Don’t Knock the Kids – Knock A Note!

Do you have a week or two left of school?

First of all…bless you.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Secondly, have I got the game for you!  I was looking for something to keep my kids interested and musically engaged in the last few weeks of school, and I came up with Knock A Note.

If your last weeks of school are like mine, they’re full of interruptions for events and ceremonies.  It was impossible for me to keep track of which kids I was going to see for music and which ones were missing for awards, Water Day, field trips, and Buddy Day.  Knock A Note got me through with no problems!

Now, I know I usually give everything away for free on my blog, but the need to keep my electricity on all summer has prompted me to open a Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I really need my A/C, folks.  Don’t worry!  There will still be freebies!  And I promise you that this game is worth the price.  It will make your last week bearable.  Maybe even FUN.

Logo 1

Ok – so here’s how the game works!  The kids divide into two teams and sit in lines facing the projector screen.  A visual like this is projected:


The first two students in line stand up.  That’s when you pull the old switcheroo and change slides!


The standing students race to the board and KNOCK THE NOTE when they can name it. My projector screen is my chalkboard.  It’s great because I don’t worry about the kids slapping it!

Ask the student who knocked first to name the note.  If he/she gets it right, go to the end of the line and the other student is OUT!  Go to the cheering section.  If he/she gets it wrong, the other team gets a chance to name it.  Name it right and you’re in!  Name it wrong and you’re OUT.

But don’t worry – there are lots of fun tricks in this game to keep student interest!  Look out for WILD CARDS!


These cards are spread out throughout the game and keep the cheering section kids on their toes!

Note Name Knock A Note comes in three levels: beginner (K-1), intermediate (2-4), and advanced (3-6).  Choose the level that is right for you and your students or get all three in a discounted bundle.


Once you play, let me know how it goes!  My kids LOVED it and begged to play over and over and over.  They even came in the next week begging for the game!

Have fun – and hang in there!

-Lauren :)

Bring on the Sun! And turn on the A/C…

It’s summer here in R&G land.  School is out and we’re relaxing with our families.  Well, I am relaxing.  I don’t know about my husband and son.  I shooed them out of bed early Saturday morning to head to the beach with this statement…

“If we don’t leave this house for the beach by 8:00 AM, this summer is a FAILURE!!”

Nothing like starting things off right!  The great news is that they sensed my desperation to do something (ANYTHING) other than think about school and we were out the door by 8:15.

Before we go any farther, can we just take a minute to appreciate the beauty of air conditioning??  We have a long time off during the grossest time of year (on the TX coast, at least).  I don’t think I would have made it back in the day.  I am a delicate flower who only flourishes between 65 and 80 degrees.  Above that, there better be a stiff breeze.

Anyway, I am officially on summer break!  Time to reflect on the past school year.  Here are 5 thoughts that someone out there might care about…maybe.

  1. Change happens.  Winter is coming.  However you want to say it, it’s true.  All you can do is go with the flow and be nice to the people around you.
  2. Kids are awesome.  While personnel and schedules may change, kids pretty much stay the same.  They want to have fun and be loved!
  3. Great co-workers are invaluable.  I’ve been spoiled with a fantastic teacher team!  I need to hug their necks every day and tell them how much I enjoy working with them.
  4. People notice when you do good things.  They don’t always say something, but they appreciate it.  Make an effort to share your good thoughts with people!
  5. I love my job!  It’s nice to know that I still love what I do more than 18 years after first entering the classroom.  Here’s to 18 more!  (More like 40 more…)

If you’re still in school, my thoughts are with you.  Finish strong and smile!  If you’re done like me, high-fives all around.  We did it!

Look for some new things from Rhythm and Glues this summer!

– Lauren :)



Three Things

Three things

There’s a linky party over at Mrs. Miracle’s Music Room, and I couldn’t help but get involved!  Full disclosure – the things I am going to list are all from the Game Plan books by Kriske and Delelles. Here are three things that worked miracles this week…

  1. The No-Touch Tour

My kids (especially kinder babies) really want to check out my classroom.  We do a No-Touch Tour for all ages! You can walk anywhere you want and look at anything you want, but NO TOUCHING. Kinder and first walk and stop when the drum changes. 2nd/3rd move to a song from Rhythmically moving – feet need to match the beat! Fourth and fifth graders move to folk music, stop when the music stops, and get movement challenges when they restart (backward! sideways! crawl!). The kids get to see everything and it’s working their musical ears!

2. Fire Drill…Drill

I never did this before I read about it in Game Plan, but I am so glad I learned about it. On the first day of class, all students second grade and up have a practice fire drill. They learn all the details of what to do if the fire alarm goes off in music. We even have a pretend evacuation! We exit the building, check out our surroundings, and come back in. Now I know every kid knows how to evacuate in an emergency and I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

3. Follow the Leader

I worked on line walking with my kinder students using a nursery rhyme. First we only walked on the velcro floor lines. Once I saw I had them really following me, we ventured away from the lines and into uncharted territory. When we left the classroom, I just had to remind them to line up like little ducks, and they were ready to follow the leader down the hallway. Herding ducks is easier than herding cats…

Lauren :)

Blue drop


Ah, summer!  Time to sleep past 5:00 AM, take a break from being around 160 kids every day, and to prep all the lessons and shows I will be working on next year.  And where do I turn for inspiration?  Pinterest, of course!

We’re putting on Jungle Book Kids as a district musical next year, and I have been pinning ideas since December.  Now that I have some time, I am putting those pins to WORK!

Today I worked on sets and backdrops.  Let’s start with panels!  We have pipe frames that are 4’x6′.  A flat twin sheet fits perfectly with just a little hemming.  For our jungle, I chose this picture as inspiration:

Panel Pic

What beautiful colors!  I drew out my vision and added a few orange flowers to pop:


The Jungle Book also needs some ruins.  This was the fun part!  These pics PINspired me:

Ruins 1 Ruins 2

In my research, there were a lot of stages with waterfalls.  Well, I want a waterfall, too!  These two pictures made my jaw drop:

waterfall Houses and Waterfall

Look how COOL that strippy waterfall is!  And the monastery around the waterfall?  SO AMAZING.  Here is what they inspired:

Waterfall Ruins

Yep – that waterfall is going to be made out of awesome strippy dyed fabric!  Put them together on stage and you get something like this:

Stage Layout 1

Looks great!  Now that I have my ideas, I can start getting supplies to make them happen.  Tonight I started experimenting with cardboard, tape, and paint to make stone ruins.  I love the awesome detail on this throne:


Here is my first attempt at some stony detail.  I was trying to loosely replicate the arm of the throne.  It is pretty rough up close, but I think it’s going to look awesome from 50 feet away!

throne arm

Not really happy with the color yet, but I can paint over it again!

My other prop project for the day was totally nuts.  Coconuts, that is!  I made some light-weight coconuts out of stuff I had around the house – old foam balls from the PE room, masking tape, and some paint.  Free nuts, people!  I gathered my supplies…

coconuts 1

Taped up the foam balls…

coconuts 2And then painted them to look like jungle bowling balls…

coconutsThey’re going to be great for the kids to use!

Stay tuned for a post all about the amazing things I learned at the Texas Educational Theatre Association Conference about making sets with cardboard, tape, paint, and hot glue.  My mind was blown.  The best part is that everything you make is practically FREE.  If it doesn’t work, who cares?  No money lost!  And that is important when you’re doing shows on a budget.

Got any tips for making great sets and props?

Lauren :)

Meet your Music Technology MATCH!

I love technology.  I also love helping teachers.  I can’t get enough!  Lucky for me that I get to help plan out the first EVER Music and Technology Conference of Houston.

MATCH 2015 notes

The Music and Technology Conference of Houston is a TMEA- sponsored technology conference dedicated to elementary music teachers. MATCH  is sponsored by TMEA regions 3, 13, 17, 19, 23, and 27 and is currently accepting session proposals!

I know I have some SUPER-smart readers out there.  You guys are doing amazing things!  Why not put in a proposal for MATCH?  It’s going to be a fantastic event.  Check out our flyer!

flyer pic 1flyer buttonflyer pic 2

I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to help organize this conference.  My partners in crime are Juli Salzman (current TMEA Elementary VP) and Michele Hobizal (current TCDA Elementary VP and former TMEA Elementary VP).  These are some serious brains, people!  And I get to hang out with them! Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Let me know if I can give you any more information on MATCH! We’d love to have you!

– Lauren :)

You can also view our flyer on smore!  Click here!

Super School Year Review!

WHEW!  It is finally summer vacation.  This has been a heck of a school year.  It was great, but crazy-busy.  So busy that I didn’t even write on the blog.  Well, I am ready to write this summer.  Let’s start the break off with a school year review!

District Musical
I started off the year like I usually do – with our district musical kids!  We put on Aladdin Kids this year, and it was a HUGE success.  Our students come from 8 schools, work for 5 weeks on a show, and then put on a 13-show tour for more than 10,000 students, teachers, and community members.  It was truly fantastic!

musical shirt two

Student Teacher #1 – Katie the Great!
Right after district musical, my first student teacher of the year came from University of Houston.  Katie was amazing!!  She is a very accomplished singer, and she made my students sound like real professionals.  In addition, she is one of the funniest people I have ever known.  Our days were full of fun and laughter!

Katie and Lauren

On her last day, Katie was hugging all the second graders as they left the music room.  One of the girls looked at her and said, “See you in Heaven!”  We looked at each other and AWWWWWWed pretty hard.  Then a boy walked by, looked at Katie and said, “See you in Hell!”  Uh….what??  We looked at each other and WTFed pretty hard.  I tracked the kid down and explained that maybe that wasn’t the nicest thing to say.  The things these kids hear at home…

Stupid Pills
Thank goodness I had Katie around this fall, because I started taking stupid pills to help curb my vestibular migraines.  The medicine TOTALLY worked, but it made me quite stupid while my body was getting used to it.  Katie and Ginger would sit around and wait for me to say something totally stupid…or maybe they were just watching to see if I would drool a bit.  Thank goodness I got used to the meds and grew out of my idiocy.

Holiday Music Special
Our second annual holiday music special was a success!  Each school recorded one song.  It was all edited together into a program for local public access TV!  The program aired throughout the holiday season.  Here are my kids playing Mele Kalikimaka!

Crazy Carols
My 3rd-5th grade choir kids put on the show Crazy Carols in December.  With Katie’s help, they sounded like super-stars!  Ginger put on a winter art show at the same time.  It was a huge success!  Those kids worked their booties off…not the shoe kind.

My favorite moment was when I was sitting on the cafeteria floor conducting my kids on the stage.  The students sit all around me, so I hear some interesting things.  After one of the songs, a first grader tapped me and this conversation happened:

Kid: Mrs. Summa…I really hated that song.
Me: Really?  I liked it!
Kid: No…”hated” means I thought it was really bad.
Me: Well, maybe you will like the next one!
Kid: I’m not sure…

Student Teacher #2 – Caitlyn the Amazing!
Have I told you how lucky I am to teach near the University of Houston?  The student teachers they send me are phenomenal.  I have never met anyone like Caitlyn!  She can play any instrument, she can sing, and she looks like Elsa from Frozen.  My kids couldn’t take it.  She was just too fabulous!

Caitlyn and Lauren

My favorite Caitlyn moment came when she was showing off her bassoon to one of my classes (second grade again!).  She pulled the instrument apart and said, “this is the boot joint.”  One of my special friends sat up and said, “BOOB JOINT! BOOB JOINT!”  No…that’s not what she said. Caitlyn handled it beautifully! Haha!

TETA Theatre Fest
Thank goodness I had Caitlyn, because I had some conference presentations in January and February.  The Texas Educational Theatre Association was up first.  I teamed up with my fellow district musical directors and presented all about staging your own district musical.  It was fantastic!  Here is our handout if you’re interested!

TETA Selfie

At TETA, we saw the most amazing presentation ever.  An awesome high school theatre teacher presented on how she makes all of her UIL One Act sets from corrugated cardboard, tape, hot glue, and paint.  She was phenomenal!  We’re totally putting her techniques to the test this year.  I will post some results this summer!

The biggest event of my school year was presenting for the TI:ME national convention at TMEA in San Antonio!  Again, Caitlyn helped a ton as we tested out projects and centers that were part of my presentation.  Everything turned out fantastic – the session was a huge success!  Here is the handout – I will write a more detailed post later in the summer.

For the Birds
Right before Spring Break, my 1st and 2nd grade choir performed a show I put together called For the Birds.  It was adorable. Caitlyn accompanied most of the songs on my electric ukulele.  She even taught some of my second graders to play for Three Little Birds!  Not gonna lie…I cried during this program.  It was adorable and sweet!


Fine Arts Showcase
In April I organized our district’s second annual Fine Arts Showcase.  The showcase featured the district’s most gifted performers from grades K-8.  It was a really beautiful show.  There are some really gifted kids out there, and I am glad we gave them the opportunity to perform on the big high school stage for an appreciative audience!  Want to know more?  Click here!

Talent Show
After STAAR testing was done, it was time for talent show.  I had started to feel really sick all the time, so in the week leading up to the show, I really didn’t want to plan the thing out like I usually do.  But I sucked it up and did it right.

On the night of the show, I was really feeling terrible.  A teacher friend who was backstage helping me knew I had been feeling awful for the last few weeks and told me to excuse myself.  Little did I know…

Dadgum Kidney Stone
I wasn’t able to return to the show because I was laying in the school bathroom possibly dying.  After the show, a whole crew of teachers were waiting for me to emerge from the bathroom (awesome, right??).  Well, I couldn’t walk or do much of anything else.  They called an ambulance – what an exit!  I promptly blacked out once we were on our way to the hospital.

Let me tell you – I don’t need to have any more kidney stones.  That’s no fun.  I missed the two school performances of the talent show.  Thank GOODNESS I had gone ahead and organized the show the right way!  Some teacher friends stepped in and ran the show for me while I laid on my couch taking pain pills.  My school rules.

Percussion Kids
My fifth grade percussion group started meeting twice a week after Spring Break.  We finished the year with some concerts for kids in our school.  I also recorded the kids and made a beautiful DVD.  I am going to miss those turkeys!!  They’re outstanding musicians!  I will share a recording later in the summer.

District Musical Auditions
We ended the year with auditions for next year’s district musical – Jungle Book Kids!  Now that I am on break, my mind is full of ideas for sets, staging, costumes, and choreography.  I am ready to write it all down!

Now I am DONE.  DONE!!  I am currently sitting on my couch and enjoying sweet, sweet summer vacation.  I have some new big projects coming up that I can’t wait to share!  Hopefully I will be on the blog more often in the coming year!

– Lauren :)

Q and mom selfie

Shake it Orff

Hey ya, folks!  It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by the blog.  Sorry about that!  Hopefully I will be back soon to share lots of cool things with you!

My fifth graders have been working on playing Shake it Off by Taylor Swift.  They’re having a lot of fun!  My Tuesday class recorded the “blob” version last week.  That’s when we’re all playing our own ostinato patterns at the same time.  Pretty soon we will separate them all out and create a cool arrangement!

I’ll post a more detailed arrangement later – for now, just enjoy the blob.  My student teacher is a great sport.  She’s improvising here on melodica.  Hilariously awesome!  You will also hear our PASS teacher jamming out on drums.  He’s the best!

– Lauren :)


Music Classroom Tour – Music is Super!

Superhero Room Blog Header copy

Folks – I hate to be the one who breaks it to you, but summer is over.  Pack away your season four DVDs of Game of Thrones.  Give your pets one last day-long hug.  It’s time to get back to the kids.

At the end of last year, my campus voted to go with a superhero theme for the upcoming school year.  Cool theme!  So many options!  Actually, one theme seems to be recurring around the school…SKYLINES.  Skylines EVERYWHERE.

Yep – I have a few skylines, too.  And a whole lot of REALLY CUTE superheroes.  I made a million of them to hang in my room.  They are adorable.  And they are all staring at me with the same creepy and blank expression.  Look at this…

lots of heroes

See how they’re all making the same freaky face??  It feels like a setup for a horror movie.  zoom 1

They’re coming….

zoom 2

And they’re not the smartest…

zoom 3

Wish I would have noticed that before I made so many.  Freaking creepy kids.  That being said, I did hang THIS creepy face up.

face door

That is my face.  Last year one of my classes did the most amazing talent show act in the WORLD.  They used giant print-outs of teacher heads.  It was phenomenal.  Now it is on the door that goes into the staff development room next door to me.  I asked my friends for caption ideas, and the consensus seemed to be that I am thinking, “Who farted?” I have classy friends.

Anyway, my room looks pretty awesome, if I do say so.  Here is my instrument family display…


Notice how I hang everything crooked?  I hate trying to get things straight.  My former intern Fredy?  He loves it.  In fact, he got super-anal when he was decorating his classroom last week.  He really wanted his solfege hands straight, so he PROJECTED A GRID FROM HIS COMPUTER ONTO THE WALL.  He’s brilliant, I tell you!  Take a look!

grid lines

Ridiculous.  Everyone is going to do that now.  It’s too brilliant!  Now…back to heroes.  Here is one of my skylines.  See all the cute tiny heroes??


And here is my personalized superhero!


My son’s personalized super hero!


I made a big comic strip on the wall by my desk.  Here is a full view!

photo 1 (2)

The map is back again this year!  My hubby came to the school and helped me this year.  No nervous breakdowns this time!


A few other random pics…

photo 1 (4) photo 3 (3) photo 3 (4) photo 3 (1) image

Here is a view of the other side of the classroom…I haven’t cleaned it up yet…Ugh!






It was fun, superhero theme!  Now you’re up for the long haul. I will take you down in May.  Be good to the kids!

Do you have a superhero theme?  I WANT TO SEE IT!

– Lauren :)