Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's Happening Wednesday - December Edition

So I know many of you enjoy my What's Happening Wednesday posts and I haven't done one in a while. I thought I'd explain why. For the past month my brain has been on over drive. This is the time of year that every day I think to myself "Why did I sign up for this?" Being split between districts means that concert season is a really crazy time of year. I mean concert season is ALWAYS crazy, you all know that, but it is extra crazy when you have two districts that do things two very different ways. Most of the time by this week I'm not if I'm going forward or backwards.

So, here is just a brief overview of what is happening all December (and what kind of started last month already):

School #1
Kindergarteners have been tested on all their voices and have started working on opposites of music. Recently my Kindergarteners were tested on the difference between fast and slow. We will continue working on opposites the next couple weeks and continue into January.

This week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

1st Grade
1st graders worked hard on quarter notes and eighth notes using multiple different song files. We just started preparation for the quarter rest, but will not have time to introduce this concept until January.

This week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

2nd Grade
2nd graders just finished working really hard on learning about half notes, half rests, whole notes, and whole rests. In fact we just finished a test on this today. To practice all of this we used a lot of these fun files:
Fun on the Farm
Bake Me a Cake
Au Claire de la Lune
Phoebe in her Petticoat
All Through the Night
The Water is Wide
Who's That
Here Comes a Bluebird
Frere Jacques

Next week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

3rd Grade-5th Grade
A couple weeks ago we were introduced to our concert material for January!

Next week: Christmas sing-along preparation for December 19

School #2
Kindergarten-5th Grade
All grades are practicing for their big Christmas concerts on December 15.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by two fellow music teacher bloggers. First, I was nominated by the amazing Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road Blog. She is always blogging about some pretty neat stuff. I've gotten to know her pretty well the last few months through our interactions on Facebook. We have a lot in common and I can tell we are kindred spirits.

I was also nominated by Emily at Emily's Kodaly Music Blog. I wasn't as familiar with Emily's blog, but was really excited to find another music education blog. Thanks for the shout out!

At the end of this post, you'll find the bloggers that I've chosen to nominate. The following rules have been set for me, as well as for the bloggers I nominate.

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and a 'shout out'.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer (please use the set questions I've answered).
3. Nominate eleven people, (blogs with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
4. Let your nominees know and provide them with a link back to your post (so they can see the rules)
5. No nominating the person who nominated you, however you may send them a thank you.

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
My very first blog post was written in August of 2008. This was written when I was first in college and I wrote mostly about all my crafting projects. I had just started taking up the art of crocheting for the second time. I loved making cute little animals and then the blog morphed into blog posts about all my crafting experiences. I still have that sad little blog with only 10 subscribers, but I don't really write anything on it any more. I tend to just post pics of my latest creations on my personal facebook page, since it was mostly my friends reading the blog anyways. If you love crafting like I do you can take a look at this sad neglected blog and read one of my favorite posts about one of the hats I knit my niece: Taylor's Strawberry Hat

After that blog, I did work on a partner blog with a good friend of mine. We actually attempted to knit all 60 Quick Knits! That was a very popular blog that got hundreds of views from around the world and still gets lots of views now. Even Cascade Yarn (the creators of the book) were following us and talking us up. That was honestly my inspiration to start blogging more.

So, that led me to creating this blog. I wrote my first blog post in July of 2012. (The summer before my second year of teaching.) It was then I finally felt I had enough time to start writing about my experiences as a teacher and start sharing my work with all of you. You can read my very first blog post on this blog HERE.

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Passion. I would say this word sums up my entire career as a music teacher. The whole reason I named my blog what I did is because that is the heart of what I really do. Sure, I teach rhythm, melody, improvisation, composition, instruments, singing, and dancing, but even more importantly I help kids make music memories. I would like to think I'm the music teacher that makes learning music fun. I hope that most of my students can actually remember their elementary music careers. So many of my friends don't even remember having music in elementary school. I would like to change that. I hope that 20 years from now my students can think of at least one fun or interesting thing they did in music. Even if they never play an instrument after elementary school, they'll remember the songs we sang, or the dance we learned, or the feeling they had when they first learned how to play Hot Cross Buns on their recorder.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
Try to consistently blog. This is something I'm still struggling with. It is so much easier to keep readers when you blog at least once a week or at least twice a month. If people know that you will consistently write in your blog they are more likely to check back and keep up with it.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
My current favorite past time is making resources for Teachers Pay Teachers and my classroom. Again, this isn't always something I have time for in my hectic schedule, but it is my favorite stress reliever and creative outlet.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
It honestly depends on the week. In order to get in a blog post a week it would end up being about 1-2 hours a week because of uploading pictures and re-reading my posts a couple times. So, ultimately about 1-2 hours a blog post.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy blog posts specifically about songs or activities I can use in my classroom. I especially like activities that are Kodaly or Orff based as that is how I tend to teach.

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
Normally I'm inspired by my students and how activities work in class. I'll be working on something in class and think, "this would be a great blog post"

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I think one of my favorite blog posts was when I talked about my Outdoor Music Class ideas. I like this because I think it is a rather unique subject and one of my favorite lessons. I've only really gotten to do this once, but it is definitely something I would love to repeat in the future. You can read the blog post HERE.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?
As explained earlier, I am often inspired by my classes to blog, but I will admit there are MANY MANY times I think about blogging about something but run out of time or don't have any pictures. I hate blogging without pictures. I find it so boring. Then I start a blog post intending to add pictures, but never get around to taking pictures and can't recreate the moment so I end up deleting the post. It's rather sad actually.

10. What's your favorite aspect of blogging?
I like having the record to go back to and see what I was doing and when I was doing it. I also enjoy seeing how I have grown and changed my teaching since I started this blog two years ago. I know I've improved my teaching skills and I enjoy being able to read my reflections on lessons I have done in the past.

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
From The Yellow Brick Road - I actually used her tutorial to help me make an even better header for this blog. Her tutorial was really thorough and she even helped me with a technical problem I was having. She is awesome! You can check out the first tutorial HERE.

From Emily's Kodaly Blog - I was really excited to find her Tuesday linky parties about books she uses in her classroom. I absolutely love using books in my classrooms and would have linked up if I knew about this linky party before. I especially liked this post about a cute book called Marsupial Sue. Read it HERE.

Here are the Blogs I have nominated- Check them out- they are all great!
Pursuit of Joyfulness
Music With Mrs. Dennis
Music A La Abbott
Stay Tuned!
Cara at MiscellaneousMe
Teaching Music: Tanya's Kodaly Aspiring Blog
The Totally "Tuned-In" Teacher
Sew Much Music
The Music-Go-Round
Sweet Sounds
My Musical Menagerie