The year is just about over . As teachers, we celebrate the end of school most of the time and are ready to breathe a heavy sigh of relief. But for many of us, issues that occurred during the year might have made us feel insecure or question whether our teaching choices were correct. How do we know? If you follow the following steps, you might find out that the year, upon reflection, really wasn't that bad. If you find places for improvement, you can decide how you approach them. Doing it now means you won't be musing over it during the summer. Who wants to do that on their vacation?  BUT WHY, KAREN? Professionals are consistently evaluating their performances. If you shrug incidents off indifferently, you are not benefitting your students in one of the places where they might be able to be more creative. If you are too hard on yourself, you aren't doing yourself any good. If you aren't interested in improving realistically, I have to ask: why are you teaching in the...
  This is an update to a blog post from 2014 April is Jazz Appreciation Month . When we as music educators hear about using music from our culture, we think of old folk songs, maybe contemporary favorites that our students like. Do we ever consider jazz, seeing as it's the true American art form? If you're like me with very little jazz background (except for "stage" band in high school), you might want to know how to get started. Do we play the music? Do we study the musicians? How in-depth do we get? (Obviously, there are jazz musicians who have had terrible lives.) And the Big Question: How do I keep them engaged? Try a jazz musician talk show. This activity provides the opportunity to let your students practice their researching skills, discern important information, use critical thinking, and throw in some drama. Additionally, the students will learn to discern pieces of information and hopefully learn about the roots of jazz and the history of the time. So, you s...
Several months ago, I wrote about keeping kids moving in the classroom. Believe it or not, keeping kids moving within certain parameters actually cuts down on classroom management issues, keeps them engaged, and helps the brain. Well, now, of course, is spring. It's early spring, and it might be a while before some of you will be able to take your students outside. SHOULD you take your students outside? Why not? It's a change of pace for you and for them. It helps them learn how to work in an even less restrictive environment. It can help with frayed nerves. It's good for them physically and mentally. It's good for YOU. These are the types of things I would do with my classes outside: DRUMMING This had to be the absolute favorite of my students. Usually, I wouldn't start this until second grade so they would be big enough to help carry the drums out.  I woud plan the following activities: Question/answer Call/response Echo Grooves I discovered the students benefitte...