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Sept. 10, 2012       Classroom Rules


                   Workshops - Fall 2012

Workshops - ECMMA Workshop in Toronto, Sept. 30th Sing!  Move!  Play with PreK - Grade 2 Students   for info and registration form


October 19th - Langley Fundamental School Musicplay and New BC Curriculum Workshop $75 workshop (pizza lunch) or $175 for workshop + materials register online at  (available Monday PM) or phone 1-888-562-4647


October 1-2 Toronto or Hamilton:  If you’d like a workshop in Toronto or Hamilton, October 1-2 please email Denise.  (  With only 3 weeks until Oct. 1, I’ll organize a workshop only if teachers would like one!  Possible topics would include Games to teach Reading Music,  Listening Fun and Critical Analysis, Let's Create  ostinato, sound effects, soundscapes using creative process,  Jazz and Blues for Kids, Holiday and Assembly ideas.



Classroom Rules


What are your expectations for the students coming into your music class?   In this newsletter, I’ll share some different sets of classroom rules, and some of the ways that I’ve used to reinforce positive behavior.  PDF files of the Music room rules can be found at  (If one is missing, just email and I’ll send it to you)




This set of expectations says it all!  


Here is another way of saying it.



After some discussion the Musicplay Facebook Page, (  we made a second MUSIC poster, with Sing as beautifully as you can instead of Speak when it is your turn.



Cara Coffey has these rules in her classroom (shared with her permission):


You may want to involve the students in creating a list of music room rules.  What do the students think is important to remember when in music?  Read the RESPECT chant with the students, and have them create verses with the rules they think are important.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T Chorus R-E-S-P-E-C-T Respect yourself and respect me! Just one rule is all you’ll need, With R-E-S-P-E-C-T Verses: Play instruments appropriately, R-E-S-P-E-C-T Participate responsibly, R-E-S-P-E-C-T Once the rules are in place, you need to reinforce them.  If students aren’t quiet when they come into class, you need to take them out to the hallway and practice entering quietly.  I would rather be teaching music than reinforcing rules, but it is so important to set your expectations and then maintain them!


PLUS POINTS is a way to reinforce good behavior. In PLUS POINTS, you keep a score of when the students do something well.  If students do something poorly, erase a point. For example:  Students enter the room quietly and go to assigned seats. I’d say, “Well done 4B - you came in quietly and found your seats.  Point for you.” As the class continued, each time I’d observe them doing something well, they’d earn a point. However, if a child was talking when I was talking, erase a point.  


You have to decide what the magic number is before they get a class PLUS POINT.  If you decide on 5 points, if a class gets to 5 points in one period, they get a PLUS point (+).  On my chart with all the classes listed, I’d mark a +.  


When my classes reached 10 PLUS POINT days, they’d earn a game day.  On the game day, (or at the end of the period in which the game day was earned), we’d brainstorm the list of games or activities that they’d like to play:  singing games they really liked, Beat Boards, Orchestra Bingo, Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes (In the Hall of the Mountain King), Rhythm Dice, or Music Centers.  The Game Day is a reward, but there is still great learning going on. Share your classroom management tips with us at If you’re not a facebook user, email, and I’ll post them and share in the next newsletter.  (If you’ve avoided facebook for privacy reasons, consider signing up with your first and middle name - your students will never find you!)



Musicplay K-6 Curriculum Grant

Apply now to receive funding to assist with the purchase of K-6 music curriculum!  


At Themes & Variations we are committed to providing quality affordable materials for teaching K-6 music classes. Our Musicplay K-5 curriculum with digital resources is just $1625, however we realize that funds may not be available for it in high needs schools.   We believe that all children have the right to a musical education, and Themes & Variations is providing funding to assist schools in acquiring the Musicplay K-6 curriculum for their students. Funding to provide 25-100% of the cost of the Musicplay curriculum will be awarded to successful applicants.



Schools may apply at any time for funding. The application may be completed by a principal, music teacher or classroom teacher who teaches his/her own music classes.


Schools will be notified within 30 days of applying. Fill in the application.

E-mail to or fax the application to 1-888-562-4647.


Reporting Requirements: Schools receiving grants must complete a brief questionnaire 6 months after receiving their curriculum.     


Grants have been awarded to more than 30 schools!  (We will post a list online!)            

 Applications are available at



Are you using any of our materials (Themes & Variations publications) in your Holiday Concert?  If you are performing any of Themes & Variations songs, send us a video of your concert, and we'll give you a $25 credit for materials!  We LOVE to see your performances of our songs.



New for 2012!


We Remember - A beautiful collection of songs, poems, and quotes for Remembrance Day, Veterans Day or Memorial Day.  The vocals and the orchestrations are really beautiful!  Songs by Craig Cassils, Beth Jay and Annette Kazmierczak include 

  • In Flanders Field
  • Take One Minute to Stand
  • Standing Silently
  • Why do we Have Remembrance Day / Veterans Day  (two versions)
  • May You Dwell in Peace     * Dona Nobis Pacem
  • Be a Peacemaker               * Unity



This is the most complete collection of rhythm activities ever written for Smartboard! Linda Miller has created 20 Notebook files with 80+ activities at four levels of difficulty for teaching, practicing, and assessing rhythm reading, writing, and composing.



Themes & Variations

Canadian Office

#2-4664 Riverside Drive

Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6Y5


US Office

PO Box 309

Danville, WA, 99121




(real people answer our phones!)



New Apps!



We've created a new app for iphone/ipad for teaching recorder in your music classes, and for students to download and practice with at home!  The app is based on the Recorder Resource and includes everything that's in the student books:  All About the Recorder, How to Care for the Recorder, How Notes are Named, Counting Music and 38 songs with full performance.  You can start and stop or pause the track if you need more practice.



Workshops are available with Denise Gagne or with Dan Fee (WI - Listening Fun with Scarves and Tennis Balls) Email for more information


Albany, NY Sept. 15th - Orff chapter workshop

- Ready, Set, Go!  Activities for a great school year!

- Developing the singing voice

- Great games and Listening Activities

- Explore Cultures through songs and games


Des Moines, IA

Sept. 26th, 2012


Rapid City, IA

Sept. 28th, 2012


ECMMA in Toronto

Sept. 30th, 2012


Oct 1-5 Denise is available for District PD in Ontario


Oct 7th, Chattanooga TN

Orff Chapter


Oct 13th - Red Deer

Sue Harvie and Laurel Traynor

share the workshop they will do at AOSA in November!  Storybooks come alive using the Orff process!

Denise Gagne will share the workshop she'll do at OAKE in March - Dollarama Diva, or manipulatives to motivate!


Oct 26 - Calgary Catholic District PD Day


A huge thank you to all teachers who supported the Rideau Music / Themes & Variations Reading Clinics in Calgary and in Edmonton!



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