Saturday, April 26, 2014

Music a la Cart!

Happy Saturday!
    I have been getting a lot of questions about my year teaching from a cart.  I thought this might be a great first topic for my blog.  I will share a little bit about my experience and maybe others will have great tips to add.

How did it happen?

My school reached capacity and there were literally no rooms left.  We are building a new school for the fall, but this was a year of flexibility and compromise.

How did I prepare?

Well, I knew that I wanted to do as much as a could and just make the best of it.  First, I bought a cart!

I looked all over the internet for tips on what to buy and how to use it and I was really disappointed with my options.  I decided to go big to try and cram on as many things as possible.  I opted for a giant chrome cart from Target and Wheels with brakes to add to the bottom.

                               View the shelf on        View the wheels on                               

What's on the Cart?

After purchasing the cart I realized I need to choose some basics to keep on the cart that I would use most days.

1. Keyboard and plug way up on the top shelf
2. Basic Orff
3. A bin of unpitched percussion
4. A water bottle!
5. I laminated my schedule (one for each of the six day rotations) and attached it to the shelf of my cart for quick reference
6. Small bins with file folders for each class to keep the papers under control
7. A binder with my lessons ready to go


~ I met with the teachers about where music could meet.  As a responsive classroom school each room has a "Morning Meeting" rug space.  Although small, it fit what I needed a LOT better than having them in desks

~ Decide if you feel comfortable teaching while their classroom teacher is in the room.  Discuss how this functions for you.  For me, I didn't mind it at all!  We talked to the kids about how their teacher was getting things all set for the rest of the day, and if the students needed anything they needed to ask me.

~ Do you have travel time built in to the schedule?  How does your administration want to handle this?  Be kind but ask!  Should the teachers come back early so you can leave or should they stay and wait for you to arrive.  Be clear that no matter what you do, you can't be in two places at once :)

~ Establish routines for the students begin while you traveling their way.  In my older classes, students lead body percussion, they could start a musical game we learned, or  even begin vocal warm-ups to get focused.  

Advantages of teaching from a cart:

1.  The students have desks if you are writing or composing.
2.  You don't need your own music pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc.
3.  You get to explore the classroom set ups throughout the school (sometimes it can tell you a lot about how the students are used to learning)
4.  It really is great exercise!
5.  You let go of a lot of clutter.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below!

Friday, April 18, 2014

First Blog Entry!

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I am so excited to start blogging but as you can see, I am just getting set up :)

About Me

This is my fourth year teaching music and I love it!

My school has an optional Spanish Immersion Program so I have been learning a lot of new songs and games and my Spanish vocabulary is growing

I am preparing items to sell on TPT (more on that soon)

I just bought a brand new Mac for home so I can sell on TPT

This summer I will be teaching a Movie Magic Course for elementary students.  We will compose and create music videos to go with our compositions.

I teach in Minnesota and yesterday was our 8th Snow Day of the year (yes, on April 17th) 

About the Blog

This blog will focus on what I am learning and teaching.  After falling in love with Pinterest I wanted to have a way to share what I have found and what I am doing in my room.  

I have a very eclectic set of interests as a music teacher.  I have a Kodaly base and I have been expanding to add more Orff.  I am very interested in World Music and Technology.  I explore it all!

Still working on adding fancy buttons but follow me on Pinterest!  Songbird Serenade  

Look for my lovely little bird!

Have a great day!

~ Kate