Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wrapping the arms of structure around your Middle School Singers

Wrapping the Arms of Structure Around Your Middle School Singers

 I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not, but I have been asked many times after a concert with my 300+ middle school choral music students, “What do you SAY to the students that keeps them so disciplined?”

When I hear that, I chuckle inside because it isn’t just one thing.  I wish it were.  It would be so much easier!

Middle school students thrive on structure.  How many times have your students walked into your class and said, “What are we doing today?” 

I usually make up a funny thing like “We are going to dissect cockroaches and sing songs about it” and then point them to the promethean board where the first activity of the day is ready for them.

From the first day of school, I make sure that when they walk into my room, they know that my classroom is a place where we have a plan.

Is it ok to let up on that structure once in a while?  Sure.  But only after you have established strong scaffolding and the daily routines are set in stone.

When I first started teaching public school middle school chorus, I didn’t understand how important structure is for them.  My verbal instructions were not clear.  I hadn’t thought through the sequencing with the brain of a sixth grader…which is different than the brain of an 8th grader…which I didn’t realize in those early years…and which caused me so much grief.  The kids wanted to do the right thing, but I was clueless about how to convey the information in an effective manner that yielded results.

We can’t just talk when we give directions. 

We have to demonstrate, and they must experience what we are teaching…not just hear it. 

We have to bring the learning objectives to life.

It all goes back to the three types of learners:  visual, auditory, kinesthetic.  In my experience, we have to hit all three when we are teaching this age group…whether we are teaching music or a process/procedure, and it helps if we can do it with humor.  Everyone likes to laugh. 

I created this video for my students, and we worked to make it as silly as possible.  I show it to my students at the beginning of the year, and they absolutely love it. 

 So, back to the question I get asked…”What do you say to the students that keeps them so disciplined”?

I have no idea.

…but I do know that I’ve learned to anticipate what they need.  I take time to teach processes.   I give them structure.  And we laugh. 

I think that all of those things combined encourage respect that is mutual and circular.   

Hope you are enjoying your summer rest!  I know that I am!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

District Purchases and Multiple license discounts!

When I started teaching 400 years ago, all we had were text books that someone else purchase that I rarely used, and a small budget to purchase sheet music and warm up books (that I DID use!)

Times are changing, and they are changing quickly.  

I received the email below last week.  

We are looking at sight singing methods for next year in our district. One thing that our district is having a question with is "Is there another way that this is published other than Teachers Pay Teachers?" I'm good either way, but if I can get the district to buy it, bonus!
Potential Buyer

Here is my response:


 I appreciate your support in getting your district on board with S-Cubed. S-Cubed is a 21st century textbook. Text books are part of the past. Young teachers realize that there are other ways to find resources. The text books that the district buys every few years will likely sit on the shelf while resourceful teachers focused on being the best they can be for their students are going to do some digital research and find the answers they need as they work toward creating paperless classrooms. It is the district's job to catch up and support those teachers for the good of the children, and it is our job to work them in that direction.

Here is some information for you to help you as you make your case to the people who will decide whether or not to purchase S-Cubed as a digital resource:

1) With the advent of Chrome books, Ipads, and Smartboards, classrooms that use digital resources are the future.
 2) Text books are far more expensive than purchasing digital resources because you have to purchase many text books, and you have to do it every few years. With digital resources, that is not the case. And on TPT, each teacher gets all product updates for free after they purchase.
3) Digital resources offer things that text books cannot. In S-Cubed, I offer specific lesson plans, video teaching tips to help teachers teach each lesson plan and video teaching examples of me teaching the actual lesson to my public school students...all by clicking a link. Text books can't do that.
 4) TPT offers a multi-license discount. A district can purchase a digital resource and then purchase the same resource for other teachers in the same district/school from 10%-50% off the original price.
he amount of the discount depends on the number of teachers for whom they are purchasing.    If they are considering purchasing S-Cubed for the district, have them contact me directly at, and we will work out the details.
5) These are resources that are created by real teachers in real classrooms. I hope that helps you as you work to convince your district to purchase the curriculum for your middle school choral music students.
6)  S-Cubed has been vetted, rating and reviewed for four years by teachers who are using it all over the world.  

Digital resources are the modern-day textbooks.

Thank you for reaching out, and please let me know if there is anything else I can do to facilitate the purchase.

And lastly, click this link or click the video below to watch a video I made about this district purchases and multiple license discounts.  

If you convince the district to purchase it for multiple teachers, and they need to use a purchase order, here is how!

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