Monday, June 30, 2014

Top Ten Things I Want to Do This Summer

Good Evening. Tonight I am linking up with Deanna Jump at Mrs. Jump's Class for my Top Ten Things I Want to Do This Summer.

This is the first summer that I won't be spending time in Manitowoc, WI for graduate school, so I might actually have time to do some of these things!

#1. Move. It's just across town, but I want to move.

#2. Get my home organized. This will take quite a while. I still have unopened boxes from last year's move that I hope to get through.

#3. Read several books. On my reading list are the Divergent series and Game of Thrones series. I also want to finish No Mopes Allowed.

#4. Start my TPT store. I have some files created and ideas, although I'm nowhere near as creative as some of the folks whose stores I shop.

#5. Blog more.

#6. Lay by the pool. This goes along with #3.

#7. Do some long range planning for next school year. This will be my second year in my district/building and I know I want to do a lot of things differently.

#8. Create manipulatives! I have so many great ideas sitting on my Pinterest account that I can't wait to make!

#9. Get in the habit of writing on my blog frequently!

#10. Binge on some Netflix - I have so much in my queue, and finally have some time to catch up.

Enjoy your summers everyone!!

Five Favorite Pins of June

Hello everyone. Today I'm linking up again with Aileen Miracle for her Five Favorite Pins of June Linky Party.  My Pinterest account is still fairly new, so I don't have a whole lot on it yet, but I'm working on it!

Click each picture to be taken directly to the pin. I haven't figured out how to embed the pin properly so I'm just going to link a picture of the pin.

#1. Solfa Texting Sticks

I love, love love this idea! I've seen it pinned a couple of different ways, but like the idea of the hand signs. My other thought is to take my Solfa Street house graphics and shrink them down to fit on the stick. I plan to make sets for each concept level, starting with so-mi.

#2 Rhythm Abacus

What a great way to manipulate rhythms! This idea comes from Amy Abbott. I love that she uses two separate noodle segments for showing the half note, so students MUST show an understanding that it lasts for two beats.

#3 Slap Rhythms/Melodies

This idea comes from a classroom teacher's blog, but by putting either rhythm patterns or melodic patterns on each of the cards, the idea could come to the music room. This would be great with a recording for a sub day.

#4 Door Decor

This is just cute. I'm always looking for neat ways to decorate my door.

#5 Mystery Walker (Musician)

What a great way to have all students on their best behavior. I think instead of making it a Mystery Walker I would make it a mystery student and use their seating number to watch them during the entire class period to see if they earn something special - maybe line leader?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Milestones Worth Celebrating

I sometimes find it difficult to think of ideas for blog posts, so as I'm reading other blog posts, I'm looking at interesting linky parties to join. Today I am linking up with Make Moments Matter's linky party about milestones. I know I'm a bit late to the party, but better late than never!

Milestones! Something to Celebrate!

Professional Highlights:

  • Moved from Dayton, Ohio to Dallas (Plano), Texas for a new, amazing job in one of the best school districts for music education in the country
  • Finished my Master's Degree (finally) from Silver Lake College. I was so fortunate to study with Sr. Lorna and all of the amazing instructors at Silver Lake for the last six years and to graduate with many of my good friends from all over the world
  • Attended TMEA for the first time - Wow. Just. Wow. I was in awe for three straight days agh the sheer number of attendees and quality of the conference

Social Media Highlights:

  • Started this new blog, in the hopes of reaching more readers and enjoying more control of my blog
  • Became more active on twitter - follow me @kodalymusictchr (Click on the Twitter icon on the top right of this page to go straight to my Twitter feed)
  • Just last week, I started a Facebook page (Like my page by clicking on the Facebook icon on the top right of this page)

School Highlights:

  • Started at a new school with very different program requirements, but my second graders put on an AMAZING program called "Where the Wild Things Are." I found the program on Aileen Miracle's TPT site. It's part of her book "From Song to Stage" and is fabulous! I changed out one song. The kids and families LOVED this program. Here are the links to both the book and just this program

 From Song to Stage - Aileen Miracle
 Where the Wild Things Are - Aileen Miracle

I'm looking forward to a restful, but productive summer, and soon, another wonderful year of milestones!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Classroom Management for Today's Students

Today I'm linking up with Aileen Miracle's Dazzling Discipline Linky Party.

Dazzling Discipline Linky Party

I was reading a Facebook post the other day (that I can't find again to see who wrote it), and the person was questioning the idea of no "rules" in the classroom. When I first started teaching, I had read "The First Days of School" and set clear expectations through - you guessed it - rules! They went something like this: Keep your hands and feet to yourself, Raise your hand to be called on, and a host of other "do's and don'ts." They were posted when students walked in for the first time and we went over them on the first class. We used an Assertive Discipline plan at that school "Tags" and students who broke a rule were directed to "pull a tag" when they got back to class. My thought as a beginning teacher was "Great! There's a school-wide discipline system in place - all I have to do is follow it!"

 Fast-forward a about three years, and a couple of classroom teachers have started implementing a new form of "discipline" in their classroom (they team taught). They had gone to Responsive Classroom training during the summer, and it changed everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - they did with discipline in their classroom. So now, we have our Tag system in all but two classrooms. I started to notice that the Tags had little effect on how students were responding to their behavior choices, so I started to pay close attention to the behaviors of the two classes using this new system. I found that those two sets of students were better behaved in general and responded better to redirection. This got me thinking, maybe this Tag system and the way I'd been doing things needed to change.

The next summer, two more teachers, one in fourth grade and one in third went to the training. The next year, I noticed more of the same - the students in the "Responsive" classrooms were acting much differently than the rest of the school. This made me want to learn more about Responsive Classroom, so after a lengthy conversation with my principal about what I was noticing, I was allowed to attend the Level I training the following summer as a representative from the Specials Team. What I learned during that week-long training was amazing.

 When I got back to school that August, the first thing I did was throw away my "Rules" poster. Instead, on the first day of music, each student in every class gave me one "rule" they felt needed to be in our classroom. Every. Single. Rule. was written on the IWB. We then talked about how overwhelming that many rules would be, and how cool it would be if all of those rules fit into three nice categories. The students were very intrigued, with some of the older children saying things like "no way!" The three categories I gave them were "Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of our classroom and everything in it." I asked the students to classify each of their rules into these categories. After we finished that task, I asked the students if it was going to be easier to remember x rules or 3 positive statements. Almost every student in the school said they liked the three statements better.

During the next class, we discussed consequences, but I framed it as "What happens when we don't meet these statements or expectations?" I have found that the key to student buy-in is to have the consequence be logical. Most of the problems I see in my classroom are easily solved by implementing immediate, logical consequences. What good did it do to take recess from a kid who used the xylophone improperly??? When a student needs time to cool off - they "Take a break." I no longer go into a long diatribe about what a student did wrong or should do differently. Now I simply tell a student "Johnny, take a break." That student goes to a chair in a designated spot in the room, and is invited back after several minutes. If a child misuses an instrument, they lose the privilege of using the instrument.

Basically, I have no rules in my classroom. Instead, I use norms or positive expectations. Student buy-in is key to this and it's totally worth the class time devoted to setting this up each year.

My thoughts have evolved slightly since I first did this in my classroom, but the principles are still there. I now have all of their ideas fit into a "MUSIC" acrostic with norms/expectations, and my students understand that some activities are privileges and are much more respectful of the expectations in my classroom.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Welcome to my blog's new home. I used to host this blog at WordPress, but found that Blogger was much more my style and easier to use.

To see my old posts, click here.

It has been a wild ride since I started the original blog, but I'm hoping that with a fresh start comes more regular posts.