Friday, August 30, 2013

My first hallway board: "Music Takes Us All Around the World"

My classroom is a bungalow without a display board out front. However, there is a display board that I get to use on the building right next to my room. Yay!

In music class it can take a while to get things to put on a display board. I decided to create something to put up on the board to welcome the students on the first day of school. This helps me not feel so pressured for the kids to produce something.

As an International Baccalaureate school, we do a lot of focus on increasing our students' international mindedness. Music is a wonderful vehicle for this.

The quote "Music Takes Us All Around the World" has a double meaning of the word "all." It can mean all of us people or all the different locations in the world. I used black tempera paint with a regular brush to create the lettering. I cut a corner guide out of card stock and used that as a guide for cutting the rest of the corners.

I used a drum to make a circle and cut it out of blue butcher paper for the planet. I used green tempura paint to add some land. I did the map from memory as it is a good brain exercise.

I'm delighted with the board! Another teacher on campus told me it looked really good. The validation for my efforts feels great.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Note Values and Fractions Display

As a new teacher I am getting my room ready to go from scratch. There is nothing in there, so I get to start out fresh!

I really want to help the students understand how fractions and music note values are related. In preparation for that lesson to come, I created one of these for each value of note that we use in class, whole, half, quarter, and eighth. It has the name of the note, a picture of the note on a five line staff, a graphic representation of a measure, and a short definition.

Notice that I did not include the number of beats each note gets. I think children get confused about how music note value relates to fractions when we get to an eighth note is 1/8 of a measure and 1/2 of a beat. My idea is to start with the first fraction, an eighth note is 1/8 of a measure and it would take 8 eighth notes to fill up a full measure. From there we can start dissecting the beat. 

I thought about the graph at length and am still not entirely satisfied with it. On each page the section that is colored in darker is one of that note. I decided to use a rectangle because measures are rectangular. 

I will probably tweak this around as I go, or I might scrap it all together. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

That musty smell is coming from the music room...

Greetings Internet! I'm Ms. Nelson, the new elementary music teacher for an urban California school.

When I first saw my room it looked so lifeless, sad, and crusty. In years past the music teaching duties were split between different teachers. That meant that nothing has been thrown away for a while and no one spent any time trying to spruce up the place. Clarinet swabs, saxophones necks, and valve oil are in giant tin cans. Oh, and it's a bungalow.

I hate bungalows. In my mind they are not sustainable buildings. Everything has a timeline and temporary buildings have temporary in the title! I think they are wasted money in the long run.

However! My thoughts on money well spent aside, my room is a really good size for a music room. I might think differently as children fill the space. Their elbows always seem to take up more room than I think they will.

I'm in the process of cleaning out the room, taking inventory of the instruments, and giving the walls a much needed spruce up. Oh, and writing a curriculum. I'm teaching K-6, lower grades general music, upper grades instrumental. I see each class only once a week. I just finished my Orff Level 1 training and am excited to use some of what I've learned.

I will use this space to share things I post in the classroom, lessons, stuff that worked, stuff that didn't work, and gratitude.

In a difficult long term sub position last year I started writing down a few good things in my planner at the end of the day that I was grateful for or that made me smile. That way I had written proof of the things that had gone well that week instead of always dwelling on the negative. I hope to continue the practice this year.