Products for Prep!

I can't believe that another summer has come and gone!  For me, it has been a great one, and I hope it has been for you too.  Often, my friends who are earning six figures in their corporate jobs express jealously about the fact that I have summers off.  I always say, "You can have summer off too! Become a teacher!"  Then, I tell them how much we earn, and they quickly change their minds about having summers off!  :)

We need it so much!  When we are "on", we are ON!  Every teacher knows it!  I hope that you had lots of time to rejuvenate and rest so you can be great for your children this year.

I am linking up with some music teacher bloggers for "Products for Prep" to help share some ideas for teachers to explore as they start that journey back to school for the 2014-2015 school year!

Let's start with Aileen Miracle's Polished Planning!  She has created a product here that will help you create your vision for your entire school year!  It's an overview of how to plan everything from your year to your daily lesson plans.  She's included a song list template that can be used for any grade level. She has a tika-tika concept plan that include 39 visual, aural and kinesthetic activities to help prepare 16th notes.  She guides teachers on creating concept plans and so much more.  I copied and pasted one of the product reviews here:

Fantastic! Even though I have taught for many years and have developed year plans, I always like to see how other respected teachers do it. Many fantastic ideas that I will incorporate. I like the way your brain thinks :)!

Check it out:

Last year, I made a commitment to myself to document ALL of my sight singing process as I taught my 6th grade beginners how to read.  From the very first day of school, I took video of the process, created video teaching tips, created and shared my sight singing examples using Finale (which I had no idea how to use before), rhythm examples, bell ringers activities and assessments.  I had to overcome so many personal fears about technology because I had so much to learn!

...But it's done!  This year, I plan to pull up power points I created and use them myself day by day. While I use them, I will "tweak" them and improve them to make them better and better for teachers who discover this program.  I want everyone who finds the program to be successful as they teach it, and I want the children to be successful in learning the material!

Here is a link to the Complete Bundle:  S-Cubed-Successful Sight Singing for Middle School Teachers.
I sometimes call it "How to teach Sight Singing to Middle School Beginners" because it is for that group of children...and I think those are the children most of us actually teach.  I've taught for 22 years, and I still haven't had any little "Mozart's" in my room.

For the first day of school, I want to establish the atmosphere of "fun" and structure.  I use a game in "S-Cubed" called Forbidden Pattern on the first day.  The kids love it!  Here is a video description of the game.  And here is a video link of us actually playing the game.  This was taken on the first day of class about 10 minutes into the first day I'd met them.  There were 64 students in the room.

Many teachers ask how I create that sort of structure with 64 students so quickly on the first day with nervous and excited 6th graders.  Well...I like to hit the ground running!  One of the ways I do that is by creating name tags for every single student who is on my roll, creating seating charts and placing the stickers on the chairs in my classroom.  Here is a picture:
That is what I want them to walk into!  
Their first inclination, especially with 60-plus children, is the ask questions.  So, I work to wrap the arms of structure around them from the very first moment they enter.
I play "spa" music to relax them as they enter. 
I've copied a simple music word find puzzle that I place on a chair in the front of the room.  On that chair, I place a sign that says "Take One" with an arrow that is pointing downward to the puzzle.
I place a huge sign in the entry hall to my room that says "Read the front board".  Then, on my Promethean Board that is in the front of the room, I write this:
1)  Take a puzzle from the chair.
2)  Find the seat with your name on it.
3)  Sit down.
4)  Put your name on the puzzle and complete it silently.
5)  If your name isn't on a chair, come see me.

This gets them off to a good start and helps me have time to deal with the late arrivers, schedule changes, etc.

Then, I teach them the game Forbidden Pattern from S-Cubed!

I created this product for teachers who struggle with the first few days of school.  "Back to School! What do you MEAN I can't Smile Before Christmas?!?" covers some of the things I've mentioned above.  It also includes a game called "Cup Up".  It's great fun that includes many important lessons to set the tone for the year!  This product can be used by any middle school teacher in any subject!  

I am hoping everyone has a wonderful start to the new school year!  It's filled with so many possibilities!  Let's go out and change their lives in wonderful and positive ways!

Make sure to check out the other ideas in the linky party!


  1. Thanks for the link-up AND the shout-out, Dale! Have a great start to your school year! :)