Music Room Ramblings

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Makes It All Worthwhile

Just received this message on Facebook from a former student—

Hello Ms.Aston,
I don't know if you remember me but I was in your music class for a few years at Brookmeade! Thank you for those wonderful years of learning! I am now a music major at UTC! Your class helped make that happen believe it or not! I just wanted to say thank you! Students
don't often get to thank the teachers who made a difference in their lives... But you really did I still remember a good bit of your class! Thank you so much!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Unit Planning, Lesson Plans, and Those Infamous Standards

Units and Lesson Plans do not just materialize out of thin air. Nor should they be a list of random activities designed to fill up the allotted class time. That can be fun for the students but is not educationally sound in the long run.

Lesson plans should be sequential and age appropriate. And, yes, based on those infamous standards. The national standards are not an albatross, hanging around your neck. They were developed to help you and curriculum designers create a music program where students learn in a logical and sequential way based on sound methodology and child development.

The four units that I am writing are dependent on each other and can be used year after year. (See Lesson 3) They contain the activities, songs, games, dances, etc. that were successful in my classroom over my 30 years of teaching. After

Monday, January 19, 2015

Unit 3, Lessons 1-4 Ready to Go!

A word from Janis...

Do you feel like there are not enough hours in the day?

Do you feel like you're stretched to the max?

Faculty meetings, evaluations, committee meetings, parent conferences, etc. are eating up the day.

And planning time? Totally non-existent! It continues to be devoured by everything else.

And your stress level is out the roof!

Today's teacher is being bombarded with standards, evaluations, and so many things that don't even translate into quality instruction in the classroom. In fact, the opposite is happening at an alarming rate. And the best and brightest teachers are dropping like flies.

Even though I'm writing these plans especially for new teachers and for teachers who do not have access to a budget, resources, and materials, these plans would be a great resource for anyone. The plans are sequential but there are also many stand-alone activities that you can pull out and work into your own plans. They will save you time and relieve your mind because you can be assured that you will be teaching to the standards, be ready for any evaluations, and best of all, the students will be learning and loving it in the process!

I will complete Unit 3 with the final 3 lesson plan sets by the end of January. I just spent a marathon weekend completing the Lessons 1-4 bundle. I don't apologize for taking such a long time to develop these plans. I am trying to rewind my brain back to the days of when I had no budget, resources, no materials, no instruments, and no support. Finding just the right links and the best versions of songs continues to take much longer than I anticipated but the result will be wonderful for those of you who need a quality set of plans at your fingertips.

I will immediately begin working on Unit 4 so you will have it by the last part of your year! By next fall, I will have Lesson Plans for an Entire Year available! I am excited to provide these for you.

I also love feedback and welcome your thoughts, suggestions, and will gladly help you with anything struggles you may be having  in your classroom. I have been communicating with teachers in Indonesia, Queens, NY, Canada, England, Kuwait, and Australia. That is so much fun!!

I look forward to hearing from you, too.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

FREE!! Unit 3 for Jan-Mar, Lesson Plans 1-2

I actually can't believe I'm doing this again but I haven't finished Unit 3 to post on Teachers Pay Teachers. I posted Lesson 1, K-4, a couple of weeks ago and so have had so many positive comments that I have posted Lesson 2 simply because you need it for continuity. These 2 lessons will not be offered for FREE for much longer because I will be offering them as a complete unit. So today's your LUCKY DAY!! Download now. It's FREE!!