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Themes & Variations

January 31, 2011  Fun PreK Activities

Fun PreK Activities

Beat Beat Feel the Beat: 

Beat, beat, feel the beat!   

Say your name, then take a seat!


Say the poem, then 4 or 8 children say their names, then take a seat:  

My name is Colin.  

My name’s Amanda.


It takes a couple of weeks until they figure out (with teacher help) how to fit their name on the beat.


Accompany the students by playing a steady beat on a new instrument each week.


Discuss how the sound is made and suggest a way to classify the instrument:  I use woods, metals, shake/scrapes, drums.


This one activity covers a ton of concepts:  steady beat, classifying instruments AND I get to learn all the kids names.


This will be a key activity when I  get a preK curriculum written!


I also use Melody the Elephant - I got this idea from the MK8 list when I first joined, and I don't know who started it, but I've used this for more than 8 years now.  Whatever the kids sing to Melody, she does.  If they use a speaking voice, she won't do it.  This is a great way to reinforce with the youngest students the difference between speaking and singing voices.


Alphabet Action Songs


I've had a number of PreK teachers tell me that they base their entire PreK curriculum around my Alphabet Action Songs.  There are new stories (very funny - very cute!) so for each letter, there is a story, a phonics song to teach them the letter and an action song.  


If any of the teachers on this list use the Alphabet Action Songs Collection and would like the new stories, email off-list.  I'd be happy to send them to you.


Alligator Alarm

Alligator Al lived in a swamp in Florida.  Alligator Al was a very big alligator, and he was always hungry.  All of the animals in the swamp were afraid of him.  When Alligator Al was awake, none of the animals could walk through the swamp or swim in the river.  The animals kept asking, “What should we do?”


The animals discovered that Alligator Al took a nap every afternoon.  They asked the ants in the

anthill nearby to keep watch, and sound an alarm when he woke up.  The plan worked!  Finally, the animals had a time when they could swim and walk through the swamp.


The ants kept watch on Alligator Al, and when he stopped snoring and awoke, they sounded the alarm!


Letter A Phonics songs:

Short Letter A:  (tune - Mulberry Bush with straight 8ths)

Short letter a says a, a, a,  a, a, a, a, a,a

Short letter a says a, a, a, like Alligator Al.


Long Letter A:  (tune - If you're happy and you know it)

When letter A is long it says it's name - A! A!

When letter A is long it says it's name - A! A!

When letter A is long it says it's name out loud and strong!

When letter A is long it says it's name - A! A!


Action Song:  Alligator Alarm












Alphabet Action Song Student Books:  If you are a classroom teacher and do book orders with your students, you may be interested in the Alphabet Action Songs Student Books as an alternative to book orders one month.  Student books contain all the stories, songs and a single CD (no accompaniments) with all the songs so children can sing them at home.  Great reinforcement!  The book/CD is $10 and the classroom teacher gets to keep $3 from every book/CD sold for use in the classroom.  Minimum order - 5 student books/CDs.


Alphabet Action Song PowerPoints and Smartboard Files:  We've created a digital version of the Alphabet Action Songs for teachers with computer/projector, IWB, or Smartboards.


Other Publications that I've used with PreK successfully:


Action Songs Children Love Vol. 1 and 2


Shake it UP!  by Susie and Phil  (They LOVE Fuzzy the Clown!)


Movement Songs Children Love  (They LOVE Elephants Have Wrinkles and One Green Jellybean --- and all the songs in the collection!)


Listening Resource Kit Level 1 --- many great ideas for listening activities with PreK-Grade 1



Information on PREK Publications





Viva la Musica Vegas!

June 30-July 2, 2011

Imperial Palace, Las Vegas

(two day registration is available if you cannot get June 30th off)

Presenters include Artie Almeida, Deborah Lyn Ziolkoski, Thom Borden, Dan Fee, Marian Rose and Denise Gagne.

Search on expedia for hotel rooms as low as $26 / night!

Register online at can be found at

Early Bird Registration:  $200

Westjet and Air Canada have seat sales on now - check out your flights now!


August Reading Clinics are planned for Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton for 2011 --- watch our website for dates, locations and times.  (Suggestions for locations would be welcomed!)


Orff or Kodaly Chapters or State Music Educators Associations - (especially in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North and South Carolina, New Hampshire and Vermont)  Themes will be a co-sponsor for chapters wanting a workshop day with Denise Gagne.  Just email for information:


Door Prizes for Music Teacher Meetings:  Themes will be happy to provide door prizes for Orff or Kodaly chapter meetings.  Email to request:


Themes &Variations

Canadian Office

#2-4664 Riverside Drive

Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6Y5


US Office

PO Box 309

Danville, WA, 99121


Phone/Fax 1-888-562-4647

(real people answer our phones!)



Spring Workshops

January 20-21, 2011

Oklahoma Music Educators


January 22, 2011

Black Hills Orff Chapter,

Rapid City, South Dakota


Feb. 3, 2011

RDC Early Childhood


Feb. 11, 2011

Surrey, BC Pro D Day


Feb. 24, 2011

Lethbridge Teachers Convention


March 3-4, 2011

GETCA convention, Edmonton


June 13-14, 2011 Dallas, Regional MENC


June 24, 2011

Early Childhood Music and Movement, Edmonton




August 22-26, 2011

Musicplay &

New Ontario Arts Document

Monday AM - Kindergarten

Monday PM - Grade 1

Tuesday - Grade 2

Wed - Grade 3

Thurs - Grade 4

Friday - Grade 5/6

Register for 1 day or for all 5 days.

Redeemer College, Hamilton

Inexpensive housing is aailable on the campus. 

Register online:


Viva la Musica in Las Vegas!

June 30 - July 2, 2011

Imperial Palace

8:30 AM - 8:30 PM

Join presenters Denise Gagne, Marian Rose, Deb Zilkoski, Dan Fee, Thom Borden AND Artie Almeida!


There will be 21 sessions on a variety of topics.  Attend all the sessions or pick and choose. 


Register online:

Newsletter Topics

I've had several request for newsletters on the following topics.


- Behavior Problems

- Sub Plans

- Puppets

- Remembrance Day / Veterans Day

- Fundraising Ideas

- Fundraising Christmas CD project


If you have any questions about anything in Musicplay or anything to do with teaching K-6 elementary music, I'd be happy to write an answer for you, and if it applies to others, to include in a newsletter.

Themes & Variations • #2-4664 Riverside Drive • Red Deer, AB T4N6Y5
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