Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goals for 2016

I am linking up with Aileen Miracle to share some goals for this year. Here are a few of my goals.

Personal: Spend more time with family

I am So busy with my crazy school schedule, as well as trying to add my classroom ideas to teacherspayteachers that I get too busy. I plan to work even harder to set aside time for family that is uninterrupted and to be sure I schedule regular time with family members, such as my grown kids and their spouses and the grandchildren, who are also very busy. This is a family picture from my son's wedding this summer.

Health: Focus on healthy eating

I have made a conscious effort in the past 3 years to focus on my health. It is paying off in many ways. I lost 35 lbs and have mostly kept it off. I plan to continue to focus on my health by working hard to eat healthy. I follow several healthy pages on facebook and recently bought the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook. It is just recipes for healthy eating.

Classroom: Love those kids who are challenging even more

I teacher in a Title 1-low income school. I have some very challenging kids. The more I live and teacher, the more I realize that those who are the most challenging are the ones who most need our love. It is very hard to not get angry or impatient when "that kid" who always causes problems does it every time you see him or her. I am going to make it my goal to be extra nice, to try to win the trust of those challenging kids, and to love them even more to see if I can make a difference. I believe that long term, most kids may not remember exactly what they learned, but they will remember how they felt and how you treated them.

Blog/TPT: Continue to update and revise old files

I plan to continue to focus on upgrading some of my old files. I have gotten better at making my files even more useful and easier to navigate. Did you know you can go to "my Purchases" under "My TPT" in the top right corner of TPT to go to your purchases. It comes up to "recently purchased", but you can click on that to change it to "recently revised" to find the files that TPTers have revised. You can do the same thing under your "Free Downloads". I revise things all of the time to make them better and I know others do too. I just went to my free downloads to see things recently revised and there are TONS of them! 

I just finished revising my Chinese New Year packet. If you have it already, be sure to download in your purchases or you can purchase it December 31st or January 1st at 20% off since my whole store will be on sale then.
I am so excited about my drumming packs and plan to make some more in the new year, especially ones to go with topics from the regular classroom. That way, my kids can learn music and connect with their other subjects, while also having fun. Here is one that teaches about outer space. 

I hope you have a wonderful New Year and that you can set and achieve some of your goals!

Check out Mrs Miracle's Music Room for other teachers' 2016 goals

Monday, December 7, 2015

Flameless Candle Giveaway

These are so darling and my students loved them today. We are working on getting songs ready for a Christmas assembly and every student sang in anticipation of getting to hold these magical color changing flameless candles.

I found some more today and am giving away 2 sets of 3. This giveaway will only last until friday night at midnight Mountain time (2 am Eastern Saturday) so I can send them out by priority mail to get them to you in time to use them the last week of school before Christmas. Enter Below by clicking on the link to win a set of three flameless candle toy soldiers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Favorite Holiday Memory

One of my favorite holiday memories is making little crafts or gifts during Christmas time as gifts for others. I still enjoy doing that for my neighbors or my students. 

Since I teach over 500 students, I now only make a small gift for every member of my choir at school. At the end of my Christmas concert, I give them something fun that they will enjoy but doesn't break the bank since I have about 70 choir kids. 

During choir, we have a break where we tell jokes and kids just love corny jokes, so I decided to make them a joke bookmark. It is practical and fun! 

I added a warhead candy cane (sour but the candy cane is just a little sour and plenty sweet, unlike the warheads candy) and put it into a bag with a header to make it extra fun. The warheads candy canes were only 17 cents each at Walmart. They will love it! 

This could also be a project for your student to give as a gift for parents or siblings. Print them on card stock. They just color the bookmark and cut it out. You could laminate it for durability. They then punch a hole and insert ribbon. 

If you like this and want some more joke bookmarks, plus editable toppers for adding your own special note, you can find the full set here

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Fun Book for Thanksgiving

 I love it when I find a great book with fantastic artwork that the kids love.

I sing this to the tune of what we used to call "Ten Little Indians". It sings about pilgrims, the Wampanoag, turkeys, and the things the kids would do to help get ready for the feast. I love that the artwork is beautiful, and I love that even though they probably didn't eat turkey at the first Thanksgiving, it gives lot of other more realistic example of what they ate and how they had to hunt, fish, and gather their food

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Differentiating With Student Tutors in the Music Classroom

It can be hard to manage a classroom while trying to give each student what he or she needs. I have developed a recorder program that enables my 5th grade class of 27 students to receive individualized help and learn at their own pace.

Five years ago, my favorite mentor teacher and I designed a black belt system for the recorder. We incorporated 24 folk songs that my students know and love since they started singing them in Kindergarten. The students earn 9 belts culminating with a black belt.

Yarn and beads for the Black Belt

At the beginning of 5th grade, I review the folk songs by singing them, doing the solfa hand signs (solfege), playing the associated song games, and reading the notes. This builds up a great desire in the students to start recorder, which starts at the beginning of the 2nd term, only after every student can read the notes for the black belt system.

I start the students as a group to get them all through the first three belts in the system. The most eager students come to school 15 minutes early to work on the recorder and pass off songs to me. Some students start earning their black belt in a matter of weeks and become tutors in order to help other students learn and pass off their songs.

For the past four years, every single 5th grader has earned their recorder black belt. They wanted to learn even more songs, so we now have 75 songs beyond the black belt. When students earn the black belt, they receive a special black belt chart on the bulletin board outside my classroom. They get a picture icon on the chart for each song they learn beyond the black belt. The students who pass off every available song also use music software to write arrangements of their favorite songs to play on the recorder.

My bulletin board gets taken over by black belt charts

This is a win/win system. The advanced students develop leadership while advancing at their own pace. I also have happy students who are motivated by passing off fun and interesting songs. All students work hard to earn their black belt so they can move on to the extra belt songs and also be a tutor. It is amazingly motivating. 

This student has earned a ton of belts beyond the black belt

My free black belt system has 9 belts (24 songs) and the details of how I run my program. 

My 315 page Recorder Mega Pack has everything you need to further motivate and keep your students learning way beyond the black belt.

This is a HUGE hit at my school and is something that even little brothers and sisters look forward to! It has become a big tradition at my school and is a wonderful way to help every student reach his or her potential.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Creepy Eyeball Activities

Creepy eyeballs have always gotten my attention around Halloween. They are so colorful and well- creepy! I have seen posts by regular classroom teachers and came up with my own game. Read on to get my creepy eyeball ideas with freebies, other music teachers' ideas with freebies and a classroom teacher's ideas with freebies, just in time for Halloween! 

Where did I get those creepy eyeballs and pumpkin trays? I got them at Dollar Tree. If you can't find the eyeballs there, the Halloween stores also carry them. If you can't find the pumpkin tray, you can use an egg carton. 

I came up with some short melodic phrases to put on the ball and a creepy eyeball active activity where students will start in 2 teams with a container for each team's eyeballs to play a fun game. 

First review the ten phrases for the class on your promethean or smart board or posters, having kids figure them out. 

Make two teams. The first person on the team will take a creepy eyeball out of the container and sing it. He can turn to the team if help is needed to sing it. He will then put the eyeball on a spoon and walk it carefully down to the pumpkin tray. If it falls, he must go back behind the original line and start again and then put it into the spot with solfa (solfege) that matches the melody. 

When every spot in the pumpkin tray is filled, the teacher will check to see if it is correct. If any are not correct, the teacher will put those ones back into the container behind the team line and the team will continue to play until it is filled. The first team with the tray filled with the correct answers will win. 

**This same game could be used using an egg carton, instead of using the pumpkin tray. I also added a 2D pumpkin tray and 2D eyeballs in case you can't find the creepy eyeballs near you.

While writing my blog post, I saw that Tina Morgan wrote on Facebook about an activity she did using crazy eyeballs. She made a station where students would take an eyeball with dynamic symbols out of a plastic cauldron and put them into containers with labels that with the meaning of each dynamic symbol. Tina gave me permission to share her game and make labels and pieces for making it.


Eyes on Dynamics Game

Once they matched the eyeballs, she hoped to have them write the Italian term, the dynamic symbol and the meaning on a worksheet. She found that she ran out of time in the short time she had, but could do that in another period. 

Get my Melody Match, along with things for Tina's Eyes on Dynamics game, plus pieces to also use the dynamics in my game as well! 

I also found that Tracy King has written about using rhythm for her Creepy eyeballs. You can read about her activity at her blog. She has the funnest activities!

Finally, read about some activities and get some freebies if you are a regular classroom teacher at Kindergarten Smorgasbord's blog. She made ten frames and lots of fun activities!

Kindergarten Smorgasbord I Can Count Freebie

We had so much fun last year and I look forward to playing our Creepy Eyeball Melody Match again this year!