Monday, August 4, 2014

A Crayon Solution

In special area classes students don't always need supplies like pencils, crayons and scissors.  Since my students need them often, I've tried several different ways to store them and organize them.  I need soething that allows students to be able to get them quickly and pack them up even faster.  For the last 10 years or so I've used zipper seal sandwich baggies.  They work well, but I change them out a couple of times a year because they get worn or germy or something.

This year I'm trying something new-travel soap boxes!  I picked mine up at Wal-Mart because it seems like I am there all time, but I am sure you can find them in other places too.  A box of 24 crayons fits perfectly!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Products for Prep

I am excited to announce the dates for the Back to School Site Wide Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers! This Monday-Tuesday, you can get 20% off items in my store and if you enter the discount code BTS14  you get an extra 8% off.  So what kinds of products should you put in your cart?  I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to talk about some of my favorite products.
BUNDLES!  All of the things that I want to talk about are bundled.  First, I want to talk about the theme that I am using to decorate my room...*drum roll please*  Music ROCKS!
Ready to Rock Proficiency Scale
Rock Star Ensembles Solo, Duet, Trio, etc… Bulletin Board
Monthly Display These Songs Rock
Music Class Rules: In Music We… Bulletin Board
Music ROCKS! Music Advocacy Bulletin Board

I'm in the printing, cutting and laminating stage of getting my classroom ready to rock.  I hope to post some pictures within the week.
In addition to getting my room décor ready I'm ready to make some copies of my exit tickets so they are within arm's reach during the first few weeks.  I love being able to capture a snapshot of what students understand with these little slips!
Here's what's bundled up in this package: I've got my room decorated and a plan to assess my kiddos.  Now what?  Let's plan some awesome!  This fall my 2nd graders will study Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals.  We'll write, move, play, listen and even make crafts during this unit.  Wanna see what we are doing?  It is all in this bundle!
I'm also looking to fill my cart with goodies from some great music sellers.  These NURSERY RHYME FOLDABLE BOOKLETS AND POSTERS by Tweet Music are already in my cart!
The sale ends Tuesday!  I hope you find lots of things as you plan for a great new year!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School Bulletin Boards

I LOVE to make bulletin boards!  During the last few weeks of summer break I love to spend time lounging and creating displays on my laptop.  I love the happy slicing sound of the paper cutter and I have my own personal laminator because seriously...everything looks better laminated!  This year, however, I've hit a bump in the road.  I was in a car accident last week and broke my wrist and part of my hand.  I've got some of my back to school stuff started but I'm not sure if I'll finish before the old school bell starts ringing. 

Today I am linking up with David from Make Moments Matter to showcase some of my favorite bulletin boards for back to school time about composers.  This year I hope to increase the amount of time that my kiddos spend immersed in the music of the greats.  These bulletin boards will help!

The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King
This fun bulletin board comes with a phone book of answers.  Each phone has a little clue about a composer and the composer's name in numbers that relate to keys on the phone.  Most kids refer to this as "old school texting".  LOL.

The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King
The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King
Fun for a composer of the month display or to display all at once.

The Bulletin Board Lady Tracy King
This is one of my new favorites!  I'm not sure if I'm going to use this as a large display or if I am going to display them one at a time.
I have used the complete set of Composer of the Month bulletin boards before and they were big hits with the students!  Check out all of my Composer of the Month kits.
This is one of the bulletin boards for my newest collection.  I love how colorful they are and hope they'll get lots of attention from my students.
I'm working on bundling the composer sets.  I'll post them here as soon as they are ready.  The links above are to Teachers Pay Teachers but if you are a shopper at Bulletin Boards for the Music Classroom you can find them there too.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Questions to Ponder as You Setup Your Music Classroom

It is that time of year again.  Time when teachers try to savor the last few days of summer by dreaming about how they will set up the most beautiful, functional and perfect classroom that Pinterest has ever seen.  As I begin my 20th year of teaching I have realized that I have tried a lot of new ideas during the back to school blitz.  Some have been fabulous.  Others have been not so great.  Some ideas I have tweaked and now use all the time.  Other ideas didn't make it through the first week of school!  (Class pet.  LOL!  What was I thinking?)

 So rather than give you a list of the good, the bad and the ugliest classroom set-up ideas, I thought I would walk you through thinking up your own plans.  Be warned.  All of these questions may have you thinking that you’ve stumbled across the Riddler’s blog!
Setting Up the Music Room
How will students move through your room?  Sit in your classroom and imagine how students will enter, get supplies and find a seat.  What things will slow them down or distract them?  Move those!

When it is time to dance is there space?  Will you have to move furniture each time?  If so, what are some ways you can teach students to do this for you?  Consider using a chart to let students know what format the room needs to be in.  My students love to rearrange the classroom!

How the room is usually set up.

For choir days or if we are working on material for a program.

Empty floor with all of the chairs stacked in the back.

Great setup for circle games, drum circles and lots of activities.

How will students get needed supplies?  Will there be an office station where students can get paper and pencil?

Where will you house hand sanitizer and Kleenex?  (May I suggest near a trash can?)

Do you keep clipboards for your students to use for writing activities?  What will you store them in so that they fit when students just toss them in?  I’ve learned that to keep the classroom traffic flowing you should place clipboards a good 8-10 feet from the pencils.  Trust me.
Will students have open access to instruments?  How will you store and label instruments so this process goes quickly?   Some instruments may need to be hidden.  How will you do that?

Stupid pencils.  Every year I try something a little different and every year I am convinced that nothing works!  Lol.  I keep a pencil can because students never remember to bring a pencil each time.  This works well when getting supplies.  The problem?  Disappearing pencils.  I go through hundreds of pencils a year!  How will you handle the pencil problem?
When I taught computers I added a label with masking tape to remind students to leave the pencil they borrowed from me in the lab. 
Space for Students
Where will students be for most of the learning?  Floor, carpet, carpet squares, chairs, risers?  How will you optimize this space to keep students on task? Will you use a seating chart? 

Space for You
Where will you be for most of your teaching time?  Will you be at the piano?  Your desk?  Standing at a podium?  What will you sit on for those rare moments when you can sit down and teach for a minute or two?  I use a stool at the piano so I can see everything in the classroom even while sitting.  Instead of sitting on the floor I have a preschool sized chair that I sit on when I lead the little ones.  That being said I really do end up sitting on the floor a lot!

What supplies do you HAVE to have near you when you teach?  How will you store those?  I call mine a “launch pad”.  I have my remotes, iPad, attendance/seating chart book, lesson plan sheet and whatever manipulatives I may need for the day. 

The Rest Area
Will you have an area for separating students that need a moment to get calm or collect themselves?  What will that look like?  How will it work?  Can you stick to it?

Lining Up
Will students line up in your room? In the hall? 

Will they line up by rows? By numbers? By shirt color?  Will you honor classroom line leaders and cabooses? (You don’t have to, you know.)

What will be the student cue for lining up?  Is there a lining up song?

Will you recognize student awesomeness when they line up?  Sometimes I give out little certificates or treats before they leave.

What kinds of things do you want up all year long?  What will you change to keep your room interesting?  Do you need to post daily announcements?  What spaces in your room are a little ugly and need covering up? What unusual things can you decorate?  (ceilings, trash cans, doors, windows, the backs of chairs, etc…)
Some boards I like to leave up all year:
Musicians are Writers     Careers in Music    Quotes About Music

Paper Work
What is your plan for handling the ton of paperwork that will cross your desk?  Folders? Drawers? Binders?  I use a combination of things to tame my paper monsters.  Right now I’m really into 3-ring binders.  I’m using this one to keep things organized.
One way I organize papers for the week is with days of the week folders,
Whew! What a list!  Hopefully you have a great plan to create a beautiful and functional space for your teaching adventures this year.  I look forward to seeing your photos!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gifts for Teachers-Leadership Symposium 2014

I was privileged to present "Making a Splash with Staff: Make and Take" at the Missouri State Teacher's Association annual Leadership Symposium.  In this session we talked about ways to improve staff morale and help create a joyful work environment.  We talked about special days and activities that local teacher organizations could plan for teachers and staff.  We also made a few little gifts for teachers.  :-)
Merry KISSmas and a CHAPpy New Year-fill with chapstick and chocolate kisses.

Notable Year-music note duct tape makes an ordinary water bottle look cute.  Add a drink mix and a little ribbon for added flair.

O-FISH-al Welcome Back

This is a great way to package up several gifts.

A fun (and healthy) idea for treats in the lounge.  This would be fun to give students too!

For the Love of Duct Tape - Little Classroom Makeovers

I know.  I know.  You may not be thinking of heading back to school yet, but I'm already starting to feel the itch.  What changes will I make this year?  What cool new Pinterest ideas will I use this year?  What will my bulletin boards look like?   Lesson planning seems to happen all year long and I already have a few great ideas to begin the year.  Right now I'm thinking about decorating. 
Last year I dabbled with duct tape to dress up a couple of old file cabinets.  I used a solid color (although the patterns look FABULOUS!).  Each drawer was a different color.  I like the solid colors because they don't show how messy I was applying the tape!
The before and after shot below shows the completed cabinets. I love rainbow colors AND black and white patterns.  I guess you can see that in my color choices.  The rainbow paper is wrapping paper that I found at Wal-Mart.  Since they are metal file cabinets I added a few magnetic clips and used this space to post calendars, announcements, schedules, etc...
Not finished with the duct tape and wanting to keep the same color scheme I transformed an ugly set of metal mailboxes by adding a strip of duct tape horizontally.  I then printed out a list of class names and added them on top of the duct tape with a piece of scotch tape.  Easy to change next year and what an improvement!

This year I have some lovely music note duct tape to play with!  I'm still pondering where it will go.  Maybe a permanent bulletin board border?  I guess we'll see. :-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pull up a Plate and Let's Make a Bulletin Board!

So, I have a secret to share with you.  I LOVE PLATES!  I have a large collection of paper plates that I use all the time in my classroom.  We will use them for listening or movement activities, but my favorite way to use them is on a bulletin board.  These plates are called ZooPal plates and are made by Hefty.  Unfortunately they stopped making them!  :-(

Here are a couple of my favorite bulletin boards that I have made using this cute little plates.

Music Touches Lives
For this display the ZooPals are arranged to resemble an orchestra or a choir.  The little speech bubbles near them have quotes about the benefits of music education or quotes from famous musicians and composers.

Making Music Together
This was one of the fastest bulletin boards ever! 

Wild About Music
The background is a tablecloth that I picked up at Walmart.  Around the title, Wild About Music, are things that are associated with music class:  concerts, recorders, reading, writing, boomwhackers, choir, band, etc...

I love making bulletin boards with this playful plates and will miss them.  Has anyone seen them in their stores lately?  Maybe I can ship them in from somewhere!  LOL.
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