I am happy to announce that I am hosting the August Music Education Blog Carnival! I have curated a collection of excellent blog posts from the past month and I hope you enjoy browsing them. Hopefully they will inspire you to try something new this school year!
First up, here's a collection of blog posts to help you get yourself- and your classroom- ready for the new school year:
- Back to School Teacher Fear: Will They Remember Anything?
by Sandra Hendrickson at Sing Play Creatively
In this post, Sandra breaks down what her first lessons look like at the beginning of the school year and addresses every teacher's secret fear: that students will have forgotten everything over the summer break! Fortunately, if you are prepared for the new school year like Sandra, you can offset some of that fear. Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post- there's a freebie in there, too!
- Puppies and Middle School Children: Some Classroom Management for Back to School
by Dale at In The Middle with Mr. D
WARNING: This blog posts contains extreme puppy cuteness. Approach with caution!!! But seriously, Dale makes some very clever connections between training his new puppy and using effective classroom management strategies in his middle school choral classroom. I think this is the perfect time of year to reflect on how we want to approach our classroom management techniques and how we want to let our unique personalities as teachers- and as regular people!- shine through to our students.
- Three Ways to Prepare for the New School Year
by Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room
Aileen shows us three very impressive ways that she uses technology to help plan: First she has posted two very detailed videos that go over how to create a song list and song index to help you work on your long range/curriculum planning. These are especially helpful if you are like me and go cross-eyed every time you work in Excel. Then she introduces her new podcast, which I am very excited to start subscribing to. Maybe this will be what I listen to at the gym now, since I've finished listening to season one of Serial...
- My Superhero Theme for the Year
by Linda at Floating Down the River
What I love most about Linda's classroom theme is that it extends far beyond just cosmetic classroom decor items. She has put some serious thought into supporting her theme with literature and she even incorporates the superhero theme into her classroom management strategies with a superhero of the day and superhero equity sticks. She has even shared her theme on TpT so you can have a class of superheroes as well!
- Need a Magnet? Pack Rat Success!
by Sally Utley at Sally's Sea of Songs
This short and sweet post has a priceless tip for recycling old magnets. I know that there are a lot of teachers who spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets each year to get their classrooms set up. Tex deductible or not, I think it gets a bit out of hand! Sally is so clever to have thought of doing this, and it looks like her room is ready!
- Music Rules
by Mrs. Martin's Music Room
I love these class rules because they are succinct yet thorough. Mrs. Martin has just three main rules- which is perfect because most research suggests that students will only respond to 3-5 main rules. However, she includes bullet points under each one to clarify or explain what they mean. I find that especially with my young students, you can't just say "be respectful" because they may not know what that looks like, sounds like, or feels like. In this post, Mrs. Martin leaves no room for questioning the rules because each one is thoroughly explained in kid-friendly language.
- First Day of Music Emoji Activity
by Molly at Ms. Patrician's All-Star Music VA
This sounds like the PERFECT activity to start off the school year! Connect to students by doing something they love and also teach them critical skills such as listening and responding to music. I am already thinking of ways I can adapt this lesson to work with my students using our school iPad cart...
Maybe you're already prepared or your school year has already started? Check out these bloggers' great suggestions for high quality lessons and teaching strategies:
- Teacher Tuesday: Why I Listen to the Radio Every Day
by Elizabeth Caldwell at Organized Chaos
I agree 100% with Elizabeth's perspective in this blog post. She describes the reasons why she incorporates pop music into many of her lessons. It is so important for our students to see that "their" music and "our" music are actually made of the same stuff. I love how Elizabeth considers listening to the radio to be free professional development. I listen to several pop music stations in the car every day (I NEED to have music on during my commute) and I agree that it is so important to include it in the music room.
- Classroom Groups with Craft Sticks
by Tracy King at Mrs. King's Music Room
There used to be a time when I would look at classroom teachers and their little can of popsicle sticks with envy. I thought to myself, "there's no way I could make that work with 300+ students." But Tracy has come up with an excellent way to organize her students into groups using these sticks. By writing more than one thing on each stick, students can be grouped a number of different ways. AND there is a subtle reinforcement of music terminology at the same time! I'd call this a win-win!
- View Pure: Another Safe Alternative to YouTube
by Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road
In this post, Jennifer shares a fantastic resource for sharing YouTube videos without all of the potentially inappropriate ad content. She shares some of the awesome little features that View Pure has, like custom start times and password protection, along with a caveat that some of the features are not fully functional yet because the site is still in beta testing. Even so, it is great to have another resource for protecting videos, and I can't wait to see how this site grows and develops.
- Kodaly Level I vs. Orff Level I
by Jen at Noteworthy by Jen
It's so refreshing to read a post by someone who is not completely gung-ho for any one single teaching methodology. Jen compares and contrasts her experience after taking both Orff and Kodaly level I courses, and highlights the benefits of each. Personally, I have not taken any levels yet but have attended countless workshops for both methodologies, and I really enjoyed reading about them from someone who has had a more in-depth experience with each.
- Practice Kits
by Jennifer at FPSResources
Wow, looking at these practice kits makes me really want to be a student in Jennifer's piano studio! I can just imagine how much of an incentive these games will be to get students to practice at home. And it's such a great idea to put the whole kit right in a student's binder. That way it never ends up being out of sight, out of mind. This whole blog post is making me feel like I should go practice piano...
- MKMEA Chalk Challenge
by Lindsay Jervis at Pursuit of Joyfulness: A Kodály Inspired Classroom
Reading this post makes me really wish I lived anywhere near Wichita! Lindsay had a brilliant idea to piggyback off the popularity of the ice bucket challenge from last summer, but with something totally fun and playful: sidewalk chalk! I love using sidewalk chalk for outdoor music lessons. So if you're planning to attend the MKMEA convention, I hope you play along with the challenge!
Thanks for reading! I hope some of these posts have helped you feel inspired for the new school year. I know that I have a dozen new ideas to try out when my school starts up again in a few weeks.
For more information about the Music Education Blog Carnival or to sign up as a host, please visit Justine Dolorfino's website.