Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tuesday Book Club- Good Night, Firefly

Today's Tuesday Book Club is focused on the book Good Night, Firefly by Gabriel Alborozo.

This is such a sweet book!

Nina's electricity goes out and she captures a firefly to help her see.  As Nina and the firefly play, the firefly's light grows dimmer and dimmer. After trying to help her firefly in a few different ways, Nina realizes what she must do.

When I read this book, we sing one of my favorite Firefly songs every few pages (when she finds the fireflies, when she is reading by the fireflies light, and then at the end a few times as well).

After reading the book, I have students do simple movement to Fireflies by Owl City. This time, I did not use finger lights, as we still are working on movement expectations, but this movement would look awesome in the dark! It is purposefully very simple so it is accessible even to my new kinders.  Unfortunately, the movement video is too large to embed into this post directly, but you can check out the movement here. Feel free to change it up a bit, add in more cross-body motions, turns, or even locomotor movement to make it work for your students.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Room Tour 2019-2020

A new year is starting! I thought I would share my room set up for the year.  It is very similar to last year, but a few things have been changed, moved or added.

Starting with my desk area, I have it facing the wall this year, so there is more room for instruments and movement! I am rarely at my desk during the day, so having my back to the door isn't a big deal to me. I am also so excited about my new sub-tub! It will make planning for being out so much easier.

Moving around the room from my desk, I have a wall of 2 dry erase boards, as well as a TV that I can hook my computer into.  We face this direction a lot during class for sight-reading songs, interactive review games and more! The bookshelves under the TV house a lot of my movement props like scarves, beanbags, and plates as well as my lycra (which I use as a parachute) and stretchy band.  The piano is also on this wall- which I mostly only use during chorus time. 

The cabinet wall is where I have all my anchor charts hanging, as well as boomwhackers and student writing supplies.  I am a little worried this will get cluttered this year, but I am hoping it will work out. The anchor charts include elements of music as well as the 7 habits as we are a Leader in Me school.  On the end of the cabinets are dry erase boards where I post weekly 'I can' statements for each grade.  In the corner next to the cabinets will be a rest area nook for students to calm down if they are feeling overwhelmed.  There will be a few fidgets as well as a feelings chart. 

On the wall where students enter are my choir folders, my classroom library and one more dry erase board.  I also keep the student dry erase boards and markers over here. The filing cabinets you see in the pictures house choral music as well as some materials that are used less often.  I also keep some project materials on top like cardboard, paper, and more just in case students want to build when they are creating something!

I was so excited this year to be able to add to my Giraffes Can't Dance corner.  I found fabric with the animals so I made new fabric bookshelves to match the painting I already had (gifted to me from a student years ago!)

Also on the same wall is my bulletin boards, which are one of my favorite parts of the room! I have our music class creed (You can get one from Megs Music Room HERE) as well as a pitch reading bulletin board called 'Swingin' Through the Lines and Spaces'  My room has a slight jungle theme with the Giraffes Can't Dance things, and Lion watercolors above the sink, so I pulled out a favorite bulletin board from the past for this space. The flowers are recycled from the Over in the Meadow program I did with Kinders last year- and they are perfect for this space! Under the creed is also a "What I'm Reading" poster where I post the titles of the books I am currently reading to encourage students to read and talk about books!

In the middle is my staff rug, where students sit if we are doing board work, as well as a circle made out of floor decals (yay target dollar spot!)  I am hoping these decals stay long enough that kids get used to how and where to make the circle for games, dances, and more (and if they don't- they were only $5). 

Finally, I have my instrument shelves.  I have most of my instruments on tables or bookshelves and they are set up at all times.  I am so lucky to have a large enough room where we can sing, say, dance and play without having to move a lot of equipment each class.  The barred instruments sit on top the  while the small percussion is in bins on the shelves below. 

What is your favorite part of your room??? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tuesday Book Club - The Nutcracker, A Pop-Up Book

It's exactly 6 months til Christmas Ya'll!

This summer, I came across this AMAZING Nutcracker Pop-Up Book by Jenni Fleetwood and Illustrated by Phillida Gili. The Nutcracker is my favorite and this book will be my new go-to for telling the story to my classes.

WOW. That is all I can say.  I was literally gasping every single page.  The pop-ups and illustrations are multi-layered and perfect. Every time I look at the book I find more to be excited about. The story is also just-right for kids. It tells the story in a beautiful way without being super long winded or leaving out important parts.

The Nutcracker and Mouse King actually fight! 

The Dancers move! 

I cannot wait to use this in my classroom this upcoming year. Check it out!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer 5's

School is out for the Summer! I had a great first year at Liberty Union and I am excited to get time for rest, family, and fun this summer.  I know I will come back to LU feeling refreshed and ready to go next school year.  I thought I would share my summer to-do list in a fun way.  My Summer 5s! 5 lists of 5 things each that I hope to do/read/complete this summer.

Classroom Organization 5
1. Make new fabric shelves for my classroom- DONE!

2. Complete Year-Plans for next year
3. Add more of a Jungle Theme to my Classroom for next year (we are the Lions!)
4. Catalog my Classroom Library- I am using the BookOrganizer App and it is awesome!
5. Organize the REST Area Better (bean bag, pillows, etc)  I made one pillow cover to match the above shelves and bought this awesome pillow. I am still looking for more fun things!

Professional Development Books 
1. Teach Like Finland - Timothy D. Walker
2. Troublemakers - Carla Shalaby
3. The Teaching Text - Douglas J. Robertson
4. Compassionate Music Teaching - Karin S. Hendricks
5. Go See the Principal - Gerry Brooks

1. Update Back-2-School Stack Products- DONE!

2. Over in the Meadow Program Starter Pack
3. More Vocal Exploration Files- Sloths, Summer, Fireflies, and more!
4. More Hello My Name Is games (treble and bass clef matching!)
5. Carnival of the Animals Movement Bundle!

Family 5
1. Columbus Zoo
2. Cosi Science Center
3. Music Classes for my kids (mommy and me!)
4. Watch an Outdoor Movie
5. Take a mini-vacation with my husband to NYC

Ice Cream 5
1. Jeni's
2. Graeters
3. Shaffner's
4. Make our own
5. Ice-Cream Truck

What are your goals for the summer? (Don't feel bad if they are just to rest and rejuvenate- I will be doing PLENTY of that!)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tuesday Book Club - Vocal Exploration Books

I just wanted to quickly share 3 great books that I use for Vocal Explorations in K and 1.

1. SAY ZOOP! by HervĂ© Tullet
This book is amazing.  Each page has another fun thing to say.  The pictures correspond with the words, and sometimes even encourage you to get louder/ quieter or higher/ lower depending on how the picture is drawn.  For this one, I pick a section at a time because it is quite long. Students love the silly words! 

              Make some noise! Shout "OH!" Whisper "oh!" 
              Say "Zoop"? Yes! "Zoop!" "Zoop!" "Zoop!" 
              The newest book from HervĂ© Tullet magically 
              responds with bursts of color and moving shapes, 
              empowering children by letting their imaginations 
              liberate and direct each page's reaction.

2. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
This book is another great one with silly words.  I have the students repeat some of the silly things after me while reading the book. They LOVE all the silly noises and sounds- especially hearing me say them!

             You might think a book with no pictures seems boring 
             and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. 
             Everything written on the page has to be said by the 
             person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .

             BLORK. Or BLUURF.

             Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating 
             ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy 
             sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

             Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, 
             The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear 
             again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

3. Hoppity Skip Little Chick by Jo Brown
A great little story, with super fun pictures. I read each page and then have students follow the path of the animals (represented by dotted lines in the book) with their voices.  We make the animal sounds, too! This one is perfect for Spring!

                While Little Chick's Mom keeps her eggs warm, 
                Little Chick is sent out to play with all of his
                barnyard friends, and when he returns home at 
                the end of the day, he gets the best surprise ever
                --new brothers and sisters!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Upper Elementary Music Concept Project

My fourth graders have just completed an awesome project on BIG musical concepts. It was a two part group project explaining a chosen concept like Dynamics, Tempo, Harmony, Lyrics, Mood, etc.

Part one was a Flipgrid video explaining their concept. Students had to research facts and information about their concept and put it together in a short "music minute" video a la Meg's Music Room on youtube. Students gave information like definitions, abbreviations, and examples in the songs in their videos. Most videos had at least 5 facts or informational tid-bits.  If you have never used flipgrid, see THIS POST for more info. See below for Meg's Music Room Music Minute on Dynamics.

After students were done researching their concept/ making their video they had to come up with an activity to PRACTICE that concept as part two. Most groups were able to come up with something on their own, but if students were stuck I had them search "Music Class Activities to Teach..." We had so many great activities - question wheels, kahoots, rhythm reading with instruments, dynamics flashcards, mood worksheets, lyrics mad-libs (more on this one in another post- I loved it so much!), lyrics tag and more!

To present the projects, students showed their flipgrid videos to the class to give info on their topic, and then taught their activity as further practice to solidify the knowledge learned in the video.  Groups had to practice explaining the directions, plan for questions classmates might have, and really break down their activities so all understood. They had so much fun being the teacher!

I loved seeing the students personalities and creativity come out through this project. Students were building, using computers to create, drawing, writing, and more.  The best part was watching them work together teach/ learn from their classmates.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tuesday Book Club- Amy's Brass Band

For this Tuesday Book Club I am so excited to be featuring my Phi Beta Sister as a Guest Blogger. Amy wrote an awesome music book about Brass Bands. The book will be released April 8th, 2019 and is currently available worldwide for presale on Amazon. If you prefer to shop directly from the publisher, you can purchase it through Bookbaby at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/amys-brass-band. Until April 30th, 2019, enter the code “Tuesday” at checkout to get 20% off when you purchase the book. Check out the story about why she wrote the book below.

Hi everyone! I’m Amy Schumaker Bliss and I’m honored to be contributing to the Tuesday Book Club blog. I was asked write a guest blog post about a new book I wrote called, “Amy’s Brass Band.” I wrote the book because I found a big gaping hole in children’s literature. You see, when my son Simon was born, tons of people gave him books about music since I’m a musician. When I looked at them, I noticed one thing they all had in common: they were all introducing the orchestra. While the orchestra is certainly a very important part of our culture, I as a euphonium player don’t frequently play in the ensemble. My instrument wasn’t in a single book and neither was the tenor horn I gave him to play with while I practiced. While I don’t usually play in orchestras, I occasionally play in a professional wind ensemble in the area and I play regularly in a championship brass band called Atlantic Brass Band. I also help conduct a youth brass band (middle school through high school) and a university-level brass band at Rowan University. I’ve written scholarly articles on the subject and even travel around the US sometimes to work with other brass bands. Most of my professional work is connected to the brass band ensemble in some way, so I started searching for a brass band children’s book. I wanted my son to grow up knowing what I do professionally. I looked everywhere. I even posted to Facebook groups asking if anyone remembers a children’s book introducing the brass band. Not a single person could ever remember a children’s book ever existing on the subject. So…I decided to write one.

I had no clue what I was doing at first, but I figured it out quickly! I started by contacting a friend that I had met in an online mom’s group I had started before my son was born. Allie Geddert is an excellent graphic designer, illustrator, and children’s boutique clothing store owner. She gave me some drawing samples and when we settled on a style we liked, we got to work. I took a ton of photos of my own brass band to send to her and she did a great job of bringing them to life as characters. We worked in our spare time because at the time, we both had little babies. We worked almost exclusively in google docs, passing work between the two of us during late night work sessions once our babies had gone to bed.

Rowan University's Director of Bands Modeling a Conductor Stance

Illustration of Conductor
We decided early on that we wanted to feature a good amount of diversity among the brass band members. Classical music certainly lacks in this area and we wanted wanted every child to be able to see him or herself playing in a musical ensemble, whether it is a brass band, wind band, or orchestra. I also contacted Boobs and Brass (https://normalityaftercancer.com/2018/10/09/boobs-brass/), an all female brass band that raises money for breast cancer research and Brass For Africa (http://brassforafrica.org), a charity that operates primarily in Uganda, to get permission to use their likenesses for the project. This helped us to increase the visibility of such worthy endeavors while depicting members of an all-African brass band and an all woman brass band.

Photo of a Brass Band
Illustrator Sketch

Final Illustration in book
The book discusses a basic overview of the history of the brass band, the instruments of the brass band, and the purposes of the ensemble. It is primarily written for early to mid-elementary school age and would be perfect for an elementary school general music classroom. The book could be developed into a whole class with some youtube performances of some top brass bands and videos of soloists on different instruments. Eventually, I’d like to create a supplemental website with educational videos and make a classroom brass band instrument poster. All in good time, though, I suppose.

The book will be released April 8th, 2019 and is currently available worldwide for presale on Amazon. If you prefer to shop directly from the publisher, you can purchase it through Bookbaby at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/amys-brass-band. Until April 30th, 2019, enter the code “Tuesday” at checkout to get 20% off when you purchase the book. I sincerely hope that you enjoy my book. It has brought me great joy writing it. Nothing beat the feeling of bring the books home for the first time and giving the first one to my now toddler son. He sat down, opened the book, leafed through the pages until he saw the drawing of a euphonium, pointed to it, and said, “Mommy!”