Monday, April 22, 2013

Idea for Next Year's testing season.  While I'm quite proud of myself for coming up with quiet productive activities that travel to the classrooms, I'm over it!  For the first week I proctored half the day (with a very sweet class) and then traveled to each classes room for the 2nd half of the day.  This week I have 4 days traveling all day.  Not fun!

Alas it will soon be over.  While I've been traveling I've had some time to start thinking about changes I want to make for next year.  I'm starting small and will post more come June/July but for now a sneak peek.

I happened across this really cute duct tape in the dollar section at Target last week.  Cute isn't it?  I couldn't resist buying two rolls.  When I got home, I started to brainstorm ways to use it in my classroom.  And then I remembered seeing a pin using it on pencils.

I don't know about you but my pencils seem to grow legs and walk out the door.  To prevent that, I added little duct tape flags to the top of a brand new set of pencils for next year.  

Since the tape I had was a bit wide, I cut a short piece and then tore it in half.

Then wrapped it around the pencil and trimmed it a bit to look like a flag.

I'm quit happy with how they turned out.  The only thing I think I would change is the color.  Don't get me wrong, I love this tape it makes me happy.  I'm thinking that for organization purposes green, red and blue tape to match my risers would have been better.  It never fails one team is short 5 pencils because someone put them away in the other teams caddy.

One thing done for next year.  Seems crazy to think that way but this year is almost over.  Only 3 lessons left with my classes.  Once testing is done I'm hoping to post more lessons.  Hope your testing season is flying by!

Friday, April 19, 2013

UPDATED: Mrs. Q's Survey and Giveaway

***As teachers we are continually learning and that is definitely the case when it comes to me and Survey Monkey.  This survey is anonymous, which is perfect because those completing it can give me an honest opinion about my site.  However, that makes it difficult to give away something special.  While I know how many have completed the survey, I don't have the names of those who have.  Once you have completed the survey, please indicate by submitting a comment to this post.  I will work on my survey skills so that my next will be less confusing!  Thank you for your feedback.***

I can't believe it!  My blog is coming up on 1 year.  It seems like I started blogging just yesterday.  My goal in starting this blog was to network with other teachers while sharing some of the ideas/lessons that have worked in my classroom.  As I approach the one year mark, I'm wondering how my blog has helped others and what I can add to make it even better.

Here is a link to a survey I made using Survey Monkey:  Mrs. Q's Survey.  Please take a few moments to answer the 10 questions.

Sink the Ship Playing Card

All those who complete the survey will be entered in a chance to win a copy of my "Sink the Ship" Treble Clef Staff Game.  Winners will be announced in June.  Only 100 people will have the chance to fill out the survey.  Don't miss out on the chance to have a new game for your classroom!

Featured Product: April

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Where can I put my recorder?

My orff group each had the opportunity to play recorder in one of the songs for our Spring Musical.  All of them have shoestring lanyards so their recorder is hands free but that doesn't mean that they don't get in the way.  They were asking me what they could do with their recorder so that it didn't get in their way when moving from instrument to instrument.  So, I came up with this solution.

There were a couple of microphone stands I didn't need for the performance.  Some kids hung their recorders here or on the music stand they were using.  This was a great way to keep them out of the way when they had to move quickly.  We made sure they didn't get mixed up by using different lanyard colors.

WARNING:  If not introduced properly, you will end up with a mega knot.  I learned this during our first rehearsal.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Organizing Costumes

A couple of years ago, I did a huge production with a million costumes.  I needed a way to keep everything organized for my performers without taking up a lot of space in my room.  I found these rolling garment racks at Ikea.  I love them!!!  Here is the link to the product.  They were only $13.00 each, a great buy!

I have two and I use them every year to roll out into the hallway by my classroom.  Students get dressed in the hall and then come in for warm-up.  (My costumes always slip over their clothes.)  This keeps some of the chaos in my room to a minimum.

My first year teaching, the art teacher was getting rid of these clear plastic bags.  They are similar to bags that a media specialist would use for books.  They slip over hangers and have a little pocket to put each students name.  This helps students locate their hanger and clean up after the performance.  Since we give multiple performances during a concert series, it keeps me from having to reorganize after each event.

The only thing I don't like about this set up are the wheels on the rolling racks.  They aren't permanently attached, so they have a tendency to come out.  I used a bit of hot glue but it doesn't permanently resolve the problem.

Fixing Barred Instruments

If you haven't seen this video, check it out, because it is a great resource.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a couple of broken pegs but I didn't have the tools listed in the video.  My wonderful husband spent about 20 minutes helping me figure out how to repair the instruments and they are good as new.  Below is what we did.  To complete this yourself you will need a small screw, a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench and some wood glue.

We started by centering a screw on the broken peg.

Then turned it a couple of times into the plastic.

Then used a wrench to pull it out.

After removing the bit of broken peg, I squeezed a bit of wood glue onto the replacement peg and pushed it into the hole.  This worked for me but please be careful when repairing your instruments.  You can purchase replacement pegs through West (click here).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

African Style Masks

Spring Break is over!  A bit of a bummer, I was really enjoying my PJ's but it was nice to make music with my kiddos yesterday and today.

Before the break, my chorus and orff group performed "Look Behind as well as Before".  It's an African Fable and my kids absolutely loved putting on this performance.  In the story there are 5 animals; the Wildcat, the Snake, the Frog, the Ant, and the Fowl.  In Randy and Jeff's Gettin' Outta Town, there are recommendations for how to costume the kids, as well as images of suggestions for masks.

Here are the masks I created for our performance:

The Frog and The Ant

The Wildcat

The Fowl

The Snake

Normally I like to have students create every aspect of the performance.  They are included in decisions about movement, form, costumes, props, etc.  This year was the first year I have done a March Chorus/Orff performance, so my timing wasn't quite there.  Needless to say, I made some of the decisions myself.

These masks were very simple to make and would be a great project for kids.  They could make decisions about color and what geometric shapes to use for the detail.  I used poster board cut down to squares and some scraps of construction/card stock I had leftover.  After having them laminated, I used an X-Acto Knife to cut eye wholes.  Using a hot glue gun, I attached sunglasses to the back so that the performers could wear the masks.  You can see an example of this here.  My masks are specific to the fable we performed but would be a great jumping off point for other African stories.

Here they are on the performers:

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