Thursday, September 28, 2017

Innovation or Bust #IMMOOC

I have been participating in #IMMOOC, as I am rereading a fabulous book by George Curous called "The Innovator's Mindset."  It has caused me to do a great deal of reflecting.

Looking back on my 13 years in education, both as a teacher and as a principal, I would call myself a creative educator.  I tried new things that were different from what everyone else was doing.  I was willing to do almost anything to engage students in learning.  I made it a priority to have my students create, not just consume.  I developed experiences to create memorable learning opportunities for students.  I engaged families in the process.  Innovative was not the word I would have used to describe myself.  

Acccording to Merriam-Webster, innovation is:

Definition of innovation

:the introduction of something new

2:a new idea, method, or device :novelty
(Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innovation)

Looking back in hindsight, I believe I was, and am an innovator in the field of education.  I am continuing to learn, continuing to change, continuing to revise ideas to meet the needs of students and families and to help our students rise to the occasion in ways the future world is going to need them to.  Do I have it all figured out, no.  Am I willing to ask questions, dig deeper, experiment, explore, and learn?  You better believe it!

I know that I have been viewed by some as a person who needs to slow down and not interrupt the status quo.  Others may have believed that I raised the bar to a place that wasn't necessary.  However, I perserered and continue to push on because I believe there is always more I can do to make this world a better place, to make my students better prepared for the future, to engage our community in the learning process, and to be continually learning myself.  

In a time when the world is changing at the speed of light, technology is doing things we only dreamt of in movies, and kids' access to information is vastly different from what it has been, we must change.  We must innovate.  If we choose to remain stagnant, to be afraid to try something different, to be afraid to fail,  or to view the changes in the world around us, our students will suffer.  Our kids need to be ready for what is to come and it is our job to help prepare them to think in a way that will make that happen.  We need to prepare leaders and learners who will persevere through problems, who will ask hard questions or questions that haven't been asked before, who will know how to investigate their personal passions independently, who will be able to work hard and use that hard work to make something in the world better.  

I'm only just touching the surface from my learning, experimenting, and brainstorming of what innovation can look like in a classroom, school, or community.  However, my ideas, combined with your ideas, combined with the ideas of educators next door, across the country, and across the globe can change a system that has been resistant to innovation for years.  Together, we can change the experiences and the opportunities our students are give.  Together, we can include our students in creating learning that is meaningful and engaging to them.  Together.  Together we will learn.  Together we will grow.  Together we will fail and get back up.  Together is the path forward to innovation.   Are you ready to join the movement?    

Sunday, April 24, 2016

What I've Been Up To

I've been off the grid on the blog for awhile, but it is my goal to make time to continue to create, update, dialogue, and share.

I was honored this week to be featured in our local newspaper.  Here's some of the things I've been up to while my blogging lagged....

Amy Balsbaugh in Lancaster Online News

...more to come....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Where Have You BEEN??

I recently received a comment from a follower asking where I have been and requesting more posts.

So, I thought it was time I explain my lack of activity and along with my explanation, promise to return with more resources and ideas soon.

In August, I accepted a position as a principal of a K-3 elementary school.  I quickly packed all of my music classroom up into box after box of resources, memories, and ideas all within the period of one week.  Nine years of joy is a hard thing to walk away from.

I enjoy my new job, but as you might imagine, starting out as a principal takes a great deal of time, as I try to learn the new district and staff and as I get some experience under my belt.  Thus, most evenings and weekends are spent preparing things for my staff and students.

On top of that, I got engaged in October, so the wedding planning fun is taking up the time I had spent on my TpT Store and Blog!

Have no fear, however.  I still love thinking up ideas and sharing them.  It is my goal to be able to share more resources and ideas again with you all more frequently in the new year.  From my new perspective as an administrator, I think I may be able to bring you even more creative ideas.

You may also start to see some non-music items appear as I work in a new role outside of the music realm.  These resources may work in and out of the music class, or they might be building level specific.

Stay tuned for more exciting things.  As always, if there is a resource you are looking for, feel free to let me know!

Thanks for your patience.  I'll be back, I promise!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What is Orff? The Eternal Question

When parents or community members learn that we have an "Orff" program in our music room, I always get lots of questions.  What is it?  Who is Orff?  That's the xylophones, right?  How do you spell that?

With my first grade families, to introduce myself and the program each year, I always send a letter home about my philosophy of teaching and what we will be doing in the music room during the year.
I also attach AOSA's brochure, What is Orff in Elementary Music Education, so that all parents get a better understanding of what we are going to be doing and learning.

Today, I came across this video, though, that I think quickly, beautifully, and visually explains what Orff-Schulwerk is, and the power of this type of instruction.  I will definitely be adding this to my webpage at school and sending the link home as well.  This trumps the brochure.

Check it out! Click here!


Hope these ideas help you explain or understand Orff more. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Visit the Music Room

Somehow, summer always breezes by and the long list of to do's and ideas never gets completely accomplished, even with the best intentions.  Goldilock's transformation to a music and literature story has been at the top of my list for awhile and it is finally done for you TODAY!


This set includes directions, 7 rhythm ostinato cards, and a pictoral story to be incorporated along with the children's folk story, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." After learning each character's ostinato part,

it will be inserted into the story every time the character is mentioned. The story is written out and graphics are inserted every time an ostinato is to be chanted (ex. every time the wee little bear is named, the baby bear rhythm ostinato will be performed in the story.) Students can read the story or the teacher can. Ostinatos can be performed as a whole class or in small groups. Instrumental suggestions are also included for each character. Speech interjections for the story are also color coded for ease of students and the teacher.


Using half notes, quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth Notes, this activity is great for students who are familiar or may come across this book in their reading classes as well. Great cross curricular activity that is engaging for students and meets music standards while incorporating literacy as well. A final performance can be created and shared as well.
I hope your students enjoy bringing this beloved folktale to life, as much as I loved creating it! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

End of the Year Orff Instrument Cleaning and Maintenance

I'm back!!!  Sorry for the gap in posts.  The end of the year was a bit crazy for many reasons and blogging had to be put on the back burner.

Every year at the end of the year, I spend some time with my students maintaining and cleaning the Orff instruments, xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, oh my!  It always amazes me what can be found living inside! 

When I first started teaching, I had no idea what to do to keep the instruments in great condition.  Throughout the years from other teachers, I have learned some great tips on upkeep that I will share with you here.

To get started, I have the kids partner up, take off the instrument bars, and shop vac out the plethora of dust and other fun things found inside the instruments. 


After the instruments are cleaned out, students use a wet rag, and a bucket of Murphy's Oil Soap to wash the boxes and the wooden bars.  I do not have students clean off the metal bars.


Once the bars are washed, they take a different wash cloth with a little bit of Old English furniture polish, and they polish the box and wooden bars.
I also, at this time, have students put post it notes on any spots where pins have been broken on the instruments.  My wonderful custodian then pulls out the old pins and puts in replacement pins.


The final product is a beautiful, shiny instrument that is ready for a fresh start next school year.
Happy Cleaning! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Must Have Monday



I'm linking up with Amy Abbot at Music a la Abbott today to blog about some must haves.  There's a great reason for this, you see.  On May 6 and 7, you can save up to 28% on items from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I've discounted my Treble in the Classroom store on top of the offer from the TPT site. 

So here goes:
Here are a few things that I've created for my classroom, that I couldn't live without.

#1 My Emergency Substitute Binder.  This includes tabs, letters, and sub lessons for grades K-6.  I have personally printed class copies of each activity and put them behind the grade level tabs.  Then, if I need to have an emergency day, I can pull out the binder and a non-music sub could choose musical activities for each grade level that they are comfortable with, sort of smorgasbord fashion (this is Lancaster PA, after all!)  I have gotten so much positive feedback from this.  Substitutes love the clarity and the ability to choose something that they can personally handle. 
Recently, my Carnival of the Animals assessment set has been very useful, as I'm finishing up the 1st grade Carnival unit.  It's been great to confirm that the students can listen and identify to the unique musical features of each animal in the Carnival. 
A must have that I purchased from Cori Bloom's Rhythm and Bloom is this great Roll-A-Song musical dice composition activity set. I just finished making all the paper dice for my 2nd graders and I'm excited for them to roll their way to a composition tomorrow.
 

My clip art cart is full.  Tomorrow I'll be stocking up on several things, including:
The Three Little Pigs by Scrappin' Doodles...

Happy shopping.  Thanks to all the teachers for all you do for kids each and every day!