Sunday, June 12, 2016

Three Summer Goals

Today I am linking up with Aileen Miracle over at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to share 3 of my summer goals. Summer is such a great time to rejuvenate, spend time with family, and get ready for another great year.



Goal #1
Experience Music
Teaching music is so awesome and is my dream job, but sometimes I am so busy TEACHING music that I forget to experience music through performing, listening, and dancing.  This summer I plan on doing all 3 with my 6 1/2 month old.  I am performing in Wizard of Oz in August with a local community theater group and it is a lot of fun to get back to singing and dancing.  I am also going to a Mommy and Me music class each week with Henry.  We went for the first time today and he LOVED it!  We got to sing familiar songs, play with instruments and dance, dance, dance.  So fun! Along with the scheduled classes/ performances, I hope to also have MANY impromptu dance parties in the house with my little man.


Goal #2
Make and Revise TPT Products
It has been so hard to keep up with TPT since having Henry but I have a lot of ideas in the works and hope to get a lot of new products done this summer.  I am having a former student come over to be a "Mothers Helper," which basically means that she will watch Henry while I get stuff done.  I hope to make new products and revise some old ones- at least getting new covers on many of them so they are less cluttered.


Goal #3
Organize My Classroom
I have one more year in my current classroom before we get a new building (YAY!). I really want to spend some time this summer cleaning, purging, and organizing so that moving will be nice and easy when the time comes. I have so many manipulatives and worksheets that need to be organized more efficiently.  I also have a lot of unused, broken, or out-dated instruments/ materials that I need to go through and reflect on if they are worth it to keep, or if they should  be donated/ thrown away. 

What are your plans for the summer???

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Tips for Making Your Next School Year Easier


During my first official week of summer, I thought I would link up with Linda over at Floating Down the River to give some tips on making your next school year easier.  These are just some quick tips so next year can start as stress-free as possible. Here are my top 3!

1. Organize your thoughts and reflections from this year.

I have an email folder labeled 2016-2017 school year and I have been sending myself emails about what I need to purchase next year, what concepts I got to, which concepts I didn't get to, ideas for next year and any other important info.  Then in the fall, this will be the folder where I save all my lesson plans (I like to email them to myself so I always have access- even if I am kicked out of my room for bad weather).  I have tried computer folders and other ways of organizing these thoughts, but I have found that an email folder works best for me because then I am not searching next school year for what I called the folder and everything is right there and accessible from anywhere.

2. Get your craft and reading on!

I love to spend time in the summer making manipulatives, going though recently purchased/ acquired song books and reading professional development materials- especially if I can't take any classes or do many workshops.  Making manipulatives is fun for me, so it doesn't feel like work and then at the beginning of the year I am already set and organized.   On the list for this year are Symbols Football materials, Popsicle stick games (matching solfa/ rhythms and other games), and more.  I am on the lookout for great books to read so send me your favorites- especially on classroom management!

3.  Take time off!

I try give myself much needed time to relax and spend time with family before thinking too much about next year. The first week of summer I spend doing easy things that will make the beginning of the year easier- like noting where we left off, making 5th and 6th grade schedule groups (they are grouped by Band/ Orch/ or no instrument), and noting what will need to buy right away in the fall. After that week,  I don't like to do much school work at all unless it's fun (see #2).  Then in August I am back adjusting my year plans and songs lists, making retrievals for new songs, etc. This summer I am especially excited to spend time with HENRY- he is now 6 months and starting to crawl.  We are going to hike, play in the water (maybe- he HATES it right now), go the park and classes at local play gyms and more! Yay for family time!

Me and the Family at the Butterfly Exhibit

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"The Day The Crayons Quit" Program

Holey Moley! End of the year already?  With a 6 month old time has just gotten away from me.  I do have a "mothers helper" this summer though (one of my former 6th graders) so I will be able to make new products and get many blog posts started over the summer.  Teacher-moms who have been doing it for more than 6 months- you are AMAZING!

I promised a post on my 2nd grade program this year, so as I am in my room cleaning up after our last day with kids yesterday I figured I would get it out there.

Can I just say I love Facebook?  If you aren't a part of the many music teacher groups on facebook- search and join them now! I get so many great ideas from these groups.

One such idea was using the book The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt as the inspiration for my 2nd grade program this year. The book is super popular with students and parents and it lends itself perfectly to a program for younger grades.



If you don't know the book, it consists of a bunch of letters from crayons to their friend Duncan explaining to him why they have had enough and need a break.  Some are over-worked, some are under-worked, and some just frustrated with other colors arguing.  Such a cute book! Some people who have done this program this year did a lot of songs that mention the color names, but I decided to go a slightly different route.  Instead of using only songs that mention the correct color names to match the page, I looked at what the crayons were talking about coloring and used a lot of songs to go with those objects.  Many of these songs were already in my curriculum for 2nd which means less "teaching to the test" and more exploring with songs we would be learning anyways! I am big on making programs that showcase what we ALREADY do in music class rather than taking a lot of time out of the curriculum for the year to teach song that students will never sing again in music class just because they fit with a cute them.  I like to make my programs more "informance" than "performance" so even though there is a theme tying everything together, parents are seeing how music class typically works.  Sometimes I even like to pull parents in the audience to help play or accompany a song on orff instruments, etc. It is so much fun to have students teach their parents what to do and parents love it too!

This year I also made a booklet in addition to the program explaining how we learned each song, concepts it teaches, etc. There is vocab, staff notation, stick notation, etc.  After the program is over, students can use it to help teach their parents AND as a fun song book in the future.

My plan for each performance is to have all classes introduced during the first songs and then have some that they all sing as well as some that feature one class moving/ dancing/ playing instruments. For this show, a child read the letter from the crayon and then we performed the song to go with that crayon. I have listed the songs below and described each activity did in our program.

Costumes for this program were especially easy- Bright Solid Colors! (And a paper crayon hat if a student wants).

There were also book pages, as well as song info projected on a screen so families could follow along.
Students performing "Snowflakes"


Red- Apple Tree with orff percussion accompaniment and class made up interludes to introduce all classes :)  
               This song was performed in RONDO form.  All students sang the song each time 
               and then each class made up their own "Apple" 8 beat ostinato to introduce their
               class. Ostinatos are something we are always creating in music class with many songs 
               to practice the rhythms we are currently working on. Students love to take ownership of 
               the patterns they create and figure out how to accompany them. This was a totally 
               student led activity! 
              
              Some examples of our ostinatos for the show include:  
              Apples falling from the sky, Soon it will be Apple Pie   AND I Love Apple Pie, It is Good! 


Purple- I thought about doing Flying Purple People Eater
               Unfortunately I thought about this song too late and we did not have time to learn it well-
               but it would be a super fun idea if you choose to do this program at your school!


Grey- movement to Carnival of the Animals, Elephant- 1 class
               For this song, I made up movement to the Elephant section of Carnival of the Animals
               by Saint-Saens. Students have a lot of fun acting like Elephants with their movement! 
               Check out my video below to see what we came up with for moving to this song :)




White- Snowflakes (from Game Plan) with glockenspiel accompaniment as well as creative movement- 1 class
               This song was performed by one class.  The song is a short, simple s-m-l song so 
               having students play an ostinato during the song on Xylophones and Triangles 
               (I Love Snow z) and then glockenspiels during the B/ C section really brings it to life! 
               This is performed in RONDO form where students sing and then a few students 
               improvise movement during a 16 beat interlude using white and blue scarves and 
               then we sing again for a total of 3 times. Each child got to choose which part they do- 
               Xylophone, Metallophone/ Glockenspiel or Triangle.  Then those who wanted to 
               got to do scarves as well. 

Black- Black Joke Contra in Chimes of Dunkirk.  1 class will perform
               The version in the video below is actually a little trickier than the version in 
               Chimes of Dunkirk but it gives you an idea of how the dance works.  


Green- Our Favorite Frog Songs- sung by all.
               For these, we just learned a few frog songs and sang them all.  We did
               Frog in the Meadow and On a Log, Mr. Frog and maybe another. Mr. Frog was 
               sung in a round which made it really fun. 

Yellow and Orange- You Are My Sunshine sung by 2 classes and then Mr. Sun sung by two classes.
               In the book, Yellow and Orange are arguing over who is the TRUE color of the sun. 
               For the program, I will have students read the yellow page and then 2 classes
               sang You are My Sunshine. Then the Orange Page was read and the other 2 
               classes sang Mr. Sun.  Quick and easy and most students knew these songs already 
               so even though I do not typically teach them in 2nd, we did not take too much class 
               time to learn them. 

Blue- Rain, Rain Go Away with rain storm body percussion - A few students with instruments (thunder tubes, metal sheets, etc.) 
               For this song, there was be audience participation.  I had the students AND 
               audience create a rainstorm with their bodies (just like in the popular video below)
               but a few students also had have instruments to make the thunder sounds.  
               They used thunder tubes, metal sheets, rainsticks etc. After the storm gets started, 
               all students sang "Rain Rain Go Away" (a great s-m-l song again!) and then we 
               phased out the storm sounds. I barely had to talk to parents to get them involved 
               and it was so cool! One parent even commented that they got chills- it was Awesome. 



Pink- Pink Panther plate routine- 1 class (decorate plates!)
                For this song I made up a cute plate routine to the Pink Panther theme song.  Each
                set of plates was decorated in pink by the students. It would also be cute to decorate
                them with Pink Panther Paws.  Check out the video below to see the movement I 
                came up with! 



Finale song- All classes just stood and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow together beautifully to end the program! 

For the program I decided to skip Beige, Brown and Peach just for time sake.  The program was already pretty long as even though many of the songs are short- transitions, etc. can add some time AND our un-airconditioned gym gets HOT after about 15 minutes- so 25-30 minute programs are key. 

Have fun with this program! I hope to get this organized as a TPT product soon so other teachers can easily produce this program at their school. It will include an editable powerpoint, videos/lryics for each activity, how I made the ribbons/ decorated the plates/ made the stage decorations and more! Stay tuned!

YAY SUMMER! Take the time to relax, spend time with family and get ready for another great year!