Sunday, November 8, 2015

New Memories for a New Year!

Wow... I realize it has been over a YEAR since I've posted. I have no good excuse, other than life happened. But in the spirit of the new school year (that is already almost HALF over, let me fill you in on the good stuff!

Early Summer 2015: I was incredibly honored to have been named Teacher of the Year for my district. As the year was wrapping up, I was busy filling out and putting together my portfolio as an applicant for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. In the midst of that whole process (and it was a process), all teachers in my building were asked to pack up their entire classroom to make the move to our BRAND NEW BUILDING!!!! So exciting!!! I as also able to attend World Music Drumming Level 1 at my Alma Mater in Stillwater, meeting some AWESOME new friends and drumming to our heart's content!! 
WMD Level 1 @ Stillwater

Mid-Summer 2015: As I completed my Kodaly National Certification in 2014, our class (of 21!) was not about to let the next summer pass without a reunion... Hence, Kamp Kodaly 2015! We gathered together in Norman, OK, to watch our wonderful classmate, Scott Sexton, present "From Africa to Oklahoma" to the current levels students. It was a great kick-off to our weekend! Once he finished, we had a few snacks at Chelsea's, met for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and spent the evening folk dancing!!! The following morning, we gathered for a "round table" of topics, and discussed how we could open it up to all Level 3's for this next year! It was AMAZING, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our class and instructors, Sandy Knudson, Bev Anyan, Casey Gerber, and Joy Nelson.
Kamp Kodaly Reunion!

Late Summer 2015: We are told the new building will not be ready in time, so all teachers then UNpacked their boxes back into their old rooms. (They are now aiming for a move over Fall Break.) In the mean time, I was named a Rising Star for the OkTOY Program!!! There were quite a few music friends chosen as their district's T.O.Y. and we represented well! 
My wonderful parents

The most supportive husband in the world!

Some of my favorite musicians and teachers!

My OSU Homecoming buddy and fellow T.O.Y. in his district!!!!!

August-October: New year begins (with a post of my favorite activities coming soon)! However, being that our school has (and is) growing, I am seeing most classes as doubles. Not ideal, but I do feel like I have the hang of it. To help remedy this, the PE teacher (the wonderful friend she is) and myself have been given a (mostly) FULL-TIME AIDE!!! Heidi is just about PERFECT! She is my ideal sidekick in that she is so artistic! She's been instrumental in making my lessons come to life this year, and I hate that I'll be losing her soon, as she'll be on a new adventure with her hubby out of state. 
Halloween: Super Teachers!

October-Present: Still in the old building, with a possibility of moving over our Christmas Break. Yes, there have been a few (....) construction mistakes along the way, but there is an end in sight!! We are all so ready to be in our new space - even my music room is connected to the auditorium and stage!! I was able to design the entire room myself (which was fabulous, as well as intimidating), but, despite any windows to the sun, I am so excited to get my students over there!! 

Here's a sneak peek of  post coming to you soon!!! Thank you for reading!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

OkCDA Convention Reflections

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to present a session on how to create programs from children's literature.  This was the first time our Oklahoma Choral Directors Association has set a day in their annual convention, specifically for elementary music educators!!  (Way to go, Beth Berkenbile!!)  I really thought we had a pretty great turnout.  I think next year, it will just get better and better, continuing to grow each year!

Our day began with Oklahoma's own fabulous composer and teacher, Cristi Cary Miller!  She presented us with many new Hal Leonard products, as well as published programs in her two morning sessions.  She is really a force to be reckoned with - this woman is on FIRE for music education.  She is truly amazing.  (Being that I spent seven weeks in her classroom while student teaching, I may be a little biased, too.)  She brought an assortment of interactive board materials to show in her first session, and we were able to hear a few new programs that were published this year, AS WELL AS hearing some favorites from years past!  What a great way to start the day!!

Once everyone returned from lunch, I was up.  I based my session on how to create your own program - from books, songs,  poems, curriculum units...  (I plan to do a full post on this later this week, so come on back!!).  Overall, I was so excited of how it turned out.  I always get nervous presenting in front of peers and colleagues, but I wanted a certain amount of feedback and sharing to happen in the session - and it absolutely happened!!!  I think many of us that are interested in creating our own programs took at least ONE thing from my session - either from me or each other.  We have such a supportive group of elementary music teachers in our great state.  I love that.

Before the day ended, my good friend Katie Robertson took a HUGE crowd through a whirlwind of technology ideas that could be used in ANY music classroom!  She offered all of her created materials to the teachers that were there for FREE!!!  Now, don't get too sad if you weren't able to be there, she and I have just stared creating a joint Teachers Pay Teachers account that all products will be available!!  (Be looking for Cowgirl Compositions soon!!)  For me, I love being able to bounce ideas off of another set of eyes, and by doing it together, we can keep each other motivated!  We've each added a little man to our families within the past year, so another reason for joining forces will be to lighten the load and keep our family time.  :)

And finally, we were able to sing through this year's Circle the State with Song music.  What a JOY we are bringing to our students and the state this year with these pieces!!!  I love each one and keep thinking "Oh, THIS one is my favorite," but as soon as we sng through the next, I think the same thing!!  I am so blessed to have been a state co-chair for this in the past couple of years, and given the opportunity to collaborate with other past chairs to read through and choose the eight pieces that will be performed in nineteen areas throughout the state of Oklahoma!!  What a great experience!!

And as I hold up my half-full glass of red wine, I say, "May the music made together one day heal mankind!"  (Thank you, Harmonia Mundi lyrics.)  :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

Let There Be Light!

Today was my final Monday as a Kodaly student...  Both exciting, yet sad for it to be over already!  The light is shining so brightly at the end of our journey together!

I performed my final conducting project this morning by conducting my colleagues in Andrea Ramsey's "Sing to Me."  It is such a moving piece, and my friends performed it BEAUTIFULLY!!  (Made me look pretty good, too - they deserve a ton of the credit!  I loved it!)

I've learned so much these past three summers from my instructors AND fellow colleagues in class.  I can't believe the end is almost here!  Come Friday, all 21 of us - the LARGEST Level 3 class in OU history, by the way - will perform our final concert, wrapping it up with the beautiful sounds and text of Harmonia Mundi..  "Music made together may one day heal mankind."

Best of luck to the many teachers out there taking classes and/or workshops this summer to better themselves as teachers and musicians!!!  :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Renewed & Ready!

As it has been many, many moons since my last post, I feel like I need to re-introduce myself again...  Too much to list from the past 2 years, but I will happily post the highlights - both personally and professionally.

Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Lindsey and I teach music in Northwestern Oklahoma!  I live in an historic house in a medium-sized town that is officially100 years old! (I'm LOVING it!)  My hubby and I have been married for close to 5 1/2 years now, and right after the move from Stillwater to Enid, we found the sweetest pug, Wrigley, who is a daily burst of energy. Then about a year and a half later, we adopted her "big brother" Pete, who added just the right amount of personality and love to our growing family.  (Pete and Wrigley look absolutely nothing alike, and are pretty much as close to opposite as I could've gotten with them both being pugs.  I adore them.)

Just this past year, almost exactly a year ago now, we welcomed our first child together!  Baby D has so much personality, and is the favorite part of my day!  I can't believe that he will be a year old next month, but I've enjoyed the new journey of motherhood.  I am absolutely blessed to be, in my opinion, living the best of both worlds - teaching music in one of the best schools around, and coming home to a happy, healthy baby boy everyday.  It made for a FAST year, but wouldn't change a thing about it!

How long have you been teaching?

I just finished my SEVENTH year of teaching elementary music. My first year was the biggest challenge so far, but I know the journey is not over yet!  I taught PreK-12th grade in a very small school, and it was exhausting!  It was also 40-minutes one way from our home, which didn't do much for my car or my marriage. We powered through ("we" the marriage, not the car - she didn't make it), and I was able to find an elementary position in town at Adams. It was a traveling position and I stayed there and LOVED it for two years, but I transferred for my fourth year and it was wonderful to be in one building. I've worked with a handful of GREAT teachers at every school, but the schedule at Glenwood was pretty hard..  Luckily, I had LOTS of friends and paras who were more than willing to help out with those first few minutes of certain classes, as this pregnant girl needed a potty break often!!!  Both years at Glenwood, I taught 60 classes a week between the hours of 8-3:00.  Every day.  We had no time between classes, and there was some consistency, but for the most part, the grade levels weren't always back-to-back with each other (8:00 5th, 8:30 4th, 9:00 5th, 9:30 Kinders, 10:00 3rd... You get the idea).

However, on the North side of Enid (technically, it is its own town called North Enid) is where I hope I've found my home.  Chisholm is a medium-sized public school where T and I have always talked about our children going to since we moved here.  I love the size, and the amount of teachers that stay late, show up early, or are there every weekend are the MAJORITY in the building.  I was really impressed at how much it made me up my expectations of myself in my classroom, too.  (My expectations have always been high - sometimes unattainably high, but it was refreshing to be in a place where that was the "norm.")  The principal saw something special in me, and took a HUGE chance on a young, PREGNANT, music teacher who would be gone the first SIX WEEKS of the school year!  So grateful to her and always will be.  I loved every minute at Chisholm, and worked harder than I ever have before.

You might not know...

Teaching wasn't my initial career choice. Growing up with parents that were both teachers/coaches, I decided that by high school that I didn't want none of that cake.  I saw the long hours, disrespect (by adults and kids alike), and financial burden it took with my siblings and I.  When I got to college, I had full intentions of becoming a wedding planner. Didn't last long. (Not even sure where it came from, and, come to find out, would have been AWFUL for me. Planning my own was an awful experience - which took place during the middle of my first semester teaching ever... Didn't help its cause.)  By the first semester in, I had already talked to the music ed. advisor and gotten enrolled in choir and never looked back.

Also, this coming week will be my final week of Level 3 for my Kodaly Certification!!!!  Come next Friday, I will be a nationally certified teacher in the Kodaly Method from the University of Oklahoma!!  More than ever, I would LOVE to give back and teach this course someday, but I'd also really love to audit other programs in the states.  (Maybe start close to home in Kansas or Texas?) 

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm most looking forward to a fresh start to a FULL year back.  We will need to depend on each other to be positive, as it may be a more difficult year, due to being under construction the entire year - the bond passed for a brand new elementary!!!!  So excited!!!!  That said, I refuse to let anything stand between my happiness (and sanity).  I will choose to make the effort every single day to make this year worthwhile for the students and myself.

What do you need to improve?

There's always something I'm thinking about that I want to improve.  Summertime is usually my time to focus and reflect on what went well and what went poorly.  (And, of course, there were things that I could or should have done better..)  I want to make sure my students know more about the classics. Composers, classical music, everything!  Yes, I realize there are only so many hours that I see them, but I will cram everything I can get them to grasp into their sweet ever-growing brains before the year's up.

I'd also like to be better at choosing my choral repertoire - for both my honor choir AND the newly-founded Enid Community Children's Chorus my colleagues and I are starting!!!  Training with Sandy Knudson these past three summers has been instrumental in both improving my own musicianship, and the way I approach my choir rehearsals and performances.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

Love my Sharpies.  I seriously cannot do a project without color-coding everything.  Each grade level has its own color that I've continued for the past 6 years. It works, and I'm slightly obsessed with it.

Of course, I keep a healthy stash of Dr. Pepper around at all times. It's a sad, sad addiction that I am slowly giving up.

I cannot live without my office supplies.  Labels, markers, pens, post-its... Everything has it's place!  I'm one of those who is organized to an "obsessive" point, yet my desk always has clutter.  (How does that happen??!) 

My SmartBoard is a-mazing!  Every class will still have a "Musical Moment" or greeting in some way (thank you, Bev Anyan!), and I hope to fit in more - as my classes at Chisholm are 45 minutes each, opposed to the 30 minutes in previous schools. 

Books, books, and more teaching-inspired books!  It's another crazy addiction, and my husband cannot understand it.  I'm doing my best to find him some good ones though.  He claims he's not a reader, but I'm working on him. ;)

Please keep coming back!  My fellow Kodaly buddy, Tony, (and newly elected OKE board member!) at Chronicles of a Music Teacher and I are going to keep each other accountable - the teaching year is BUSY, but we hole to share our stories and ideas with each of you!! 

Happy Summer, friends!!  Hope levels everywhere are inspiring teachers from across the nation!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Game On...

Now that my summer has slowed down tremendously, and I'm not hopping from one city (or state... or country in some cases) to another, I'm back just in time for school to begin!  I'm getting ready and excited as I talk to many of my music-teacher-friends about the new year, our new ideas, new curriculum plans, what we want to organize, etc. (it's like a drug to some of us out there...we're addicted).   

Moving forward though, I spent a good two hours of my day back in my classroom.  You should all be proud that I made it this long!  I feel behind in the fact that I still haven't quite determined my "theme" for this year (since we do not have a school-wide one), but last year's SPACE theme went over well!  Composer Crater, Inter-Galactic Instruments, a Tech Crew... I'll need some new ideas, so bring them on please!  But I digress...  Back to the point of the story.

During those two hours at school today, I was able to EMPTY six of the seven wall closets!  Yes, I am extremely lucky in the fact that I have some serious storage space along that entire West wall, but last year was so busy, I had NO TIME to go through any of them!  And the former teacher of that room had them PACKED.  She recently retired, but I can't imagine what my room will look like after teaching for almost 30 years.  (Surely, you're getting an idea of what kind of cleaning and organizing I'm working with here people.)

Not to worry.  I happened to be pulling out box after box and lining them up in the middle of my classroom to go through, when I got a call from my homegirl, Katie over at Crafy Compositions.  Pretty sure she's so awesome that she's going to come to my classroom with me tomorrow to go through each and every one, and then go tub shopping!  (To answer the question you're probably thinking... Yes.  The tubs all have to match with a label marking what is inside.  Duh.) 

Before and After pictures will be coming soon, but I can tell you that without her... I just don't know that this project would be possible.  It'll take some serious work.  You down with OCD?  Yeah, you know me!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Organizing - Best Day of My Life!

After being a Melisa Bauer's workshop yesterday that was organized by OKE, I'm completely inspired. I took some serious notes and felt like I still could've listened to more ideas! Like her, I'm absolutely obsessed with notebooks. (It's a bit scary... Color-coordinated and everything.)

Here's what I'm thinking for my notebooks:

1. Index Binder - This one was started last summer after Phyllis King brought her "List of Lists" to OU, and I need to update it. Since I changed schools, I customized a gift for myself - my own personalized notebook from :) In case of fire, this is the binder I grab!

I have tabs for my schedule (weekly, monthly, and yearly), a tab for each grade level (that has my monthly/yearly goals that I set to teach and any other important work divided up by grade), and then also tabs for certain subjects. These last ones are what needs updated. Under my "Melody" tab, I have list the solfege in order of teaching (color-coded, of course) and after that I list the songs I know that practice them. I have the same thing for my other tabs, Rhythm, Listening, Music Elements, Games, Holidays, and then finally the National Standards for music and our state's PASS Skills.

2. Notebook #2 is up next. I liked her idea of having Monthly Classroom Zones. (I'm thinking each "zone" represented one week in the month, if I remember correctly.) But Zone 1 is for her to get bulletin boards changed and other decorations put out/away. Zone 2 is more for cleaning. Zone 3 is a more of a monthly sort. Papers that need to be filed or others that need to be thrown away get done this week. Zone 4 is Planning Power! I have an idea of where I want to be at the end of each month, but it would be nice if I wrote it out and made it more concrete... To Do List! :)

3. Song Anthology. Enough said.

Another thing that I hope to get started over my summer (or possibly Spring Break... I may not be able to wait) is sorting through my things and organizing some by tubs and/or units. Each tub would contain materials for a specific unit or month. Melisa brought a couple of hers to our workshop that we could glance through, and I think it would be completely relevant to my classroom. She has a tub labeled for each month that has more of her decorations or "Frills & Flapadoodles" and other tubs for her units. (LOVED her!!) Each thing would have its own spot and I'd know exactly where to look for it. (Instrument sorting may be the first place I start... I inherited a closet full of small percussion instruments that are all over 4 different shelves. I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about it!) Spring Break!

Final thing on my list is to incorporate Whole Brain Teaching. Done and done. I'm sold! Have to present a break-out session tomorrow on Class Dojo - wish me luck! I may or may not be back until after my program Thursday... Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Goals Review..

As for my December Goals.. Here they are in no particular order:

#1 - Have all Christmas gifts bought and wrapped by December 22nd. We don't get out of school until the 21st, so this could be pretty tricky.
FAILED. I did, however, get all gifts bought and wrapped within 24 hours though! Right after I had a Chili's date with my girls after school on the 21st, I went straight to shopping. So from about 5:30 p.m. on the 21st until 2:00 the next day - I was finished! I don't know that I'll get that lucky every year, but I'm super-impressed with myself this year. (Holiday cards are on the To Do List for next year...)

#2 - Organize my closet. My "closet" is really one of our extra bedrooms (the smallest one, but it's still full), and I feel like I am completely overwhelmed when I try to get started in there and get anything done. My goal this month is to clean out any clothes I haven't worn in a year and have all of them hung up or put away.
ACCOMPLISHED! How excited am I?!! I posted my vanity pics from Thursday's project, but the final touches (meaning - putting away all of the clothes from the laundry baskets and organizing misc. things into small baskets) were all done today!! Sadly, I got distracted from painting the bathroom, again, but soon!

#3 - Put up Christmas decorations! How sad is it that I have yet to decorate for the holiday season!? I know I'm behind, and I also know that it will only get worse/busier. At least, we have our lights up outside!
ACCOMPLISHED! I didn't go over-the-top this year, but I did manage to set out a few things - including a very small tree. It was a little late in the season to get up our big one, so I compromised. :)

#4 - Read 2 or 3 new books over the break. Yes, I'm a nerd, but if anyone has any great suggestions, I'd love to hear about them!
FAILED. I did re-read a book that was a gift a few years ago called Santa, Baby, but I didn't get much farther than that. I figure, since I finished many other projects, I could let this one go a little.

#5 - Print out my huge assortment of pictures. I am a huge scrapbook girl, and I need to get going on that again!
FAILED. I did get a few printed, but not near my assortment. (Not even half.. When I wrote this goal, I didn't realize how crazy it was to try to get them all printed!) I also TOOK more pictures this holiday season! I don't know why I ever really stopped - surely, not because I gained weight after college or became uber-obsessed with my career... Nah. I'm working on it.

Hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend! Can't believe our break is coming to a close, but I made the best of it! :)

PS - Newest December Goal: Make a resolution! I like having goals each month, for sure, but I need to try and see if I can decide on one that's long-term. Any ideas? Let me know!