Sunday, July 24, 2016

June Update: Toddler To Do List

Summer seems to move very quickly and I have found over the years that having a plan helps me stay on track and ensures that I accomplish most of what I set out to in May.  July was supposed to be full of traveling and family time, but due to a few unexpected events, our traveling has been limited.  I am still trying to make sure kiddo and I spend time together and that she is exposed to experiences that help her learn grown.

1. Visit different Zoos
2. Read A LOT of Books (85 as of this morning)
3. Visit different Parks
4. Splash Pad
5. Go Swimming6. VBS
7. Summer Reading Program
8. Picnic Outside
9. Build a Fort
10. Play with Bubbles
11. Draw with Chalk
12. Go on Walks13. Watch Fireworks
14. Watch a Parade
15. Go Hiking
16. Play with Cousins
17. Play with Friends
18. Visit Family

19. Finger Paint
20. Eat an Ice Cream Cone
21. Go on a Bike Ride
22. Spend Time with Mommy and Daddy

23. Go on a Road Trip
24. Play in a Sprinkler
25. Visit State Parks (1)
26. Paint with Water
27. Play Catch
28. Go Camping (even if it's in the back yard)



Monday, May 2, 2016

Emergency Sub Plans

I thought I was organized with my sub plans but this year has proven I was wrong. At the beginning of the year, I was excited about the ability to create personalized Quaver Lessons for sub plans. It seemed perfect! I could create the lessons at home if needed and the sub could lead the students through the activities. This seemed like a great, simple way to do sub plans. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that many of our subs are not comfortable with technology and will not use it, so my great plan was out the window.

At my old schools, I would go in the night before or morning of to get sub plans organized and this seemed to work. I also rarely had to take sick days. That is, until I added a forty minute commute and a child to the mix. Once I realized that my online plan would not work, I ended up  relying on a coworker to print stuff off or make copies when I had to take an unplanned day. Worst case, I would end up dragging my daughter to school with me so I could get things setup. That is exactly what I did this morning and during those eighty minutes of driving, I realized there has to be a better way and I set out to come up with a plan. Being sick or waking up in the middle of the night with a sick child is stressful enough, having to deal with sub plans just makes everything worse.

When I know ahead of time that I am going to be gone, I try to plan activities that do not break the flow from what we are working on. I may have the sub give a test or have the students continue to work on our current project.

These sub lesson plans are for last minute days when I have to be out. Having five lessons for each grade level organized and ready to go, which allows me to pick and choose what activities the sub does based on the time of year and where we are in our lessons.

I see my students for thirty minutes, every other day (which allows me to use each lesson twice.) Some of these sub activities will take the whole period, while others I'll not. On those days I include multiple options for extra activities: read a book while students clap the rhythm to certain words, students read a book, drum freeze, music freeze or play Apple Tree or another one of their favorite singing games.

*Disclaimer - I did not develope these resources. They were either bought from a music store or found online (Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have included links to their websites and I take no ownership for their development.)*

My Plan
I have used these resources for sub plans this year, but my plan is to be fully prepared. This means having all materials printed, copied and ready to go. I used to keep my sub materials in a file cabinet drawer, but I have decided to use a file crate. This will allow me more space to keep everything organized. This way, I will only have call the sub caller.

Option A
Kindergarten - Instrument BINGO
First Grade - Rhythm BINGO
Second Grade - Rhythm BINGO
Third Grade - Rhythm BINGO
*Instrument BINGO
*Rhythm BINGO: the teacher before me wrote out all of the rhythms as Ta and Ti-ti so a non musical person can just say the rhythm and does not have to know what each symbol means.

Option B
Kindergarten - Video: Elmo's Peter and the Wolf
First Grade - Video: Carnival of the Animals
Second Grade - Video: Animusic, Rhythm Coloring Sheet
Third Grade - Video: Animusic, Rhythm Coloring Sheet

Option C
Kindergarten - Ta and Rest Turtle Coloring Sheet (also include a Kidsongs Sing Along DVD)
First Grade - Rhythm Coloring Sheet
Second Grade - Rhythm Coloring Sheet
Third Grade - Treble Clef Coloring Sheet

Option D
Kindergarten - Instrument Packet
First Grade - Rhythm Packet
Second Grade - Rhythm Packet
Third Grade - Recorder Packet

Option E
Kindergarten - Ta and Ti-Ti Coloring Sheet
First Grade - Dynamics Coloring Sheet
Second Grade - Music Symbol Coloring Sheet
Third Grade - Treble Clef BINGO

Option F - Quaver Lesson
I still plan to have Quaver Lessons organized just in case I have a sub who is willing to use technology. These custom lessons include Smart Board games we have played,  music history videos, lesson introduction videos and some of our favorite songs.

Extra Resources
Kindergarten - Color by Number Drum
Rhythm Coloring Sheet
Color by Note -Turkey

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Audio Books

I am thankful for a random conversation with a coworker that reminded me about audio books. I spent most of this school listening to podcasts and I enjoy them but sometimes I like something more indepth. Also, sometimes I have to wait for new episodes and I am stuck with nothing to listen to.  I find that I feel more overwhelmed when I don't get a chance to read. Reading is time for myself and a chance to learn and grow.

My library uses the program Axis360 which allowns access to ebooks and audio books. The best part is it is free. Most audio books I have found are around ten hours which means I can finish about a book a week if I listen during my commute. I feel like I am now using this time to the best of my ability and taking advantage of this time to learn and grow.

If you enjoy reading but are short on time, I strongly suggest audio books. Plus, there are so many great programs that allow access to audio books.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Toddler Bucket List

Life changes in so many ways when children are involved. This is my first summer with a toddler and I know I must keep her busy in order keep my sanity. I have made a list of experiences I want her to experience. Summer is a hard time for me because I don't always do well without a schedule. This list also serves as a schedule of sorts to help me stay on track.

What is on your bucket list? What are your favorite memories with your family?

1. Visit different Zoos
2. Read A LOT of Books
3. Visit different Parks
4. Splash Pad
5. Go Swimming
6. VBS
7. Summer Reading Program
8. Picnic Outside
9. Build a Fort
10. Play with Bubbles
11. Draw with Chalk
12. Go on Walks
13. Watch Fireworks
14. Watch a Parade
15. Go Hiking
16. Play with Cousins
17. Play with Friends
18. Visit Family
19. Finger Paint
20. Eat an Ice Cream Cone
21. Go on a Bike Ride
22. Spend Time with Mommy and Daddy
23. Go on a Road Trip
24. Play in a Sprinkler
25. Visit State Parks
26. Paint with Water
27. Play Catch
28. Go Camping (even if it's in the back yard)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kindergarten Concert 2016

My original plan was to include songs from books.  I soon realized I did not have enough material so I decided to go with more of an informance model.  Students chose three of their favorites from our Song of the Month songs and we ended up having ten songs total to perform.  I have never done a single grade level performance before, but I like the flexibility.

Next year I would like to have the students pick more of our songs from our Monthly Songs and to include more of our classroom singing games.  I would also like to break down each set of songs by concept and explain more to parents what concepts we worked on through learning each song.

2016 Concert (Many of these songs are from Quaver)
BINGO
5 Green and Speckled Frogs
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
If You're Happy and You Know It
Lunch Box
Superhero
Grizzly Bear
Ickle Ockle
Apple Tree
Stinky Pirates


Monday, February 22, 2016

Do We Realize...

This year has been a challenge.  I am excited about the opportunity to learn and grow each day, but it is sometimes a painful and slow process.  I know I will exit this school year as a stronger person and a better teacher.  Some days are just hard. These questions have been on my mind a lot this year.

  • Do we realize when a teacher in our building is struggling?
    • What do we do to help them?
  • Do we realize when teachers/staff are close to burnout?
  • Do we take the time to truly listen?
  • Are we too wrapped up in our own lives and problems?
  • Do we take the time to connect as human beings?
  • Do we show that we care (if we in fact actually care)?
  • Do we realize that a teacher in our building is thinking about quitting?
  • Do we understand that good teachers struggle?
  • Do we say enough positive things?
  • Do we truly pay attention?
  • Do we think about our interactions with those around us?
  • Are we too busy?
  • Do we realize that a teacher leaves right away because they don't want to cry in their classroom?
  • Do we know who needs help?