Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

I love the beginning of the year! Meaning August, because that is really how teacher's think of a year.. when summer is winding down and we're getting ready to start a new year. We have new ideas new things to try and one of the best parts is getting into our classrooms and getting them ready. There comes a point of summer when I get anxious to get my room ready. I love having it ready with plenty of time so I can tweak it, write lesson plans, and focus on other things those few inservice days we have before kids come. Here is a tour of my room this year.
 I have wanted a big rug since I started and my dream finally came true! I can't wait to fill it with little children! I also switched from chairs to risers this year. I could never get the chairs into a formation I felt didn't take up too much room and was functional. This allows more room for movement and risers promote better singing posture. I plan to only have the older kids on them until we are practicing for the Winter Program.
 The view from my "in classroom desk" I have those nice cabinets for storage. The fireplace is from my winter program- We did "There's Someone in the Chimney" from K-8- I'd highly recommend it- it was a student and audience favorite! The fireplace turned out so cute I had to save it!
 I have the kids line up along these cabinets- it needs some sprucing up so I plan to put a word wall here. I also store pencils, paper for little notes and wet wipes by the door!
 View from the risers: My learning targets are posted behind the piano. I have a hand-sign chart. I sit in the rocking chair to start class with the younger grades. There are also white boards in nice little caddies- I put other materials in there throughout the year each kid is assigned a caddy to get their materials from. I also have clipboards since I got rid of desks.
 My cluster of Orff instruments. A collection that was started before me and I continue to grow. I try to buy one a year. The mismatched collection is growing and the kids love them! The filing cabinets in the back is where I store portfolios for grades 4-6. The bulletin board say "Learning Music is a Hoot!"
 My "In Classroom Desk" or better- table. I used fabric to cover the cords. I run powerpoints, mimio presentations, or document camera things from here- I also have my CD player and VHS/DVD player here.
My reward system: I got this from Pinterest. I wanted to try something new- My kids and myself were bored with the 3 star system. I have alphabet magnets on my white board that say "MUSIC" I plan to take one down if they aren't trying their best, aren't following directions, ect. At the end of class their clothespin moves one if they have 1-4 letters left and two if they have all 5 left. At the end they have a reward activity- Dance parties, 4 corners- ect. I only usually reserve 5 minutes for the reward.

I talk about my "In Classroom Desk" This is my office- I am fortunate to have my very own space that I share with no one- My room is used for band as well so this is my space while that is being taught. I do all my planning in here as well as working with students one-on-one before or after school.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fun with Boomwhackers and Treble Clef Frisbee

In 5th grade we are still getting ready for Recorder Karate! (see previous post on Treble Clef Centers)

Today in 3rd -5th grade we started the class with a Boomwacker activity! I love the boomwackers and am always trying to find fun new ways to use them. I found this slide on Mimio Connect that had Twinkle Twinkle Little Star color-coded for the boomwackers.
Here it is, but the class had already assigned the hand-signs. We use John Armstrong's chart (you can see it written in black to the right) to assign the hand signs.. I put the chart up in the correct key and they follow it over to each note to assign the hand sign. 

We then played the boomwackers and sang the hand-signs: 

Then we erased the handsigns and assigned the treble clef note names. We discussed how the treble clef note names don't change no matter where the handsign chart is- they are always the same! 


 In Fifth Grade we also played Treble Clef Frisbee today!!! It is so much fun!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Centers: My first attempt

On the oh, so lovely Pinterest I have seen a lot of music teachers doing "Centers." I loved the idea but it was never possible for me the last two years because I only saw each class for 25 minutes. This year I see them less often, but for 40 minutes. I've went around and around with myself on how I can make centers work in my room. I tried it for the first time today and I think it went very well! Here was my time frame with 3 centers.

5 minutes: Explaining the center and drawing a stick to choose center
10 minutes: 1st Rotation
10 minutes: 2nd rotation
10 minutes: 3rd rotation
5 minutes: clean up and line up
- I used my lovely slide whistle to signal transition time!

I did it with 5th grade because we are reviewing Treble Clef note names before we start Recorder Karate (if you don't know this curriculum you should DEFINITELY check it out! I love it!)

My center were simple:

Center 1: Treble Clef Note Names with Dice
1: Find the A on the treble clef
2: Find the B on the treble clef
3: Find the C's on the treble clef
4: Find the D's on the treble clef
5: Find the E's and F's on the treble clef
6: Find the G's on the treble clef

Center 2: the Name that Note iPod app: we have a school set of iPod touches that I love to find great apps for!

Center 3: Treble clef Flashcards: Pair off into 2's and time each other (I borrowed stop watches from the PE teachers) If they got below 30 seconds they got a prize from my prize bowl!

The kids really enjoyed it and I will definitely do it again.
A few reflections:
*10 minutes is probably a little long I could take it up to 4 centers and go for 7 1/2  minutes.
*Try to find some centers that you can assess with- they have to have an ending product!
*They love it when they get something for doing a good job! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Above and Beyond Kids

I'm very lucky at my school. I have a lot of students who like to go the extra mile, challenge themselves further and enjoy being provided with little incentives!

Last year I did a "riddle of the week" with these riddles from Music in Motion 

I posted it on my "FYI" bulletin board outside of my classroom. They submitted their answers and I drew one every Friday and that person recieved a prize from the "Prize Bowl" in my office. It has candy, pencils, erasers, little toys, basically things I get at the book fair with my extra money the PTA gives me, or things I find in the dollar bins at Target and Michaels!

The excitement from the Riddle has died down so I decided I needed something new and fresh... I went to pinterest! What a great place to spark new ideas, or steal ideas from!

Here is what I came up with!

My plan is to give everyone with a correct answer a prize from the "Prize Bowl" and change the musician each month. This is fun because the kids have to really go the extra mile and research who the musician is. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Classroom Management "noteworthy behavior"

Classroom Management is something I strongly believe in. I only see my students once every 4 days so I need them to know what to expect when they walk into my room. I think finally, after almost 3 years, they do! I have a system in place I call "noteworthy behavior."

I have three stars on my whiteboard.
If a class isn't following directions or doing what they're supposed to be doing, I take a star down. They can earn their star back if they start following the expectations again. At the end of class I record how many stars are left. At the end of 10 classes which ever class in the grade level  had the "most points" gets a reward activity.

It works well and the kids love it! The teachers are supportive at varying degrees. For example, some teachers believe a "1" is unacceptable. Other teachers don't even ask when they pick up their class. However, in my classroom they love it, and always work harder the next cycle if they don't earn the reward activity.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Student Progress Report

First Trimester I was dreading report cards. I decided I really needed to come up with a way to efficiently, successfully assess 650 students without driving myself nuts grading worksheets and things. I created a chart for each student:

e Student Progress Report  e
Name:_____________________________­­­­­­­___________ Class:________

Pitch Accuracy
Steady Beat
Identifies Vocabulary
Trimester 1

Trimester 2

Trimester 3

3- Does it accurately every time 2- Does it accurately sometimes 1- Still progressing

It’s small enough that I can fit three per sheet and I copy them back to back.  This saves paper and I stick them behind the seating chart and grading chart for each class. It’s a quick but efficient way to track each student’s progress through the year. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dancing Day

Folk Dancing Day 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grades 

"Meet us on the Playground" 

As a first year teacher I’ve assumed the role of either insane or brave for attempting some pretty risky tasks with my students. My most recent endeavor was a 1st-3rd grade “Dancing Day” We went outside- all 278 of us and did some folk dances together! I arranged the kids by color and number so each color had two longways sets of dancers. I gave each kid a “token” and when they went outside they found the teacher with their color and the row with their number. This was a great way to combine all the grades so they weren’t dancing with anyone from their class! Teachers even joined in the fun and we had a WONDERFUL time!

We danced to: Chimes of Dunkirk, Kings and Queens, Alabama Gal and Sasha! All from the New England Dance Masters series!

Check out some great pictures courtesy of our awesome technology lady: Jane! 

The "Purple" group doing a two hand turn in Chimes of Dunkirk 

A 3rd and 2nd grader doing a Right Hand Turn 

"King and King" walking down the set and being bowed to in Kings and Queens! 

A 3rd and 2nd grader doing a Right Hand Turn in Kings and Queens! 

Sashaying down the set in Alabama Gal

"peel the banana" in Alabama Gal 

"Sasha Sasha Ras Dva Tri" Two 3rd Graders dancing to Sasha! (Everyone's favorite!) 

"Hey!" Time to find a new partner! 

As you can see we had an amazing time- I would totally go through all the preparation and the effort again for next year!