticks and discuss safety rules (this is our first class, so we need to establish rhythm-stick-safety!).

2- Pass out the music sticks and let kids experiment with them for a minute.

3- Practice "playing sticks" and "quiet sticks" (quiet in our laps).

4- Explain that when Neil Armstrong went to the moon, he had Mission Control on Earth helping give him instructions and solve problems. When Mission Control sent a message to Neil Armstrong, Neil would say "Roger" to let them know that he received the message. Then when he sent a message to Mission Control, they would say "Roger" to let him know that they received his message. It is almost like a copy game to make sure they heard each other. So today, we're going to play "Mission Control" with our rhythm sticks.

I will be Mission Control first, and you will all be astronauts! So I will do a short pattern with my rhythm sticks, then you will all copy it together!

5- Begin with very short patterns, like one or two clicks, and give them a chance to copy them. If they are ready for longer patterns, give 3-5 click patterns a try. I kept our patterns at 1-3 for this time!

6- Let the kids take turns being Mission Control!

7- Gather all the rhythm sticks back up, and move on to the next part of your class!

I would love to hear if you use our little Moon / Space Mission Control Rhythm Sticks game with your kiddos!

And if you have any other fun rhythm stick activity ideas, let me know! I'd love to add more to our collection!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Preschool Music and Active Movement: Moon & Space Theme

I'm teaching a preschool class this year that combines music and movement to teach basic music concepts like pitch and listening skills while letting our preschoolers sing, run, and play! 


I'm super excited to get started, and decided to share my lesson plans here in case anyone else wants some ideas for Music Time!

Each week I will be following a different theme.  The first theme will be the Moon & Space!

Here is my plan...I'll post a brief update to let you know how it went!

Theme: Moon & Space

Gathering Activity: Play with musical instrument toys

Hello Song: On the first day we'll have name tags, and then we'll sing, "Hello *kid's name*, hello *kid's name* to the tune of "Goodnight, Ladies."

Warm-up Song: When I Sing La, La, La by Janeen Brady with sock puppets. When we lived in Houston, my friend Ellie introduced this song and the idea of using puppets with it to me, and I love it so much! It teaches pitch, associating your mouth opening with singing nice full notes, fine motor exercise, and so much more! (Sidenote: Ellie used to teach elementary school, and I learned SO many things from her!) Emphasize opening your mouth really big like the puppet when you sing, lift the puppets high for high notes, and lower the puppets low near the floor for low notes.

Action Song: Rocketship Run by Laurie Berkner. Our preschoolers will fly around during the verses, then countdown, and "blast off" every time the countdown gets to "1!" Ellie introduced us to this one too, and it became a family favorite several years ago!

Instrument: Rhythm Sticks. We'll be doing this Mission Control copy game with rhythm sticks!

Coordination Song: Rockets on My Lap: Chant "Rockets on my lap, clap, clap; rockets on my lap, clap, clap; shake it to the left; shake it to the right; rockets back on my lap, clap, clap!"  We learned this sing-song chant with Ellie, but we sang it with scarves. We'll still be using scarves as props on our Moon Day, but we'll call them rockets. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Instrument: Shaker Eggs: We're going to call the shaker eggs "moons" and talk briefly about the difference in a full moon and partial moons. Then we'll play "I Can Shake My Shaker Egg" by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael, singing "shaker moon" instead of "shaker egg." We'll also walk in a circle while we sing this song and use actions suggested by the song (sneaking, walking, running, etc.).  

Theme Song: Planets! Planets! by Music With Nancy. I'm going to print these pictures of planets, pass them out to the kids, and let them show everyone their picture when it sings it. I might have to print two sets of the planets. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Parachute Fun: We absolutely adore parachute games and songs, so I am going to have at 1-3 parachute songs and games every week. This week we will start with Zoom Zoom Zoom by Kiboomers. We'll open up the parachute and wave it during the verse, then during the chorus ("If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship") the kids can climb into the middle of the parachute and the adults will wave it. Then they'll jump out for the next verse.

Moon Sharks: We used to play Sharks with Ellie by choosing one or two "sharks." Everyone else will sit with the parachute on their laps and their feet under the parachute. The sharks will crawl around under the parachute "catching" kids by touching their feet. Once they're "caught" the kids become a shark too! I know sharks don't actually live on the moon, but since this is a favorite game, we're going to play it with "moon sharks" anyway!

Walk Around (the Moon) by Music With Nancy: Everyone will hold one handle of the parachute and walk in a circle...or jump, or whatever the song suggests. ;)  We might not have time for this (since our Music Time will be 40 minutes), but if we do, I think it will be great!

Goodbye Song: I'm doing the same tune for this as the Hello Song, just singing "Goodbye *name*."  


On another note, (haha...did you see what I did there, lol!) if you're looking for a music curriculum that teaches all the music basics like pitch, rhythm, and even reading notes I have a program that I 100% recommend!  It is called Preschool Prodigies, and it is absolutely "open and go!" AND your kids learn a musical instrument (bells) through the program! We are actually using this as well, and ALL my kids LOVE it (this includes my preschoolers, elementary kiddos, and my middleschooler)!! They have the following curricula available on their streaming videos preschool (learning bells), recorder, ukulele, performance, and more!! I am super excited about this program and am sharing it with everyone I know! I simply have not seen any other system as fun and effective for teaching music. But you can decide for yourself...here's my affiliate link to learn more! They even have a sale going right now that you will want to check out asap!


I hope all of this is helpful for you! Let me know if you use any of it in your Music Time!!


UPDATE: I taught this class last week, and we had a great time! I didn't have time to pull out the scarves, but we did everything else and ended right on schedule! They worked great!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Thursday, August 29, 2019

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Planets Printable Photos -- Free!

What would you do with pictures of  the planets in our solar system? Use them for a fun space theme? A solar system game? Decorations for your wall during a space unit?


Well, this is your chance to decide!

I needed pictures of the planets, the sun, and stars for our Space themed Music Class, so I put together this free collection of fantastic photographs from NASA!

Aren't they gorgeous?!

Inside the packet you will find pictures of the following:

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter 
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto
Sun
Stars (Stephan’s Quintet from Hubble)
the planets all together

This free packet is perfect for preschoolers, but you can also use it with older kids! The pictures are perfect for learning activities, bulletin boards, games and more! You can click HERE to see how I used them in our preschool music class!

You can get the packet by clicking on the link below! There are no strings attached, no emails required, and no hidden costs. Just an awesome printable! ๐Ÿ˜‰ You're always welcome to sign up for updates from me so you know about all the awesome printables I share in the future too, but it's not "required" for this!

I would LOVE to hear how you're using them! Feel free to send me an email or say hi on Facebook or Instagram!


Are you doing a space theme? I have some fantastic lessons, experiments, games, and other printables that you might want to check out! Just click on the image you want below! (There are two collections...you might want to peek at both!)

 


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Friday, August 23, 2019

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10 Hot Topics in Early Childhood Education (That Weren't Necessarily Issues 10 Years Ago!)

In 1999, Nokia sold the first mobile phone with a WAP browser. Ten years ago smartphones were just becoming commonplace; today they come with cameras that take better pictures than many point-and-shoots! If you had told me 10 years ago that I could carry a phone in my pocket that is as powerful as a computer and has a camera on it, I would not have believed you! Yet, here we are!! You can see just as dramatic changes in topics that early childhood educators are studying now compared with what was important 10 years ago! If you're a parent or in an ECE classroom, some of these will probably resonate with you, and if you're just getting started in the field they are critical topics to be informed about and have opinions on!



Here are 10 trending topics that ECE teachers are studying today that they wouldn’t have 10 years ago, according to ChildCare Education Institute, and ways that you can use CCEI to learn more about those topics: 

1- Children on Devices: In the 80's we discussed, wondered, and researched how healthy television was for kids. Now technology has found its way into almost every aspect of our children's lives. Is this healthy? Is it safe? Your opinions on these issues will determine how you structure your day and what activities your kiddos will do. CCEI’s (CHD103: The Child’s Digital Universe: Technology and Digital Media in Early Childhood) online course shares the latest research and recommendations regarding children's use of technology and digital media and ways in which digital devices are reshaping childhood and early childhood education. 

2- STEM and Robotics: Children are growing up in an increasingly digital world, and technology, coding and robotics in schools are getting a lot of attention. Young children LOVE both STEM and robots! There are a lot of learning activities you can do to help encourage that love and teach topics that your kids are already excited about. Did you know that there are robotics kits designed specifically for young children? CCEI’s course CUR123: Robotics in Early Childhood Education: Hands-On and Playful Approaches explains some of these kits and teaches ways to use robotics to create a hands-on, playful early learning environment! And did you know that you can use art in STEM? CCEI's course CUR113- STEAM: Enhancing STEM Education with the Arts includes a variety of art activities and teaches you to integrate them into STEM learning!





3- Trauma Informed Care: Trauma is not a new topic, but some of the social stigma that at one time surrounded mental illness is now being talked about and supported more in our society. ECE providers work with diverse groups of students from all walks of life, and need to be prepared to work with children who have had traumatic experiences. Statistics show that 26% of children living in America will experience some sort of trauma in their life prior to the age of four. CCEI offers SOC108: Establishing Trauma Informed Practices in Early Learning Environments which focuses on ways to incorporate trauma informed practices into the environment and interactions with children. The course explains what trauma is, how it can affect young children, and practical ways to create a safe environment for all children to thrive in. 



4- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a topic that has been around for a long time, but is becoming more accepted in public spaces. Mindfulness practices can prevent instances of undesired behavior, increase focus and engagement and promote a feeling of ownership and empowerment for children. As an additional benefit, classroom communities tend to be more empathetic and kind. CCEI offers SOC106: The Value of Mindfulness in Early Childhood which explores calming and reflective approaches when working with young children. The course first explains the need and benefits for mindful practices in early childhood, and then includes lots of activity ideas and ways that teachers can immediately implement mindful practices and ways to teach social emotional skills.

5- Spirituality: Dictionaries tell us that spirituality includes non-physical aspects of ourselves like emotions and character topics that can sometimes be challenging to teach preschoolers! CCEI’s CHD109: Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments is based upon the work of Deborah Schein, author of the book titled Inspiring Wonder, Awe and Empathy – Spiritual Development in Young Children. The course explores what spiritual development is and why it is important to overall development. Participants will also learn how to create moments within their learning environments that promote spiritual development in young children.

6- Caring for Allergies: Child food allergies are on the rise in the United States and continue to be a public health concern. CCEI’s CCEI119: Food Allergies in the Early Care Setting online course provides an overview of food allergies and basic safety principles to employ in the early care setting. Upon completion of this course, teachers will be able to provide a safe environment for children and staff who suffer from food allergies, identify the eight major food allergens, list the theories associated with the rise in food allergies and identify the importance of food labeling and packaging.

7- Dual-Language Learning: Okay, so this was a big deal 10 years ago, but it's still so important that I had to include it. In some areas, non-native English speakers may make up the majority of a classroom, but even if you only have one dual-language student, it is important to be able to meet his or her needs! All early childhood educators need to be prepared to meet the challenges of guiding a child toward English fluency while maintaining fluency in (and respect for) their home languages and culture. CCEI offers CHD102: Dual Language Learning in the Early Childhood Environment to provide early childhood professionals with strategies and tools for helping young children develop language and early literacy skills in both English and their native language. The course also includes the benefits of dual language and ways to engage the families of children to create rich language development for all children.



8- Attention Disorders: The numbers of preschoolers and other children diagnosed with attention disorders are rising, and both parents and teachers can benefit from a little extra training in this area. CCEI offers courses like SPN102: Attention Deficit Disorders to help child care providers understand the symptoms, sub-types and common treatment strategies associated with attention disorders.  It also includes a wide variety of classroom modifications that can be used to help young children with attention disorders be successful.

9- Diversity and Inclusion: We are seeing more conversations than ever about diversity and inclusion, and it is a wonderful thing--even at the preschool level! CCEI’s CCEI640: Creating a Multicultural Environment online training course helps teachers define the goals of multiculturalism, plan and implement a classroom that avoids bias, incorporate multiculturalism into learning centers and other classroom activities and promote cooperative social skills in diverse classrooms.

10- Bullying in the Classroom: Although bullying has also been around for years, today’s teachers are more proactive about reducing bullying. CCEI’s GUI100: Bullying in the Preschool Environment online course helps teachers bring empathy and compassion to the classroom as a way of reducing bullying behaviors. It also teaches educators how to identify bullying and positive guidance strategies to help both bullies, victims, and other children.

I've shared a lot of information about ChildCare Education Institute's select courses in each of the topics above because they are a wonderful source of accredited, online professional development for teachers and education for parents.




ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) is the industry leader for online professional development for early childhood educators. You can take individual courses, have a subscription to their entire course catalog for one year, or complete certificate programs with them! a CCEI's courses are super user-friendly, research-based, cover important topics, and always end with a short assessment so you can review everything you just learned. They are instrumental in teaching important ECE information in a friendly and convenient way! And 99% of students would recommend CCEI to others, so you are sure to be in good hands! You can see more details about some of the courses I have personally taken like CCEI122: Active Learning in Early Childhood and CCEI440: Sensational Science or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website to learn more! I have absolutely loved all of the courses I have taken with them and am happy to recommend them to other educators!

Do you have strong feelings about any of these topics? I would love to hear from you! Let's keep the conversations about important issues going!

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. As always, you get my real opinions, and I only recommend companies that I love!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!





Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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