Musical Ideas for the Book “First Day Jitters”



We know what those are like. The jitters whenever we face anything new. And the first day of school for newbies is ESPECIALLY jittery, even for new teachers.

This adorable book by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love is about a person named Sarah. Sarah refuses to get up to go to school. Mr. Hartwell tries, but he has a huge time budging her. He tries opening the shade, talking to her calmly, until he has to give her a 5 minute ultimatum. Sarah tries hiding under the covers, begging, whining……and finally drags herself to breakfast. 

In the car, she was extremely nervous. She meets the principal and gets scared. The principal, Mrs. Burton, shows her around and finally takes her to the classroom, where she states:

“Class, I would like you to meet……..your new teacher.”


At least, we HOPE your kids will be surprised (unless their classroom teacher has already read it to them. ) Even so……

This book lends itself to some cute musical opportunities, even if it doesn’t rhyme or have good soundscape opportunities. For instance, consider making up a little tune like this:

Maybe teach this with your solfege warm-ups. Read the story, review the melody, and ask the kids where they think the melody might go. Review rules for proper discussion.

You can also take that melody and add words from the story to create an ostinato. The ostinato can be a simple two-beat phrase that is repeated under the melody or let groups of students create a longer one that can be the subsequent part of a rondo, with Part A being the melody.

To make life a little more simple for you, I’ve made up a lesson plan for free! It includes details, plus a template for word cards AND rhythm cards if you want to match words with rhythms. I loved lessons like this, and your students will have fun creating.

Just CLICK HERE to get a force copy download.

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale! (I mean, it IS the beginning of the year for some folk!) If you’ve already been teaching and discover you might need new ideas (because, let’s face it, last year blew a lot of plans), check out the various stores. Participating sellers can mark off their stores up to 20%.

NOW, my store will be marked off 20%. That’s everything, so you might want to check out some of my beginning of school ideas.  My newest product, Deedle Deedle Dumpling Activity Pack, contains rhythmic and melodic ideas for grades K-1, plus incorporates a nursery rhyme. And as we know, many of our students had never heard a nursery rhyme.

But I digress……………..Use the code BTSBONUS21 and get an additional 5% off. 25% is pretty good.

Every once in a while, teachers need last-minute help or a boost. I remember getting frustrated trying to advocate for my discipline, needing some brainstorming motivation, or just wanting to see a pick-me-up in the form of freebies that made my life a tiny bit easier.

Consider signing up for my weekly Weekly Music Class Booster for more.

By clicking on this link, you will be taken to a page to get you started. 

Take care and keep your kids healthy.

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I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have just completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.


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