Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Worked for Me Wednesday- Cuckoo in the Deep Woods

Good morning!

     Well I've waited awhile to actually link up, but I really wanted to, so here goes! Aileen Miracle over at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room is hosting a "Worked for Me Wednesday" linky party!

My Worked for Me Wednesday idea stems from an awesome piece that you've all heard of- Carnival of the Animals. I always do a full rendition of Carnival of the Animals in 1st Grade, but I also explore one piece of it when I am studying high and low with Kindergarten. 

Listening lessons are often tough with Kindergarten classes, especially since I always have them at the very end of the day, but this one grasps the attention of all of my classes without fail. This is now the fourth year that I have done the lesson and I think I've gotten it just right. Here's how it goes:
  1. Students listen to the piece and try to recognize the repeated "sound." What does it sound like? (High-low, cu-ckoo)
  2. Students try to count in their heads how many "cuckoos" they hear in all. (I usually have 1-2 students get it right per class)
  3. Students count as a class in a whispering voice and come up with "21" cuckoos in all.
  4. I show them this listening map and they watch as I follow along with my finger:
  5. Students get the map and follow along with their fingers. Each dot represents a chord and each bird, of course, represents the cuckoo!
  6. Students receive a cotton ball and we practice throwing them in the air and catching them- I usually try to get the kids to throw them not too far in the air, so that they don't lose their cotton ball.
  7. Students follow the map and bounce their cotton ball each time there is a cuckoo!
  8. We review the High-Low sound.
I love this lesson because the kids are so focused on hearing the repeated "cuckoo," that they don't have time to be distracted or to distract others (for the most part). Also, I should note that I stole this listening map (with permission) from my Westminster Choir College professor, Dr. Sharon Morrow, who is an incredible elementary educator. I still use many of her lesson ideas to this day!

I hope you have time to try this lesson out! It's a great beginning of spring lesson, since we're hearing birds all over the place right now!
~Ms. Patrician

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Test Prep Songs- 2015 Version

Good morning!

Well, it's almost here: state testing season! If you feel the same way that I do about tests, you'll understand that the exclamation point is meant to be sarcastic. This is a time where kids and teachers are stressed, worried, and altogether off their normal game. Specials classes are rough after mornings with long hours of testing, and it's usually beautiful outside- which makes it even harder for kids to be sitting at a computer desk clicking endless multiple choice questions.

Last year, my school decided to hold a pep rally for the 3rd-5th graders to cheer them on for the weeks of testing to come. Each primary grade level was paired with an upper grade level and the primary grades did activities such as make bracelets and write notes for the upper grade students. This all culminated in a K-5 pep rally where each primary grade sang a song to cheer on their paired grade level. Here is a post I wrote about that pep rally last year.

I was able to teach the pep rally songs for all the grade levels last year and lead them at the pep rally. This year, however, I will be at a wedding in the Outer Banks, so I wanted to distance myself from teaching and leading the songs because I will not be there the day of the rally. I did, however, rewrite some popular songs again and the grade levels are planning on teaching them and having the kids perform at the rally. Here are this year's songs:

Kindergarten is performing "All About That Test" for 3rd Grade, based on (duh) Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass

1st Grade is performing "We Want You to Know" for 4th Grade, based on Zedd and Selena Gomez's I Want You to Know

2nd Grade is performing "We Will Remember You" for 5th Grade, based on Fall Out Boy's Centuries

What are YOUR schools doing for state test prep? Any pep rallies in your area??
~Ms. Patrician

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Scoop 4-5-15

Good afternoon!

I just got back from Easter brunch/joint birthday brunch for my dad and I with my family at my parents' house, and now I'm thinking about the return to school tomorrow. Luckily, I have a little extra time to prepare myself for the return of my students since we have a work day tomorrow for the end of the quarter!

In any case, while I'm thinking about that, I decided to once again link up with Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

Here is mine for this beautiful April Easter Sunday!

I hope that I will be able to do all of these things this week, and I hope that you all have an equally productive week!
~Ms. Patrician

Friday, April 3, 2015

Five for Friday 4-3-15

Two posts in one day! Here's my Five For Friday (linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching):

This is a link-up where you share 5 random things from today or this week- click on the link above if you're interested in joining in!

I am excited to begin working on chorus music this coming week with 4th and 5th grade chorus, and continue working on it with All Star Chorus and Faculty Choir! I have been familiarizing myself with the music this week! Our theme for our May 5th concert is "America!"

Thanks to my friend Karlyn, I have fallen in love with the music of James Bay. His music has been a perfect addition to my Spotify playlist this week. If you haven't listened to any of his music, you should go do that now!

Are you still not listening!? Okay okay, here's a sample of one of my favorite songs of his:

Hold Back the River- James Bay

I have not participated in one Twitter chat this week. I have truly unplugged in that way, and it has been semi-refreshing, however I am excited to get back to chatting with my friends next week! On the subject of Twitter, I can't wait to see my very first published article in the Virginia Education Association Journal in June!! I was asked by editor Tom Allen to write about my experience using Twitter as an educator, as well as the process of getting my staff and county more involved in the Twitterverse. I started writing on Monday morning and I couldn't stop writing for 3 pages. I hope that the article influences some other educators to embrace Twitter as a communication and professional development tool!

This is the cover for the April 2015 issue of the Journal. Click on the picture to read the current issue.

My boyfriend and I had my family over for dinner on Tuesday and he made a delicious burger recipe for the 2nd time: Basil Pesto and Feta Burgers. He just made up his recipe, but click that link to find one online. They are SO good- I highly recommend them! 

My 5th graders are working on a Soundtrack of My Life project. My teaching partner and I are collaborating with the art teachers at our school. This will be the culminating project of 5th grade that will be displayed at their graduation in June. The art teachers are working with the 5th Graders on their iPads (I think using Sketchbook Express?) to create an album cover incorporating their faces, as well as words that express their personality. In music, each student has linked a song to 6 events, starting with birth and ending with graduation, from their lives. They will use the app ThingLink to add these events to their personal channels, which we will convert into QR codes and then attach to their album covers for our big graduation display!

I am super excited for this project, since it is very individualized and it utilizes the iPads in many great ways! Let me know if you're interested in learning more!

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!
~Ms. Patrician

My Favorite Spring Break Activities

Good morning from the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA! My mom and I came down here for a little R&R for a couple days over my Spring Break and we're about to head back home to Arlington. We spent yesterday laying in the Spa Garden- complete with pool, jacuzzi, and hot mineral pool, as well as the Aqua Thermal Suite with saunas and experiential showers. We didn't leave the spa all day! It was a very relaxing experience, even if I ended up with a terrible sunburn afterwards (we both forgot sunscreen- oops!). I was glad to have some time to leave the world behind and spend it with my mom.

In any case, since I am currently on Spring Break, I would like to link up with Teaching Trio for their My Favorite Things linky party!

Here are my favorite things to do during Spring Break:

1) I absolutely love going somewhere where I can just relax in the sun. I wasn't able to make it to a tropical location this year, but the last two years I've been in Cancun and Jamaica- both amazing experiences! This year I toned it down a little, but was still able to spend most of a day in the sun (as evidenced by my sunburn) and it was awesome!

2) I'm sure a lot of you experience this- you get so caught up in work and then you get to a long weekend or break and realize that you haven't read one page of your book in about 2 months. I'm sad to say that I really don't take enough time to read during work weeks. I wish I was better about it, but I am happy to say that I am close to the end of Yes Please by comedian Amy Poehler after reading a lot yesterday!

3) After a huge week with my All School Show before break, you'd think that I would just want to sit and do nothing this week. Don't worry- I did my share of lazing about, but I also checked off a TON of things on my to-do list! I cleaned our apartment, wrote the first draft of an article for the Virginia Education Association Journal, planned my lessons for April, AND put my grades in for 3rd quarter. It is a huge load off to have these things done, since we have a work day on Monday and I can now spend that time organizing my classroom and making sure I have everything set for the next month or so!

I hope that those of you who are currently on Spring Break are enjoying it immensely, and those of you who are about to take a break- enjoy your time!!

~Ms. Patrician

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

Good morning!

I am honored to have been nominated by another music teacher blogger- Melanie from Confressions of a Kodaly Music Teacher- for the One Lovely Blog Award!

If you have been nominated, you should:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog!
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.
So here are my seven things:
  • I teach and live in my hometown of Arlington, VA and I am lucky to love my job and my life here! Not many people think that moving back home sounds like a great idea, but it has worked out for me!
  • I went to Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ and received a Bachelors in Music Education and a Masters in Teaching- all in 4 1/2 years!
  • I was a founding member of the Lambda Tau chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota- a professional women's music fraternity- at Westminster.
  • My first job was actually a maternity leave position- 5 months of Elementary General Music teaching- for a teacher in Hamilton, NJ. Funny story- she was also the accompanist who played for the winter concert while I was student teaching at a high school in Robbinsville, NJ.
  • Just in case you weren't already aware from reading this blog, I have totally immersed myself in the Twitterverse over the past 6 months. I just hit a huge Twitter milestone- 1,000 followers! If you haven't followed me already, please do, and I'll follow back! My handle is @mspatricianhfb.
  • I have an adorable, but crazy, cat named Aria (yes, I did the nerdy music thing and picked a musical name), who I love...most of the time. ;)
  • I have recently started volunteering for The Reading Connection, a non-profit organization that brings read-aloud programs and free books to children in shelters and low-income housing all over the DC Metro area. I love being able to give back, while also doing something I love- working with children and reading. :)
Here are my 15 blog nominations- this is always hard because a lot of the awesome blogs I read have already been nominated, but I'll try my best!
  1. Michelle at One Grateful Teacher
  2. Kelly at New Leaf Wellness
  3. Kristen, Juliet, and Cassie at Teaching Trio
  4. Shelley Burgess at Reflections of an educational learner and teacher
  5. Elizabeth at Organized Chaos
  6. Jen at Noteworthy by Jen
  7. Michelle at Music with Miss W
  8. Eoin at Eoin Lenihan Education
  9. Sarah at Sarah Da Teechur
  10. Justin Tarte at Life of an Educator
  11. Judith at Music at Malcolm Bridge Elementary!
  12. Kristin at Musical Musing with Mrs. Lukow
  13. Michelle at Music Teacher Michelle
  14. Ashley at Elementary Music Resources
  15. Melissa at Mrs. Stouffer's Music Room
Apparently the bloggers named Michelle win my list of nominations- I didn't even notice until now that I followed 3 different blogs by teachers named Michelle! :)

Congrats to my blogging peers for being so awesome and I hope you have fun finding some great teachers to nominate!!
~Ms. Patrician