Friday, July 31, 2015

Positives Only Clip Chart

Positives Only Clip Chart - Blog Cover Image

Last summer, I read a great blog post about why you should NOT use a clip chart in your classroom. You can find this blog post HERE.

Now, being a music teacher that DOES use a clip chart this really made me think. I thought about why I used it and if it was truly getting the results I wanted. I realized that the main reason for having my personal clip chart was to track GOOD behavior and reward it after a set amount of time. So, I decided to change my clip chart to a positives only clip chart. What does this look like? Well, it looks something like this:
Chart Picture 1
Chart Picture 2
Chart Picture 3

Notice how each step is just building on each idea. The idea for my first positives only clip chart was for a baking theme I used in my classroom last school year. Each step is another piece of making cupcakes.

How it works:
  1. First, each class has a clip at the bottom of the chart. Each one of these clips is actually a little magnet for a refrigerator, but they were so bright and colorful I just had to use them for this. (I numbered the classes instead of putting the teacher name on them, so that I can re-use them.)
  2. Clips - Incentive Program
  3. At the end of each class time we determine if, as a class, we were on track, mostly on track, or not on track. Classes that were on track or mostly on track get to clip their clip up one clip. (I never allow two clips in one class time.) Classes that were not on track quickly discuss what we need to fix to stay on track next time and their clip stays where it is. This allows me to reward the classes that stayed on track, but still remind classes that didn't stay on track of the expectations in class.
  4. When a class gets to the top of the chart they get to take their class cupcake and move it to the "Batch #" they have now achieved.
  5. Cupcake Magnets - Incentive Program Cookie Sheets - Incentive Program
  6. When they reach this status their clip goes back to the bottom of the chart, and their class receives a reward of some kind.

So, what are your thoughts on clip charts? Good? Bad? Would you think of using a positives only clip chart? Why or why not? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Three Things I've Learned This Summer

Today, I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to share 3 things I learned this summer. I should note that these are all things that on some level I always knew, but this summer has made more obvious.

When I wasn't with my family or friends this summer I spent almost every moment working. Some may say that this leads to stress and anxiety or may even argue that I need to spend the summer relaxing to rejuvenate myself. I would disagree. The work I do over the summer is the kind of work I enjoy doing. The things like creating interactive games, song files, and decorations for my room. Pinning, using instagram, and facebook messaging inspiring quotes, pictures, and more. All these things are the kind of work I do each day. Doesn't sound so stressful now, does it? During the summer I get to work on the work I enjoy doing and I don't have to worry about the parts of the teaching profession that I find less than thrilling.

This summer was one of the hardest and most tragic summers I've ever experienced. The last week of June I spent taking care of my dad, who had been fighting a battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer) for three years. I spent a week watching him slowly slip away. First confusion set in. Then his body started to shut down, too. At the end of the long week my dad passed away with me and other members of my family at his side. Losing my dad has to be one of the hardest moments of my life. It is another reminder of how important it is to cherish each moment. Enjoy every second of time you have with your family and friends because you never know if it will be your last.

I have known my boyfriend for almost three years now and I can say, without a doubt, that he is the absolute best. This summer he attended a wedding with me (one I was standing up for - out of state) and after spending at least 5 hours in a hotel room by himself still never once complained. In fact, when I apologized that he had to spend so much time on his own he just replied "You would have been bored if I hadn't gone." He has also been there for me every step of the way with my dad. I'm an emotional mess (most of the time) and he kindly and patiently deals with it. How could I possibly ask for more than that?

It's been a crazy summer, but I'm going to soak up the last few weeks. Vacation starts in less than 40 hours!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to Create a Keyboard Bulletin Board

Keyboard Bulletin Board Tutorial - Blog Cover Photo

Many of you have probably seen the bulletin board I created several years ago in one of my classrooms. It is one of my most popular pins and one of my all time favorite bulletin boards. It was inspired by an idea on Tracy King's Bulletin Board website.

Bulletin Board

Some of you may be wondering just how hard this is to create yourself and where to start. Well, here are the steps I followed to re-create the look at my second school.

Keyboard Tutorial - Materials
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 1
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 2
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 3
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 4
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 5
Keyboard Tutorial - Step 6
And that is it! You have a complete bulletin board.
Keyboard Tutorial - Finished Product

If you try this tutorial I would love to see your results!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

1,000 TpT followers Giveaway


Wow! I cannot even believe I'm writing this right now. Just a year ago I was celebrating 400 followers and now I have OVER 1,000 followers. What a humbling experience. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you that has followed me, so I'm throwing a BIG HUGE giveaway!

SIX FABULOUS prizes up for grabs:
  1. $25 TPT Gift Card to be spent on anything site wide
  2. $15 credit to my TPT store
  3. Ready for School Bundle: Watercolor Music Word Wall (donated by Lindsay Jervis @ Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom) and Music Teacher Binder (donated by Aileen Miracle @ Mrs. Miracle's Music Room) (approximately worth $17.50)
  4. Listening Activities Bundle: Carnival of the Animals - Listening Journal & Fact Sheet (donated by Cori Bloom @ Rhythm & Bloom), Peter and the Wolf - Storybook Powerpoint (donated by Shelly Tomich @ Pitch Publications), and Flight of the Bumblebee - Listening Activities & Assessments (Katie Robertson @ Cowgirl Compositions) (approximately worth $14)
  5. Music Games Bundle: Rhythm Monsters (Jennifer Hibbard @ The Yellow Brick Road), Solfa! An Uno-Inspired Game (donated by Amy Abbott @ Music a la Abbott) and The Case of the Sneaky Singing Snails - So, La, & Mi edition (donated by Tina Jones @ Totally Tuned-In Teacher) (approximately worth $12.50)
  6. Music Worksheet Bundle: Space Pals - Music Worksheet Bundle (donated by Jena Hudson @ Sew Much Music), Music Worksheets (donated by Sara Bibee @ Music with Sara Bibee), and Do Worksheet Bundle (donated by me) (approximately worth $12.50)
Here is a preview of what you could win:

Good luck!