Saturday, August 1, 2020

Worried, Scared, Prepared

Worried? Scared? Prepared?

Most of us are feeling some of each of these emotions right now. Worried about our own health, our families and students health, scared about the upcoming year and all the changes and unknowns Covid 19 has brought into our lives, and some of us are feeling scared AND worried at the same time as they are making preparations for what will surely be the strangest year we have ever experienced. Just remember (as I will be) that emotions are like waves and we don't have to choose to ride each and every one.
Coronavirus, Quarantine, Mask, Covid-19
I have not posted a lot this summer and have been intent on taking all the wonderful PD and making connections with fellow music teachers. I have met and made some wonderful new friendships with teachers I wouldn't ordinarily have had time or energy to connect with and for that, I am so very grateful.  

The 1 in 4

I also have to admit that I have been trying to stay busy so I didn't have to fixate on the fact that I am one of the 25% of teachers with high risk. I am immuno-compromised, which means that my Dr. does not want me teaching face to face with students this fall (and perhaps longer, depending on community spread and availability of vaccine). SO, this means my school is trying to accommodate me but they are unsure if they will be able to. It has been an emotional roller coaster and I have experienced every possible emotion in the last several weeks. To top it all off, my mother was diagnosed with cancer in early July and she lives in Arizona in the winter; and this summer, as they did not want to travel home to Maine for their usual spring/summer/fall months.

Remote/Online/Synchronous/Asynchronous Learning

You probably already have had some successes with lessons last spring during emergency remote teaching and learning.  Think of this year as a 10 month-long marathon, not a 5K. 
Much depends on the platform (Google, Seesaw, Powerschool etc.) your school/district is using. I would also encourage you to do 3 things:
  • Consistency in lesson flow/structure (younger children; more structure, older children; more choice)
  • Relational Teaching (videos or lessons featuring YOU)
  • Essential Concepts and Skills - focus on what you NEED your students to understand THIS year - not in a typical year

Face to Face Learning

This varies from state to state and districts, towns, cities, and even schools within a district!  HOW your school instructs students face to face can mean many different things. The above three bullets still apply. Being consistent, relational, and focusing on the essential skills and concepts of your music instruction will be important.  
Your classroom setup, management, and other details will likely be out of your control as administration and guidelines will dictate much of what and how we do things. 
One big challenge for those of us teaching face to face will be what and how we do instruments. Many teachers are making Percussion Packs or Instrument Kits. I have a video on my facebook page @o for tuna orff with what goes in the packs and the kinds of activities I will use them for. 
Keeping instruments clean and sanitized for future students will be important. Also maintaining the integrity of our costly instruments will also be important. My friend, Emily, has a great blog post about Orff instrument covers that are easy clean made from clear shower curtains. 

Lesson Planning

My friend, Elizabeth has a FABULOUS blog post about planning in Covid times. In the post she illustrates how to create lesson "Banks" for multiple scenarios. Super smart thinking! 
My friend, Jessica, has a wonderful blog post called, "Ways to Beat the Overwhelm Heading into this School Year".
And Jennifer, another amazing friend, has this incredible post that says everything I have been thinking about singing in her post, "Singing in the Age of Coronavirus" . I would also encourage you to create vocal files of yourself singing so students hear YOU as the model. Online you can use, there are also many voice recording apps that are so straightforward and easy to use. 


Join all the facebook groups and a local Orff chapter; most chapters are having workshops this fall and they will all be available virtually via zoom this year!  Keep checking them out on facebook or the page. Of course, you can scroll over on the right for hundreds of lesson tags (if on a mobile device scroll down to the bottom of the page and click, "View desktop version" which will bring up the tags for each post. 

Let me know how I can help.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Upcoming Workshop with ALL the THiNgS!

Ready for fall? Sails Up! Music Workshop
Register for one date only - space is limited!
Wednesday, August 5, 10:00-11:30 AM Eastern Time
Thursday, August 6, 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time
$5.00 workshop fee

Monday, June 29, 2020

MORE Summer PD!

The global pandemic with Covid 19 has brought about so much pain, division, and negativity. BUT, there has also been some good that has come from this time of being home.  Today I am going to focus on one of the positives that have come from our current circumstances.
This summer is unprecedented in so many ways. Levels courses, workshops, and summer professional development has moved from specific locations to being available everywhere. This Wednesday I will finish my Land Ho, Falling Forward, Not Failing Forward Workshop and I have had over 600 people from the US, Cypress, Ukraine, UK, Ireland, Scotland, Cypress, Spain, Finland, Greece, Germany, and Estonia!  When else would I have been able to teach fellow music teacher friends from this many countries? It has been amazing. 

International Sunday Sharing

JaSeSoi, the Finnish version of the American Orff Schulwerk Association began in May with a Sunday gathering of International Sharing for music teachers. In June my friend Thom Borden and I continued with a USA version. Every Sunday at 11:00 AM Eastern time we experience singing, dancing, playing, and creating with hundreds of fellow music teacher friends from around the world. The session is about 30 minutes, then most people stay for the 10 minute break out session (a lovely zoom feature) with a random group of music teachers from around the world.  The presenters change each week and it has been SO WONDERFUL! How to join? On facebook, go to International Sunday Sharing USA and join. The link to the live zoom is published Saturdays.  At the end of July JaSeSoi will begin again and we will continue the sharing from Finland!

AMIS Online Summer Sessions

The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) has wonderful (and free) PD  EVERY Wednesday at 8AM Eastern time. Click AMIS Online Summer Sessions. Can't go? No worries- it is all recorded!  Check out the Getting the Most from SeeSaw session! SO good and shows how to create, share, and add skills to SeeSaw creations.

Sing, Say, Zoom and Play!

Rocky Mountain Orff Chapter and Regional Organization of Colorado Kodaly Educators (ROCKE) has free PD EVERY Tuesday from 11AM to 1PM Eastern Time. Check it out: Sing, Say, Zoom, Play! Summer Online Learning Series.

Looking for more?  There is a HUGE list of PD from a previous post several weeks ago - go check it out!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Make an Ocean Drum and Ocean Canon

My most lovely friend and fellow Orff teacher, Crystal Pridmore, shared  a beautiful ocean canon on the facebook group, The Singing Space. Most of you know I am originally from Maine and have a pretty serious love affair with all things ocean.  When I heard this lovely canon, I loved it for it's simplicity, but also for the orchestration and minor key tonality. Beautiful! Crystal so kindly gave me permission to share the song and also the activity she sent to her students remotely on making an ocean drum.
Originally pitched in a minor, I have written it in d minor as that would work for children's voices. Hope you enjoy listening and find a way to incorporate this into lessons with students as school ends or as a beginning of the year activity or anytime next year.

Make An Ocean Drum

By the Beach Canon

Have a wonderful day! 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Summer PD Free and Fee

The Best of Times...The Worst of Times — Carol McLeod Ministries ...

We have experienced the worst of times.  We have also experienced outpourings of gratitude, appreciation, and love.  We have seen a country divided over masks, race, and so many other problems. But we have also seen a coming together to help others in need and, especially in the music education world, an outpouring of sharing, caring, and connecting.
There have been so many wonderful webinars and workshops online lately! This summer the possibilities and options are richer than ever before.
So, here is a partial list - please let me know what courses you find and I will add them to the list.


Colorado Kodaly Tuesday Webinars - varied presenters.
 Facebook - International Sunday Sharing USA - every Sunday Live only
Midnight Music Monthly Training
Southern Methodist University Intro to Orff Course (offered 2x), Intro to Kodaly
Los Angeles Chapter of AOSA summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.
Teaching With Orff summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.

Fee/Credit Options

Detroit Orff Chapter Sharing session, Responsive Classroom for Music/Art/PE Teachers study, Book Study, $5.00-$10.00
Witchita State University Kodaly courses - $16.00-$52.00
MusicEd Forward course "Advocating for Sound Music Learning in Fall 2020 and Beyond, $27.00
World Music Drumming has MANY Summer Samplers - $20.00 per hour, most courses between 2 and 4 hours.
Musitex College has three courses around music technology and online teaching $39.00-$99.00
Kansas Orff Chapter of AOSA Online Workshop - $50.00
Kodaly Levels Seattle - 4 courses - $75.00 each or all for $250.00
MusicEd Forward - various courses and costs
International Music Education Summit $97.00
The Artie & Denise Online Odyssey - $100.00
Southern Methodist University, many course offerings, $150.00-$300.00
World Music Pedagogy course Teaching Music/Teaching Culture $195.00
University of Kentucky four Orff course offerings - $215.00 each
Kodaly Music Institute has eight course offerings - $275.00-$425.00
Anderson University Dalcroze and Ukulele courses $300.00-$800.00
Anderson University Orff Curriculum and Orff Masterclass courses $625.00-$800.00
George Mason University has five courses - $310.00-$1336.00
Vandercook College of Music offerings include Kodaly, Orff, Technology, and others. $350.00 per credit hour, courses are 1, 2, or 3 credit hours ($350.00/$700.00/$1050.00).
University of Bridgeport, MSED 530X: Inclusion in the Orff-based Classroom, 2 graduate credits $1330.00

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

What We CAN Do and Moving Forward

Road Sign, Attention, Right Of Way, Note
Can you relate to the question marks above?  I think many of us are stumbling forward with Remote/E/Distance Learning but also looking to next school year and asking the question of "What will that look like?"
Are you feeling the pressure of all this uncertainty?  Take a moment and watch and listen to Jimmy Fallon and crew (with pots, pans, glasses, even a toaster as instruments) perform Under Pressure:

We are all wondering and there are no clear answers. If you would like to see me talk about this, head over to these links - technology was not my friend today, so it is in two parts.
What We CAN Do Now and Moving Forward, Part 1: 
Part 2:

Here's What We Know

  • Comparing your lessons to others creation of padlets, flipgrids, SeeSaws, Google Slides, Google Classrooms, and Virtual Classrooms damages your
    1. Sense of Self
    2. Doesn't Help You Get to Your Goals
    3. Limits You
  • Next year may include a mix or one of these teaching realities: remote, streaming live from our classrooms, face to face with small groups in our classrooms, face to face with large groups,  traveling on a cart, with a mask, without a mask, with a face shield, without a face shield, seeing our students on a different schedule, remote one week or day, face to face the next, etc.

We Also Know

We are creative.
We want to be relational with our students.
We will teach children.
We will teach children music.
We will teach the elements of music; rhythm, harmony, melody, form, and expressive qualities. 

Things to Consider

 Some things will be more important than ever - a focus on social/emotional learning. Students will need music to heal, to celebrate, and to move forward in a positive way.  
Structure and routine.  Students will have been out of school and away from tradition, routine, and socialization for almost six months. It will be a time of re-learning, particularly for our youngest students, and our more vulnerable students. 

Moving Forward

So, what can we do now?  SO much!!!Think about what you want your Kindergarten, Fifth Graders, ________ to know about one element of music - rhythm, for example.  What would you normally teach your students to prepare division of beat?  A song?  Ok - If we are unable to sing the song together due to restrictions, make a recording of yourself singing the song to play during the class. Students can sing the song "in their heads and hearts". Perhaps they can sing specific words or the highest, lowest or "home" pitch.  Learn the song the same way you normally would- maybe you record yourself teaching the song by rote in sections with space for students to sing "in their heads and hearts" until they can lip sync the whole song. Now of course, that is not the best and it will be awkward at first, but we are moving forward, right?  Then maybe you may have had students keep the beat with the song - use body percussion or non-locomotor movement- jump, twist, wiggle, sway, etc.  Perhaps students clap the "way the words sound". Then maybe you had them play instruments. Uh oh- sharing may be problematic due to virus.
But wait - what if each student brings in an empty oatmeal box, 4-5 pairs of chopsticks, and 2 plastic eggs filled with pennies, plastic beads, paperclips, etc. (no food items- bug/insect/vermin issue).  If parents are unable, others could donate. No plastic eggs?  Oriental Trading has 144 for less than $5.00. The best part - everything goes INSIDE the oatmeal box, AKA drum. These would be stored in classrooms along with art supplies, etc. They do not take up much space and everything for music class goes inside the oatmeal box. Play with lid only, use chopsticks as mallets or create rhythms using chopsticks as manipulatives or use as conducting batons, tap together for light wood sound, etc. 

Hopefully, you are getting the point here - we can still teach music!!! No, it won't be the same. Grieve that, mourn it, and choose to move forward.  


Obviously, there is some amazing tech, sites, and apps available to many of us that we will continue to use remotely or face to face.   
 If your students will not be able to use barred instruments next year or you are on a cart AND your students have access to tech in their rooms, Brent Geyer has created some fabulous internet based virtual xylophones for our students to use. Not an app, nothing to sign up/in, no personal info shared, and beautiful sounding!  Many thanks to Brent for providing these for FREE!!!

       When you have come to the edge of all the light you have And step ...

   There is a line from my favorite medical drama that is in every episode. The director of the hospital asks a simple, yet powerful question - "How can I help?"  

Let me know.  I may not have an answer, but I am here for you. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Manipulatives to Use for Remote/E-Learning

We music teachers love our manipulatives, whether they are the mini-erasers from Target, stuffed animals, popsicle sticks, or printed items.  Engaging students to actively create while in remote/3-learning is challenging.  I have been using Google slides to create manipulatives students can move around and wanted to share these with you here.  You can use these in many ways - the final slide has the ones you may want to use with students to go with the Bee Bee Bumblebee rhyme. 
Here is what the moveable slide looks like - with cards the students can click and drag to create new rhythms based upon the traditional rhyme.

There are other slides to use as well in the classroom:

Here's another to use with Bluebird Bluebird: 

Hope you enjoy these and let me know how you use them!