Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Land That Job!

I am so lucky to have quickly found a job for the next school year after relocating to another state. I was nervous to interview again, because it had been a while. I learned some important things that helped me feel confident and well prepared.

1. See yourself getting the job. Has anyone here read The Secret? I am learning that my vision of the future often goes that way. I spent time thinking about someone being impressed by my interview and offering me the job. I saw myself as someone who was the clear choice for the principal. I thought about how lucky they were that I was interviewing there. These thoughts really helped my confidence! I am also a fan of the "superwoman" pose - I do it in the car before an interview.

2. Make a teaching sample booklet. I got this idea from a friend before I got my previous job. As soon as I started handing these to principals, I started getting offers and great feedback. I include a cover with my name, profession, and a few pictures of my performances, my classroom, and of my students performing (they were angled so you couldn't see faces). I also include a cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, teaching samples (worksheets, rubrics, projects) from different grade levels, and letters from students. I cover them with a clear plastic cover and bind them. This professional touch is something they will remember about you after the interview. Bonus points if you come up with a cool logo to help your cover, letter, and resume match. Mine looks like this:

3. Use real life examples as much as possible. When I interviewed for my first few teaching positions I answered more theoretically. Now, I use examples from my own teaching experiences. This comes across genuine and caring. It also makes me smile from the inside out. My interviewers could see how much I enjoy my job and my students. I was lucky I interviewed for grade levels I have experience with, because I felt like I had so many choices I could use for each question. I always went with the first one that popped in my head and stay confident with it. There isn't a RIGHT answer - the administrators are just trying to get to know the interviewee.

4. Try to find a way to bring up communication - with parents, other teachers, and with administration. Administrators love a good communicator.

5. Mention cross-curricular lessons or ideas. I think something music teachers always communicate well is how important music (on it's own accord) is worth teaching. Something that may resonate well with administrators (especially those who weren't related arts teachers) is knowing a music teacher is willing to collaborate in other subject areas.

6. Don't be afraid of small talk, smiling, or laughing during an interview. I know being professional during an interview is important, but it's also important to appear (and BE) relaxed. I know that administrators want a teacher who will do the job well, but will also be pleasant to work with and have things in common with.

Good luck, job seekers!

How to make a pen bouquet

The other day I went to take my Texas music content test and I got done way early. The girls were home with a babysitter and I thought... I just need a few minutes to wander a store by myself. I passed a dollar store type place and went in. I am always on the lookout for things I can use to organize or decorate my home or my classroom. At the store, I found some great deals that inspired me to make a pen bouquet.
I've always liked the idea of a pen bouquet, but found a lot of them to be different than my style. I like the more natural, clean, white flower look. I found a flower pot that has the look of terra cotta, but is plastic (ALWAYS good in the classroom!), and some flowers that were not hideous. (NOTE: these would look great with even more realistic flowers, but I just don't have that kind of spending money right now.) I grabbed some blue and clear floral rocks. I already have some floral tape and abandoned pens at home.

Here is the finished product:

I'll show you how easy this was. First, I found all of my materials, including scissors and wire cutters, and some "helpers".

Next I chose a pen and started winding floral tape around the bottom. I cut a flower to be about the same length as the pen and added it as I winded up the pen.

As the floral tape winds up the pen and flower, I cover those spots where the leaves sprout. I keep winding until I get up to the actual leaf. At that point, I push the leaf aside and keep winding up around the flower stem and pen.

At the top, I cut the floral tape and press it on until it sticks. Here are what the two types of flowers look like attached to pens.
Here are some more pics of the finished product:

Tell me what you think! Share ones you've made!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Music Teacher Planner - Free!

Hi Everyone!

It's been a while. Now, my family is in a different state, and I have a job lined up for next year. This job is in ONE building! Wahoo! I can't wait! I've been excited to think about next year. So much so, that I almost impulsively bought one of those SUPER expensive custom teacher notebooks. As I was about to order - I thought about it a little more clearly and wanted to wait to spend money like that until I was actually receiving a pay check. I thought, I can make something like this on google docs.

If you've been looking for something similar, than please make a copy and edit this for yourself. The order is a bit off - you have to look for the cover and inside cover, then think about how you want things to print and how many pages of each. But - it's much less expensive to print this out on nice paper and bind it than order. Let me know what you think! Any pages you wish were in there?


These pages, and MORE, are included. Happy Almost Summer!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Carnival of the Animals - Great Sub Plan for K and 1!

Last week, I had to stay home because my cutie patootie was sick. I always stress about sub plans. I don't want my students to have to have a lesson that does not work on real concepts and goals of the school year. I often have subs without music backgrounds, so I have to be creative about what I leave for them to do with the kids. (I don't know about you, but I never leave Orff instrument lessons!)

So... For my little ones, I left a lesson that I have done in the past. The basic idea is students listen to selections from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens and try to figure out which animal the music describes. They draw a picture or write the animal word on a simple worksheet available at the bottom of this post. I decided to choose 8 of the more obvious or accessible animals to the students. After they have listened to all of the selections and made a guess about what they are, students share what they think each is, and compare their answer to the real answer.

Feedback from an aid working with some of the students from the special education classroom was really positive. She said the students were engaged during the whole class and most guessed a few correct animals! We followed up by listening again when I returned. They were excited to tell me which animals went with which movements of the piece.

Here is the VERY SIMPLE worksheet I created. (When baby is sick, I don't have much time to creatively format!)

What lessons do you leave for substitute teachers?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carol of the Bells for Orff (finally!!)

I've been avoiding writing this post because of the amount of time I thought it would take. I'm going to go out on a limb and hope you all will not mind the imperfections of this final product. Here is the list of things I was going to mention in more detail:

1. The arrangement is very close to the traditional SATB Carol of the Bells.
2. The Orff instruments I have do not have G#, which created a few issues. I chose to use piano to play  the one important section that contained the note. There is another section that I am hoping doesn't sound too bad with a G natural.
3. The notation system I used was free online, and I had very little time to write it, so there are a few issues with it. Oh well! I hope to edit on a better notation system some other time.

Ok! That's it! My fifth graders are loving it. I'll post a recording if I can. The one included here is a demo that I created on Garage Band.

Monday, November 25, 2013

COMING SOON! - Carol of the Bells for Orff Instruments

Can't wait to share this! I will provide the score, the instrument parts, and a demo recording. I will also share some lesson plan ideas to introduce this piece. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 21, 2013

From Music to Math - Teaching Fractions through Rhythm to Fourth Graders

Alright, here it is! This is a unit teaching both and rhythms and math. The unit is flexible to fit many different teaching situations. Hopefully, the materials will help inspire you and your students! Let me know if you would like a modifiable version of this packet.