Oh. My. Goodness. It’s May 4th and there are 5 1/2 days left of school. The crazy thing about being a teacher is that although this year has yet to come to a close, I am already thinking about next year. What could I do better? What could I do differently? What lessons do I tweak? And this is why I love the idea of Aileen Miracle’s Five Favorite Pins of June. It helps me to reflect on the year ending and the school year to come, via Pinterest!
#1 – A little inspiration…
Teaching is a profession under constant scrutiny. The changes come fast and furious and we adapt while trying to give our best to our students, our families and our communities. There have been many times in recent years that I question why I still teach. And this pin says it all. I do it not for the money, not for the summer vacation (I know, what summer vacation?). I do it because I was gifted with a passion to help children see their potential through music. It is what I was born to do. And every time I feel worn, tired, on the verge of tears – I look at this and am reminded that God created me to do this and I am blessed.
#2 – The favorite listening lesson of the year goes to…
I stumbled across a Carnival of the Animals app for iPads this year, but didn’t give it too much thought. As the unit neared, I remembered the app and began exploring it and fell in LOVE with it. My students love the mix of animation and live orchestra. They get to hear and see musicians perform on their instruments while watching some very cute, clever animation. What’s even better is that many of the excerpts are on YouTube – no iPad required!
#3 – Respecting the needs of all my students
I am the mother of a four-year old boy and I am discovering something: my child needs to move. And I don’t mean he needs to wiggle every once in a while. He needs to jump, fly, climb, twist and fall. And sometimes, he needs time to transition – cool down – center himself before moving on to another activity. This has made me reflect upon my teaching practice and the way I teach the boys in my classroom. How many times have my students come to my room needing physical movement after a long morning sitting? How many times has a student come to my room upset about something that happened on the playground, at home, or in the classroom? I’ve been researching and thinking about strategies to address all the needs of my students. I love the idea incorporating a calm corner for students who simply need a moment to transition and ready themselves mentally and physically for learning.
#4 – Developing the child musician
I have two goals for my students. Two things that my students cannot leave my classroom without being able to do: 1) think music and 2) sing in their head voice. I can share countless stories from parents about how they never learned to sing. My students are mine for five years (ok, most of my students). There is no way they should leave my program with learning how to sing in their head voice. But the reality is, in spite of every technique I try, sometimes you have a student who doesn’t get there. One of the best props I’ve ever used to help my students who can’t match pitch is what classroom teachers call “whisper phones.” They’re used in reading lessons all the time but they’re fabulous tools for emergent singers to get feedback about their voice too! And better yet, it’s just two pieces of PVC pipe attached together. I have a classroom set because you can’t just give one out. All my students want to hear themselves, but it provides great feedback for those students who aren’t matching pitch or singing in a head voice yet.