Saturday, August 23, 2014

Planning in the Music Classroom 2014

School started this week!  I'll post more about that later, but I wanted to give you an idea what I did to plan for this school year.  I spent way too many hours on Facebook and Teachers Pay Teachers this summer watching and waiting for freebies and sales.  I was able to snag a LOT of great finds!

The first find is from Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom.  I purchased her Race to the Finish Line file last year, but I wanted to see what she had for the beginning of the year as well.


Although I am not following the Kodaly method specifically, I was able to take Lindsay's information to get started on my own long term planning for the year.  It was nice to see what someone else does and how it is laid out.  This file also comes with a great list of songs and activities based on music concepts.  I know this will make my week to week planning much simpler!

I am planning to teach my students music based on John Feierabend's First Steps and Conversational Solfege methods.  I purchased the First Steps bundle a few years ago at a conference, and I like how he wants students to become "Tuneful, Beatful, and Artful" before they begin learning music concepts.  I think it also lets the younger students just have fun when they come to my class and not realize that they are learning at the same time.  The books for First Steps are very simple to follow based on their set up.  There are also enough lesson plans and long term plans for three years of school.  The Conversational Solfege books are also set up well and come with ready made long term plans and a few lesson plan guides.  These really helped me last year for planning, and I will still use these as a guide this year.  I feel like I finally started figuring out how to use the method by the end of last year, so I am ready to get to work on it this year!  I am hoping to add in some more folk dances and instruments as well this year.   

I am also excited about some of the teaching files that I purchased this summer.  

The first is a music centers bundle from Aileen Miracle.  I have wanted to do more with centers in my classroom, but getting them designed is so time consuming.  So, I decided to purchase this bundle.


All I have to do now is print them out, laminate and cut out (this is the step I am on right now), set them up, and put them around my room for students to use!  I like that Aileen has included a center for the teacher to be included in for assessment purposes.  When I sent students to centers in the past, I felt like I was left to walk around aimlessly watching all of them.  This will give me a purpose, too!

Another file I purchased to teach recorders was from Music with Sara Bibee.  


I taught recorders to my fifth graders last year using the Recorder Karate method.  I like that method, but I found that most of my students did not have the musical foundation to jump right in to it (last year was my first year at the school).   I love that Sara's recorder method comes with so many songs to get students learning to play recorder at a slower pace and with lots of repetition while keeping it interesting.  Her method is definitely how I started to learn to play flute, and I think it makes sense :)  I also like that she included worksheets to reinforce learning and give the students a chance to create they own pieces of music.  And the best part is that all of these songs are connected to videos that she has on youtube through the QR codes so my students can practice at home.  I work in a low income area, and I know that many of my students will not be able to do this at home but it is available if they are able.  I am planning to use this for my fourth graders this year so that when they get to fifth grade, they will have a better foundation for Recorder Karate (or maybe I will change it all up by next year!)

I purchased so many things over the summer that I am not able to talk about them all in one blog.  But, I promise I will be talking about them over the year as I use each item.  

I hope everyone is planning away and finding great ideas to use this year in your classrooms!  Please feel free to comment below with your great finds!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Who Am I, and Why Am I Writing a Blog?

My name is Ginny Capps, and based on what the state of South Carolina says, I have been teaching for one year.  I attended East Carolina University and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy and a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Flute).  After graduation, I did a six month internship in music therapy at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, FL.  After my internship, I began working as a music therapist at a psychiatric hospital in Anderson, SC.  Between then and now, I have had many jobs including activity director at a nursing and rehabilitation facility, admissions director at a nursing and rehabilitation facility, full time mother, and medical transcriptionist.

My husband is a high school band director, and I was always jealous of his summers off (though he does enough work during the school year that he deserves more than the summer off)!  After having our daughter, I decided that I wanted to teach, too.  Why not teach music, work with children, and have paid vacations?  I was able to get a part time job teaching K-2 music at a private school and loved every minute of it.  I was only able to teach for the year there as they wanted someone with an education degree.  I also taught music to K-1 students at my church.  So, I made up my mind at that point to go back to school so that I could have a teaching license.  I chose to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to get my Master of Arts in Teaching.  After a long and hard year of graduate school, I was done and ready to teach!

Unfortunately, God had different plans for me!  My husband had already moved to Myrtle Beach, SC while I was completing my masters, and I was unable to find a job in his county the next year.  I became a long term elementary music substitute in Southport, NC during the fall and then a long term substitute at my husband's school in the spring.  That substitute position had nothing to do with music or elementary students (which I love).  The next school year, I got a job teaching at McDonald Elementary School in Georgetown, SC.  That is where I still am!

While I can (and do) complain about my job, I love it!  I love working with children and teaching music!  I enjoy using my music therapy background as much as I can, though I wish I could do more with it.  Maybe as I progress in my teaching, I will be able to do more.

As a new teacher, I am struggling with what path to take to teach music--Kodaly, Orff, Feierabend.... At this point, I am following the Feierabend First Steps and Conversational Solfege method.  I have really enjoyed teaching this way, and the students seem to be understanding the music much better.

I am hoping that this blog will be a way for me to tell others about what I do on a regular basis at my school.  I know there are many teachers following the Feierabend method, but I haven't found many (or any) blogs, so I decided why not start one?  I have been following many Kodaly method teachers this past year and gotten a lot of great ideas from them that I hope to incorporate as much as I can in my teaching.  I am hoping to start a Teachers Pay Teachers store some time this year as well.  I will see how it goes!

Thanks for reading my blog, and let me know what you would be interested in reading about!

Classroom Set Up 2014

This summer has gone by too fast!  I am headed back to work for teacher workdays on Wednesday.  But, I have gotten many great ideas this summer through different blogs and the Teachers Pay Teachers website, and I am ready to get back to it!  Today, I am going to link to a few of my favorite finds from the summer that I know I will be using this school year.

My first find is from Lindsay's Kodaly Inspired Classroom.  I live at the beach, so I was really excited to see this theme that I could use in my classroom.   She has included so many different things in this kit including binder covers, posters for the new NCCAS standards, bulletin board ideas, rules posters (and songs!), word wall, welcome banner, and instrument labels.  I don't think I will need ANYTHING else to decorate my room with!



Outside my classroom, I plan on posting these posters on one of my doors.  I purchased these from Music with Sara Bibee last year and never put them up.  Since then, she has updated them, and I will definitely be using them this year!



I will be putting up another bulletin board outside of my classroom.  I have thought about giving the teachers and staff in the school a questionnaire about their music abilities and then making a bulletin board out of their answers (favorite songs, last song listened to on your iPod, instruments you play, were you in chorus/band/orchestra in school).  We will see if I am able to get this done.  The biggest thing is the time involved in getting all of these answers.  Maybe I will send an email with a web questionnaire.  

I also have to decorate the front door to my classroom.  I'm not sure what I will do with that yet.  I should probably keep up the nautical theme so I will have to do some searching on ideas.  

Thanks for reading my blog!  I am looking forward to interacting with other music teachers out there!