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...
I usually had a difficult time getting some fun stuff in for Thanksgiving for my first and second graders because they were getting ready for their holiday programs. However, I thought it was important that we start rehearsals early enough to 1. incorporate concepts within the music and 2. add other fun stuff that had nothing to do with program songs.  In November, one of the most favorite games was "Shoo, Turkey." There are various arrangements of this song/game in publication, but the one I always used was from the Bessie Jones/Bess Lomax Hawes book Step It Down.  This is a great call and response song you can use for assessment! Alan Lomax, a well-known folk musicologist, recorded Bessie Jones singin g this ditty during an interview on the music she remembered growing up in a Georgia farming community. (By the way, her biographical information in Step It Down is fascinating! If you don't have this book, you should. It is a treasure.) The "call" in the record...
       I am going to be honest: I have felt pretty helpless as my former colleagues are planning, worrying, buying, and collaborating to prepare for.....well, "How long will we be in the building?" "How long will we be virtual?" "How do I keep kids at a distance?"        It's not much, but I decided to provide a tip Meme of the Day on my Facebook page , Instagram,  and Twitter.  However, I started realizing that having all those memes in one place might be nice, so I wrote three posts to cover these issues. Part 1 Use SeeSaw or another video platform to sing your morning song to your kids. As teachers, we know how crucial routine is to our students. One of the biggest debates on school versus virtual is getting students back on a regular schedule. There is good and not so good on both sides. But, if you are going virtual, there is no reason why you cannot continue a morning song or teach a new one. SeeSaw has video capabilities to allow you to reach y...
(Disclaimer: I am a SeeSaw Ambassador, but I am not employed by the company. I just love it!) Educators are having a difficult time planning for distance learning. If they start at school, they have to worry about distancing and the possibility of having to suddenly teach from home again. And, obviously, music is performance-based. How do you assess singing and possibly playing? It can't take the place of consistent musicking together, but SeeSaw online portfolio  can make it a little easier. The platform makes it easy to go from school teaching to home teaching. Students can still sit apart and work collaboratively with peer assessments. Teachers can keep up with students with computer or phone. And parents can be involved while their child is at school by being able to check their portfolio. When I was teaching,  I absolutely loved to use SeeSaw. I'd set up "recording studios" with ceiling canopies or gym mats so pairs of students could help each other with recorder...
For many of you, the "school year" (as it was) is winding down. However, you aren't sure what the fall will bring. Will you be in the classroom? Will you be teaching remotely again? Will you be doing a combination of both? It makes it difficult to plan. One possible strategy is utilizing as many online sources as possible that can be introduced fairly simply in the classroom, makes great class assignments, can be utilized as independent learning tools, and be ready at a notice to be utilized for home learning. Enter Boom Learning ℠, which is utilized with Boom Cards™. Boom Cards™ are literally decks of interactive cards that can be assigned either through student IDs or through a process called Fast Play. With Fast Play, students can work in groups or you can use an interactive board. You do not need a paid account to access Fast Play. However, you cannot collect student data. With one of the paid programs on Boom Learning℠, you can collect student data, assign card...