Friday, July 18, 2014

New and Improved FREE! lesson plan printable!

Hey everyone! 

Lesson plans are like we are, they grow and change over time.  I've never used the same lesson plan format from one year to the next and every year, and I'm always motivated to  come up with some new way to frame my thinking in an effort to be both creative and efficient. 

Here is my latest effort.   - If this printable version is ALMOST it, but you REALLY want to edit, please email me and I'll send you a version you can edit. THANKS! 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Silent Practice - Anchor Chart

I love teaching recorder! Last year I developed an anchor chart similar to this one in order to help my students develop good independent rehearsal skills for those times in class when I need to hear a small group of students rather than the whole class.  When I am working with a small group I remind everyone to "go through their check list".  

Before expecting them to be independent at this I demonstrate with a sort of silent practice "think aloud".  I want them to get used to thinking of their recorder method book as a non-fiction text. Before setting them loose, I make sure thry know where to find the places in the book where certain rhythms are introduced as well as where their note name chart and fingering chart exist. 
Ocassionally I take grades on how they practice. Even when we practice "outloud" we refer to the chart

I noticed this year that my recorder classes were MUCH more productive and students were on task much more often because I was able to give them clear expectations about what to do when they need to be occassionally quiet.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

7 Keys to Great Singing - Anchor Chart

I like to build my anchor charts with my students as a way to consolidate and represent our learning. However, I've found that I have a hard time using them well unless I've done some design work before hand. With that in mind I am developing some ideas on regular paper so that when I need them during the school year I'll be set and ready to go. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Yummy Award! - July 2014 - The Rockets Red Glare: Celebrating the History of the Star Spangled Banner

July 2014
The Rocket's Red Glare: Celebrating the History of The Star Spangled Banner (Book and CD)
by Peter Alderman

I just got this book yesterday and I've very excited about incorporating it into our study of patriotic music next year.   The book contains a CD with a recording of our national anthem as sung by Jo Dee Messina.  Her version is not as ornamented as some (which is good)  nor as true to the melody as I would like (which is bad), but on the whole,  it's nice enough, ESPECIALLY if this was part of a sub lesson.  I plan on using my own recording or having the students sing it themselves when we use it.  The biggest problem with her recording is that it is VERY VERY S-L-O-W!! 
The BEST part about this book is that it has a nicely recorded reading of ALL of the text in the book..... The recording is about 8 minutes long and even includes a spoken reading of ALL of the verses of the Star Spangled Banner.    I REALLY like this book because it retells many of the historical facts that I often forget to share with my students when I'm feeling low on time. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One more step along the journey! - My return to my music blog

I am thrilled to announce that my dad is coming home on FRIDAY!

Thanksgiving Day 2012 - my dad, my mom, my brother and I 

When he gets home on Friday he will have spent 115 days in the hospital!

What an incredible, sometimes frightening and amazingly hopeful season it has been in the life of our family!

When my dad was admitted December 4  into MD Anderson,  he had no diagnosis and was fading fast.  He had been sick since the end of September with what we first thought was a viral bronchitis and what ultimately turned out to be angioplastic T-cell lymphoma.  He was so sick that he was placed on a ventilator almost immediately and before 24 hours had passed he was also on dialysis.  They ran all sorts of tests, threw every medicine at him that his body could hold in order to keep him alive long enough for a diagnosis and eventually placed a tracheotomy so that they could ease him off of the ventilator more slowly and safely.  By December 23rd he had his first day of full consciousness.

My dad at physical therapy on Saturday March 22, 2014
He continued to slowly and haltingly recover.  He was moved to a regular room just after Christmas and spent January working to get off of dialysis and eventually even had the tracheotomy removed and began to eat normal food.  Just as he was starting to walk with help, he had a major set back when he came down with a fast acting pneumonia. On February 9th he was readmitted back to the ICU where he once again had to be placed on a ventilator in order to give his body time to respond to medicine.  Things were uncertain for a VERY long time and then finally, after careful consideration and a vast improvement due to the ever faithful Sulfa drugs, he was finally taken off of the ventilator and allowed to once again begin the process of rebuilding.  

By last week, he had finally gained enough weight, strength and stamina that they allowed him to begin chemo.  They started his treatment as inpatient treatment since he was so very frail.

Last week, they moved him to the rehab section of the hospital so that he could go through rehab "boot camp".  Today he practiced getting in the car and getting out of the car and on Friday, he is coming home!!!

He starts his second round of chemo next week.  It will be followed by several months of continued physical therapy so that he can once again move with strength and freedom.  While the days to come will be difficult,  we are looking forward to his continued perseverance and his complete recovery.

Now that my family is growing accustomed to the demands and rhythms of life with cancer and it's challenging treatments I feel like I am finally in a position to begin blogging again.  I've really missed it as I find it a very useful way to reflect on the day.  Also, this has been an exciting year at my new school and even in the midst of the craziness of the last few months I've had so many wonderful teaching experiences that I've got plans to share with you as time permits.

Thank you for reading my blog and thank you for praying for my sweet dad!