Ms. Martin's Music Room

Resources and reflections on what my classroom teaches me.

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Flash cards: The Farmer in the Dell

Farmer in the Dell cards - completedWay back when I was a student teacher (a whole year ago! WOW!), I worked with Mrs. Ruth Crouch at Forest Heights Elementary as my mentor. She had been teaching for years, and had tons of really fabulous resources, one of which was a set of cute cards to help her late-year Kinder students learn “The Farmer in the Dell.” When I started to teach it myself, I realized that a set of my own would be handy, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. “Wa-hey!” I thought, “I know how to use PowerPoint!”

Here’s the result. If you like ’em, feel free to download them and use them in your classroom. I’m using the most commonly used U.S. version of this very old song, with the sequence of 1) farmer, 2) wife, 3) child, 4) nurse (I used a “nanny” image), 5) cow, 6) dog, 7) cat, 8) mouse, and 9) cheese.

What to do with these? Well, of course, you can hold them up and use them as reminders after you teach the song itself. But why stop there? Kindergarteners LOVE repetition, so why not let them take turns, singing it a few times a day, until every student has had a turn holding the cards? Or maybe pass out the cards and have the student who has each one stand up and show it when it’s their part of the song? It could be useful for introducing the game to have them hold the cards and hand the card to the one they choose for the next character.

Here’s an opportunity for solo singing! Make up a version to be sung just by the one who’s “it” at the time: “Nancy is the cat, oh, Nancy is the cat! I am the dog, and Nancy is the cat.” – or something. Anyway, it’s here for your use and free to download or modify or do whatever you like, except sell it, of course.

About the cards: They’re set up for 5 x 7, since I had a bunch of laminator pockets that size, and print 2 per page. The images are all free-use clip art, and are black and white. They were kind of fun to color for me while I “watched” TV, but if you have a good color-er in your life, by all means, let them do it! Enjoy!

Farmer in the Dell cards


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“Start-Me-Up!” Speed Drills for Guitar Class

Start-Me-Up 1

I’ve a few guitar students who are really resisting learning notes on the staff. To help them learn them in a “small bites” format, I’m using these speed drill sheets every day as a sort of class opener. I give them two minutes to fill in what they can, allowing them to look at their guitars or even play the notes, if it helps them, but I’m firm on the time limit.

Start-Me-Up 2

Once the two minutes are up, we go over the sheets together, having them write in or correct what they missed and then we play each note and chord in turn. I try to design each mini-lesson with some items which I’m sure they know and some where I know they’re having trouble, so they can have some success as well as highlighting areas for improvement. We then go on to our normal class period.

Start-Me-Up 1             Start-Me-Up 2

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? If you like the sheets, feel free to use them. I created them in PowerPoint myself, so they’re mine to give away.


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Combining CMP and Arts PROPEL for a Balanced Curriculum

The attached powerpoint presentation discusses the benefits of combining CMP (Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance) and ArtsPROPEL processes to create a balanced, synergistic approach to music education for K-12 instruction.


Here is a sample elementary-level lesson (from the Iowa cmp site –


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S is for Singing!

Lola, it’s time.

Objective: Students will demonstrate an understanding of triple meter by singing “Lola It’s Time” with the class.

1) Read through “I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed” with the class.

2) Lead a brief class discussion of what their bedtime looks like at home. Do they take a bath at night? Do they sing a special song?

3) Discuss and demonstrate any new or unfamiliar elements in the song. Clap through any unfamiliar rhythms with the class.

4) Divide class in half (not necessarily boys and girls!), and have one half sing the “Charlie” line, and the other sing the “Lola” line.

If time permits:

5) Encourage students to come up with class motions or pantomime: “How would Charlie look when he said this? How would Lola respond here?” This sort of dramatic play gets the student’s whole body involved, and can help them make a more immediate connection to the music. Movement with music will also help students who are unfamiliar with the triple meter to internalize the rhythmic pattern and the different stress-release pattern from a duple meter.