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In February, the winter blues start to hit.  We’re stuck inside more often, and the kids get really a bit more rowdy. We all suffer from the lack of fresh air.

1. Play Parties.
I had never heard of them until last weekend at MMC with Jill Trinka, even though I’ve done several of the activities she went over before.  I had just never heard the term.  I always just considered them folk dances, or games that went with the folk songs.
The difference:
Play Party: Social events from that had singing and dancing.  Dancing and instruments were not allowed due to religious restrictions so play parties were more like children’s games.  People sang the music, and the movements were simple and game-like.
Folk Dances: More traditional dancing, and music to folk songs.  Movements are dance-like.
So of course, after being in all the sessions with Jill, I went down to the exhibit hall and found this at West Music.Mrs Stouffer's Music Room February Survival GuideMrs Stouffer's Music Room February Survival Guide

 

2.  Solid sub activities. 
It is great to have a solid set of sub materials that are appropriate for your kids, that aren’t videos!  There are way more options for a sub than popping in that old VHS that has been played 4 too many times and has the weird lines in the middle of the screen for about 6 minutes in the middle of the video.  Besides, your 5th graders could perform the whole thing.  I think these are the perfect days to work on concepts that non-music subs can’t do.  You can have the sub teach about a composer/musician.  I always leave a worksheet with it to make sure kids do some writing those days too.

This is also a great time to work on instrument names.  A sub can easily put out pages so students can Write the Room.  They just have to manage the kids, and the kids can not only go over instruments they know, but they get some more of that reading, writing practice that is necessary in a lot of music classrooms these days.  I picked this up last week as it is something I just DON’T have the patience to make right now.  (Or the time! My open house is coming up fast!) I really like the options she provided, so definitely go check it out!
Ginny's Music Space
For Black History Month, I’ve created a few different files with Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker, and Duke Ellington with the intention of having a featured composer/musician of the week.  I might not go through the whole file, but I will play music from all of them for my students.  I haven’t decided on one last person for the 4th week yet, but I’m thinking I may choose Ella.  The rest of them can be found HERE.

You can get it HERE for $15.  It’s really nice because it is a pocket size book.  There are movements included for each song.  A lot are way more detailed than I’ve seen before! Not only am I going to advocate them because they help students hear the music, and experience it, but its is a little easier to get to the moving quicker.  Perfect for your students when they are squirrelly too! 

Mrs Stouffer's Music Room February Survival Guide
3.  For Y-O-U
Do something for you.  I start getting very involved in school work, and come mid-March, I realize that my hands have been a wreck all winter, and I haven’t seen the light of day in several weeks.  In the middle of the winter, make sure you do something for YOU.  Having been home the last two days, I made a deal to make time for me, which, even though I didn’t do much, I gave myself a mani/pedi.  I have Essie Cashmere Bathrobe on my fingers now! Very cute. 🙂 Now if I can only keep it up! 

To Link up, 
1. Save the February Survival Guide graphic to your computer.
2. Include the graphic in a blog post, and three things for February.What do you do in February to keep yourself going? 

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