Wednesday, December 31, 2014

YouTube Playlists - An Awesome Tool!

YouTube - Playlists

Amazingly, you can create a playlist on YouTube and play one video after another.  It is a great way for families and students to watch the content they want from each program, or watch all the content from each program.  I'm so grateful for this service!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wallace December Program 2014

I am blessed each year to lead almost 400 children in beautiful
music during the month of December.  We sing and dance and play
and give the gift of music to our community.  This is a playlist of
the first school to perform this year.  I hope you enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Is the Grinch stealing Christmas?

Every year at this time, music teachers around the country are directing musical shows in December and calling them all kinds of things.  Do we dare call our concerts, Christmas concerts any more?

My program this year is called, "Seasonal Songs of Stage and Screen." My 6th graders are singing "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."   The show this song is based on is called,  "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," not "How the Grinch Stole Winter or Holiday time."

Most people in this country celebrate Christmas in at least some kind of secular way. Whether you embrace the baby born in the manger 2000 years ago or not,  it is what it is.  It's Christmas and I'm not afraid to use the word. our final song says this year...
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


How to teach it to children whose only exposure to music is me and what they hear on the radio. This is not a choir. These are all the 6th graders in my schools. Some I've had for 7 years, others are new this year. 

I am a firm believer in the Suzuki method. A child learns to speak before learning to read. I believe a child needs to be immersed in the sound of music before they can make music and finally read music.

My 6th graders are singing Auld Lang Syne. It's not a song they know. Maybe they have heard it rarely, but now, I want them to sing harmony to it. This is kind of how it went at each school.

I first sang the harmony only to them.
Then I sang it with the words projected.
We talked about word origins.
We talked about Scotland and Gaelic.
I sang it again with accompaniment.
I sang it again with children singing the melody.
I showed them the notation.
We navigated what I call our musical map.
They watched me sing it as I pointed to the notation.
They got the score with their part highighted.
They silently followed with their finger.
They helped each other find the repeat, 1st & 2nd endings.
They hummed along with me as I sang and they followed.
They got to sing along with me with the score.
We got into a circle with the score and sang it again.
Then we put away the music and sang it again.

We'll review this shortened process again the next time I see them in order for them to hear it again, follow the score and translate what they already know by hearing into what they are seeing.

And they will sound amazing and be proud of themselves.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This is one way to familiarize my students with musical symbols at an early age.  I had my 1st and 2nd graders create musical jack-o-lanterns with  musical symbols the last week of October.  I found this little song floating around on the Internet, combined the two and had a neat little project they could take home and share with their families.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bach Biography

I am trying my hand at creating a teaching video by creating it in Keynote and exporting it to an MPEG video.  I like how it turned out!

What is Genius Hour? - Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom

Imagine if we gave our students this time...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Preamble from one generation to another!

My daughter is now a 4th grade teacher and has taught her students to rap the Preamble of the U. S. Constitution just like I do every year.  I can not tell you how much this blesses me.   The gift goes on!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I will do just about anything to enhance my students' understanding. After purchasing this old school toothpaste (I remember it from my youth) on Amazon, I held up a tube in front of my young ones and asked them what it had to do with the Star-Spangled Banner. They blurted and questioned and were genuinely curious.  Although spelled differently, we finally came to the understanding that Gleem toothpaste was named thus because it would make your teeth SHINE! "At the twilight's last GLEAMING."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The largest human Star-Spangled Banner

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brown Bear, Brown Bear - Singing Game - Kristin Lukow

K - 2nd will be singing Brown Bear today. I start with the original book as I introduce it to kindergarten. We will watch this video and then sit in a circle and enjoy this fun vocal assessment game. Do they know they are being assessed? No.  We sing the various other books in grades 1 and 2.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back-To-School Dream

July 1st, 2014
I had my first back-to-school dream last night and it was a doozy! 

I was in a brightly painted basement, but it was wet. Brown goo was oozing from under the carpet and out of the piano. The piano kept sliding because the floor was slanted. 

I arrived to my room early and old Christmas decorations were all over random odd tables that were covered with a melted chocolate bar and a sticky huge lollipop. I asked no one, "Why are all these tables in here?"

One teacher was there asking me for one green pipe cleaner and I assured her they were in her room. She was sure I had them. Another teacher tried to help me by putting the Christmas decorations in a too small cupboard that was filled with neatly folded, used tissue paper. I said, "Why do we even need this stuff?"

I had to go to the bathroom, went up the back stairs and the first bathroom was bing used. I ran to the second bathroom and a teacher was slowly coming out and kept talking to me about how she was never late. I smiled and gently shoved her out the door so I could tinkle.

I made my way down the front stairs and found a slide that led into my room which was full of 74 students. I rode the slide which went under two boats and landed on my bum in front of all these kids. But, they thought I was cool.

I tried to get my music going but the wrong song kept playing and my projector only showed a tiny left-hand corner of the screen, but the kids liked that song so I kept playing it. I tried to explain that they should clap on the quarter notes but most of my students were new and they didn't know what I was talking about.

There were kids sitting on the top of chairs facing the back of the room and one boy had his shirt buttoned wrong, which totally distracted me so I moved him to the front of the class.

As I moved him I noticed I had a string coming off my shirt and I started to pull it and off course the entire things started unraveling and wrapped all around my arms. Then I looked in the mirror and noticed I didn't have lipstick on and I was wearing a peach shirt. I look horrible in peach and wondered why I wore that shirt.

I asked the kids to arrange the chairs better and they put the rows super close to the piano which of course was moving and still oozing. I told them, well that looks nice but I would never do it that way so...let's change it. I'll turn around and say "Go!" and you guys change it up.

They did and it was completely awkward. I was overwhelmed and ...there was much more to this dream but it is already completely ridiculous.

True story.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lovin' the Moment, written by Kristin Lukow, Sandra Bonk and Sara Woodman

A couple of years ago, I wrote a few thoughts on my FB page about loving the moment and being thankful. My friend Sandy said it sounded like a song. Another friend, Sarah, concurred and wrote a few more lines. Sandy had an idea for a melody, I finished it out and recorded it. Sandy's nephew has created this sweet video to go with it. I am blessed, grateful and humbled. And yes, it is me singing the song, both the melody and harmony.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

20 Ways to Keep Your Students' Attention | Minds in Bloom

I LOVE these ideas!!!  
  1. Desk Switch: Students have ten seconds (count down from ten) to find another desk to sit in that is in a different part of the room than his or her normal desk. Students stay in that desk for the rest of the lesson. Why? Two reasons, first switching desks gets them up and moving. Second, sitting in a different place in the classroom will give them a different perspective and wake up their brains a bit.

  2. Position Switch: Have students turn their chairs around and sit straddling the chair with their hands resting on the back (girls in dresses can sit side-saddle). While good sitting is important, a few minutes of sitting differently can keep kids alert. Another idea is to let kids sit on their desks with their feet on their chairs (which they will love!)

  3. Wander as you teach. If you don't need to be glued to the board, then wander throughout the classroom. Most kids will track you, which will keep them alert, and if you see someone having trouble focusing, you can stand right next to him or her for a quick perk-up. 

  4. Give each child a small ball of play dough to fidget with if you are doing a lecture-type lesson. 

  5. Throw students a foam ball when calling on them to answer a question. 

  6. Randomly and frequently ask students to repeat what you just said.

  7. Choose a fun word, such as "Shazam!" or "Bazinga!" Every time you say the word, students must use both hands to hit the tops of their desks two times and then clap two times. Say the word several times throughout the lesson. It will wake everyone up!

  8. If you have experience in theater, improv, or just like to have a little fun, teach a small portion of the lesson with an accent or imitating someone famous. 

  9. With younger students, teach with a puppet or give a voice to a stuffed animal.

  10. Throw in a joke every now and then.

  11. Use student volunteers. Any time you can call a few kids up to the front to be part of a demonstration, do it. It can be as simple as having them hold up signs (rather than displaying the same information on the document camera) or writing an answer on the board. Better yet just call on students to help rather than asking for volunteers. 

  12. If a lot of kids look sleepy, stop talking and write a simple command on the board such as: "Put both hands on your head." The silence should alert day dreamers that something is going on. Follow up with two more written commands. Make the last one something with sound just in case a few kids haven't caught on, such as, "Clap three times." Continue with your lesson. 

  13. Wear bright colored clothing. If you want to keep their attention, you should be the most interesting thing in the room. 

  14. Have students explain something they just learned in partners. 

  15. Require a response from everyone, rather than calling on one student by using individual white boards, or having students signal yes or no with sign-language. 

  16. Teach outside. This of course, could have the opposite effect with students being even more distracted, but on a beautiful day it could be a nice break for everyone to sit under a tree a tree with a clip board rather inside at a desk. 

  17. Animate those PowerPoints! If you don't have time or know how to do it yourself, you could probably find a helpful upper-grade student who could add some animation to a PowerPoint that already has the content. 

  18. Require students to take notes. Every so often, have them do a quick, related sketch in the margins. For example, if you are learning about Abraham Lincoln, give them 30 seconds to draw log cabin in the corner of the paper. 

  19. Throw in a higher level thinking question that is related to the lesson (but not part of your objective) and have a quick discussion. For example, if you are learning proper ways to use a comma, ask the students which punctuation mark they think is the most important and why. Questions like these are also fun to put at the bottom of a worksheet and have students answer on the back. 

  20. Let students know at the start of the lesson that they will need to write down three things they learned as their "ticket out the door."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Juniata 6th Promotion 2014

The first of my 6th grade classes. Only two songs for this school as they have a program on the last day also. My 6th graders choose one of their songs each year. This class chose Compass by Lady Antebellum.

Wallace Kindergarten Program 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's Not Hard I Tell You So

We try this at the end of each year in the upper grades, 4th - 6th.
It's fun, loosens us up and puts a smile on our faces.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

W. O. W. 2014 - Kristin Lukow

Here are my 5th grade students from ACE, J-Town and Wallace demonstrating some of our musical vocabulary words we have learned throughout the years.  We call it our W.O.W. - our "Words Of the Week.  Sometimes there are more 'Words Of the Week" than others.  :)  Enjoy.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making a Didgeridoo (David Hudson)

My 2nd graders are singing Kookaburra as we learn to sing our best in round.  We have enjoyed learning about the didgeridoo as well.  In this video, David Hudson show how he selects hollow trees to start the process!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Basketballs in Muwsic?

Bouncin' to the Beat - News 5 | News, Weather Sports for Hastings | Kearney | Grand Island | Nebraska

This is a story our local news station did on me and one of my 5th grade classes.  It's one of our favorite things to do in music in the month of March!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Plainsman 2014

J-Town 1st and 2nd grade mini-program.
(So sorry we missed the first song - audio issues.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014


This thrills me!  This kids are wonderful!  I want my kids to sing it!  Woo!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bouncing To The Beat - AC 5th and 6th Graders - Let's Get It Started

80+ 5th and 6th graders bouncing basketballs to music by The Black Eyed Peas, Let's Get It Started. Directed by Kristin Lukow

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sweet Baby Experiences Rain for the Very First Time

Listen to how the music makes it!  I love it!
Yesterday, I had several children cry while I sang
Love Can Build A Bridge to them.  Music is powerful.
Healing.  Stirring.  Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jazzy ABC Musical Instruments for kids

This is seriously such a fun little video about musical instruments.
My kinders love it!  There is also an app with the same name!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What to use to teach 3rd graders recorder?

Main Page | The Recorder Fun Book

This is the book I use with my 3rd graders for recorder. This is not the entire book but much of it! It works so well, I'm just thrilled! Yes, it has the names of the notes on the note itself, but they transition to the unnamed notes so easily because they are actually looking at the note.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I'm using Slide Whistles with my 2nd graders this year!  I've never done this before and am excited to see how it accentuates these students' pitch matching abilities!   Everyone has their own and I found clear ones so they could see the plunger moving!  I got mine from Music In Motion. I do not think they have any more clear ones.  Sadness.

Here is a link to my videos on my FaceBook Music page:
Kristin Lukow - Facebook Music Page

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How It's Made - Musical Instruments (playlist)

How It's Made - Musical Instruments (playlist)
We will be learning about instruments in Kindergarten
and 1st grades in January!  This list will come in very handy!