We all like breaks. I took a mini-hiatus from blogging to devote more time to my CASA kiddos. It's beautiful and emotional all at the same time.  But for you teachers, especially if you're a public school teacher, the break was pretty much needed for your physical and mental health. I hope you were able to take advantage of the healing a break can give you. Unfortunately, next week begins a new year and for most of you, the end to your winter break. And darn it! I have to say it again, it brings a lot of the unknown. COVID decided to mutate again into Omicron. Political issues might not have been addressed. Your kids who need SEL might need to be re-triaged. You have to be ready with your "bring it! I got this!" face. Pooh on that. It's tough enough to return from a break without all this other stuff facing you. Now, more than ever, you mustn't STRESS about turning cartwheels lesson plans. You need to review. But you need not go into crazy detail and start com...
  Bulletin boards . You might totally love them or totally hate them. You may love the process of putting them up, but hate the end result. OR, you might hate the process, but love the result. Or, you might put up the bulletin board paper and leave it blank until a colleague is tired of it and slaps something up for you. However you slice it, when you get down to it, bulletin boards add a special aspect to teaching. We know visuals are important, based on various studies. We also know that time is precious. You just might not have the TIME to keep changing bulletin boards. You also know the length of a student attention span. If you don't call attention to what is on the board and never change it, it languishes like the dust bunnies behind the piano. If you have several bulletin boards, are you wasting your time keeping the information fresh? Why not create interactive bulletin boards? OK, I don't mean interactive like virtual or digital, but bulletin boards that can be utilize...
  We know what those are like. The jitters whenever we face anything new. And the first day of school for newbies is ESPECIALLY jittery, even for new teachers. This adorable book by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love is about a person named Sarah. Sarah refuses to get up to go to school. Mr. Hartwell tries, but he has a huge time budging her. He tries opening the shade, talking to her calmly, until he has to give her a 5 minute ultimatum. Sarah tries hiding under the covers, begging, whining......and finally drags herself to breakfast.  In the car, she was extremely nervous. She meets the principal and gets scared. The principal, Mrs. Burton, shows her around and finally takes her to the classroom, where she states: "Class, I would like you to meet........your new teacher." via GIPHY At least, we HOPE your kids will be surprised (unless their classroom teacher has already read it to them. ) Even so...... This book lends itself to some cute musical opportunities, eve...
Names. We see 100-1,000 or more kids in music class. Sometimes the kids have music every other day. Sometimes they have music a steady 3 times a week, 2 times, a week.....or a weird block schedule where they will not see you every week. How can you even begin to learn names in a music classroom? But, putting yourself in someone else's shoes: Do you have an unusual name or spell your name in a not-so "common" way?  Raise your hand if you got extremely frustrated when people would mispronounce your name, comment on how "ethnic" it is, or misspell it.   via GIPHY My maiden name is fairly common around the area where I grew up (Missouri "Rhineland") area, but it's not that common in the wider world. It's Whithaus (short "i"). It's a derivative of the original German name of "Witthaus". Anyway, when I went to college, one of the orchestra/strings teachers would insist on calling me "Veethaus". True, that's most...
One of my most favorite assignments ever in my teaching career was teaching summer school music at the elementary level. The coordinator of summer school when I taught it knew the students needed down time. They needed enrichment. They needed higher level thinking. Summer school offered enrichment options for kids whose parents choose to have them attend. Then there were the "remedial" students. They could not sign up for classroom enrichment and could only attend "specials" if their work was finished. You know, those kids who needed art, music, and P.E. the most? But that's another soapbox for another time.....Anyway, after three years, the district assigned another coordinator. Gone were all the enrichment opportunities, including (you guessed it).....art, music, and P.E. Still another soapbox, but I digress.......Summer school music opportunities were a treasure for both the kids and me.      If you are considering teaching summer school or have been assigned...
Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate. When I link items to Amazon in any of my blogs, the link leads to them item. If you purchase through the link, I get a small percentage. So, you don't have to, buy if you do purchase through the link, I really appreciate it! We've all had them. We have our usual concepts that we teach year after year. But somehow, we tire of the same presentation. We might want to create a new theme. But, we've used the usual holidays, music themes, general sports themes, etc.  Why not try crazy holidays? There are various websites that list things like "National Ice Cream Day" or "National Save the Kumquat Day" (OK, I don't know about that one). Consider the fun it would be to introduce these to your kids! Here are some ideas for holidays January-April.   JANUARY January 21 is "Squirrel Appreciation Day." I don't honestly appreciate squirrels when they're in my birdfeeder, but they're cute nonetheless. Ther...