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I know . . . you’re probably not ready to talk about it, but the new school year is rushing up fast and furious. The beginning of a new school year can feel a bit overwhelming. You’re meeting new students and trying to remember all the things you’ve done in the past. If you’re like me, you’re also trying to remember where you stored everything. Plus, there’s all the paperwork and PD at the beginning of the year. It’s A LOT!

That’s why today I’m going to plan your first 8 weeks of school for you! All you need to do is read on for some done-for-you lesson plans to start your school year.

This original song is the perfect way to get your kiddos in the groove of the new school year. The lesson plan that accompanies this song includes so much great learning. Here’s what your kiddos will work on :

  • Melody
  • Rhythm
  • Non-pitched percussion skills
  • Orff instrument skills

The best part . . . your kiddos get to organically share what they did over summer break. The bundle includes the song, the lesson plan, the presentations for all the breaks during the school year.

This storybook is an absolutely spectacular example of how to find joy in everyday life. In this story, a brother & sister are hanging out at their grandmother’s, feeling bored and restless. Their grandmother said, “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing.” She taught her grandchildren how to fly, the same way that her ancestors taught her.

The lesson plan for this storybook has great discussion questions to help your kiddos find joy in life. They’ll also learn or review composition skills, based on their definition of joy. AND they’ll get the opportunity to use timbre and the classroom Orff instruments to explore emotions.

This one is an all-time favorite for me, and my students always loved the activities we did with it. Just like the title suggests, this story is about everyone in the classroom feeling welcomed and accepted. It’s set on the first day of school in an elementary classroom.

My activities for this storybook include:

  • A movement meet & greet
  • A tiny melody
  • Non-pitched percussion play (the perfect way to review your instruments & how to play them)
  • An Orffestration

This storybook is absolutely adorable. It’s about a hedgehog and a rabbit and how although they’re very different, they can still be friends. The message is, of course, the perfect way to build classroom culture. I love the emphasis of friendship in spite of being different. In our current world culture, it’s so important to teach our children that being different doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends.

This lesson plan includes a great discussion on friendship and building classroom community. Your students will also get to work on:

  • Musical opposites like loud & soft or fast & slow
  • Different types of non-pitched percussion instruments
  • Basic Composition skills

Ayaan wakes up one morning and doesn’t feel good about going to school. He doesn’t feel smart. Instead, he feels worried that he won’t know the answers. Ayaan’s mom helps him with some affirmations to help him when he’s feeling scared or nervous.

This storybook is a great way to help your students through those beginning-of-the-year jitters. Plus, your kiddos will get to create their own affirmations and then set them to music.

This storybook is a new favorite, and I have LOTS of ideas about how to use it. The story is about how one event creates a series of wonderful happenings, all centered around an orchestra and a conductor. This picture book could, of course, be used to introduce your Instrument Families of the Orchestra unit. However, my favorite way to use this book is to get your students thinking about the year ahead and to set some goals for what they want to accomplish in music class. This is an especially good lesson plan for students who have been with you for a few year . . . say your 3rd through 5th graders.

This one is just for you, music teacher. If you’re a Mo Willems fan, then you already know his particular brand of pigeon humor. If not, I highly recommend this 80-page book full of opinions, tips, quotes, and complaints all packed into pigeon humor.

Your job is hard . . . let’s just say it. And no one else knows just how challenging your day is. This book is perfect to keep in your classroom any time you need a little pick-me-up!

The beginning of the new year is maybe a month or two away, so bookmark this post and come back to it when you’re actually planning. In the meantime, relax, enjoy, and refresh.

The images of the storybooks are clickable and will lead you to an Amazon affiliate link so you can purchase your favorite books. Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of the All Are Welcome lesson plan.

Want more tips and trainings to help you find happy in your music classroom? Check out The Happy Music Teacher Academy!

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