Monday, March 25, 2013

Glockenspiel Stands

I have had many people ask me where I found the glockenspiel stands for my classroom.

I've tried and tried to remember what they were called but couldn't.  Well, this weekend my husband and I were working around our house and made a trip to Lowe's for a few supplies.  I happened across the stands and actually bought one for some home organization.

Great news, they have them at both my local Home Depot and Lowe's and they are priced at $5.98 each.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Break is Here!

I can't believe there is only one more quarter left to this school year!  I'm on Spring Break this week.  I'm working on posts from my musical and a few others.  I may get them up this week but most likely by next.  Here's a list of posts to come soon:

  • African Style Masks
  • Movement Win
  • Fixing Barred Instruments

Friday, March 15, 2013

Look Behind As Well As Before

Our spring musical came from Randy and Jeff's Gettin' Outta Town Publication.  There are 3 short stories to be performed with orchestration.  My original plan was to perform all 3 stories at our spring concert but after some extra performances were added to our schedule at the last minute, we ran out of time.

My art teacher buddy helped me create this display outside the cafeteria!

I have several posts related to our spring concert, so look for more to come soon!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You know it's performance week when....

your counters look like this!

The perfectionist in me is having a really hard time with this mess.  The Musical will be over soon and hopefully my room can go back to some semblance of normal!  :)

Musical pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Talent Day

Over Thanksgiving break I happened across a post by Jennifer at In My Music Class about Talent Days.  I loved the idea and wanted to incorporate this idea into my classroom.  So for the past week or so, my kiddos have been sharing their talents during our lessons.  This has been a great addition to our MIOSM celebration this year!

I've been surprised!  I wasn't sure what to expect since this is the first time I've had kids share their talent in this format but my kids have done an outstanding job.  My 1st graders have been super sweet helping each other perform.  I have had many an improvised performance, as well as some rehearsed.  You know "Chopsticks" taught by Grandma.  :)  My 2nd graders have been very proud to sing songs from their Patriotic Performance (the 2nd grade team does this performance each year and it is so sweet!).  3rd grade seems obsessed with dancing while 4th grade is obsessed with recorder.  My 5th graders have been the toughest group, you know they are very cool at this point in the year.

I think the best thing about this has been seeing my kids support each other.  We have 3 self contained ESE units at my school and even though I stressed the importance of our yellow rule, be respectful, I was a bit nervous about how my kids would react to a couple of our performers.

One 3rd grader, who is bigger than me (she looks like she could be in 7th grade), chose to dance for us.  While for me, it was a beautiful childlike performance I knew it would be hard for my 3rd grade group to understand.  She had no music to dance to but that didn't matter.  Her eyes were closed as she spun and shook her hips to the music in her mind.  To my surprise, no one laughed or made a face.  They sat so politely and at the end roared with applause!  Kids are amazingly kind and understanding.  It was one of those special moments!

After those who wanted had performed, we wrote performance reviews.  We only had enough time for the kids to write one each, so I made sure to write one for every child who performed.  The kids loved reading the reviews written by their friends.  See the form below!

You can request this document in the Freebies section of my blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I am running short on time, my musical is this Thursday.  So after school today I stopped by Office Depot to have the masks for our performance laminated.  I always take items that are important or will be handled a lot to an office supply store because our school lamination, while free, is not the best quality.

Well, my stop today ended up being a disappointment and a waste of time.  After waiting in a really long line to even speak to someone, I was informed of their lamination policy.  I've had laminating done at Office Depot before but it's been awhile.  Before they will laminate your items, they make you sign a waiver saying that they are in no way responsible for things that don't turn out to your liking and you have to pay up front.  Well, knowing that my performance is this Thursday and the masks that I made were constructed using cut paper, this was not a waiver I felt comfortable with.

Needless to say, I did not have my items laminated at Office Depot.  There is so much that can go wrong with lamination and much of it because of the person using the machine.  I'm upset that Office Depots thinks their policy is the solution.  This is one of a string of disappointments I have had with their print shop.  It would seem to me that better training of employees in this section of the store would resolve problems thus negating the need for a waiver.  And end rant there!

Not to masks did get laminated by a very friendly and helpful employee at Staples!  Just thought I would share my experiences and save some of you the headache of dealing with silly policies.  I'll post pics of the masks next week along with other photos from our spring musical.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Celebrate the Arts!

3 years ago we kicked off our celebration of the arts with a special teacher video.  I wrote a parody on Celebration and our staff all gathered one afternoon to learn the song and record a video.  Our staff really got into this, dressing in silly hats and adding funny dance moves!

You can request the entire powerpoint in the Freebies section of my blog. 

Here is an instrumental karaoke track I found on YouTube.  This would be great to use with your own staff.  

We played our video the first day of the month and then replayed it every Friday.  The kids LOVED it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Happy Music in Our Schools Month!!!

This is the first time in 4 years I am celebrating during the month of March and I'm so happy to be celebrating at the same time as all of my colleagues.  When we opened our school 4 years ago, our state testing was administered in March.  So, out of respect for all of our colleagues and students, we scheduled all of our celebrating for April.  This year we were finally able to shift things back to March.

As you may know, March is also the month when our art teacher friends celebrate Youth Art Month.  Mrs. M, our art teacher, and I decided that it was kind of silly for us to host two separate celebrations and that if we joined forces we could have a huge more impactful celebration.  So together we started our annual "Arts in April" celebration.

Here is a list of some of the fun things we have done to celebrate the arts at our school:
  • Special Video Presentations:  Each year varies a bit but some past videos have been of Teachers talking about how the arts are important in their lives and special arts related songs. This year one of our 4th grade teachers volunteered to work with students in recording arts of their culture.  
  • After School Events:  We try to host our two large productions during this month long celebration (school wide art show and spring musical).
  • Buttons:  Students create art work celebrating the fine arts.  We then had color copies made and turned them into buttons for our entire student population and staff.  
  • Colors of the Rainbow Week:  Each day of the week is a specific color of the rainbow (ex:  Monday-Red, Tuesday-Orange, etc.).  Kids and staff where that color to show their love of the arts.  We get great participation from our staff because if they where the color for the day, they can wear jeans!
  • Guest Performance:  Whether it's the middle school jazz band or traditional african drummers, it's great to invite guest performers in for the entire school to experience.
I have more MIOSM ideas to share with you.  Look for more posts later this month!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Do or Not To Do

Fad's and Pop Music are a tough battle to fight in the music room.  To include them or not to include them.  It's a tough decision that can be swayed depending on your school, how you intend to use it and your community.  I'm sure you have heard of the Harlem Shake.  It seems it is everywhere and it was a recent topic of discussion with a few colleagues.

I happened across this article on NPR and found it a bit enlightening.
Harlem Shake on NPR

I also happened across this short video on YouTube.

Some words of caution with this trend....

The words at the beginning of the track "Con los terroristas" translates to with the terrorists.  

Since I live and work in area with lots of Latinos, I have also been told that this phrase comes from a Puerto Rican song from a few years ago.  I haven't been able to confirm through research the truth behind this but if true, the song that they are referring to is all about gang life.  

As with any trend, be careful before including it in a lesson/activity and make sure it has a valid place in your classroom.  

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