Friday, August 22, 2014

Drum Fun for Everyone!

Can I just say how much I love drums? 

I was a drummer in school and I miss it like crazy. Also, I know almost every single child in the world loves to bang on a drum. Not only is it fun, but it's a great way to learn beat, rhythm, tempo, dynamics - you name it! I've been somewhat wary of teaching drumming because I didn't have that many resources or knowledge about it. I took the plunge last year and started using non-pitched percussion a lot more. I also brought in some bucket drums from the farm (thanks Mom & Dad!) and used them with the students. It's extremely loud, but a definitely a good time.

Then, this summer I went to the amazing Artie & Denise Music Symposium (I know, I know...I've mentioned this about 7 times now - sorry, but it rocked). Artie did an entire session on Drum Fun. I was completely sold! She showed simple activities that didn't require anything but rhymes and counting. There were also some with powerpoints, famous tunes and small groups. I came to school the next week and sorted through my drum collection. 

Here's what I had:
  • 2 large congas
  • 2 small congas
  • 11 large/medium hand drums
  • 2 small hand drums
  • 3 large sound shapes
  • 7 medium sound shapes
  • 5 small sound shapes

So, not the best collection, but hey, it will work! I ended up having enough for the students to be able to rotate through in small groups. We started the school year with a play-along Artie created for the hit song "Happy." Here's a preview of it - I don't have permission to show you all of it. Please contact Artie on her website for more information.

I also received an amazing set of gifts from the redditgifts Teacher exchange. I was very skeptical about this because there are so many needs in the world of education. Still, I signed up and created a wishlist on Amazon. Thankfully, everyone who signed up to be matched was and should receive a gift. Mine has already arrived! I am so blessed and grateful to Camden from Washington D.C. This person sent so many wonderful items to my classroom, totaling around $100. WOW is all I can say.

I received two wonderful books, a rain stick, a train whistle and a brand new floor tom! The next day, I received some Music Genres posters and apparently, there's still stuff on the way. So awesome - anyways, back to drumming. YES, I received another drum!!!!!! The kids were so excited to see it out, all shiny and new. This will give us another fun instrument in our rotation.

Also, my project was just funded this morning. YAY! Here are the drums that will be coming to our school in the next few weeks:
  • 2 floor toms
  • 1 gathering drum
  • 3 large lollipop drums
  • 2 small lollipop drums
  • 1 medium conga

This is definitely enough for my students to start exploring the world of drumming. I am no expert by any means, so I hope to take some sort of class or workshop in the future to learn more. In the meantime, I will be diving into some Pinterest lessons I discovered and following the advice from my workshop. Here's something I'd love to teach the kids this year:

What are your thoughts on drumming? Do you have the materials you'd like or do you teach something different?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Music Room Set-Up

I'm linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Room and other fellow music education bloggers to show my elementary music classroom! I have been working for the past few years to turn the room into what I feel is beneficial to me as an educator and to my student's learning. Also, I completed a lot of DIY Pinterest projects to spice up my room. Finally, I GOT CARPET! Check back a few posts for the "bare bones" picture - it's so exciting! 

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the tour of my room. I'll try to include links, products or materials of where I found all my ideas. Let's get started!

Here are the two entrances to my classroom. Both doors are kind of boring, so I always try to spice them up a bit so no one misses them!

Also, here's the handicap ramp. We did have students that used it in the past, but right now it is kind of empty. I tried to decorate it a bit this year with wonderful musician quotes by David Row. It's a nice way to tie in some of the student's favorite musicians with advocacy!

Here's the sound cabinet. It's a great cabinet, but it's bolted to the floor. It is also awkwardly placed when you're trying to teach students from the projector. Still, it keeps everything in one spot, which is awesome! I also put together a guide and attached it to the door for staff, subs, etc. It has pictures and information for anyone wishing to use the technology in the room. Here's hoping it comes in handy! I also put up a concert calendar on one of my bulletin boards. It makes it easier to point then to say concert dates a hundred times a year - ha!

New carpet - whoot whoot! I have chairs, but I wanted to try Sit Spots this year. They are pieces of velcro (lots of shapes to choose from) and adhere to the carpet. So far, they work awesome!

I don't really use my whiteboard for much writing. I use it more to display things, check behavior and write notes to the different grade levels. Since it's the beginning of the year, it's completely full of new information! The right white board is small and usually covered by the projector screen. Because of this, I decided to display my Little Thinkers puppets and composer dolls. I also put up my Sing-a-ma-jigs. I really want to incorporate more dolls, models and puppets into music. I'm a visual learner and these are a great help to me, for sure!

Here's some wall decor and another bulletin board. The windows have group posters (solo, duet, etc.). I really like displaying the solfege houses and handsigns in as many places as possible for the students. I also put up my bulletin board for the first few weeks with a beach theme. The intermediate theme was "Dive Into Learning." You'll also see my stacked chairs. I really dislike the chairs, especially for the younger students, so they stay stacked most weeks. There are 2 spots labeled "Rest Area" for those students that need to take a break and think about better choices.

Here are some storage spots. I love my moving cart for the classroom instruments! I also love my huge metal racks in the back of the room. They stink when it decides to flood, but otherwise, they store lots of things easily. My mom fitted a curtain to go over it so the students would stop investigating while we were learning. You'll also see my noodle ponies! Can't wait to use these in a few weeks!

And we finish the tour back at the primary door. I have books, but we rarely use them. The dots on the floor are rubber dancing markers. I taped them down to show the students where to stand in line. There is also a wooden black treble clef attached to the stair rail. I'm not sure which blog I found it on, but another wonderful teacher used this as a teachable moment! The treble clef is at the beginning of music, so it shows the beginning of the line. Great connections!

That's about it. Oh, wait - I forgot the most important space.....MY AREA! Haha - I'm just kidding. It is probably one of the least important areas. Anyways, here's my desk, bookshelves, etc. I love fabric bins so those are everywhere in my room. There's also another bolted cabinet for storage. 

Now, this really completes the tour - I promise! I do, though, have a lot of amazing things in my room from other teachers. If you're interested in anything in these pictures, I've compiled a list below for you to check out on TeachersPayTeachers. If there's something I missed, please let me know. I always want to give credit where credit is due. I'd be nowhere without the help from some wonderful music educators.