Friday, September 28, 2012

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone out there tried to take some time this summer to clear their head, recharge their batteries, and get pumped for a new year of inspiring kiddos!  I wanted to share a source of continuing education that I can't seem to stop going to on my IPad.

Pinterest is a great source for the most mouthwatering recipes, new ways to assemble an outfit with the latest style trends, and instructions on how to create cheaper cleaning products using commonly found kitchen items, but there are   other gems to be found in this oh so addicting site.

I have been building an endless web of video segments, web resources, and enough curriculum maps to bring out my inner continuing education nerd!  The ability to access resources from teachers of all different methodologies from across the country without spending a dime or a Saturday at a workshop is something that I've found to be invaluable.  I challenge teachers to grab a cup of tea, sign up for an account, friend other teachers, start pinning and then start exploring and implementing these new ideas in their classrooms!  Have you found a great pin that worked wonders in your classroom?  Email me: 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Reflecting on the good, the bad, and the "gotta do's"....

As this school year comes to a close, remember to reflect on lesson plans, performance ideas, advocacy plans for your program, and professional development workshop notes with great ideas that will keep the juices flowing for the next school year.  Now that my performances have wrapped up for 2011-2012 and I find that breathing is coming a bit easier....I am excited to jot down the good, the bad, and the "gotta do's" for the 2012-2013 school year.  Here are three challenges that I find myself wanting to tackle that may help you start your reflection.  Now grab a cup of hot tea and start writing!:

  • Taking a few quick minutes each rotation to educate my students about the music blog for their school.  My goal is that this will help with parent communication, music advocacy, and providing my students educational opportunities that are reachable beyond the four walls of my classroom.
  • Commit to putting brain-based research on my paper programs for all performances.  I would also like to put this research into other areas of parent communication such as our newsletter, and possibly at the bottom of any paper activities we do in class.  I usually include research read by students while different performing groups are setting up during concerts.  I recently received an email from a parent stating that she was excited to hear that we work on crossing the midline in music class and this was something that she works on with her son with at home activities.  Every little bit of information helps!
  • As always NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK with other great music teachers.  Check out their blogs, workshops, and simply reach out and call! As my favorite mentor once said, "After all, it's for the kids!"  So don't hesitate to pick other teacher's brains!
As always, send your reflection ideas to

Monday, February 27, 2012

Classroom blog as a communication tool....

I have been exploring the use of both a personal education blog to communicate ideas I come across with my fellow music educators as well as a blog for my classroom to communicate day to day happenings.  I have found the classroom blog to be an extremely effective communication tool.  I am able to post pictures, videos, links to advocacy resources, and much more in a short amount of time.  My goal is that parents get an inside glance at the overwhelming amount of material that we cover throughout the year.

There are so many user friendly blog sites to utilize these days so my advice to you is pour a cup of tea and just start experimenting with one that speaks to you!  I had a sixth grade student comment the other day to his class, "Did you see what those first and second graders can do?  I saw it on the music blog!!"  This alone made my day and my blogging project worth it.....

Keep me posted with your blogs and online communication tools/ideas @

Monday, February 13, 2012

Could a postcard bring a bit of confidence, happiness, and music advocacy?

At a recent professional development, a fellow music teacher mentioned that she sends out postcards to students as an outlet for positive communication. Well, I loved the idea and jumped online to get started.  I created postcards utilizing a fun pre-made design and added a music advocacy quote.  It's the best of both worlds, music advocacy for the parents (and kiddos too...) and a positive note for the student.  As specials teachers, we have so many kids that making personal connections with every single one can be a bit of a challenge.    These postcards are one more way to tackle this!

Hop online to any print/paper website and design away.  The pricing for mine wasn't bad at all and I am excited to see results!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Incorporating video segments into your lesson plans for improved student learning....

I've been checking out professional development courses lately that have been challenging teachers to incorporate video segments into their lesson plans to improve student learning and student memory.  Of course, I immediately want to tackle yet another project, however, as a lot of teachers say, I just need a bit more time!  
At a recent staff meeting, a teacher showed a video completed by two students incorporating information they had previously learned about the Bill of Rights using the online resource  I was hooked! The teacher was able to assess student understanding of the subject matter, and I bet the students will remember the key points to the lesson for a long time to come due to the creative outlet!  
The ability to quickly and effectively utilize this tool has motivated me to quit waiting for the right time and just start creating!  Check out the video above for more of my ideas, then go to and create one for yourself...It's as easy as the slogan says, "if you can can make movies!"

Monday, January 30, 2012

...Because carrying your collection shouldn't break your back

This summer I finished my level III Kodaly certification that was a part of my graduate degree, and anyone who has completed this monumental task has a 3 inch binder that ways 100 pounds to prove it!  Carrying my collection back and fourth to my two schools and home so that I can explore it, has done more than given me extra gems to add to my lesson plans, it has also given me another reason to schedule a massage!  Channeling with my "mac" brain, I decided to do something about it.  Hence, my latest project....scanning my collection and loading the PDF files onto my IPad.  Check out the picture for the difference!  I am in the process of making mini collections of Kodaly concepts to put on my IBook shelf as well.  This project is inspiring me to scan my other past conference/workshop notes that are currently housed in a three inch binder on my office shelf.  Looking to do this too?  Try your school's copy machine.  Ours has the ability to scan a stack of papers at once (at lightening speed I might add) and upload them to a flash drive, I then transferred them through email to my IPad...VOILA!!

Another fun gem...Do a quick google search for various master teachers workshop notes and teaching resources....I have been able to load numerous PDF teaching tools that I currently have in notebooks in my office to my IBook shelf.  These notes and their easy to access status have proven to be an invaluable resource!  Digging through binders to find "that one note from that one workshop" is becoming a thing of the past for me!  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pump up your lesson plans with a dose of brain-based research!!

I have recently attended some courses taught by Kim Bevill.  Kim Bevill is the founder of the education consulting group Gray Matters.  Bevill's workshops weave brain research and education together to create greater results in the classroom.  One of the resources I picked up was a card packet at the last workshop.  Each card in the packet includes an activity to complete in the classroom along with brain-based research to back up the activity.  I have begun utilizing these activities in the classroom and WOW!  Quick, effective, and purposeful! Just what I am looking for! I recommend ordering this resource for the classroom.  Click here for a link to purchase the cards.  Check out Kim's website for some powerful brain-based classroom tools and education and if you are in the Denver area, take one of her Saturday workshops!  Click here for a course schedule.