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...
  As I type this, many of my music teacher friends and relatives are living through the planning or first day stages of distance learning experiences. Life has changed with plastic panels, new sit spots six feet apart (if you're lucky enough to either have classes split or a large class), or new experiences on a cart. OR, you are navigating through recording your lessons and working around various online activities. This is part two of a   three-part blog series collecting various  tip Memes of the Day on my  Facebook page ,  Instagram,  and  Twitter.   Because I'm retired, I've wanted to help, so I began posting these memes, but then realized having all of them in one place might be nice. Distance Learning Memes, Part 1 Distance Learning Memes,  Part 3 Part 2 Use Puppy Pads for Condensation.  Honestly, I can't remember where I read this, but it's genius. We had a package we never really used because our "adopted as grown" dog didn't need them, but the...
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...
First published on May 11, 2020 This has been a rough, rough 2-3 months for the world. And, in the United States, citizens had to adapt in a myriad of ways in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from the coronovirus Covid-19. As you know, teachers have had to immediately learn how to provide instruction remotely, adapting on the fly, while they and their students stayed at home during the social/physical distancing requirements. For music teachers in particular, the challenge was augmented because of the performance aspect of the discipline. It was not easy for students to "musick" over Zoom or other platforms. And, according to the CDC  guidlines, re-entry into the school building does not mean that life is "back to normal". I want to share some thoughts that, although maybe a little jumbled, reflect what I would be thinking if I was still teaching. I definitely think these in my new position as a church music director. One item of particular conce...