Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Friday, October 23, 2015

Favorite Fall Lessons!

Ah, Fall... the leaves are changing colors, the air is getting cooler, the coffees are infused with pumpkin spice... It's a nice time of year. I'm linking up with my blog tribe to share some of my favorite fall lessons!

I am lucky enough to teach in a school that is very pro-Halloween. We have a huge costume parade and every class throws a party. It's easily one of my favorite days of the school year. So I have lots of fun doing Halloween songs along with other seasonal songs this time of year. I'll share some great things I've found to do with each grade level...

Our Pre-K students just learned the letter "M" in their classroom, so I decided to reinforce that literacy component with a fun movement activity called, "Monsters Stomp Around the House."

This is a piggyback song to the tune of, "The Ants Go Marching" which we are going to be learning later in the year. Now that they've heard the melody in this song, it should be more familiar to them when we get to it!

I learned this song in college and love doing it with my primaries:

To trace the melodic contour, I use foam leaves that I bought at a craft store a few years ago. You could also use scarves or paper cutouts for the same effect.

1st Grade
Another favorite song that I learned in college is a piggyback song to the tune of "The Muffin Man." This one is called "The Pumpkin Child."

Oh, do you know the pumpkin child?
The pumpkin child, the pumpkin child!
Do you know the pumpkin child
Who goes to [ school name]?

I start the lesson by telling my students a story of a day when a little pumpkin came to the school and he went to different teachers in the building and asked them if they knew the pumpkin child. Each time I mention a new teacher, we sing the song again. By the time I've finished the story, they've had at least six or seven repetitions of the song and can sing it independently.

Then we play a beat passing game and pass a pumpkin around the circle. Whoever the pumpkin lands on is the pumpkin child! I let the pumpkin child pick a movement (pat, clap, snap, etc.) for us to use to keep the steady beat.

2nd Grade
I LOVE the book "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything"

But do you know what I love even more than the book? This great video that has the story set to a song! I had my students sing along and then act out each part.

After singing the song, I bring out the book and we add instruments for each part as well.

3rd-5th Grade
For my intermediate students, I've found a couple of fun activities on Pinterest that I use...

halloween fun with Finale:

The kids love reading the notation for Ghost of John in this shape! And we sing it in a two or three part round.

Cup Passing Game to the Addams Family Theme Song:

I'm excited to try this cup passing game next week. I also do a contest with The Addams Family Song... since music class is a place where we practice performing and stage presence, I challenge them to sing the song like Wednesday Addams: with a frown the whole time and NO SMILING. There is nothing funnier than watching a bunch of kids try their hardest NOT to smile!!!

I hope you enjoy these Falloween (as my second graders called it) activities. Don't forget to check out some of the other blogs in the linkup!


  1. I LOVE the notation on the pumpkin! Thanks for sharing and linking up :)

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  3. Thank you!!! I'm using the Adams Family for an online learning game.

  4. I love your Adams Family cup tapping and used it in the past at a piano group lesson where I had students put glow sticks around the base of the cups for a fun "glow-in-dark" rhythm cup tapping activity. This year I am encouraging my students to do a "Don't scare me, Surprise Me" activity of choice and wondered if I could repost your cup-tapping image on my blog and printable ( including a link to your site? I thought they'd enjoy watching this instrumental cover youtube video to introduce the song