Tuesday, September 15, 2015

[Halfway Through] September Small Goals

Good morning!

I am pretty late linking up with Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road for her September Small Goals linky party, but I still have tons of goals for this month- so here goes!

First, a look back at my August Small Goals:

Get back on Twitter regularly
Begin a regular workout schedule
Make an outline of a plan for the school year

I finished them ALL! I am participating in regular Twitter chats several times a week, I am working out with a coworker on Wednesdays and Sundays, and I have a pretty good outline for each grade this year!!

Now for my September Goals:
  1. Recruit more students to audition for All Star Chorus and hold auditions before the end of the month- this chorus is for grades 3rd-5th and it had 37 students in it last year. Our 3rd grade this year is larger than last, so I am hoping for some awesome new recruits!
  2. Write my Smart Goal for the year- I haven't decided what I will do for my goal this year, but I've already done a goal for PreK, K, and 3rd, so I might choose an older grade this year! It needs to be done and pre-assessed by October 15th, so I need to get on that soon!
  3. Sign up for my 403b plan. I really should have done this earlier, but all the financial mumbo jumbo is confusing, so I have a plan to talk it through with my dad and sign up before the month is through!
I have a lot more goals, but they're more long-term, so I'll save those for November!

Have a great Tuesday!
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, September 14, 2015

Three Things {NEW RUG; Emoji Listening; All Star Chorus Audition Info}

Good morning and Happy Monday!!

I am writing to link up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room for her Three Things linky party!

Below you will see three things that worked for me in my classroom my first week of school! 
Click the link above if you would like to link up with us!!

  1. My new rug, which I bragged about in my "What's On MY Wall?" post on Friday, has already enhanced the way that my classroom is run.
    -First of all, it saves me a HUGE amount of time, since I no longer have to put down carpet squares for each class that comes in.
    -Second of all, the large circle allows me to assign seats without having major behavior problems near each other.
    -And third, the kids can't move the spots! With carpet squares, kids would end up on the other side of the room next to their friends because they were so wiggly during class! This way, they know which spot they need to have their feet on at all times!

    If you have some money or can apply to a contest like I did last year with the Michael and Son Jingle Contest, I would consider spending some money on this rug!!
  2. Back in August, I blogged about my First Day of Music activity- Emoji Listening! This activity went over SO well in all of my classes! I did it with everyone from grades 1st-5th. I chose a mixture of pop and classical songs- 5 in all- and played about 30 seconds. A couple classes were able to use their iPads for this lesson, but most iPads were collected to be reconfigured, so most classes used my paper emoji cutouts- which worked out well!

    Check out my Twitter feed to see some more pictures of my students doing this activity!
  3. Last year, I started an auditioned 3rd-5th grade chorus called All Star Chorus. I am excited to say that many more students seem excited about auditioning this year, and that I heard some wonderful singing going on my classroom! It is always so incredible to be able to hear young singing voices right at the start of the school year!
I hope your week goes well!
~Ms. Patrician

Friday, September 11, 2015

What's on MY Wall??

Hi everyone!

Today I'm linking up with Mrs. King's Music Room for her "What's On Your Wall?" linky party!

Here is where all my supplies live- the Pencil cans say "Sharp" and "Flat" (get it?) and each grade level has a drawer for finished work below. You can see my "Listen and Learn" center along with the bookshelf and on the other wall is our STEM design brief cycle.

I am blessed with so many instruments- I have fun doing an instrument petting zoo each year with 1st grade- they get to try so many!

My awesome mounted Smart Board was added last winter- so much better than having a projector with cords everywhere! Next to it, you can see my recorder bulletin boards with rules and fingering posters. Freddie the Frog is sitting below them with a bag of beanie baby beat buddies next to him! Freddie has been a HUGE hit with Kinder and 1st so far this year!

Sara Bibee's Elements of Music are hung up at the front of my room next to my class agendas for each grade level- dry erase for easy set-up. On my white board, you can see bathroom passes, popsicle sticks for creating rhythms, and the word ALLSTARS. 

I use our mascot- Hoffman Boston ALLSTARS to manage behavior. If something positive happens in class, student move a letter up. If they earn all 8 letters during class, they earn a star on my door (which you'll see later).

The poster paper hanging on the board is part our Music Matrix. We are a PBIS school, so we design our classroom rules around our Hoffman Boston Pledge- the 3 R's: Respect Ourselves, Respect Others, and Respect Our Surroundings. Next week I will compile all the ideas from each class into one big PBIS Matrix for Music Class!

This assigns jobs in my room. One or two students for supplies, one to check on how the class is doing following the 3 R's, and one for 4th/5th to have a Twitter King or Queen- this person will send tweets from our @MusicHFB account to show what is happening in the classroom! I can't wait to get this started! Each box will hold a musical symbol which will correspond to their spot on my rug!

Here you can see my "How Can We Move?" Wall with different movement words posted!
On the door you can see I am advertising our school hashtag- #HFBTweets, 
and our county chat hashtag- #APSChats.
My star chart (which corresponds to classes earning all letters in ALLSTARS) is on the door with each teacher's name!

Here are my basic Music Class Rules, our School PBIS Matrix, and our All Star Pledge!

Here is my rhythm wall, Instagram board, and Word Wall.

Outside, students can see pictures of instruments as they walk past to lunch and recess.

Here is my bulletin board outside my room. It includes Important Dates, Contact Info, my All Star of the Week, and 7 tiny All Stars lighting the way to success with lanterns. (Our theme for Arts Ed in Arlington this year is Lanterns #APSLighttheWay.)

And last, but certainly not least- my FAVORITE new addition to the room: My RUG!!! I am in love with my new rug and I no longer have to use carpet squares and set them out for each class- saves SO much time...plus it's pretty! :) :) :)

What's on YOUR Wall? Link up using the link at the top of the page!

~Ms. Patrician

Fermata Fridays: Build Your PLN!

Hi everyone!

I am re-posting a blog post about building your Professional Learning Network to link up with Elizabeth Caldwell for Fermata Fridays!!

    I'm not sure who exactly is reading my blog these days. I know that my family is, as well as some of my friends, and other teacher bloggers definitely pop in from time to time, but no matter who is reading, I love that it's a diverse audience. I really enjoy sharing my experiences as an elementary music teacher here at Hoffman Boston- Home of the All Stars!

That being said, this post will really only be of interest to other teachers. I am thoroughly enjoying the growth of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. I know that I've talked about it a few times on here, but if you aren't on Twitter AND using it as a professional development tool, you should be. Twitter chats can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of chatting, you will be connected to SO many new and inspiring colleagues.
Below I have outlined HOW to participate in a Twitter chat:

How to “Chat” on Twitter

In order to find a Twitter chat, first you must know its hashtag. This hashtag must then be used to participate in the chat. It must be included in each tweet you send to the chat. For our purposes, I am writing the example using #HFBTLAP - which is the hashtag for my school's Teach Like a Pirate Book Study.

Twitter chats usually follow a simple question and answer format. There is a moderator (in this case, @mspatricianhfb, and that person is in charge of asking the questions. You may then respond to each question asked. Here is an example:

@mspatricianhfb: Q1: What scares you most about using Twitter for a book study? #HFBTLAP

@HFBAllstars: A1: That @mspatricianhfb will make fun of me if I mess up. #HFBTLAP

@HFBTeacher: A1: I am scared that I won’t be able to keep up! #HFBTLAP

Those users participating can now respond to other answers using the reply button if they would like to continue interacting with this question. Example:

@HFBAllStars: @HFBTeacher Don’t worry, we’re all new to this! Let’s learn together! #HFBTLAP

@HFBTeacher: @HFBAllstars Thanks for the encouragement! #HFBTLAP

This process continues until the chat is over. Most chats occur during a set period of time- usually 1 hour. You can participate fully, lurk and just read other responses, or just chime in when you have something to add.

I have given several professional development sessions on using Twitter for communicating with parents/other teachers, and have just started this Twitter book study. If you have not yet picked up Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, you DEFINITELY should! Feel free to drop in on our #HFBTLAP chats on Monday nights from 8-9 PM starting on President's Day- February 16th!

Later this week I will be posting my favorite chats to participate in during the week, but in the meantime, please look at @cybraryman's list of Education Twitter chats here: Twitter Education Chat List.

Happy tweeting!
~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Scoop 8-30-15

Hi everyone!

I am linking up with Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop!


1) I have no motivation to put up new bulletin boards this year, and I never really have a classroom theme like some music teachers do...so I'm still struggling with what to put up, but our Open House is Friday morning, so I have to figure something out before then!

2) My first day of music activity for grades 1-5 is a listening activity using emojis- find out more about it in this blog post! I need to prep some manipulatives for the younger kids and make sure I know the procedure for the older kids with iPads (assuming they brought them back!! Fingers crossed!)

3) My colleague and I really want to make a Back to School video that includes all of our staff in the school, but I know some people will be resistant to the idea of dancing and looking silly in a video, so I'm hoping to change their minds and get it done before Open House!


1) I have many options for Winter Concert music, but I want to make sure that I've picked it and am ready to start teaching it towards the end of September!

2) I LOVE MY NEW RUG!! It is so colorful and new and beautiful and I have never had a rug before- can you tell I'm excited! In any case, I am happy to have it, but since I was using moveable carpet squares recently, I need to try some stuff out to make sure I know how my kids will be sitting when they come in my room starting September 8th.


Wednesday is our annual Back to School meeting for the Arlington Arts Ed Faculty, so I'm excited to see some familiar faces! A bonus for this year is that I am a lead music teacher in my county, which means that I'm involved in a lot of the sessions and activities that will be going on all day. It is always great to see arts colleagues and reconnect after the summer- we rarely get to socialize and swap ideas, so it is something I look forward to all summer long!

Have a wonderful week!
~Ms. Patrician

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Favorite School Supplies

Good morning!

Since some of you are already going back to school, I thought I'd talk about my favorite teacher school supplies to buy and use each year! I don't go back to in-service until August 27th and kids don't come until September 8th, but I've already gotten a head start on my shopping and planning!

1) I know there's no way that I'm the only teacher who gets excited about their shiny new planner! Of course I spent the majority of my time at Lakeshore picking out my pretty new planner and I can't wait to start filling it up with first week of school plans!

2) I love having a big calendar on my desk to keep track of the dozens of activities and special events that happen at school. I get some weird pleasure out of filling it out and tearing off each month as it passes. 

3) I am SO excited to make two new centers:
         -Dip Tray Workstations- the idea came from Mrs. King's Music Class

        -Pool Noodle Rhythms- this idea came from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room (and a bunch of others)

I can't wait to see how my kids react to the new centers!!

~Ms. Patrician

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August Small Goals

Hi everyone!

    Today I am linking up with Jennifer at the Yellow Brick Road for her Small Goals link-up in August!

Here are my small goals for August:

-Get back on Twitter regularly
       As many of you know, last year I got very involved on Twitter, which included participating in many educational Twitter chats, getting the staff at school involved in using Twitter to share and build our community, and gained over 1,000 followers from November-May! Most of my regular Twitter chats took a summer hiatus, so I haven't been quite as connected lately. But all that has changed this week, since two of my regular chats #vachat and #elmused are back for the school year! I can't wait to grow my PLN even more this year!

-Begin a regular workout schedule
      I have totally slacked off this summer and sadly it is showing. I want to get into a regular schedule before school starts, so that I can stick to working out at least twice a week when we do go back in a month. This starts today after Aria's vet appointment- I will run at the gym for at least a half  an hour!! (If I write it here I am more likely to actually do this)
        --UPDATE: I did go to the gym this afternoon- definitely need to keep this up!!!

-Make an outline of a plan for the school year
       I finally have a pretty great list of lessons and activities by grade level that I enjoy doing with my students during the year, and now I am going to try to organize them into something like units and plan out at least the first two months of my school year. That will probably be something I tackle bit by bit, but I'm excited to get started!!

Do you have some goals for this month? Feel free to link up with us as well! I look forward to reading your goals!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Three Things I've Learned This Summer

Hello there!

    It is definitely out of character for me the past few months to post twice in one week, but maybe I'm starting to get back into the swing of things! Since I wrote an original post yesterday, I thought I'd link up with Aileen Miracle at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room today for Three Things I've Learned this Summer.

1) It is best to go on a big trip with a time change right at the beginning of summer break!

I posted a couple days ago about my big trip out West. It was an awesome trip and we had SO much fun! We were really only tired from the trip out there on the first day, and from then on out it was easy going! When we returned home to the East coast, we were exhausted and we ended up sleeping in late the next morning! This almost NEVER happens to me in the summer, since I'm so used to getting up for school that I just get up around the same time in the summer- but not this summer! I love it!!

2) I love mid-summer teacher meetings!

Yes, I may be a nerd, but I love seeing my teacher friends over the summer! Plus, I feel ten times more excited when I see them AND we are doing productive things for the upcoming school year! I had two days of PBIS planning last week and a half day teacher forum about personalized learning yesterday and I got to see teachers that I hadn't seen in over a month at both! We so rarely get to talk without our teacher issues from the year getting in the way. So much excitement was shared about weddings, engagements, and awesome vacations!

3) I don't care what anyone says, my iPhone 6 is amazing.

If you aren't the type of person who looks forward to your phone upgrade every two years, then go ahead and judge me, but oh man was I excited recently when I got my iPhone 6! My iPhone 5 battery died so quickly, the phone part didn't work so I always had to use speakerphone, and it was just getting slow in general. I love the new features- touchpad ID, Shazam using Siri, and the larger screen! I'm going to go off and revel in my new phone glory, especially my cute penguin case!

~Ms. Patrician

Thursday, July 30, 2015

First Day of Music Emoji Activity

Hi everyone!

     Yes, you read that title correctly. I am using emojis for my first musical activity in grades 1-5. After all of our procedural talk, seat assignments, and tour of my classroom, I wanted to have a fun activity that gets the kids excited and involved right away!

I honestly have no idea where I got this idea, other than the slight possibility that I was perusing Twitter and someone had tweeted something and included a TON of emojis (which usually drives me crazy...but in this case, thanks to that random person!)

I will have two different groups of students depending on grade level and class- those who have personal learning devices (in our case, iPads) and those who don't, or who have not received them yet. For those students who will already have their personal devices- 3rd through 5th graders- I will ask them to take out their devices and open the "Notes" app, where they can access emojis using the alternate keyboard. 

For those students who do not yet have devices (1st-2nd), I will hand out a blank sheet of paper and have an assortment of emojis printed and cut out for them to choose from and glue onto their paper.

I will play a musical selection- haven't chosen the song yet- for each class and they will respond to the question "How does this music make you feel?" using emojis! They will not be limited to just one- it will be up to them to choose how many it takes to express their feelings. It will be a short enough activity that students will be able to share their reflections before either the end of the class period or our next activity! I may even decide to do this as a group activity for the first day of Kindergarten using the SmartBoard!

What are your thoughts? Do you like this idea or have anything to add? I'm open to suggestions and I'm so excited to see how this activity turns out in just over a month!

Hope you are all enjoying your last couple days of July!
~Ms. Patrician

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Trip Out West

Hi everyone!

    I keep trying to motivate myself to write each week! Not that I'm busy or anything, I just tend to disconnect from school thoughts when I'm at home relaxing- and this blog reminds me of school! Just one month until we go back, which is crazy!

    In any case, I was lucky enough to go on a two and a half week trip right at the beginning of summer. Here's how it went:

  1. With friends, I flew to San Francisco and we spent 2 1/2 great days in the city- Giants Game, Golden Gate walk, Mission District, Alcatraz, and a great dinner with my high school chorus teacher, Jeff.
     Giants Stadium with Emily and Madeleine
     Golden Gate selfie
    Alcatraz Jail Cell selfie
  2. From SF we drove to Napa, where my roommate's very generous family put us up while we relaxed, hiked, ate incredible food, and, of course, visited wineries, including the family's new vineyard and an incredible tour through the caves of Schramsburg- awesome champagne.

     Jumping in the beautiful yard
    We found a rope swing on our hike!
    Gamble Family Vineyards
  3. After Napa, we drove down the Pacific Coastal Highway (beautiful, though sometimes terrifying), to Cambria, where one of my best friends from high school, David's, family was nice enough to lend us their beach house for a couple days. David and his wife Jess live in San Luis Obispo and were wonderful hosts- we spent the day exploring wineries and a wonderful olive oil place.
    Pacific Coastal Highway selfie!
    Heart Hill at Niner Winery with David and Jess
  4. From Cambria we drove all the way to Vegas. I can tell you quite certainly that I never need to do this drive again because it is booooring! The only highlight was seeing the last place James Dean stopped before he died (we also drove through the intersection where the accident was). Vegas, however, was super fun! My boyfriend and a few of our other friends met us there and we spent a fun weekend staying at Paris and exploring the city!

     With Brad (and John) in front of the "Eiffel Tower"
    Near the Venetian (note the statues behind us)
  5. On Sunday, my roommate and I drove from Vegas to a hotel near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We woke up at 3:45 AM on Monday to catch the 5:15 sunrise off the Bright Angel Trail. This was a big highlight of the trip!

    Emily and I with the cloudy sunrise in the background
  6. We spent Monday and Tuesday in beautiful Sedona, Arizona: home of many Red Rock formations. We did a Pink Jeep Tour- which is a must do if you go to Sedona- where we were able to explore the rocks with a guide. It was a very unique experience! We also ate Cactus Fries, Rattlesnake, and many different items using Prickly Pear Syrup.
     Pink Jeep Tour
    Emily and I making an All Star (our school mascot)
  7. Wednesday and Thursday were spent in Mesa and Scottsdale, AZ, where we were able to visit some very good family friends of mine (one set is in the picture below, one is not) and explore the city before heading back to D.C. on Friday morning!
    Me with Kelsey and her daughter Mary

    So that is how my summer started out...what have you been doing the past month?? Any suggestions for where I should take a big trip next summer? I'm thinking overseas again...

    ~Ms. Patrician