Summer Comes to a Close

This post has been a few weeks in the making, but still one I wanted to publish. When the school year ended in June, I did not have much planned for the summer. I assumed it would be quiet and relaxing, maybe even a touch boring. Who was I kidding?!? I have never experienced a boring summer in my life. While it was far from quiet, some great things have made me excited about the school year to come.

A Puppy!

The fun started when we brought home a new puppy! Dizzy (named after Dizzy Gillespie) is an adorable golden doodle. He is currently 4-months old,  growing like a weed, and the cutest thing I have ever encountered! While this has nothing to do with teaching or music, caring for little Dizzy did monopolize a good bit of my summer. 

Many Books 

I managed to read a number of books this summer, which I love. I am much happier when I have time to read daily. A couple of the highlights:

  • Inquiry Mindset, by Trevor Mackenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt
  • Learn Like a Pirate, by Paul Solarz
  • Run Like a Pirate, by Adam Welcome
  • Maestro: A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening, by Roger Nierenberg
  • Pure Genius, by Don Wettrick 
  • Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess 

Looking at them all in one place makes the list feel even more impressive! Inquiry Mindset and Learn Like a Pirate both had great ideas I plan to implement this school year. Run Like a Pirate was excellent motivation to get my own running back on track, and remember that no goal is unobtainable when you want it enough. 

Professional Development

I had the privilege of presenting professional development workshops in both my school system and a neighboring district. Topics included Flipgrid, Google Slides, and the OK Go Sandbox! Blog posts about Google Slides and the OK Go Sandbox are (hopefully) coming soon, but in the meantime be sure to check out this one, Flipgrid, What’s New. I enjoyed putting together the presentations and look forward to using some of the material when I present at VMEA in November! 

Blog Make-over 

Depending on when you are reading this, you may have noticed the blog got a make-over! While some things are still “works in progress,” I like the new overall layout. The past year of blogging has been a great experience, and it’s something I am excited to continue this year and beyond. The goal moving forward will remain at least two posts each month. That should be very reasonable, especially once the school year routine is established.

I would love to find a music-teacher-blogger accountability group. Something where we would all agree to blog a certain number of times each month and then comment and share each other’s posts. If anyone is interested or has any suggestions on how to start, please let me know.

Conversational Solfege Certification

Conversational Solfege is a (traditionally) general music program created by John Feierabend. In August I took a 3-day certification course, learning more about the program. This may seem odd, being that I am an instrumental music teacher, but it makes a lot of sense. In my school, all 4th and 5th-grade students are required to play an instrument in band or orchestra, sing in the chorus, and participate in general music class. The vocal/general music teachers in my building have done a wonderful job incorporating the Conversational Solfege program in their teaching, so I figured why reinvent the wheel? Students come to me in instrumental music with a strong pitch and rhythm-sense, so it only makes sense to build upon that in my classroom as well. The certification course helped me better understand the methodology so I can best utilize it in my teaching. I hope to put together a plan over the next few weeks and I will, of course, write about it here as well.

I have a lot of great things to build on from last year and am excited to share additional ideas as I begin to implement them in the coming months. Here’s to another great year of teaching and learning! 

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