Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet The Teacher Blogger Linky!

There's a great group of teachers out there in the blogger world, trying to make our profession better by sharing ideas, stories and resources with everyone! They are so much fun to follow!

Today we are linking up with Stephanie at Falling Into First in a Meet the Teacher Linky Party!

Hi! I'm Lori. I'm a Kodaly Music Specialist in Texas! This is my 12th year teaching and my 2nd year at my current school. I'm so glad to get back to work with my awesome students, admin and specials team.

I married my wonderful husband 10 years ago! We have so much fun going on band adventures, taking road trips and trying to eat as much Mexican food as possible. 

Add to the mix our fur baby, Penny!


My dog Penny! 

I have always loved dogs. Dog posters, dog movies, dog stories, dog songs. But we never got to have a dog in our family because of allergies.

Then, I married into a family with two rambunctious boxers that loved to give me paws-on-shoulders hugs. That can be pretty scary when you've never been around dogs, but after a loooong time, we got used to each other (and they stopped jumping, lol!) and now we have our own boxer!

And she's the sweetest dog ever. Everyone says so, so it must be true. Ha!

What else do I love? Target. Glitter. Saturated colors. Dr Pepper. Jeans. Sleeping in on Saturdays. McAlister's sweet tea club. Jen Hatmaker's books. Hanging out with our church family. Trips to see family. Ree Drummond recipes. Christmas.


When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, but I don't have perfect vision, so that's out. And for a time I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I have a really good nose and I can't stand the smell of fish/water/fishy water, so that's probably out, too. I think I just liked how the words "marine biologist" sounded. *giggle*

I think that I would be a Musical Blogging Librarian. I love music, books, words and writing, so that's a nice mash-up, don't you think? Or I might go work for Flip Flippen - I heard him speak and thought to myself, "if this teaching thing doesn't work out..."


Christ-like. Words. Ideas. 

(Or that's what I'm going for.)


"I would like for my schedule to rotate on a daily basis, have kids pulled at random and be required to do nine programs this year," said no music teacher ever.


Jen Hatmaker. I think she and I would be BFFs if we knew each other in real life. I read her books and I think, "Did you read my {pretend} diary for my whole life??" I think it would be fun, for reals.


The Girl with Lots of Ideas {Some of Them Worked}


Seriously, can I just jump up to Fort Worth and see my nieces and nephews every weekend? Pleeease? 
I would do coffee with my Papaw every week and go see a Broadway musical at least once a year. And, um, Paris. Yeah.


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind." 
All of it? Wow. 


Yeah, I'm a music teacher, but I would never do American Idol. Screeching just doesn't do it for me. (Mandisa excluded. She is my fave. And that girl doesn't screech.)


Night owl. Even my dog knows that I need cuddles in the morning. :-)


I absolutely adore my Turn the Glasses Over set! It's a great way to practice low so and my students love the song, the game and even the cute little pirates on the slides.

And there's just something about these pink and purple cards that I just LOVE. This game saved my skin last year with my 4th and 5th graders who were too cool for anything. It's a combined game of traditional "King of the Mountain" and a game I played in college called "Zoo."

Basically whoever messes up their rhythm or their neighbor's rhythm goes to the bottom of the mountain and becomes "Roadkill." And everyone else gets to move up one card closer to the top of the mountain.

Isn't my armadillo cute? That's Texan for roadkill, y'all.


If you follow me (personally) on Facebook, I'm pretty transparent, so you probably know more about me than I'd like you to. But unless you've known me since high school, you might not know that I was named after my grandmother. 

Miss you Memaw! 

Your Turn!

Click below to link up with Falling Into First's Meet the Teacher Linky!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Technology That Transformed My Teaching: Music Edition

It's the end of my first week of school! My feet are so tired, but I'm energized for a great year!

I have not always been a gadget gal, but I've been around computers since Kindergarten computer specials (K2Typing anyone?). So I feel like I'm a digital native, even if I'm probably just a little bit older than the curve.

Over the past few years, I have started incorporating specific technology in my classroom that has really altered how I teach.

Now let me say, I'm not one for forcing the issue and shoving tech down people's throats - if it doesn't work for you, no worries! But I will tell you that it has made teaching easier for me. And I'm all for anything making teaching easier.

I'm going to skip past the obvious - email, laptop computers, CDs. Without those, none of my tech would be possible.

Interactive White Board

I have always known that some people are visual learners. (looking at you Mom!) And as much as I hate to admit it, my students eat up anything on a screen. Enter interactive white boards.

It doesn't matter what I put on my SMART brand board, the kids eat it up. Now I use it for reading, writing, improvisation, labeling form, watching short clips, practice games, vocal exploration, visuals for kinesthetic preparation, reviewing visual preparation, presenting the notation, composing/arranging, part-work...

Here are a few examples:

Filling in the missing solfege syllables

Tapping the iconic representation of the new rhythm 

Kinesthetic prep of the new melodic concept (tapping the focus phrase for low so)

Labeling the sound of the new melodic pitch

Part work after presentation of the new rhythm

A few tips:

Content, content, content! The Kodaly philosophy holds strongly that only the best is good enough for our children. Even my school district has a motto about only doing what's best for the child. If you are selecting the best material, the best methods and you have the means to create or buy some cute visuals to enhance the experience - go for it!

If you find a visual or an interactive slide or activity that doesn't promote musicianship, doesn't cover any legitimate standards or uses what my students call "cheese" music, are you really doing what's best for the child? If you're spending all your time making "schlop" cute, what are you really teaching? Just my two cents. :-) (soapbox over!)

The more interactive, the better. It's one thing to have kids look at something and quite another to have students up to the board, tapping, manipulating and rearranging things on the screen. Even letting the kids tap the arrow to see the next slide is better than just sitting there watching.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Just like a good preaching or presenting at a conference, if you put a bunch of words on the screen, you're not going to keep my attention, much less a kid's!

I learned this from my mom - as a teacher, she had a writing portfolio of thousands of interesting images she had collected to use as class discussions and writing prompts - and this was before Pinterest!

Now we have billions (?) of images at our fingertips! As a TPT seller, I have to be careful about the images that I use - clip art is purchased and carefully credited. But as a teacher, I can use anything out there to capture my students' hearts for music.

Video Camera/iPad Video/Laptop Video

I know it's pretty old tech, but it counts, right?

Teacher Analysis: Of course video cameras are great for videoing performances, but recording yourSELF teaching?! Mind blown. How many times can I say okay, okay? And did I just call on the same student 4 times? Oops!

When I first created videos of myself teaching it was scary terrifying, but now it's a tiny smidge better knowing that I'm the only one that's going to see them. And a little hilarious to see how I act when I know I'm being recorded!

Seriously, any time you need to work on pacing, just ask someone to come sit in on your class. Any time I have the video going or a guest in the room, I FLY through those plans!

Behavior Documentation: Have a rough class? Put a video camera on a tripod in the corner. They'll never know when you're recording and you have documentation of any behavior issues that may will arise. Be sure to get permission from the principal first, but it shouldn't be a problem since you're not posting to the internet.

Information Distribution: Last year, I made some silly videos with my iPad to give the kids some info about their programs, about recorders and to invite them to join choir. They were the most basic videos ever (me sitting on my couch at home talking to the camera) and the kids sat GLUED to the screen.

I played it for them and then asked, "Ok, what did I say?" and they pretty much told me verbatim what was in the video. Face palm. So now, anything important gets its own little video.


Oh. My. Spotify.

Spotify is a music streaming software that exponentially augmented my "listening lesson" capability. Music streaming software for the ages.

I must be honest - When I first heard of Spotify I didn't want use it because I thought it was like the music stealing software of the 90's and 00's and I didn't want to have any part of that.

Now I know better and even though I believe they should charge more & give more to the artists, I am SO grateful that it's only $10 a month which means I can afford that with a little creative budgeting.

When I first started teaching it was like the stone age, pulling out CD after CD, rewinding old scratchy tapes and just hoping to find some-thing appropriate to listen to. I typically used the same song for multiple grade levels just for sanity's sake. Who has time to trade out multiple CDs and tapes for 6 different grade levels a day? (not complaining at all - at least I didn't have to do records! scratchy needle! *shudders*)

Fast forward a few years to iTunes. Praise the Lord for organization! I could now load CDs onto my computer and make playlists! And the iTunes store - oh my! Be careful or you might drop a whole paycheck there.

After that came Pandora, which I LOVE for personal listening, but which was useless for teaching 5 classes the same piece of music, several times in a row.

Youtube was around sometime in there and I made "youtube lists" of semi-ok recordings. "That will do." And half of the time it didn't download correctly. I polished the phrase "technical difficulty" during those days.

Then came Spotify.

Now I have the world at my fingertips. I can choose songs/pieces/movements to my heart's delight and with a touch of a button, I have 20-30 options (recordings, arrangements, conductors) to choose from!

Black History month? No Problem! Original recordings of Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Chubby Checker at your fingertips.

Hard to find "Bebop for Babies" for a jazz version of "Billy Boy?" You've got it. Or my favorite "Being a Bear?" Right there.

Comparison examples of Bach's Solfegetto, including the Swingle Singers? Done.

And a pretty nice playlist feature that allows you to access songs from your computer/ iTunes and use the same program to listen to all your music.

It is a FREE software, so you can try it out, search for all the music you like. The only thing that costs is to get it ad-free and on your mobile devices (worth it!).

This comes with a warning, though - some schools may not support this software, so you might have to eat up some personal gig using it through your phone.

What technology have you used to make your job easier?

p.s. Thanks to Sonya DeHart, Lovin' Lit and Kimberly Geswein for the cute graphics and paper!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Deals plus Music Room Set Up

It's time to play the music! It's time to light the lights! It's time to set up our rooms for the school year! Or more accurately, it's time to put on makeup, it's time to dress up right! (amiright?!)

I know I'm a little late to the starting school party, but I don't have inservice until Tuesday so I am still in denial that summer is over. Today, I'm linking up with Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room to showcase my room set up!

I am crazy busy right now writing lesson plans, making freezer-crock-pot meals and playing with my puppy as much as possible before the year starts. So, this will be like "wordless wednesday" with minimal words. :-) Enjoy!


mountain of boxes!


Yay for awesome moms of teachers!! 

Look what my mom made me! My aunt and I helped!

Here I am printing off stuff and making a large to-do list!

tone ladder in the making!



TPT is throwing a Back to School Boost sale on Wednesday!
One day only to grab a few more things for the school year. Woohoo!!

Happy back to school!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teacher Tips plus New Bundle

I spent this last week setting up my class with my sweet mom and sweet aunt (more on that later!) and now I have a list of things a mile long that I need for my classroom. Just in time for MusicFlashSale!!! Woohoo!

It's time to stock up on great music-specific items on TPT!

I am so excited to include my new Syncopation bundle in the $2 Tuesday extravaganza. This bundle includes "Canoe Round" (prepare and present syncopa) and "Land of the Silver Birch" (practice syncopa).


I recently added Canoe Round to my store - it's my focus song for syncopation and I can't wait to use this newly designed slides in my class. I've been using old SMART board files with lines for practice and blah black-and-white design.

Here are some of my new super cute slides for Canoe Round:

This slide is for conducting to the beat - in my Kodaly levels, Phil Tacka made an impression on me by saying, "Students must conduct their way through syncopation." I have it written in my Kodaly Today book on the Syncopation page! "Ha!"

I have found this to be absolutely true. I have my students conduct on the back of their chairs, so they are actually receiving kinesthetic feedback for the beat as they conduct. Standing behind the chairs, conduct and lightly tap the chair at the ictus.

If you have a music stand, you can have one student "lead" by standing in front. A marker in hand helps make a nice metallic sound as the hands hit the ictus on the music stand. Or an old baton if you don't care about fiberglass splinters *shudder*.

The target phrase gets tapped one at a time at the board. Yes every student. Yes this takes a while. Yes it is worth it. Yes and amen!

You can also have them practice beat and the rhythm at the same time by getting into pairs, one behind the other. The person behind gets to tap the rhythm on the front person's shoulder. The person in front taps the beat on their other shoulder. Then they switch. This helps them FEEL the difference between the beat and rhythm. And it's quite a challenge if they've never done it before! (higher level thinking: check!)

There are also part-work challenges for initial practice, with beat and rhythm. On group conducts the beat while singing the words, the other group taps the rhythm in their hands while singing rhythm syllables. Don't forget to switch!

Also included in my syncopation bundle is my "Land of the Silver Birch." I LOVE this song. My kids LOVE this song. Does anyone know a game for this song because that would just be the icing on the silver birch?

These are simple practice slides for practicing syncopa, lyrics sheets and rhythm practice pages, solfege/solfa writing practice, plus cards to use with instrument play!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Products for Prep: Back to School Ideas

It's beginning to look a lot like... school supplies!

I can't deny it any longer - school is quickly approaching and it's time to get busy and start prepping for next year. Aileen at Mrs. Miracle's Music Room is hosting a linky party to share things we can't live without for the beginning of the year.

You might have seen me at Jacques Toys and Books today! It was Teacher Appreciation day and I got so much cool stuff for back to school! I got stickers, stickers, stickers!! For composing with stickers and for those pesky little sweet Kindergarteners at the beginning of the year who need some external inspiration.

I think Brahms looks good with a mustache. :-)
As you can see, I got a goodie bag filled with stickers, die cuts, pockets, pencils and even a math card game. And a huge desk calendar (yay!) on which I will doodle all year long! Plus, I got to spin the wheel and get a prize - I won a bulletin board set. Fun! The sweet lady running the spinner was so excited because I was the only music teacher to win a bulletin board set all day. The ladies at Jacques are so cute. ;-)

And as a bonus, from one of the vendors, I got to take a selfie with their cute photo booth and put it on Facebook for a discount on my purchase.

If you know me, you know I like a good deal, so here is the proof! I got $2 off my purchase of stickers and I got to keep the cute little mustache. "You must pay the rent!" "I can't pay the rent!"

Speaking of good deals, the Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale is Monday and Tuesday!! I can't wait! I have a huge list of things from my wish list that will be going in my cart TONIGHT in prep for the sale.

Most stores will be 20% off and if you use this TPT code (BTS14), you can get an additional 10% off (which makes a nice 28% discount!).

Since it's a back to school sale, I'll share some ideas that I use at the beginning of the year:

Kindergarten Comparatives
The first set of cards I use each year is the sun and moon for loud-soft (nighttime voice / daytime voice). I use the cards without words in the visual preparation stage - students have to select the card that they hear: "Did I use my daytime voice or my nighttime voice?" 

Here's another life-saver that I use ALL year:

I'm required by my district to put up "I Can" statements (think: Objectives in "I Can" language) for each class every week. That's a lot of statements! I made these little half sheet statements so I don't have to keep writing out the same thing over. and. over. again. amen. 

And hopefully this will keep my whiteboard space open for doing draw alongs and practicing writing note heads and important stuff. :-) I love a deal, so I put together $-saving bundles for K-2nd and 3rd-5th. (They won't all fit into one file!)

I will also be using my new polka dot Dynamics cards as a spectrum. They printed out so pretty and crisp! I will post pictures as soon as I get back in my room (Monday!).

And here's a cute TPT find that I'm hoping to get on sale tomorrow - it looks so cute! 

Jennifer over at the Yellow Brick Road made these cute movement activities for Beethoven - my favorite. I am super excited to have more movement ideas!

I have to admit, I've been planning and thinking all summer. What order should I teach the concepts? What extra activities can I stick in to cover the new TEKS? What pieces do I want my choir to learn? What warm-ups to go with those pieces? What goodies should I make to spice up Kinder? It is never-ending! But I love it!

Happy planning to you!

What have you found to be helpful for the beginning of the school year?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five for Friday!

It's Five for Friday time at Doodle Bugs teaching! 

The internet has been sketchy at my house for the week, but have no fear, I've been working on non-internet projects!

I've been working on planning more than anything lately:

As you can see I've got my yearly plans (don't judge!) and song list (need to update this!), along with my binder of lesson plans, my trusty Kodaly Today for reference and my never-ending to-do list to boot! I'm getting this thing under control (or at least that's what I keep telling myself).

I've been working on more products for my store - including this cutie:

I love this song and I can't wait to use these slides with my class this year. I've still got some slides to add, but I'm hoping to finish up today! 

I'm pretty sure everyone in the world partners this song with Canoe Round, so I was hoping to pair them as a mini-bundle (for a discount!) in my store. What do you think?

My sweet husband got me the cutest shoes EVER! I have just loved my silver glitters Toms and practically worn them out. I think I wore them every Friday when I first got them!

Now, thanks to my friend Lauren I found out they have MUSIC TOMS! (sorry for shouting) They are the cutest shoes ever! And mine got here yesterday. Eek!

Band Camp for Freshmen started this week! Full band starts Monday!

Which means my French horn studio is starting back up for the year! Yay! I don't give lessons in the summer unless they are a super-dedicated-and-freakishly-talented-horn-player. Hoping to have cultivate some of those for next summer. (mwah-ha-ha)

That also means my super awesome band director hubby who bought me the Toms is now back at work full time. And when I say full time, I mean he works from 7-5:30ish and then comes home to eat dinner (yay!) and then goes to his office to write drill for the rest of the evening. See you on the other side, honey. 

And finally, the thing that has occupied my thoughts all week. If you follow my personal Facebook, then I'm (a little) sorry I've blown up your "newsfeed" with my posting every day. But only a little sorry because I believe in the power of prayer and I'm hoping some of you were inspired to pray for this terrible situation.

I have to say that if I'm ever in a situation even remotely close to that, I hope I act as Kent has. He was an ambassador for Christ long before the spotlight came on him, but even in the midst of a life-threatening illness, his Christ-like character is holding true. And no matter what happens, I'm praying that God will be glorified in all of this. 

Hug your families & have a blessed weekend!