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 Maine in the summer. This summer she and my stepdad stayed in Arizona as they did not want to travel home to Maine for their usual spring/summer/fall months. So, she is in Arizona with raging coronavirus cases, and I am in NC.

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:
  • Be consistent in lesson flow/structure (younger children; more structure, older children; more choice)
  • Be relational in your teaching (videos or lessons featuring YOU)
  • Choose and use  the MOST 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.


  1. Learning has taken a giant leap during the times of coronavirus. From regular classroom learning, we have evolved into a blended learning environment and further uprisen to flipped learning models. The teaching method used for the Indian Music Genres that has been in effect since long is very effective for some of the industry leading singers of today.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart and all of these resources! It is definitely a lot to process and I have been thinking about and praying for you <3

    1. Thank you- and thanks for your thoughts and prayers. This too shall pass!

  3. Have you been using your orff instruments since being back? We just started back with in person learning and I want to use our instruments. I have cleaned the mallets and plan to have a bucket for dirty mallets and a bucket for clean mallets. I'll hand the clean mallets out to students and they turn them in to the dirty bucket at the end of class. My instruments are about 2 and a half feet apart since I do not have space to do a full 3 feet. How have you been spacing yours? Definitely praying for you as you navigate this time with a higher risk to your health!


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