Sunday, May 25, 2014

10 Things I want to do this Summer!

 Click to link to Ms. Jump's blog!
The last day for my students was Friday!  On Thursday, it's officially summer, and I'm already looking forward to checking off lots of items on my to do list!  I saw that Deanna Jump was having this link-up, and I wanted to jump in!

Which leads to the first item!

1)  Relax and recharge by spending time at the pool!  Teachers work so hard during the school year, and I absolutely believe we need to take the time to slow it down in the summer!

2)  Spend time with the people closest to me in my life!  Dad has always wanted to take Barbara to the Grand Canyon!  We will be there in July.

3)  Spend time with my animals!  My bird is 24 years old.  This type of bird normally lives until 15!  I think she is having work done...just sayin'....
4)  Ride my bike!  I love riding.  I can solve all of the world's problems in 75 minutes or less when I'm on the bike!

5)  Go to Las Vegas!  Each year, I judge an Aerobic Gymnastics event out there, and I will be there again at the end of July!  

6)  Work in the yard!  My mother loved working in her flowers, and as I get older, I love it more and more!  I don't have the gift she had for it, but I give it my best shot!
7)  Take care of my body.  I am an exercise fiend, but I save my regular check ups for summer.  

8)  Take care of my car!  Get the tune ups...get the oil changed....

9)  Go to the beach with my spouses family!  Going to the Gulf Coast!  Can't wait!

10)  Reflect on the past year.  It was one of my favorite years!  I had the warmest 8th grade group this year, and I will miss them.  Reflecting on my year with them and running the film in my head helps give me the fuel to go back in August!



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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Milestones worth Celebrating!

 Link up to Milestones Worth Celebrating Linky Party!

I am linking up with fellow bloggers to celebrate the end of another school year!  Tomorrow is my last day of school in my 22nd year of teaching.  Wow!  I can't believe it's been that long!  How old am I?!

Some of the milestones I'd like to celebrate:

My work sharing my Sight Singing Program!

*Started researching last July to see if I could figure out online marketing after years of wanting to figure out a way to share!
*Worked through many technological limitations one step at a time so I could work toward success.
*Started a blog.
*Learned how to use Pinterest to help spread the word.
*Networked with new peers in the online marketing world.
*Participated in Twitter Chats with music colleagues.
*Set up my store at TPT and uploaded my entire 27 week Middle School Sight Singing system one lesson at a time while I taught it.
*Learned to use Finale...finally!
*Started a YouTube Channel to share teaching tips and classroom management tips.
*Led a Webinar for NAFME.
*Was published in Choral Director Magazine and ChorTeach for ACDA.
*Started a Facebook page for the program.
*Applied to numerous state and national conventions to get the word out and share my program with other teachers who can use it.  I will begin presenting this summer at Georgia ACDA!

My work at school:

*Led all four singing groups including all 300 un-auditioned students to Superior Ratings in performance and in sight singing at Georgia Music Educator's Association Large Group Performance Evaluation.
*Created a Musical Revue along with my 15 8th grade leaders that raised over $5500 for our music program.
*Created and shared a workshop for my peers at my school to learn about online marketing...hoping to help them pass by some of the roadblocks I encountered as I worked to figure it all out!  :)

My Aerobic Gymnastics World:

*I judged the World Series event in Tokyo, Japan in April with some of the best judges and athletes in the world as I continue to nurture and grow in my deep love for this sport that has been such an integral part of my life.
*I went to Canada to share some ideas on the Artistic areas of the sport that, because of my dance and music background, I have strengths in.
*Work with the USA leaders in the sport in meetings and in conference calls to work on an online campaign (using my new limited but improved online marketing skills) to help generate energy in the USA Gymnastics world for Aerobic Gymnastics.  It's time to cross-over from fitness and into gymnastics!  Social media seems to me to be like a good path!

My Personal life:

*Turned 50.  OMG....  Embracing it and learning to enjoy and relish every moment I have with family and friends who want to celebrate life with laughter and silly fun stories and all the rest that comes with a positive approach to living on this planet for the brief time we are here!
*For the first time, my 76 year old father traveled to Atlanta from North Carolina and saw one of the performances of my students!  It meant the world to me!  He loved it, and said he is going to come every year!

Let's celebrate this journey and the completion of another school year!  Link up by clicking the picture at the top of the page!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MIDDLE SCHOOL SIGHT SINGING BUNDLES! S-CUBED! TWO DAY SPECIAL PRICE!

 Click to go to the bundle!
See that price?!?
FULL S-CUBED SIGHT SINGING BUNDLE
Normally $81.  
Today/Tomorrow $55 (May 20, 21, 2014)
27 weeks of Sight Singing lessons.
Summer is the perfect time to learn more about S-Cubed so you are ready to jump into the system with your students next fall!



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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Conductors need to take care of their shoulders!

Here was the question from a conductor colleague:

Many years of attritional use have taken their toll on my right shoulder. After surgery, acupuncture and physiotherapy, I'm left with little improvement.
My physiotherapist is now recommending that I try Rocktape (kinesthesia tape), which is a fairly recent entrant into the marketplace for athletes. I would be grateful if anyone who has experience of this type of product would share their opinions.
Thank you.

Here was my answer:

Use it!

 I am a Choral Music Educator, former competitive gymnast, trainer of gymnasts and certified group fitness trainer as well. I have taped up many of my athletes over the years to help them get through competitions, and this tape is of great help. Having damaged my own shoulders during my competitive career, I have done physical therapy on several occasions to help my shoulder last longer. Each time I go ask for a prescription for Physical Therapy, I am investing in the long-term use of my shoulders. I am 50 years old, and I have done 3 rounds of PT for my shoulder since I was 28 years old. Each time, it gets better for a period of years. Ultimately, I will probably have to have rotator-cuff surgery, but until then, I am doing lots of things to delay surgery. Once we cut, we weaken the area in many ways...even if it's arthroscopic.

 Here are some suggestions for you: 1) Ice religiously. Get an ice pack like this one:

Link to Shoulder Ice Pack


Keep it in your freezer all the time. Ice it day and night or whenever you are just sitting. Ice is under-used by most people who have injuries largely because it is inconvenient to sit with an ice-pack and hold it on the shoulder. The ice pack above is designed for the shoulder and makes it really easy to sit and ice. In fact, I am using one right now as I type this! Icing religiously several times per day for 10 minutes each time will help you very much. Don't ice it before you are going to conduct.

2) Stay on top of the physical therapy exercises you did with your physical therapist. Do them several times a week to re-train your muscles to help your shoulder function differently. If you stop doing the exercises, your body just goes right back to what got it there in the first place.

3) Before you are going to conduct, make sure the shoulder is warm. You can place a warm pack on it. Also, and more importantly, get your body moving to increase blood flow for several minutes...especially in the AM...and then stretch it using some of the stretches you've learned in PT.

We have to approach the care of your shoulders in the same way we approach the study of music. We've only got two shoulders, and they need to last us a lifetime!


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Retention in your Middle School Choral Program

Here are a few ideas on retention for your middle school choral program:
1)  Reward often with praise.  
            Catch a student doing something right and praise them publicly with total positive energy.  I also use Starburst candy on occasion.  If I see a child using great singing posture, I praise him/her and throw a Starburst at them!  All of the children nearby take notice, and they respond in kind.
              
2)  Incentivize them.
              Give pizza parties to your highest achieving classes.  Make it known ahead of time so they will work to earn the privilege.
                  I like for my students to check their school email accounts regularly so I can communicate easily with all 300 students as individuals or in groups.
                  So, once per quarter, I check the email history and give a pizza party to the class with the highest rate of checking their emails.
              Plan a day trip to a theme park that has an adjudicated festival.  
3)  Inject your daily lessons with structure, fun and laughter daily.
              If their daily experience is not a good mix of hard work that is rewarding and fun, middle school children will leave in droves.  There is no more powerful tool for this age group than word of mouth (and social media!).
              From the very first day of school, structure, fun and laughter help students know that your room will be a great place to sing!
                       Here is an idea for a lesson that reflects the teaching approach I use with my own students.  It's for the first day of school:



I have built my entire sight singing program on the three elements listed above.  It is more than just a bunch of sight singing examples.  When I created it, I wanted to help choral music educators not only survive the middle school classroom, but to THRIVE in it!  Now, it is available in a full 27-week bundle for teachers.  Just 10-15 minutes per day...and fun is a key component!  Click the picture to learn more!


Add caption


Good luck!

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Huge Teacher Giveaway to Celebrate Teacher Appreciate Week

Starting May 5th, for one week, I am participating in a huge teacher giveaway that will include lots of Freebies from great teacher blogs in varied subject areas. 
I am contributing the first lesson from S-Cubed:  Successful Sight Singing for Middle School Teachers and their Students- Lesson 1-Forbidden Pattern-The Game.
Click to go to the Lesson at my TPT store!



My kids absolutely love this game.  It is the fun anchor to the S-Cubed system.  We play it almost every day.  It's them against me, and we have a blast.  I work to try to distract them while they play it, and they get more focused as a result.  The best part is that they are using the Kodaly hand signs that are critical to the S-Cubed process.  As you progress in the S-Cubed system, you teach many more other skills through the game including the teaching of proper hand placement to ensure success as well as difficult skips and intervals that will help them be successful while sight singing.
Here is a YouTube Link of me playing the game with my beginners on the first day of school:

This is the 21st century way to learn to teach sight singing better and to enjoy the process.  This is not a book.  S-Cubed is a series of Power Point lessons that include every single progressive lesson, video teaching examples, video teaching tips, sight singing examples, rhythm examples, and written/oral warm ups needed to complete this 27 week 10-15 minutes per day Sight Singing system.  It is like no other, and it is designed to teach the absolute beginner because that is what I teach in my classroom daily to my 300 middle school children.  In fact, I created this series as I actually taught them to my 6th grade beginning children in real time and uploaded the lessons once they were taught...videos and all.  Please spread the word to your music teacher friends.  There is no other resource out there like this one to help them teach these very difficult concepts to young children.

Enjoy the big giveaway!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
Continue on The Best for the Best Teacher Appreciation Blog Hop by clicking the picture below.



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This is your brain on music....


Well....I have not doubt that this applies to students of chorus and orchestra too.  I know that because I see it in their eyes.  As they are learning to sight sing, it is as though I literally watch their brains open up.  I can see clearly in their eyes when they start to successfully coordinate and understand all of the various components they must learn to use as they learn to read.  It's awesome to watch them as they slowly, steadily learn to take the symbols off the page and sing real music.  

Have a great week!


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