Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Scoop 11-30-14

Here I am linking up with another Sunday Scoop from Teaching Trio!

Please link back to their page to link-up yourselves! Read a few of the other posts too, it is a great way to connect with other teacher bloggers!

Here is my Sunday Scoop:

3 things I have to do...

1) We are officially changing the lease of my apartment so that it includes myself, my roommate, Emily, and Brad, my boyfriend- big step- ahh! ;) It's exciting though! Plus Emily is still here, which makes it all the more awesome! :)

2) My coworkers, students, family, and friends have been working so hard to stay ahead of another school in votes for our video in the Michael and Son Jingle Sing-Off Contest! The contest goes until next Sunday, December 7th and we need as many votes as we can get to stay ahead of the game! Please help us by voting for Hoffman Boston Elementary and sharing! You can also retweet my (many) tweets in support of our video by following @mspatricianhfb on Twitter! Here is the link: Vote here!

3) Get through a full week of school after so much time off in November- starting some new lessons with my kids and excited to make the best of their post-holiday excitement!

2 things I hope to do...

1) Since advent has begun and Thanksgiving is officially over, it is time to get the tree up and decorated, as well as hang our stockings! We moved to a smaller apartment in May, so finding a spot for the tree is going to be tricky- we will have to find the best way to fit it into our space sometime this week!

2) I need to work off that Thanksgiving dinner with some Kazaxe in my life! This is the workout class that I love- always fun, always challenging, and always so hard to make it to after a long day of work- going to make it this week!!

1 thing I'm happy to do...

So happy to have a day at home after lots of traveling and activity over the past 5 days- seeing an old friend, doing some laundry, and kicking back to watch some good ole Redskins football...or is that an oxymoron these days? ;)

I would also like to mark this as the last official day of #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month), though I will definitely be posting tomorrow as well, seeing as I missed November 1st. That means I have gone a whole month posting once a day! :) Pretty proud of myself- and I have loved the journey!

~Ms. Patrician

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Education in the Blogisphere!

I am finally home after a long day of driving back from Cape Cod, where we spent a wonderful Thanksgiving at my Granma's house- great food, games, and time with close and extended family!

As my gracious boyfriend drove most of the way home today, I was once again able to participate in some Twitter chats. My PLN (Professional Learning Network) is growing day by day. I thought about my PLN a lot today, and realized that the educators that I connect with, by either reading their blogs or (hopefully) having them read mine, are a huge part of it. The blogs I follow provide me with endless ideas, refer me to new technology, and allow me to reflect with fellow educators.

I am having a great time gaining Twitter followers to expand my PLN and participating in/learning from conversations each day. As a result of these conversations, I have been able to read several very interesting articles and blog posts written by other teachers, and I'd like to share a couple from today's Twitter perusal with you now:

The first one is by Jessica Cuthbertson, entitled "How to Become a Teacher Advocate":

Jessica explains ways that we can, and should, put ourselves out there as advocates for our profession- because who would be better at it than us?? She offers options for teachers who are ready to speak out in a more public fashion, but also for those who are just beginning to work as an advocate. The latter refers mainly to Twitter as a platform for positive and productive teacher conversations, as well as a way to share great things that are happening in classrooms around the world.

The second is an older post from way back in July by Sarah Da Teechur (blog persona- couldn't find her real name) called "Gone Fishin'- A Reflection on Social Media":

Sarah's post is all about using Twitter as an educator. I found it while reading a conversation that stemmed from #NT2t (New teacher to Twitter chat) this morning. The conversation was about how to discern who to follow and not follow. Sarah's argument is that she doesn't need to be "impressed" to follow someone. She usually checks to see if the person is affiliated with education and then if the answer is yes- follow! This is the criteria I have been using and I totally agree. I use the same criteria for the blogs I add to my blogger feed. I'm trying to grow my PLN- and I don't need to be impressed by the amount of followers you have or how "insightful" your posts are. If you are an educational blogger or you join an educational Twitter chat you are trying to learn just like me- and I am happy to learn with you!

And last, but certainly not least, as a music teacher who interacts with students with autism on a regular basis, I am happy to share a nice post I read by Jennifer at Teaching to Inspire in 5th- "Autism Is...A Post from the Heart":

Here is the poem she wrote about Autism:

I thought that was a great end to my sharing for the night. :) Happy Saturday!
~Ms. Patrician

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Friday- 11-28-14

Hi everyone!

    Today I am linking up with Doodlebugs for their Five for Friday linky party again, where you post 5 random things from today or this week, click the link or the button below to link up yourself!

If you have been regularly reading my blog, this is not random, however I am SO proud of my students and coworkers for coming together as such an awesome team during this endeavor. My 5th grade students have created a video for the Michael and Son Jingle Sing-Off Contest! We are in a crazy competition with another school in the DC Metro Area, and we need as much help as we can to stay in the lead! Over the past week, we have been flip flopping from 1st to 2nd place. Please help us by voting for Hoffman Boston Elementary here! We appreciate your help SO much!

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving dinner was yummy and that you all got to spend quality time with family and friends. My family, my boyfriend, and I traveled up to Cape Cod to visit with my Granma and we had an incredible dinner. My favorite new addition was the Spinach Balls that I added to our appetizer list- small bites that are filled with spinach, stuffing, and goodness. I got the idea from my friend Kristen, who hosted our Friendsgiving last Sunday. Here is the link to the recipe from The Kitchen is My Playground.

I am about to start my Peter and the Wolf unit with 2nd grade this coming week, and I ran across a pin on Pinterest that led me to an old post on Loretta Harbertson's blog, Music for HomeSchoolers- Music Lessons for the Young Child. Loretta has made listening maps with icons for each of the character themes, and I am definitely adding them to my lessons this year- Thanks Loretta!

I have officially become obsessed with Twitter, and, more specifically, Twitter ed chats. Someone tweeted a link to the Google Doc list of all the educational Twitter chats, and I am so excited to join even more of them next week when everyone picks back up after the holiday! There are SO many, and there are a bunch for each day of the week!

Each chat has a moderator and usually they follow a simple Q and A style. For example, they'll post "Q1: What do you think about blah blah blah?" and I'll respond "A1: I think blah blah blah." Poetic, I know. ;)

I've now joined 5 different chats:

#sunchat- I will remember this as my first Twitter chat :) This is a Sunday morning education chat that happens from 9-10 AM EST. Great for a pre-work week reflection on your teaching.

#elmused- Elementary Music Ed chat- occurs on Tuesday nights from 8-9 PM EST (I believe). Great chance to chat with educators who are teaching the exact same things that I am every week!

#ecet2- Elevating and Celebrating Teachers and Teaching chat- occurs 8-9 PM EST on Sundays. I stumbled upon this last weekend and loved what teachers had to say!

#musedchat- Music Ed Chat- occurs from 8-9 PM EST on Mondays- last week we chatted about our teacher evaluation processes and how they were alike/different/what we think should be changed.

#vachat- Mondays 8-9 PM EST- this chat is for Virginia educators- which, if you couldn't already tell from the name of my blog, includes me! :) This week the theme was: What Are You Thankful For?

Those last two I participated in simultaneously on Monday- and loved every minute!!

Really excited to say that I have almost finished #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) with only a few hiccups (not knowing about it the first day and forgetting to post on two Saturdays- but I made up for it on those Sundays with two posts!)

This has been a crazy month, and it has really been amazing to be able to post every day and reflect on my life as an elementary music teacher. I have also been paying even closer attention to other blogs, so I have learned about so many fun linky parties (including this one) and have added so many blogs to my Blogger following list.

Blogging started out just being a reflective tool for myself, but now it has allowed me to connect with so many educators out there, and I am so thankful that I started it up! I thank everyone who reads my blog, because I love knowing that someone out there is able to gain something from what I write each day!

I hope you all are not going too crazy on this Black Friday shopping day- I am avoiding that craziness- have a wonderful Friday!

~Ms. Patrician

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for all that is great in my life! I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with your families, wherever you are!

If you feel so inclined, please think about my students, who I am eternally grateful for, who worked so hard on this video and deserve to win money for my music program at our Title I school! Vote for Hoffman Boston in the Michael and Son Jingle Sing-Off Contest!

Thank you all, for reading this blog, it means the world to me. :)

Enjoy your turkey!
~Ms. Patrician

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Favorite Pins of November

Hi everyone! My students are so close in the Michael and Son competition- please vote for Hoffman Boston before reading!

Today I am linking up with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for her Five Favorite Pins of November linky party!

Here are my favorite pins from this past month, click on the pictures to link to the pin:

1) Finger tapping listening map from Russian Trepak from The Nutcracker- cool way for kids, especially younger ones, to really focus on listening!

2) Zydeco comparatives Sesame Street video for younger learners- I am totally going to use this for my Kindergarten lessons this winter!

3) Jingle Bells played on Boomwhackers- cool video to watch and great way to reinforce melodic concepts!

4) Song of the Snowmen FREEBIE!! Love finding fun little songs for the winter season!

5) Cute Cat musical coloring page :)

Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!
~Ms. Patrician

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why I Do What I Do- Thank You, Jeff Benson

Before I post, I once again must urge you to vote for my student in the Michael and Son Jingle Sing-Off Contest! Another school is right on our heels and we need your help! Two clicks and done! Vote for Hoffman Boston!!

Now I can get back to my real post. :)

As I was participating in two live Twitter chats last night (#vachat- for Virginia educators and #musedchat- for music educators), I was asked several questions that I immediately knew the answer to, however there was one that really resounded with me, especially given the Thanksgiving holiday. Here was the question:

My answer was immediate:

Sure, I had music teachers before Jeff (we called our teachers by their first names in high school)- some good and some bad, but what stood out about him as a teacher was not that he was just "good," or even "great," it was that he let us know that he held us to the highest standard possible- that we could do anything we put our mind to. I knew this from the second I walked into my first audition with him, the year before I entered a new high school- he did have that no-nonsense attitude, but with it came a spark of energy that I would never forget.

HB Woodlawn, or Hippie High as it is often called, was a unique school and I was overjoyed to have been picked from a lottery to attend. If you want to know more about HB Woodlawn and it's alternative educational philosophy, please visit this website.

The first year of high school is treacherous for anyone- you're awkward, you're trying to make new friends, you're wondering why you and your parents fight so much, etc etc. You'd think joining chorus would make that even harder for a kid, right? Well when I entered HB, this was certainly not the case. The music program was on FIRE! The Arts were where it was at when you went to HB. I started out in the Concert Choir and Women's Camarata (auditioned),  and my second year was accepted into Chamber Singers. I was immediately taken by the energy, spirit, and excitement that washed over me in every rehearsal with Jeff.

This isn't to say that he didn't work us incredibly hard. I can honestly say that I learned more about choral singing in 4 years, 3 choirs, and 3 years of Music Theory with Jeff than I learned in my college choirs- and I went to Westminster Choir College. That is to say, I was completely ready for college-level choral singing. I had high level sight-reading skills, past AP Music Theory knowledge, and a love of music that could not be shaken. As a result, I was able to make it into an auditioned choir in my second year of college, start at a higher level of Music Theory classes while earning my Music Education degree, and, as a result, was able to move up my graduation date from my 5-year program at Westminster one semester earlier than expected!

Jeff instilled in me a persistence and a never-give-up attitude that I took with me through the college admission process, my college years, graduation, my job hunt, and now is something I keep with me when I wake up to teach music every morning. I would not be where I am today without the hard work, no-nonsense attitude, and support from Jeffrey Benson.

Jeff is now a college choral director at San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. I see messages from his students on Facebook all the time, and it is clear that they feel the same incredible energy from him that I felt as a high school student all those years ago. The year after I graduated from HB Woodlawn, Jeff moved on to get his doctorate at FSU and, consequently, to earn the position he holds at San Jose State today. Jeff's going away party and last choral concert at HB were two of the most emotional events of my life to date- there was SO much love for this man. Though I hardly ever connect with him anymore, I hope he knows that he will always mean so much to me, and that every day I strive to give my students the amount of support that he gave to me.

Thank you, Jeff, for everything.

This week, take a few minutes to thank an educator that has had a significant impact on your life. It is almost Thanksgiving, after all. :)
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, November 24, 2014

Go Noodle!

First of all, if you have not yet voted for my Hoffman Boston students in the Michael and Son Jingle Sing-Off Contest, please do so now! It takes two seconds and my program could win $5,000! Vote Here! If you have already voted- THANK YOU! and you may do so again- it is working for most people to vote again on their phones and computers after a couple days have passed!!

Now on to my real topic for the!

This has been an amazing tool this year. I teach 1st-5th graders for 60 minutes once a week, and by the last 15 minutes, my younger kids are, understandably, very squirrely, even if we have been doing movement that day! I use GoNoodle as a transition tool or as an "end of the class, you've done a great job sitting still!" treat!

The best part about GoNoodle for me is that I can track each class' progress separately! Since I teach so many classes a week, it is so great to really be able to access each class quickly and easily!

As you can see from the pictures above, each class has a different GoNoodle "mascot." They all have silly names, and I just choose a different one for each class. The first picture shows one class and their progress- they have watched 5 videos. 

The videos that are available are varied: Koo Koo Kangaroo (The Rollercoaster one is my current favorite!), Zumba Kids, Kidz Bop!, GoNoodle's own videos, Fitness challenges, the choices are endless!

After you watch each video, the kids see their progress and get a special message!

Once the kids get to 10- the character starts to grow! Each time you hit a milestone, the mascot will grow- it's cool to be able to work up to that!

Now he's bigger!!

The video that I'm using this week is a ridiculous Turkey video- the kids think it's hilarious and they get to shake it out while watching! You should definitely check it out, if only to get a laugh for yourself this afternoon!

GoNoodle is FREE for a low level account (which is all you need)! You should definitely use it in your classroom, especially if you have those extra wiggly kids and you're trying to teach something like reading notes on the SmartBoard! Even my older kids enjoy these videos!

Enjoy your short week everyone! 
~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Scoop

Well, I've officially hosted my own linky party today, follow this link to link-up with me: What Are You Grateful For?

So I guess it's time to link-up with one of my new favorite blogs, Teaching Trio, again for their Sunday Scoop linky party!

Here is my Sunday Scoop! Follow the link above to link up with this awesome blog!

Don't forget to vote for my Hoffman Boston students here! 

~Ms. Patrician

What Are You Grateful For? Linky Party

Good morning!

   Yesterday was a crazy day, I thought I'd be home in time to post, but sadly I was not, so I missed a day. No worries, though, I'll make it up by posting twice today!!

I'm actually glad that I waited, because I have some more fun stuff to add to my planned blog post! Today I am hosting my own linky party: What Are You Grateful For?

Here are the rules:
  1. Use the graphic above in your blog post which answers the question: What Are You Grateful For? Give at least 5 examples!
  2. Link back to this blog somewhere in your post
  3. Leave comments on the blog posts before and after yours- you may find some great new blogs to follow!

This morning, I participated in the #sunchat on Twitter. I love having this to look forward to on Sunday mornings- a PLN where educators get to connect and learn some amazing things about other educators! The theme this morning was Gratitude, and we talked about all the ways we showed gratitude in our classroom, and how we made it possible for our students to show it as well. Here are some of the things shared this morning:

Here are the things I'm grateful for:
#1: My family (though I couldn't find a recent picture of my dad and I)- 
without them I could not do what I do and my life would not be complete.

#2: My boyfriend, Brad, my roommate, Emily, my best friends, and all of my other amazing friends. They bring so much joy to my life and I would not have nearly as much fun if they were not in it!


#3: The students I work with- they are the reason I wake up each morning and I am so lucky to be able to do this job every day. :)

#4: The people I work with- they are the heart and soul of our school and I love every minute of my work with our wonderful teachers and staff!

#5: My incredible music room and resources. Thanks to Arlington Public Schools and the 
Arts Education Office for providing me with the space and materials to help my students be successful in music class!

Please link-up below: 

Now I'm about to head out to celebrate Friendsgiving with some of those great friends I mentioned above, have an awesome day! 
~Ms. Patrician