Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Things I've Learned This Summer

I'm joining Aileen Miracle in a linky party sharing three things we've learned this summer.  It's been a busy one for me!  School starts in a week and a half; meetings for a full week; yup, you read that correctly!  I know most teachers have a few days of meetings, we have meetings, lunches, and dedicated time in our classroom for 5 full days! Of course, most everyone is in their classrooms the weekend before this week because we have new student orientation that Friday before students return to classes August 17th!  Phew! All this leaves me asking the questions, "Where did the summer go and what did I learn?"  Here goes:
1.  I need my summer time. 
No, not just "want" my summer, but I need the time to refresh, recharge, listen to great music, find new lessons, regroup, reflect, and PLAN!  After school was out (4 days of planning/meetings after students were out), we were home for a week, then off to Maine for 2 weeks.  I am a Mainer, or Maineiac; from Maine! I love the ocean, and find nothing more relaxing and spiritually uplifting than to sit by the sea.  I also kayak with my Dad and get to visit family.  OH, and then there's the lobster! YUM!  My daughter and husband also love seafood and hunting for sea glass and driftwood is a family affair! 

We were home 2 weeks then my daughter and I went for a girls week with friends (our girls are both adopted from China and are 8 months apart) at the beach.  Our fourth year.  Which leads me to .....
2.  It is incredibly important for me to reconnect with family and friends near and far. 
While in Maine I reconnected with many friends and spent a lot of time with family, including 2 of my 32 cousins who I hadn't seen in 20 years!  I also was able to reconnect with some friends we made in China, which was wonderful, and to see how their family has blossomed; they have adopted 6 children from China!!  I also love spending time with my husband and my girlie.  She's 7.5 and I am really in denial that she will soon be 8! I decided this was the summer to teacher her to sew; we've done little projects before, but nothing meaningful.  We are building a new house and she is going to be getting a queen size bed; needs it to fit all her animals!! So, time for a new bedspread! Here she is sewing her quilt! 
3.  I have so many things to do this year!!
With the publishing of my first book, Hands to Hands, Clapping Songs and Games from Around the World, some other things went by the wayside, like my usual crazy planning and big projects!  One thing I have wanted to do for a very long time is to create a song index much along  the lines of Aileen Miracle's.  She has a GREAT tutorial you can see below! 
I have another project I began last school year; I'm creating an index of books that I use with music and the grade level and concept or skill area to be taught.  I am really excited about this as it will simplify using books in my classroom as I will be able to cross reference "quarter note" and find all the books I can use that teach/reinforce that concept.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have my summers, and to be returning to an amazing school that I love.  This is my 18th year there and I love our community! 
Hope you've had a summer full of learning!
What are you ready for this school year?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Preparations Underway!

Yup, this is it.. the final weeks of summer!  Two weeks from tomorrow I'll be back to school with all the requisite meetings required.. oh the meetings!  Ugh!  We have a few hours to actually get classrooms ready, but the majority of our time is taken up with discussions and meetings. Some of it is useful and thought-provoking, but then we have the other.  You know what I'm talking about.
I am going in this week to start setting up my classroom- I got new carpet over the summer and had to pack up my ENTIRE room.. and we music teachers have a lot of stuff.  Every shaker egg, drum, book, etc. had to be put in a box!  It was actually a wonderful opportunity to edit my room!  I found more books and "stuff" from 20+ years ago that I don't use or were horribly out of date.  So my room should have a sign like this right now:

  And if I could paint an image of my head it would look like this right now:

 I feel like there are hundreds of songs, games, and activities that I want to use this year that I've never used before.  It's a bit like embarking on a journey; opening up to the unexpected and unplanned.  I don't plan out my year in detail.  Shocking, isn't it?  I open myself up to possibilities!  I am very excited about starting our new COE: Cougar Orff Ensemble. No, not cougar because I am an older female.. bwah ha ha! School mascot, of course!  I will also be working on Volume 2 of my book, Hands to Hands, Clapping Songs and Games.  This one will feature mostly American clapping games and songs.  I'm possibly more excited about this one than the first one! I'll be posting a few beginning of the school year ideas in the next week or so! Check back soon!