Music class in November can turn into Turkey Time, but I feel that my students are ready to up their music skills at this point in the year. Therefore, I choose songs and activities that give them the opportunities to grow musically. After all, November music class isn’t just about turkeys—it’s about learning too!
I don’t mean that I don’t use any turkey songs and games. However, I do try to stick to the sequence in the curriculum. I also like to integrate character education concepts into the music curriculum. Isn’t it the sweetest thing when children sing songs about thankfulness? Keep reading to find out more about November music class, and how it’s not just about turkeys!
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #1: SET THE STAGE
For the primary grades, I like to set the stage for the Native American and Pilgrim resources I’ll be using in their music classes. I tell a very short story about how the Native Americans saved the lives of the Pilgrims by teaching them how to fish, hunt, and grow corn. I use videos that help students visualize the story. Then I center my music class activities around Thanksgiving themes and choose activities that support the music standards and skills we are working on in November. Below is a Navajo song, “Grinding Corn,” but it’s a great activity song for steady beat. Amy Abbott is sharing a really fun way to use this song in her classroom.
This video below shows how the Wampanoag Native American Tribe lived during the time of the Pilgrims.
The first Thanksgiving video by Scholastic can also help to set the stage for your November Music Lessons.
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #2: CHOOSE THE ACTIVITIES
I can usually keep my students on track by using a variety of learning opportunities throughout the month. It is the perfect time to implement station activities. Students can work in small groups, socialize, and learn concepts at the same time. Then I bring the class back together for a whole group activity such as “The Turkey Lurkey” or “Turkey, Turkey, Where Are You Hiding?”
I also like my students to have lots of instrument playing time. This gets them super excited, and I’ve found classroom management is easier when they are engaged in instrument playing activities. I choose my concepts for the month of November, and then I choose activities that support those concepts. At this point in the year, I am helping students develop skills in playing instruments and reading notes. Here are some of the activities I focus on during November:
- Note Reading
- Small Group and Whole Group Activities
How To Set Up Music Class Activities
Here’s one way I organize my lessons when I’m using station activities.
CLASS TIME LESSON OUTLINE IDEA
- Warm up voices with the whole class
- Do a short sight singing or rhythm activity
- Whole class reviews/practices skills
- Class breaks up into small groups and is assigned a station area.
- Whole class comes together to review and close the lesson.
Here are my selections for this month:
If you want to “gobble up” this free chart for your November lesson planning, be sure to subscribe to my Free Resource Library. Once you subscribe, you’ll receive an email with the password and have access to all of the freebies, like the November music class planning sheet.
Here’s another blog post that has information about November music classes called “How To Get Students To Gobble Up the Beat.”
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #3: VARY THE ACTIVITIES
Sometimes I’ll change a station if I find that the students have mastered the skills or the idea didn’t work for those students.
I have many materials now that I’ve been teaching for a while. Every year I have to change my teaching strategies to accommodate my students’ needs. I’ll pull out a different set of manipulatives, games, or activities as long as they focus on the skill and concept we’re working on. Students enjoy playing a game or go to the smart board for a different way to practice the same skills.
How do I manage seven grade levels?
I plan a different set of activities for each grade, but I sometimes use variations of similar material. I adjust the skill level and apply the standards for that grade level. An example would be that I’ll just swap out the flashcards in a center for each grade level. I also have a folder with worksheets for each grade, which makes it easy to switch between classes.
Don’t be a turkey! Work smarter, not harder!
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #4: ACTIVITY SONGS
I typically don’t use worksheets for Kindergarten. Kindergartners like to pretend and imagine to be animals, so I prefer to do movement activities with them as part of the lesson where they get to be turkeys. I have lots of favorite songs about turkeys.
I recently found this adorable video from Thailand of a performance of the song called “I’m a Very Fine Turkey.” This video showed me a new way we can learn music skills from this song. I love how the students are playing xylophones and echoing the gobbling sounds of a turkey. I believe they are playing low C/G and then high C/G. I love to watch the Kinders act like little turkeys in the barnyard when I teach them this song. I use it as an activity song. First, the boys get to be the turkeys in the middle of the circle. Then the girls get a turn. The students on the outside of the circle sing the song.
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #5: ADD NEW MATERIALS
Am I crazy?
No! It’s just that every year there are curriculum, schedule, program, and other dynamics that force me to make changes in my curriculum. I keep the basics, but I like to add new materials that support the music concepts we’ree working on that quarter.
I just completed the animations for all of the vocal exploration products.
You may want to check out some of the other November-themed music class lessons I’ve created.
For learning to sing mi-so-la, I use the game song I wrote called “Turkey, Turkey Where Are You Hiding?”
Here are some other wonderful November resources you can use. Just click on the graphics to learn more about each one.
NOVEMBER MUSIC CLASS TIP #6: DIVERSIFY YOUR CURRICULUM
One thing that I did at the very beginning of my career was to establish curriculum for each grade. Since I do NOT teach all 5th and 6th graders, I needed something special that would work for smaller groups of students who might be emotionally and learning challenged. I now use keyboards, boom whackers, and guitars in the upper elementary classes.
In November, we’re just getting started in our guitar curriculum. As students have already learned C chord last week, I will be presenting the F and G chords to them. I have some easy songs for them to play in a PowerPoint presentation. Some of them are nursery rhymes like Frere Jacques and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. In addition, I’ve found that my student love some of the songs from M-K8. “I’m Gonna Play Guitar” is a great song to learn the G chord.
I also will have them work on “I’ve Got the Turkey Blues,” a song that I wrote. We’ll learn A7, D7 and G7 chords to play this funny song.
Most of all I’m grateful for the chance to share with you! November music class: it’s not just about turkeys because there’s so many songs, games, activities and strategies you can use in your classroom.
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