What I Have Taught:
I have taught K-8 general music classes for 8 years. In that time I have also directed an Orff percussion ensemble and after-school elementary and middle school chorus. I developed and taught music special topics for middle school accelerated learner classes and musically assisted with 3-5 science and social studies classes. I have taught in public, charter and alternative school settings.
Where I am From and Where I Have Taught:
I am originally from central Pennsylvania. I moved to Illinois for graduate school and began my teaching there. I now live and teach in Michigan.
Favorite Teaching Memory:
Teaching special topics to the middle school accelerated learners class was one of my most memorable classes throughout the years. I was able to develop great relationships with this students because they were part of the class from 6th grade through 8th grade. My class met every day for 45 minutes. Each year I needed to develop an entirely different curriculum so the returning students continued to grow. One year we focused on composition. We studied different styles, and students would compose short pieces to be performed by the class.
One day as we were discussing major and minor keys, a student asked why anyone would ever want to use a minor key. After letting classmates give their thoughts, I provided my own rambled thoughts – just like in life, you need some minor times to make the major times more special and wonderful. I had turned to finish writing something on the board and when I turned around, one of my 7th graders sat in stunned silence. He raised his hand and said “That was the most profound things I’ve ever heard.” Truthfully I hadn’t even remembered what I had said, but the rest of the class agreed and insisted on writing it on the board as the quote of the day. For the rest of the year, whenever anyone was having an off-day and things weren’t working out someone would remind them that their major key would be coming soon – and it would be amazing.
Quick, Fun Facts About Me:
I survive on coffee – to the point where my kids have learned to use the Keurig and my students know to look for a coffee cup in the morning. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I almost waged war on a coffee chain because they said they didn’t have iced decaf even though they have both decaf and an ice machine.
Much to my surprise, I have become a runner – sort of. When my friend insisted I run a 5k with her in 2006, I thought she was crazy. We were not athletic people at all, but I stumbled to our 5:00 am training sessions and actually finished the race! After moving to MI and meeting co-workers who were more serious about running, I began to have medal envy and set goals for myself. I have now completed several 10k races and 2 half marathons!
Why I Love TpT:
I love that TpT is a huge collection of ideas and resources from other actual teachers. My teaching experience has not offered much opportunity to collaborate with other music teachers in the district, because there weren’t any. By searching TpT, I can find new ways of teaching the same objectives. I also can focus on my strengths as a teacher and get resources for things I’m not as comfortable teaching.
Music Teacher Quick Tip:
Clear packing tape is a music teacher’s best friend. No, seriously! I have used clear packing tape to repair hand drums when an excited student put his hand through the drum head, create drums when I didn’t have any, and make instruments based on world percussion instruments. Using the technique below and some creativity, you can experiment with different materials and develop your own DIY percussion ensemble.
To repair drum heads, remove the original drum head and pull packing tape tightly across the drum head – overlapping the tape slightly on the edges all the way across the drum. Turn the drum 90 degrees and repeat taping so the tape creates a grid. This second layer of tape creates the necessary tension to get a decent sound. To secure the tape grid to the drum frame, wrap a layer around the top of the frame as well. If you want to get rid of the sticky side of the tape inside the drum, sprinkle a little talcum powder and spread it around like you are flouring a cake pan. Make sure you get rid of the excess powder or there will be a talcum powder cloud with the drum is played.
If you don’t have any drums – like at my first school – you can use the packing tape to make your own hand drums! Create a square frame using either 1″x1″ or 1″x2″ boards. Using the same grid concept as above, wrap the tape around the frame in one direction and then again across the other sides of the frame.
Two products you may not have seen in my store:
I love putting a music spin on retro games. I use games all the time to reinforce concepts in small groups and also for sub plans. I consider games part of my sneaky ninja skills, because students often have so much fun that they don’t realize they are learning! Two products I’m very proud of are Music Brain Game and Notation Spoons: Treble Clef.
Get your students excited to play and engaged in a comprehensive review of instruments, notation, history, and performance with Musical Brain Game. This team-based game uses drawing, sculpting, singing, clapping, and traditional questions to put their musical knowledge to the test.
Notation Spoons: Treble Clef is perfect for small group activities. Players silently pass and collect notation cards in hopes to secretly spell the goal word. Not only do they need to pay attention to their hand of cards, but also their competitors’ actual hands! The first player to spell the word and grab a spoon is the winner of the round.
Thanks for getting to know me a little bit! I’m excited to be a part of this fun crew and make your life a little easier! We have lots of great ideas to share with you!