Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Goals

Happy New Year! I can't believe another year has come to an end. That means winter break is about to come to an end, as well. I'm thinking ahead to the new year and planning for good things to come during the second half of this school year.

As I think ahead to the new year, I am making several goals for myself, both personally and professionally. I like to call them goals rather than resolutions because a goal is something that you achieve, versus a resolution which is something you intend to do. It's a subtle difference but I've heard that calling them goals can have an impact psychologically. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!!

I'm linking up with some fabulous music teachers, hosted by Mrs. Miracle's Music Room, to share my goals/resolutions for 2016. 

  • Personal: Organize the basement
    For regular readers of my blog, you'll already know that my husband and I bought our first house in 2015. Renovating, cleaning, and organizing it has been a great adventure. Unfortunately, it seems that every time we organize one room, the extra things that don't belong end up down in the basement bonus room. So one of my goals for this year is to organize it all and make the room into a livable space.
  • Health: Get my steps in
    I received a Fitbit Charge HR for the holidays, so I am very excited to use it as a tool to track my progress as I focus on eating well and exercising more. The recommended number of steps per day is 10,000 so I am going to push myself to get to that number every day. I'm actually very eager to get back to school and see how many steps I get on days when I'm teaching folk dance or pushing my cart around from class to class.
  • Classroom: Review/Refine musical concepts
    Before winter break, I spent a good amount of time singing holiday songs and doing seasonal music activities. When my students come back in January, I plan to double down and review all the concepts that may have been pushed to the back burner in December.
  • Blog/TpT: Consistency
    I consider blogging to be both a reflective and energizing task. Whenever I blog on a regular basis, I am motivated to try new and interesting things in my classroom. My goal is to blog with greater consistency so that I can stay inspired and push through to the rest of the school year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Books in the Music Room

Music class in December: Probably the most wonderful time of the year! There are so many songs that my students are begging me to sing! (Who can say no when a student literally begs you to sing a song?)

Even though I'm Jewish, I love singing Christmas songs with my students... and I consider myself fortunate that I teach in a school where it's acceptable to mention religious holidays. With my primary students, I am reading at least one book with them for every music class until the winter break. (And since school goes until December 23rd for us, I have plenty more classes to teach!)

I love illustrated song books like these because there are many different ways I can use them....
  • Read the story in a regular speaking voice
    This is especially helpful when your voice is tired after a concert or sing-along!
  • Sing the song to your students while they listen and look at the pictures
    This is a great way to introduce a new song, have quiet listening time, or just model good singing for your students.
  • Read and sing along to a recording of the song
    I love using Bing Crosby and other famous "oldies" this time of year
  • Have the students sing it alone or in groups

I particularly like Silent Night because of the lyrics. This book does not use the traditional hymn text. Instead, the lyrics are all about animals and nature, making this book a great option in a school setting where religious songs are not an option.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town and 12 Days of Christmas have very detailed illustrations that are great for discussion starters and playing a quick round of I-spy.

I always like to include songs in Spanish since my schools have a high population of native Spanish-speaking students. The bold colors and vibrant colors in Feliz Navidad are very appealing and my students want to read it again and again!

The illustrations in this version of Frosty the Snowman are different from the animated movie, which is what I like most about it. It's nice to show kids contrasting versions of a familiar story. Also, this book gets an A+ for including the "thumpety thump thump" verse at the end!

What other books do you enjoy reading to your students around the holidays?