Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update!

It’s been a while since I have posted anything!  I am loving this year!  I just started an after school chorus in January! I decided to take a different approach.  My goal is for the students to really love to sing!  And lets face it singing ‘old’, ‘boring’ songs just isn’t what they want to do!  However, I have found a way to find a balance.  For every ‘popular’ song we sing we sing two ‘old’ songs.  (of course, I don’t tell them that part – they just think I’m ‘cool’ haha) They just love the ‘popular’ songs, so we always sing those last during rehearsal.  I always say I hope we get to that song, which in turns makes them work really hard on the new language, or harmonies!  In the end they really have begun to love the ‘old’ songs.  I have even had them ask to skip the ‘cool’ song, so we could sing the more traditional choir songs.

I am also continuing to enjoy teaching 5th grade band.  It is a bit discouraging to only see the students once a week, but the kids have been great and have been working hard.  We had our first concert during Music in our Schools Month and they really enjoyed performing.

I look forward to continuing my program next school year adding musicals and more activities for the younger students!  If you have any great ideas for the younger (k-2) kids please post them!

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Always Keep Something In Your Pocket!

School is starting out well.  I am enjoying teaching at my new school.  I feel like a new teacher again, trying to learn names, processes, making new friends, etc… but I am having a great time doing it!

I have a few more exciting tidbits to put in my pocket and save, so I can pull them out for those not so exciting moments.  It is only week three and I have had 5th graders asking me when they can perform in front of the school, kids taking songs I have taught them and putting new words to them, and for the first time I have an after school choir which consists of first through fifth (I’m not going to lie, that wasn’t my idea).

As for the 5th graders asking to perform, they will be!  A student teacher (ST) at my school has to do a leadership project for her college and therefore chose to do a musical! called Character Matters.  Many 5th graders are participating in this and will be singing, acting, and memorizing lines. ST decided to open it to the school, 1st through 5th grade.  I was a little worried at first, since we had around 100 kids interested, but it is shaping up to be pretty good.  She decided to make all 1st and 2nd grade students be in the choir (which is around 40) and then the rest got to choose what they wanted to do.  This is how the after school choir became what it is.  The kids have been great, well behaved and I am pretty excited to continue to work with them.  I also have a few students (5th grade) who will be singing solos! So far they have been very attentive, cooperative and most importantly dramatic!  I will continue to update you on the progress of the musical.

Lastly,  I had two girls come to me after class and sing a song that they had rewritten.  If you have ever used Musick8 you may know the song FACE.  I had two girls change the words to teach how to walk in the hallway quietly.  Those are the moments I live for, when kids walk up excited that they have accomplished something and have giant smiles on there faces, hoping you are as excited as they are! and honestly, I am!

It’s always good to keep something in your pocket that makes you smile.

Time for a new year!

I am amazed at how quickly my first year of teaching flew by!  A flash of Summer, and now the new school year begins. I have moved to another state and just received my second job.  Nothing will ever be like my first job…which I will always give credit to making me the teacher I am today.  I know I was only there a year, but I will be forever changed.

I feel like I am going into another “first” year teaching experience since I am at a new school.  However, I know that I will be more confident in what I do.  I will still take with me all the things my previous school taught me.  My new school will be a new challenge.  There aren’t many instruments (yet), so I will have to be creative in planning lessons to engage students.  I will be directing a 5th grade band (comprised of a small group of kids), which I am very excited about.  I would like to start an after school chorus and during the school day incorporate recorder in the 4th and 5th grade general music classes.  The building I am in is pretty new and has a lot of new technology including a prometheum board (similar to a smart board)!  I am excited to see what I can do with it.  If anyone uses one of these boards and has any tips, please post them!  It would be a great help.

I will continue to blog throughout this year.  So, as everyone takes off there sun shades, puts away there swim suits, and rejoins the teaching world I hope you will continue to read and comment on my posts!  Best wishes to a great start of the new school year!

I made it!

My first year of teaching is coming to a close.  It is very bitter sweet. I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I certainly had my ups and downs, students who drove me nuts, and well lets face it co-workers too, but through it all I have certainly learned a lot and can not wait to see what next year holds.

In the past month or so a lot has happened.  I had to reinterview for my job  (my entire school had to reinterview), which lucky for me I was accepted back, but painfully watched others be turned away.  No one seemed to knows what our new principal was looking for, but hopefully it will all work out for the best!

My K/1st grade students had their spring program which turned out great! They sang, danced, and acted their hearts out.  The parents love it and I was pleased to have finished my last big program of the year.

Fifth grade is now getting read to have the promotion celebration at which they will be singing 4 songs.  They are doing a wonderful job.  In December they sang for the Holiday program and to hear what progress they have made since then in singing brings me great joy!  I can not wait until Thursday when they perform for last time as ELEMENTARY students!

Overall, my first year was great! If there are any graduating first year teachers out there, I wish you the best of luck and remember always welcome your students with a smile.

EOG Energizer!

I am sure you never thought a music teacher could be excited about the EOG test.  Well, I guess I am not really excited about the test, but I am excited about the buzz around my after school choir.  My school had an energizer to kick off the 20 day countdown until  the EOG.  As a part of the festivities the after school choir performed a song from the Music K8 magazines called “Test Me“.  Ever since the performance, I have heard kids singing it in the hallways.  It’s a catchy tune and most importantly it has a line that reads, “Let me show you, show you, show you what I know!” It’s a great song to build confidence for the test!  The more they sing it and the more they hear it, they are bound to start believing it.  I don’t know about you, but standardized test make me nervous so, I am excited to have found something that can bring some confidence to the students.

Giving the gift of MUSIC…

A few months ago I heard about an organization called Donors Choose, not knowing much about it, I signed up and decided to give it a chance.  Donors Choose is organization that lets you post items you need in your classroom (as a project) and donors (complete strangers/friends/etc..) browse through the pages of needed items and choose to give to a project.  I just found out that mine was completely funded!

I asked for four djembe’s, two large and two small.  I already have a few hand drums, shakers, and other non pitched percussion instruments and now we will have djembe’s to go a long with them 😀 I want to incorporate more drumming in my classroom and start an after school drum circle.  I think my students will benefit greatly from it.  They will be involved in something that makes them a part of a community, be able to express their emotions in a positive way, and most importantly have fun!  I can’t wait for the drums to come in, I know the kids are going to have a blast.

Talent Show!

This week we had our talent show! It turned out great and was the highlight of my week.  We had all kinds of talent, from singing, steppin’, piano, recorder, guitar you name it we had it!  We even had a little Michael Jackson.  The kids at my school are so talented and it was a great way for them to show it off.  We had a big parent turn out.

This was my after school chorus’ debut!  They did a great job with my rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” turned into “Just Read” and “Everyone Needs a Hero” from the Music Express magazines.  We have another performance coming up in April. This is one for an EOG energizer.  If you have any ideas of great songs please let me know 😀

The talent show was dedicated in memory of the little girl who died last weekend. One of her friends sang a song in memory of her and there was a slide show of pictures.  It was a great way to celebrate her life.

An Unsettling Week

The post I was planning to write last weekend was supposed to say that not much has been going on.  It was also supposed to say things were going well and that my students were being great.  Well, my students are great, but this week was everything BUT what I was planning on writing last weekend. (but sadly never got around to doing) This post does not have much to do with the actual teaching of music, but something I just really want to put out there in the internet cloud of millions of blogs and opinions.

The school I teach at is going through restructuring because of low test scores.  This is where they remove the principal and replace at least half of the teachers.  I personally think my job will be okay, because I do not teach a tested subject, but we all know that may not be the case.  It saddens me for the children at my school to have half of the staff replaced.  They have enough inconsistencies in their life and this just adds one more.  Yes, our test scores must come up, but I wish their was another way of making this happen.

Secondly, I had my first student run out of my classroom. (No, this is not as serious as the first point of discussion or the last).  In the middle of teaching 3rd grade and playing boom whackers, I had a student get up and run out.  I really thought everyone was having fun and kids were giggling and laughing because of what we were singing (we were learning about high notes vs. low notes and experiencing it with our voices and the whackers and practicing rhythms) and one of my students took it the wrong way and thought the kids were laughing at him and took off.  I had to call in a person from the office to talk with him and get him to come back to class.  I really do not know what I could have done differently to avoid this.  Students were laughing at themselves and laughing through the whole demonstration, so I truly believe they were not singling anyone out.

Lastly, I was asked on Thursday what the most difficult part of teaching was and at the moment my answer was keeping everyone engaged as much as possible, because it requires using many styles of teaching at once and as a first year teacher I am still developing my “bag of tricks”.  Then Friday happened.  I now believe the most difficult part of teaching is losing a student.  A students from my school died on Friday.  It was very unexpected.  I still do not think I have come to complete realization that it has happened.  I have taught this student every week since August and am in complete shock.  I am trying to think of what to do next week during music class when I have that class.  I would like to do something to help the healing begin with her classmates.  As a first year teacher I never thought about losing a student, I guess it happens more often then I think, but it was something I was never prepared for.

So, as I said this post was supposed to be about how everything was going okay and nothing much has changed, but as you can see in the past week things have drastically changed.

Music in Our Schools Month!

Bulletin Board Idea!  I am lucky enough to have a bulletin board right out side of my classroom, that I get to decorate. So, in order to make a big deal of Music in Our Schools Month, I am going to adorn it with students playing music 😀

For this up coming month, I am making a bulletin board with picture of my students doing musical things.  It took a week of me taking pictures during my lessons of students singing, playing hand drums, dancing, etc… in order to have enough pictures for a bulletin board.  I am also using pictures from previous performances and all-county chorus. Along with the pictures, I am also putting some of my favorite ‘musical’ quotes. I am really excited to see what the students and other teachers think of it. (It is a way to showcase what we do!)

Another Idea:

During student teaching, my cooperating teacher had students play and sing during lunch time.  I am trying to get this approved at my school (fingers crossed). The students loved it during student teaching, and it gave me a chance to know which students were doing extra activities involving music.  Thus, getting to know your students a little more. We all know the way to reach students is showing some sort of interest in the things they do.

If you have any ideas please post them!  Have a great week 😀

Don’t forget to ‘Wash your hands’

I love free resources! and I know you will love this one 😀 I was surfing the web at work (don’t tell anyone) and I came across this amazing song, that teaches children the importance of washing their hands.  The song is put to the familiar tune of “Single Ladies’  and is called “Soap and water”.  The best part about it is that the children think it is Beyonce! so, they automatically love it.

After I found the song, I immediately made copies for all of the Kindergarten teachers and at the end of the day went into one of their classrooms and sang it with them!  Within ten minutes most of the students knew most of the words! We were practicing singing, dance moves, and most importantly how to wash our hands.  With all of the germs floating around out there, this is a great way to make washing hands a cool thing to do! I hope you enjoy it 😀