Sunday, March 31, 2013

Diet, Exercise, and Energy Tips for the Music Teacher

Ok, I know this isn't exactly "music related" but, if these tips or experiences of mine help anyone out there who happens to read it, then I think it is worthwhile.  Music teachers should be the "sunshine" of the school - after all, who wants to sing silly folk songs with you if you're yawning?  Who wants to learn a circle dance if you can't do the moves the best?  A big part of our job performance, and no great performance occurs without some MOTIVATION (and practice).

5th graders (at our morning dance rehearsals) have commented, "No one has as much energy as you."  Is it the tea I usually have a mug of?  Maybe...
But I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that my husband and I entered into a New Year's resolution bet with my parents (which we won, in case you were wondering).  We challenged each other to be healthier this year.

I've noticed that, at work, I usually have increased energy (I mean, we all have those days).  I've had better endurance during dance rehearsals or movement activities.  I'm just as hyper as the kids, and have been known to shout for joy when they sing some thing correctly or jump around the room when something is played well on the recorder.

What's my secret? I'll tell you - only, if you should injure yourself in some way, that, my friend, is your problem.  My med-school hubby says, "Always consult a  your doctor before you begin a diet or exercise program."

Jillian.  Jillian Michaels.  You know her - the bad-BEEP Biggest Loser Coach?  She has an entire set of incredibly awesome DVDs with a variety of workouts that you can do IN YOUR HOME in under an hour (some of them are just TWENTY MINUTES).  I don't know how busy you are, in fact, music teachers are some of the busiest people I know, but seriously, who can't give up 20 minutes to improve their health, weight, and energy level?

We started with her 30 Day Shred.  There are three levels of difficulty (and even though I'm only 26, I had to start at Level 1 - for sure) that you progress through in 30 days.  Get ready to loose those pounds.
Here's an example:
These are only about 30 minutes (warm-up, 20 min workout, cool-down) so you can even squeeze them in before school (which means 4:45 AM for me - gross).

Then, we moved on to No More Trouble Zones because hubby had some love-handles (not any more, he lost 25lbs) and I have a huge butt.  Well, it isn't so huge anymore (I lost 11lbs - from a size 6 to a 2).
And we are currently enjoying Banish Fat Boost Metabolism which is just really killer.
Sometimes, I incorporate the moves into listening movement lessons (I'll post about that next weekend hopefully) and I get the kids moving around.  Childhood obesity is just a sad sad thing - we can work to prevent it.

Now, eating healthy?  That was much harder.  While luckily I'm not too into sweets and candies, I LOVE bread and cheese.  Love it.  But the Good Lord Said, "Men cannot live on bread alone."  Honestly, we don't have to live on bread at all!

Heard of Paleo?  It is all over Pinterest (I even have a board dedicated to it, called "Me Hungry", haha).
Here's a quick overview:

Basically, it is a list of foods that humans were designed to eat.  Lean proteins, fruits, veggies, nuts, and healthy oils.  No dairy, no grains, no sugar.  Sounds like no fun?  Not really - there are many great recipes out there.  Plus, your body will feel soooo much better once you ditch all that stuff you don't need, can't pronounce, and aren't sure exactly what it is.

We love The Paleo Diet CookBook
We really like the bison peppers and holy guacamole!  Yum!

And here are a few more of our favorite recipes:
Paleo Chicken Fingers

 100 Recipes - yum!

 Hubby and I are following the rules strictly - except for one meal a weekend.  We don't too crazy on this cheat day - but we sure look forward to it.

Not sure how to get your family on board? Check out this article from Paleo Diet Lifestyle.

Being on the Paleo diet can be a little expensive, I've found, if you're looking for quality produce and protein.  I suggest planning out all meals and snacks and sticking to the list that you create.

Another thing that helps me in the morning is my playlist.  I have a long (about 50 minutes) commute to where I teach - and there are plenty of rude drivers and road hazards on my way.  I really quite hate it.  However, when I plug in that playlist (sometimes its something Romantic and Russian, sometimes my favorite 80's hits, and sometimes songs that I'll be teaching in the future) and get going, the commute seems to fly by and I'm in a great mood.  Music teachers, more than anyone, know how music can affect you.

I hope these tips help - if you're looking to shed a little weight, get healthy, and grab some energy!

Recorder Mega-Set

My first year of teaching, I struggled with teaching recorder.  I wasn't sure what repertoire would work best, plus, most of my students knew nothing about reading music (sadly, this is the case in many schools).  Later, at my new school, I was challenged with way too short a class (30 minutes, really?!) and a heavy population of SPED students, and, yet again, students who knew very little about reading music.

This combination of experiences has lead me to develop a lot of my own resources when it comes to teaching recorder.  I'm sure I still have more learning to do and more challenges to face down the road, but so far, this has been the most successful year.  My 4th graders have had uninterrupted recorder work (both 3rd and 5th have had to work on massive Spring musicals - but we're getting there) and their progress is really making me quite happy.  I'm going to have to design a whole new set of recorder stuff for them as they move into 5th grade (I'll have taught them for 3 consecutive years at that point).

 I've bundled everything I've used in the past two years or so - and, voila, here's my Recorder Mega Set.  If you're like me, you're already looking forward to next year's music plans (especially musical/performance rep and choir rep, whew) and I hope you'll check out this set as you plan your recorder stuff.  It is designed to take many months, I would say an entire semester.  I usually do recorder from mid-Feb to late April.  Recorder isn't ALL we do for that time period, but it does take up a majority of the time.

Here's what's included in the bundle:

Teaching Resources (3):
1. Parent Information Note (English and Spanish) - This is what I send home in early January - it has worked well for the last few years
2. Beginning Recorder Song Progression - This is the progression of songs I use with beginning recorder students (3rd grade)
3. Recorder Group Jobs - I do use Recorder Karate in that I give out belts for each song (I haven't included the belts in the download because I don't want to take away from that product) so we have the Recorder Doctor and Recorder Sensei jobs

Recorder Jobs
Repertoire (12 printable songs to send home with students - I also keep a class-copy in folders so they don't have to bring the music back and forth and I don't have to print a million copies):
1. Hot Cross Buns
2. Babylon's Falling
3. Gently Sleep
4. Merrily We Roll Along
5. Closet Key
6. Au Clair de la Lune
7. All Through the Night
8. Hop Old Squirrel
9. Lucy Locket
10. Starlight, Starbright
11. It's Raining
12. Chickalileelo
Students have responded well to the format of these songs (rhythms - add pitch - put on staff).  Some students can move straight to reading from the staff (in fact, I encourage this as the "goal") but so many of them need music broken down into steps.

14 Teaching PowerPoints - These PowerPoints are designed to take the students step-by-step in learning the song.  They also reinforce rhythm reading and solfa.  Three of them include printables which I use to assess students and can also be used in place of the PowerPoints.
1. Hot Cross Buns (printables)
2. Babylon's Falling
3. Gently Sleep
4. Merrily We Roll Along
5. Closet Key (printables)
6. Au Clair de la Lune
7. All Through the Night
8. Hop Old Squirrel
9. Lucy Locket
10. Starlight, Starbright
11. It's Raining
12. Chickalileelo
13. Old Ark's a Moverin (printables)
14. Old MacDonald

Hot Cross Buns Printables

3 Lessons that incorporate other orff instruments, movements, and games while including recorder parts:

Hosisipa Lesson

Old Mr. Rabbit Lesson

Kreely Kranky Lesson

11 Recorder Worksheets and Teaching Aides
B-A-G Recorder Patterns Level 1 PowerPoint
7 Mad Minutes (B/A/G, B/A/G/E, B/A/G/E/D, C/B/A/G/E/D, D/C/B/A/G/E/D, lines, and spaces)
3 Assessments (lines, spaces, lines and spaces)

11 Recorder Games

Bunny Matching Game
Fly and Trashcan Matching Game

Icecream Matching Game

2 Recorder Dice Games (BAG and BAGE)
B-A-G Tent Game
3 File Folder Games (BAG-IT, CAGE-IT and Earn Your BADGE)

2 PowerPoint Games
1. B-A-G the Bunny
 2. Recorder Chicken Game

You'll save over $9.00 if you buy the bundle, verses downloading everything individually.  Have fun and HAPPY EASTER!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kreely Kranky Monster Dance

I love this little dance song.  It is great for all grades (1-5) to dance to, the rhythm content is accessible for all grades, and the pitches are great for 3-5 to read on solfa and play on the recorder.  I added the monster theme - they are just too cute.

The PowerPoint includes teaching slides, teaching instructions (in the notes section), instrumentation, movement suggestions, and printables.  You can download it here: Kreely Kranky

Here's the lyrics slide (most slides have some extra info for the older kids in blue):
And here's the steady beat slide:
There's also a time signature/bar line slide.

And a rhythm preparation slide (these are always too cute - younger ones love it):
This also includes a rhythm slide.

Older students can add the solfa (I don't have solfa preparation slides - it is assumed that students have already learned low la and low so):
And here's the solfa on the staff:
There is also a slide of the song without the solfa added (see what they know).

Here's an absolute pitch slide with recorder fingering:

 There is also a absolute pitch slide not on the staff, and one on the staff:
Here's the movements - they are so much fun:
There's an instrumentation slide for you/older students (includes rhythm stick, triangle, and hand drum parts) but this one is color-coded for the younger students:
Of course, I included printables (with instructions).  I hope that they work as well for you as they do for us.  Here's an example of the solfa printables:
Happy Monster-Dancing!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shoo-Fly Treble Clef Set

Whew, I finally got all of this together!  Looks like more cutting and laminating ahead for me, haha.

My older students have enjoyed our music spelling activities, including Music Spelling - Sports Edition, Music Spelling - St. Patrick's Day Edition, and Music Spelling - Bunny Edition.  We've been working on many other staff-naming activities.  I'm lucky enough to have a large staff wipe/magnetic board, a floor staff (made from a white shower curtain), four cookie pans with staves, large staff wipeboards (four), and of course I have staff pages laminated (for use with bingo chips, or tasty snacks such as candy hearts) and in plastic page protectors to be drawn on with dry-erase markers (I highly recommend this - it saves trees and is easy to clean up, plus, kids love working with the markers).  They've also used other activities, such as lines and spaces matching and various treble clef worksheets.

Here are two more activities they will use:

I blogged about this activity earlier this week: Shoo-Fly Treble Clef PowerPoints  Sometimes it is nice to do a quick activity with PowerPoint (especially with my 5th graders - we are really focused on their upcoming 80's-themed program) instead of lugging out all the materials.

My 4th graders aren't working on anything performances at the moment, so they've busy with lots of different things.  I created this next set of PowerPoints for them.  There are three levels (level one has 2-3 letter words, level two has 4-5 letter words, and level three has 6-7 letter words).
First, the students see a slide like this:

Then, they can dictate it one of two ways (I'm going to use the worksheets so I have some assessments to grade):
Dictation 1: Either use in a plastic bag with dry-erase marker or print out and use bingo-chips so students can create the word on the staff (with younger students I've doing activities like this with paint-swatch solfa-houses on larger, poster-sized staves I created from butcher paper and laminated - my older ones have also used my dry-erase staff boards on a similar activity):
Dictation 2: Students receive a worksheet for each level (so three worksheets total) and must draw the word on the staff themselves (I also have them draw a treble clef):
There are follow-up slides to each word, so students can check their work (and you can discuss what other ways it could have been dictated):

I also created this activity where students match a fly:
To a corresponding trash-can:
The kids love matching games like these, especially when they've finished, I've checked their work, and they can then turn over all their cards and play it like a memory matching game.

My 3rd graders are still working on learning the treble clef, and they've been busy with many B-A-G recorder activities, such as:
Easter Themed Recorder Activity
B-A-G Tent Game
B-A-G Folder Games
B-A-G Dice Game
So I created a Treble Clef Review PowerPoint (see previous post below for more info):

And also this B-A-G matching game (relates to all the fly stuff previously):

The students match a fly:

To the corresponding trash-can:

Then, the students can play each pattern on their recorder.  You can also play a pattern and have them identify it (once the whole class is finished) and then everyone can play together.  Students can take turns playing patterns for the class to copy.  They can also place patterns in specific orders to create small compositions to play.

The bundled download, Shoo-Fly Bundled Set, is a great value.  You can also download the activities separately:
1.Shoo-Fly Mini Lesson Set
2. Shoo-Fly Treble Clef Matching PowerPoints
3. Treble Clef and Recorder Matching Game - Fly and Trashcan
4. Shoo-Fly Treble Clef Dictation PowerPoints