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...
Countdown to First Day: Be Prepared for Your Music Classroom with Checklists        It's the middle of July, and you know you still have vacation left. But, you are noticing announcements of PD Days for July. You see the dreaded Back to School Sales. It dawns on you that the fight for the copiers will begin August 1. And unfortunately, the COVID cloud is hanging over once again as the vaccination dance continues in earnest. Then...............THE LETTER arrives. I don't know what you receive, but we always got the "Yeah, it's starting!" letter from the superintendent, along with schedules and must-dos for convocations, team meetings, deadlines for insurance, building meetings, deadlines for watching the required HR videos.....the things that make your head spin because there are so many, no matter how experienced you are. Top that with excitement of seeing colleagues again, and suddenly you realize you're on Day One, and your bulletin board isn't finished,...
  It's summer. It's time to chill with Netflix binges and poolside lounging. Some of us obey when we hear people say things like, "It's summer. Get your mind off of school!" Of course, then your hackles get up when people say, "It must be nice to have three months off." and you want to be able to prove just how busy you were on your more-like-two-months-break. Or, you just try to get in as much living as you can and you don't worry about what others say.. Go, you! But, for many of us teachers, it's also a time of ruminating what went wrong last year and endless PD book reading, workshops, and fretting.  I get it. I was there! Anytime I was on vacation, and my husband and I traveled, he got pretty peeved when I wanted to take my computer. Computer stayed home, but sometimes I was busier using my phone to check school email (as little as there was in summer) than I was taking pictures of gorgeous mountains. When we splurged on that Danube rivercrui...
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...
Children's Literature Corner: I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James This beautiful little treasure was written to the memories of young Black men such as Tamir Rice and acknowledges the inner strength in young Black boys, or any child in particular. This book would be beautiful to use for Social Emotional Learning or any time a teacher wants to highlight positivity and self-esteem. Musically, this book can also tell this story, with some enhancements. Positive words such as "energy", "go-getter", "leader." This words can be either used as ostinati,  as an expressive speech piece accompanying the reading of the book. Let me give you an example: Example One: ostinato Example Two: expressive speech Adding a little melody with a book that intersperses with sections of the book re-emphasizes the tone and lesson of the book. The little melody I wrote is: You can also add instruments to enhance certain words like ENERGY (with a drum roll or...