Monday, August 25, 2014

Fantastic First Day Fun!

The first day of school is such a special day!  I love the way that my students come in shy and expectant with hopes of a good year in their eye.    I love the air of excitement that pervades the building and the extra special effort everyone puts into doing everything right.

I catch myself looking for familiar faces among the older students and realize that my "big kids" are now in jr. high and won't come back for a visit unless they have a younger sibling.  I find that I am surprised by just how small a newly minted 5 year old really is.    Its on the first day of school when we notice that all of our students have grown taller. AND it's on the first day of school when even students who have shined or struggled in years past get a chance to start over.

I enjoy the careful way everyone walks down the hall and the sense of wonder and excitement that comes when my students realize that THIS year, they actually get to do something they have looked forward to for a long time.  I can't help but find that the cheers that accompany an announcement about ordering recorders VERY encouraging.

Oh... and the singing! When I hear my students sing at this time of year I am reminded of why I have the best job ever!  I work really, really,  hard to do what I do, but I don't know of many folks who feel that their job creates joy. When my students are actively engaged in a musically beautiful moment, there is joy.... and I got to be there when it happened.  Today in music class the ice of an over air conditioned summer started to melt into the warm camaraderie of a back porch swing.  Today, on the first day of school, I have students who just met who have taken the first steps toward a life long friendship all while playing  Skip to My Lou My Darling. 

I could say more, but as wonderful as today was, like all first days, it was an exhausting one and I am BEAT! 

Oh yeah, the other thing I like about the first day of school is that because I'm a music teacher, I get to have a first day, every day this week!  I hope you all have had a great day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School - Music Room Tour - part 2 -2014

One of the joys of not being new anymore is that I've had all year to inhabit my classroom and learn how the room flows with students in it.  As a result, my room set up is a little more refined and indicative of the way that students actually use the space. I finished my room last Friday and decided to hurry up and take pictures of everything before I messed it up again!    I'm very pleased with how things turned out...

The view from the entrance
my teaching nook
My computer area.... My personal CD collection is not yet put away because it is in need of some TLC
CD player and CD cabinet
The red bucket is where I keep my "today" teaching things.  The notebook is where I will keep printed lesson plans.  Objectives and reminders will be written next to the grade levels. 
I have the electric keyboard in the front of class because although I'm not a great accompanist, I like to play for class.  I'm much more likely to be successful if I am seated rather than standing on tiptoe over an upright.  I almost never use the removable music stand and prefer to play with my music flat on the keyboard so that I can see my students better. 

Our Orff instruments are always out.  We don't want them to get dusty.  Bandanas from Hobby Lobby some in a ton of colors and patterns and work great.  2 cover a bass.

I left this bulletin board blank on purpose because it will hold anchor charts as we create them.  The genre posters I hope to use during listening lessons
The recorders on top will eventually be assigned to students who need them so they don't have to share.  The drawer below has extra new recorders for 5th graders who might not have purchased a recorder yet.   Oh yeah, here is my pencil sharpener! :)

Managing instructional materials for 6 grades can be tough especially if some materials are shared.   Extra copies, shared resources, things that we are getting ready to teach.... THIS is the area where I will organize those things. 

This the view of the back wall from my "real" piano.... :)

I am going to try to house my textbooks like this.  I don't know if I'll like it, but I didn't think my plan last year was very effective.... SOOOO we'll try this and see how it goes. 
Each class has a folder to help me keep track of student work. 

When I look at this picture, I realize that I've got to sort my mallets. 
These bins are the perfect size for a class set of recorders.

pocket charts for my word wall. 

The empty shelves at the back will hopefully be the right size to store some of the things we may need for our upcoming performances. 

Have you ever notice that things accumulate over the year?  I think  I've finally left room for things I will receive.... like giant boxes of recorders, or performance shirts

Oh my goodness!  I have a desk! AND it's cleaned off!

Having been a teacher for so long I have a fairly extensive collection of things that I have made over the years that I keep on my laptop.  My resolution for the year is to actually set up my laptop everyday so that I can have access to those hidden treasures if I need them.  I would also really like to keep a clean desk.  After 15 years of teaching I don't know if it's possible, but its a new year and I can try.  MAYBE my desk decorations will last through the end of the first day....maybe not.... double sided tape is my friend.... If it gets messed up.... oh well!   This also reminds me that I need to do a post about sub plans.... one of these days! :)

who can resist musical bathroom passes? 
With school starting on Monday, I may not be free to write again for awhile, but I hope that everyone has a great time going back to school this year!

Back to School - Music Room Tour - 2014

  When you get to share a space with your favorite co-teacher, it's important to create a space where both folks can work easily, because it's a place you will spend a lot of time in throughout the year. Everything should have a place.    When you want to decorate and organize on the cheap there are a few tips that will help. 

1.  Be neat!  - Being neat is FREE! Did you know that turning magazine holders so that the high side faces looks neater even if you are like me and not particularly organized?  Before we changed anything our office environment improved tremendously just because we turned the magazine holders around to cover the mess.  Then over the summer we had a chance to organize things a little and it's improved!

2. If you are looking for cheap magazine holders, they aren't ghosts, they exist!  I got some magazine holders from IKEA!  You can't beat the price!

3.  Good wrapping paper!  I found some wrapping paper on sale at the container store. This paper is wonderful! Check it out HERE!

4.  Colorful and patterned Scotch Expressions (masking tape) .  Use this sparingly on surfaces that won't be hurt by the sticky side.... Masking tape is really much better for this than duct tape because it is easy to remove and as long as you are in a climate controlled environment it won't leave a residue.  The best selection is at Office Depot. Two rolls took care of ALL of the decorating that I did.

 Here is the product info for the masking tape I used

Blue Quatrefoil 3437-P9 00-051141-97688-4

Here is a multimedia catalog for all the various types of tape made by Scotch.

5.  When you get ready to hang things on a wall that you don't own, use command hooks!!!  The best selection is at Joann, but not online, you'll want to go to the store.  
Here is my current favorite: HERE! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Music Teacher Hack - How to save your Giant BIG BOOKS with one easy trick!

As I was setting up my classroom I was looking for a place to store my MASIVE BIG BOOKS!  I found a good place for them that kept them accessible, out of the way and easy to move, BUT, the pages are not strong enough to stay upright and I don't want to damage the book....   All of a sudden in the midst of my annual beginning of the year mess, I spotted one of my HUGE binder clips!  It fits!!!!  AND it holds the pages to the cardboard back so that the book can be stored where I want it.   Woohoo!!!   

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Music Makes Me Happy - Bulletin Board - Fall 2014

A few days ago I posted about some clip art I created.  I used the clipart in these posters for my hallway bulletin board.  I'm pleased with the way that everything tuned out.    I printed my posters at OfficeMax on 11x17 paper and then had them hard laminated.  I was VERY reasonably priced and cheaper than buying a poster set at the teacher store.