Monday, January 26, 2015

Wintery Whimpers Linky Party!

Good morning!!

    I've tried to host a couple other linky parties, but now that I have a Facebook page and have taken the plunge to join Bloglovin', I hope that more people will link up with this one!!

I've been reading a lot on Twitter and on everyone's blogs about having the winter blues. The weather is either cold and cloudy or rainy or snowy, and you're having trouble just getting out of bed and getting yourself to work every morning. Well, here's your chance to complain!

Presenting...Ms. Patrician's Winter Whimpers Linky Party!! Link up below to share 4 complaints you have about the current season. Yes, I know it's not the most positive of linkys, but don't pretend that you don't have some stuff to get off your chest!! If we can't share it with the people who understand the most, where can we share it!?

1) Use the button above somewhere in your post.
2) Share 2-3 complaints that you have about the current season- whether school related or not!
3) Share one positive thing about the current season at the end of your post- let's face it, none of us can be totally negative!
4) Link up below! I look forward to reading your posts!
5) Respond to the two posts before or after yours, as great collaborative teacher bloggers do!

Here is my first edition of Wintery Whimpers:

3 complaints:

1) We were supposed to get snow- real snow- today and it turned into slushy rain!! Yuck!! Meanwhile, my friends up north are expecting a crazy snowstorm and some serious days off of school! I mean come on, just one snow day this year? Pretty please!!

2) My spring break plans are kind of in flux, and that's not anyone's fault, but I'm searching for something to do for Spring Break that does not involve sitting in Arlington for a week! I grew up here- I'm over it. ;) Crossing my fingers for a sunny beach to appear in my future for a few days!

3) Since I'm dragging a little this month, I'm having trouble coming up with creative lesson plan ideas. I like to do a combination of old lessons and new ones, but I just feel like I'm in a rut. My plan is to brainstorm more and work on adding some spice to my lessons in the coming weeks!

Positive thought about this season:

When it actually does snow, my kids are SO excited to see it outside and it brings joy to my classroom! Plus, I am lucky enough to get several different classes in a row, so I get to see the excitement over and over- it never gets old!

~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Scoop 1-25-15

After a wonderful brunch in DC with my boyfriend, I am now thinking about the week ahead, and unless we get a snow day tomorrow (fingers crossed!), this will be our first full week back without delays or days off since before Winter Break!! Ahh!!

In any case, I am joining one of my favorite linky parties, Sunday Scoop, hosted by Teaching Trio!

Without further ado, here is my Sunday Scoop!!

Have to:

1) On Wednesday my school is hosting it's first Title I event of the year, Snow Apps Spectacular! During this event, parents will be able to try out some of the apps that their students are using with the iPads (especially upper grades with the 1:1 iPads) in the classroom. Since one of my close colleagues, Mary Ruth, is planning the event, she asked me to work with her to get our parents more involved with Twitter, now that our staff has gotten so involved with this social media platform. I will be holding information sessions about Twitter and encouraging parents to sign up and follow us to get updates about activities at school, including snow day activities tweeted out by teachers!! We're hoping for a great turnout and hopefully we will have a ton more parents following us by Wednesday night!

2) Emily, Brad, and I are finally back on track with cooking schedules each week, so I am in charge of dinner tonight and Thursday night. Em is working on our other two meals of the week as we speak! Tonight- Black Bean Chicken Soup with Cornbread, Monday- Tuna Noodle Casserole, Tuesday- Sloppy Joe Cups, Thursday- Baked Ziti. Go team! (Also...when did we become organized adults!?)

3) On Friday, our second monthly #HFBTweets Twitter contest comes to a close! The competition is steep between our PreK team and our 2nd Grade team! I can't wait to see who wins this time!!

Hope to:

1) Figure out how to do my taxes on my own for the first time. Excited to get my tax refund to put in savings!!

2) I hope to plan through the month of February...cross your fingers that this happens by Friday!

Happy to:

I get to see my best friend and my old roommate this weekend for a short Poconos getaway weekend and I can't wait!! Friday at 1 PM- here I come!!

Hope you have a great Sunday afternoon!
~Ms. Patrician

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Smashing Success- A Story of Cross-Generational Collaboration

Here I am, finally getting back to posting about my own stuff, instead of just linking up! I had an absolutely wonderful day of teaching yesterday, and I feel the need to share at least part of it with you all. The day started out on such a positive note, and I really hope that some of you get to experience what I did at some point!

Two years ago, I invited my colleague, Bill, and the Chamber Singers (auditioned chorus) from my old high school to come perform for my 4th and 5th graders. At the time, my 5th graders were a really rough group of kids and I was trying to do something, anything, to encourage them to keep music in their lives as they headed off to middle school. Last year, Bill and I tried to make it work, but the dates just didn't work out. This year, however, I am SO glad that we were able to find a date and make this happen!

The HB Woodlawn Chamber Singers performed 3 selections for our 5th grade students, between which Bill explained several aspects of the songs- e.g. the four voice parts of a chorus, the meaning of the poetry in the song. He also encouraged our students to interpret the meaning of the last two selections, and the kids had some incredible and thoughtful insights.

After the high school students performed, they answered some questions. Some were as simple as: "When did you start singing?" or "Do you sing or play instruments outside of school?" However, some questions were more thought-provoking, such as: "If you could modify an instrument or make your own new instrument, what would do?" The Q&A was casual, laid back, and the high school kids really gave some great answers, especially when my principal posed the question, "What advice would you give someone who is about to make the transition into middle school?"

The best part came when Bill had the high schoolers teach a simple 3-part song to our 5th graders. The boys got to work with all of the tenors and basses, and the girls split up to work with the sopranos and altos. It was so cool to see them perform together and the 5th graders were clearly in awe of the high school students who were working with them. Below you can see Bill conducting the song with the boys in the back and girls in the front.

At the end of our hour together, the 5th graders performed a song from last week's Winter Concert- Here Comes the Snow. Overall, the experience was incredibly positive and I really hope that it stays with my students for years to come as they decide whether or not to continue with music in their lives. 

I am truly grateful to Bill and the HBW Chamber Singers for sharing their time and music with us yesterday. It was a wonderful experience, and if you haven't communicated with the middle school or high school choral directors in your district to see if you can make this happen at your school- it is such a valuable experience!

Have a wonderful Saturday night, everyone!
~Ms. Patrician

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Facebook and Bloglovin' Pages!!

Good morning everyone!

   I have taken the plunge and made a Facebook page for this blog, as well as a Bloglovin' account! Please follow me using the links below:

Ms. Patrician's All Star Music on Facebook

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I would also like to thank my friend Rachel over at Music with Mrs. Tanenblatt for creating my new button!! Here it is...

Thanks for the follows and have a wonderful Monday!
~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Teacher Survival Guide- January 2015

Second blog post of the day! Sticking to my "focusing on my blog" goal from my Sunday Scoop earlier- perfect!

I am so excited to be linking up with Melissa's first linky party over at Mrs. Stouffer's Music Room! She is doing a Teacher Survival Guide Linky each month- and you should link up as well!!

Here are my tips for January:

1) In a Winter rut? One word- Twitter. Get on Twitter, learn how to use it, and join some fabulous Twitter ed chats. No joke- I thought this idea was ridiculous at the beginning of the year, but now I will never go out. My professional learning network (aka how I basically get all of my personalized professional development) has grown so much and I love all of the new connections that I am making! You should at least try it- make a handle and follow me @mspatricianhfb, then follow Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1 to find out about some amazing Twitter education chats- both music and non-music!

2) Take advantage of your free time. Blog. Watch some Oscar nominated movies. Okay okay, that's what I'm doing...but it doesn't mean that they're not good ideas!! This weekend I have watched both Whiplash and The Theory of Everything, and I'm on my second blog post of the, of the day. And you know what- it is a great way to spend my time off!! You should try it!

3) Happy hours/work hangouts. And no, I'm not condoning drinking a ton once you're off work. I'm telling you that it is important to bond with your coworkers. And I do not care how much you talk to them at work- it is way better to talk to them when you are away from school and the students that you adore...but need a break from. Chat with your coworkers, get to know them outside of school- it is worth more than an professional development you could possibly attend. You HAVE to have that great group of friends at work. Any outside-of-work hangout with coworkers cultivates this group, and believe me, it is what keeps me sane come Monday morning. ;)

Please use these ideas and let me know if they are consistent with some of your survival tactics. And, while you're at it, please link up with Melissa (link above) for this linky party!!

~Ms. Patrician

Sunday Scoop 1-18-15

Happy Sunday!

   For me it doesn't exactly feel like a Sunday because (lucky me) I get tomorrow off for MLK Jr. Day and on Tuesday we get a work day- yay! I am so excited to re-organize my work life and be ready for the beginning of February with plans all set!

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

Have to:

1) Work day is for getting those 2nd quarter grades in, so I'll have to work on that before and after I attend some meetings. I am hoping that will go by quickly, so that I have time to reorganize my thoughts for the months ahead.

2) Organize!! I have just spent the afternoon organizing our room at home and am feeling very motivated to do the same at school!

3) I have slacked off on this blog over the past few weeks, so I hope to re-focus and get some of my own subjects going, not just linky parties! (Even though I love them!)

Hope to:

1) Plan a trip for Spring Break- two years ago I went to Cancún, last year we went to Jamaica, and we're hoping for another Mexican excursion this year- can't wait to plan it...and then look forward to it for 2+ months. ;)

2) I have to get my nails done. Yes, I know, I'm such a girl, but my gel manicures only last about a month, so I have to get this done within the next week or so otherwise they'll look terrible!

Happy to:

I love my group of friends, and we all love Melting Pot (which, in case you didn't know, is an amazing fondue restaurant), but it's only affordable during Restaurant Week, so we are going on Tuesday! I am looking forward to an enjoyable, and delicious, night out with my friends!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week- and while you do, please think of Martin Luther King Jr. and all of his sacrifices to further kindness and justice in this country. If you can, consciously pass his kindness on to people around you as you go about your business. Even if it's as simple as having a conversation with a tired cashier at the grocery store- it could make a huge difference in someone's day.

~Ms. Patrician

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Positive Thinking Thursday 1-15-15

Good morning everyone!

     I am linking up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her Positive Thinking Thursday Linky Party!

No rest for the weary! Though we had our big Winter Concert on Tuesday night, I am still holding rehearsals this week for All Star Chorus and Faculty Choir to prepare for their performances at Multicultural Night on February 25th.

My positive thought is actually from my awesome new desk calendar that I got for Christmas this year! I'm cheating a little bit, because it's actually tomorrow's quote, but I love it and it's so perfect for this post, so I'm using it:

After a successful concert and knowing a few more are on the way, I am definitely embracing this quote as I go about my day. Hope you feel the same way!
~Ms. Patrician

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Are You Reading Now?

Hi everyone!

    Today I'm linking up with Jennifer at The Yellow Brick Road for her "What Are You Reading?" Linky Party. So, without further ado:

1) My dad got me Amy Poehler's book- Yes Please- for Christmas, and I desperately want to get further into it sometime in the near future. I loved Tina Fey's so much- this one can't disappoint!

2) I am participating in a Twitter book study of Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate. I LOVE this study because it is a short book with SO much great insight into teaching with abandon! If you would like to participate- click the picture below to get the book, and join us for our third week of the book study on Tuesday nights at 9 PM!! #bfctlap

3) I don't have a third book that I'm currently reading, but EVERYONE, whether you're a music teacher or not, should read Strings Attached. It is a wonderful book that advocates for music education as a lifelong resource for dedication and perseverance. I recommend this book to everyone, especially if music has touched your life in some way. READ IT!!

That's all for now!! After my wonderful chorus concert last night, I got the amazing gift of a 2 hour delay, but now I have to go get ready for my day!!
~Ms. Patrician

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Favorite Things in January

Wow- I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted! It has been a crazy week- we had a very snowy non-snow day on Tuesday and yesterday and today have both been delayed due to cold, so it's definitely been interesting.

I am very excited for the new linky party that Teaching Trio has started- My Favorite Things!

This week I am posting 3 of my favorite things in the category of GoNoodle videos!!!

If you have not yet checked out GoNoodle and its amazing brain break videos- you HAVE to right now!!

 1) Koo Koo Kangaroo videos are hands down my all-time favorite thing ever this year! Every video they come out with is unique and fun and totally silly! My kids LOVE this one- where they get to "ride a rollercoaster" and SCREAM at the big drops! Click the picture to access the video.
 2) Zumba Kids rocks! This song has been popular since my first year of teaching- and it's still going strong! Definitely check it out if you need a 5 minute movement break! Click on the picture to access the video.

3) These Run with US videos allow kids to do running and jumping exercises right in your classroom! They are great for kids who have been sitting a lot and need to get up and do something quickly. There are also different levels for you to compete at- work up to the hardest ones! Click on the picture to access the video.

I hope you get as pumped about GoNoodle as I have!! Have fun!!
~Ms. Patrician