Monday, October 22, 2012

Cyber Monday: Open Access Week

Hello again,  I wanted to share an extra special resource this time around.  I am a member of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, which provides professional development and  advocates for quality programs.  Usually, the professional journal is for members only.  However, a handful of quality blogs open to everyone can provide a peak into the work of the organization.

This week, the ECMMA is providing free access to the professional journal  to EVERYONE during open access week!!  You can visit the site at to check it out.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Won A Prize... YAY!!

Hi folks, I'm so excited to share with you that I won my first blog give-away prize, given by Julie at Primary Pointe.  You can find the original post here.  It is the CD called Shake, Rattle & Read by one of my favorite children's music artists, Jack Hartmann.  I also won a large alphabet chart to go with it! 

Many musical styles are represented on this playful album, from rock 'n' roll to blues and even disco!  In the coming weeks, I'm planning to use this album with my preschool music class of 4s and 5s.  I would highly recommend the Shake, Rattle & Read album to any preschool, kindergarten or even first grade teacher.  It is chock full of emergent or pre-reading activities set to music.  My favorite is "special soup", where the class is invited to concoct an imaginary soup where all of the ingredients have the same beginning sound, and then to revel in the yucky combination. ;) 

Learning really rocks at Jack Hartmann's website, and I know you'll want to check it out at  His label, Hop To It music produces a variety of other educational resources including math, character education and holiday themed albums.  You can even purchase MP3 downloads of his songs. 

Here's a video of his song, "Popcorn Words." 


I want to send a special thank you out to Jack Hartmann for offering this CD / Poster give-away prize, and another special thanks to Julie for hosting the give-away, and selecting me as the oh-so-lucky winner! 

Happy teaching!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My math group is in the groove

At long last, I have settled into a routine with regard to my elementary school interventions, and finally have a few minutes where I’m not feeling overwhelmed.  Since this is only my second year in this capacity, I still have so much to learn.  In particular, I’ve been planning for next week’s small group of fifth graders needing extra help in math.  The stated goal is to get them up to speed with measurement, converting units and data graphing.  However, I’m finding that they are also in need of extra instruction regarding fractions and number sense.  Last year, we’d spend our whole hour covering one topic together, strictly following the curriculum book and adding nothing creative.  I wanted to do something different this year. 
Two weeks ago, I thought, naively that I could cover three short mini lessons in the hour that I am with them twice a week.  But I failed to realize how much time the guided practice and scaffolding would take.  I now feel quite comfortable dividing our hour together by only two ways. 
The first half hour will focus on some concept of number sense.  This could include multiplication, divisibility rules, fractions,etc.  The second half will focus on some other data concept such as measuring, graphing, estimating or geometry.  This year, I’ve ben feeling much more confident about supplementing the provided curriculum book with extended, hands-on activities.  In two weeks, I’m going to be using Julie’s Hershey’s Hershey's Fraction Bar Activity.  One of my students is still a little foggy about rounding, so I used this freebie from The Math Coach’s Corner.  Most important, however, is that I want to facilitate meaningful discussions with students instead of just feeding them algorithms.  I must say that I’m not always so successful with this.  I only hope I can improve with practice.  If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, would love to hear them.  
Happy teaching.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cyber Monday

Today's Cyber Monday link is to Choice Literacy, an archive of articles, videos, book lists and other resources for reading teachers at all levels.  A paid membership (which I don't presently have), allows full access to the archive.  However, the free newsletter, The Big Fresh includes many articles and links of interest to us all. 

I'd just like to send out a very special thank you to my 10 new followers of my brand new little blog!  I'm so pleased that you've decided to stick with me.  Hope that you all have a great week ahead.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Currently

Okay, so here's my humble Currently for this month.  I'm still learning to use GIMP.

I've just learned that for my interventions, I'm going to have mostly 5th graders, a few fourth graders, and one third grader.  I'm still completing assessments and formulating the schedule.

Happy teaching!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why music?

Here's a quick follow-up to Monday's post about the song anchor charts.  Since nearly a third of my professional time is given to music at the earliest levels, I wanted to just share a little blurb that I wrote for my parents a while back, expressing the need for such instruction.  Really, I think that each of our specialties are inter-related, and the more we collaborate, the more easily our students can connect what they receive from each of us. 

Music is an important part of early childhood interactions and play.  It is one of the art forms which serve to make us human.  This means that we reflect on the world around us, and express our feelings about it through the arts.  If children receive early experiences with music, it will likely provide them with a lifelong means with which to create, explore and enjoy the world in which they live.  The aim is not to one day make our students professional musicians, but rather, we hope that our students will become thoughtful, expressive, creative people. 

In addition to being an aim unto itself, music education for young children can serve to enhance and strengthen other learning goals as well.  In the preschool years through informal exposure and play, concepts of opposites are reinforced such as fast and slow, loud and soft, and high and low.  Since children should be permitted to move to music, motor skills and body awareness are reinforced.  Many children’s books involve a musical element, creating a thread between music and literacy development.  Songs, chants and nursery rhymes aid in language development as well.  Words set to usic also heightens the level of context for English language learners.  These are just a few of the many reasons why music is an indespensible part of early childhood education, as well as education at every level. 

Happy teaching!

Monday, October 1, 2012

My FIRST Monday Made-It!

Hello all, since I do interventions and tutoring for elementary schoolers, I haven't received my new students yet, but at least, I have an idea what they may need.  So, preparing for them has been a little nutty lately ;)  I'll be posting soon about my plans and goals for them, and hopefully, reflecting on how they went. 

Meanwhile, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my first EVER Monthly Monday Made-It!! 

 wanted to share some song lyrics anchor charts that I've made for my toddler music class.  I generally don't use these for active movement activities.  However, for calmer, quieter songs and fingerplays, I like to give the parents something to look at, so that they feel more confident participating, as well as provide a print-rich environment for the kiddos. 

Sorry for the bad pictures.  I generally don't consider myself that crafty, but I must say, I've been inspired by some of the neat things I've been seeing in the Monday Made-It posts.  I usually draw and paste these together on 11 X 17 copy paper, and then mount them on cardboard cut to size.  I don't really have a good way to display them, other than leaning them up against something, or just holding them up.  If I make these sort of things for my elementary reading / math students, how can I better display charts?  Is there some kind of small, portable easel?  Also, how do you manage to print chart or bulletin board ideas that one downloads as a PDF file on 11 X 17 or larger?  Oh, I know, so many newby questions...

Oh, BTW, here's a paper-crafted greeting card I made for a friend. 

I'm looking forward to looking at all of the crafty ideas posted this month.  Head on over to 4th Grade Frolics   and link up!