Sunday, September 9, 2018

Music and SpEd Accommodations

School has started, and all your kiddos are settled in their classes. You've found your teaching groove. Life is good!  Then comes the email from the Diag/SpEd Teacher:  You have ARD paperwork to sign!

I don't know about you, but this stresses me out a little.  Teaching every kid in the school means getting paperwork for every single student in SpEd, 504, Speech, Behavior Intervention, etc. That's a lot to keep up with!  I want the best for all of my students, but it's hard  for my ADD brain to remember who needs what in which class. So, I created my own Accommodations Tracking System.

I made a spreadsheet for each grade level with columns for accommodations. Each student has one line, with a check in the column that matches their ARD paperwork. After several years with this system, I have created a checklist with the most commonly applied accommodations for music (and other specialist classes).

This has turned out to be so much more helpful than I even imagined! Lesson plans, seating charts, and grading are easy to cross check  with a one page list. No more giant folders of paper on my desk, or in my inbox. [insert happy dance here]

I have made my Accommodations Tracking Sheets available in my TpT Store. They include my pre-filled charts that I use, plus a blank sheet to fill in if you prefer a different list. There are two empty columns on the list too, for those less common mods that pop up. You can find it HERE. If you like it, please take the time to leave a review on TpT as well. It will earn you points for future discounts!

I hope this can help you master the mayhem of SpEd paperwork!  Let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Back to School SALE on TpT!

Hey guys!  Just a short post today to make sure you know that TpT is having a Back to School Sale! Save up to 25% on your favorite teaching resources on August 1st and 2nd. My entire store will be marked 20% off. Use the Code BTSFRESH at checkout to get a total of 25% off.

Time to check your wishlist and get some new material for the new school year! I hope you will check out my small store while you're there:  From Mayhem to Mastery

I have a feeling this will be your best year yet. I'm planning for it to be mine! After starting last year with a hurricane (Harvey took two weeks out) and all the mayhem that followed, I am positive this year will be more organized, more energized, and more joyful than the last. Less mayhem, more mastery, right?

May your coffee be strong, your shoes comfortable, and your voice clear and bright. Let's do this!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Little Shameless Self Promotion...

Hi friends! 

So I've been a fan of Teachers Pay Teachers for a long time. It's brilliant. Teachers can share the things they have spent hours creating --and that work for them-- and maybe even make a little money on the side. I'm also a fan of not re-inventing the wheel for every lesson. It's amazing what you can find if you just search Google, YouTube, and TpT!

That said, I also LOVE making things look cute and creating digital products to use in my classroom or everyday life. So I finally decided to take the plunge......and set up my own TpT Store!

I only have a  few items so far. It's a lot of work to make sure every font, graphic, and product comply with legal Terms of Use so I don't accidentally steal someone else's stuff. (If I did, it would totally be an accident! I promise!)  I'm still working on "branding" and all that, but it's early days.

Will you do me a favor? Check out my store and download one of the FREE items, then post some feedback for me.  If you hate it, I'd rather you contact me personally before giving me a bad review so I can make it right.  I'm just learning this stuff, and I am not a business person by nature-- right-brained musician and all that, you know?  If you could help me out I would REALLY appreciate it!

Here are some FREEBIES to check out:

Imperial March Playalong
Based on Texas Standards (TEKS)
Elementary Music Scope & Sequence by TEKS
Desktop Organizer in Teal
Thank you so much for helping me get started! Let me know if there is something you would like to see me add, adapt, or edit for you. I truly enjoy it. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Desktop Organizer Love with a FREEBIE

This is my computer desktop. Isn't it pretty? I am obsessed with the desktop organizer. It's one of those ideas that made me say, "why didn't I think of that?" when I first saw it. I don't know about you, but I hate a cluttered desktop. It makes me feel scattered, and I'm always afraid of forgetting something I need to do. I like to keep current projects in front of me so I don't get distracted and forget to finish them (shiny squirrels everywhere!), but they were just all over the place.

Enter the Desktop Organizer. A background picture that you save as your wallpaper, then you can place your icons in groups and keep them organized however you like. Plus, you can make it as pretty as you want!  I like pretty. It makes me happy!

I got so excited about them that I decided to make some myself. It's a great creative outlet, and maybe it can help make someone else smile, too! I would love for you to try out this FREEBIE and tell me what you like or don't like about it. You can also purchase a set of 19 different desktop styles and colors from my TpT store if you like them and want to try them out.  They are in a powerpoint file so you can add text boxes to label your boxes as you like. Or you can skip the labels and just use them as is. There are instructions with the download to help you set it up. You can find it HERE.

If you decide to try it, please let me know if the instructions are clear and usable, and if the designs are useful. I really want some feedback so I can make it better. Seriously, be honest! I can also make custom desktops if you let me know what you need (how many sections, colors/patterns/ etc.).  I am having a blast making them!

I hope you are finding a creative outlet for yourself this summer, too. Take the time to relax and do something just for you. You deserve it!

Flippin' Awesome Resources for Google!

Hello friends!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Elementary Technology Conference in Galveston. It's the first non-music PD I've done in a while, but I love technology so I thought it would be worth it. AND.....I was right!  I learned so many cool things! I hope to be able to write a few posts about these applications and ways to use them in music class. Our district is super big on tech right now, and as of last year we are 1:1 on every campus. We are a Google district, and students have Chromebooks, so that is what I am here to share with you.

Have you heard of Y'all. This is a fantastic FREE resource if you can make a spreadsheet. Seriously.

Flippity will take your Google Spreadsheet and turn it into SO. MANY. THINGS. Flashcards? Check. Random name picker? Got it. Jeopardy style game board? Yep. Memory game, Mad Libs, Bingo, Crossword, Word Search, Tournament Bracket, Yes, yes, and yes! 

So here's how it works. Each application has a demo,  instructions, and a template. To create your own, click on "Instructions". 

The instructions vary a little for each one, but it is based in a spreadsheet. 

Open the template, save a copy so you can edit, and create away. As you can see, the directions are pretty straightforward, step by step.  Some of them even give you a QR code to share the activity with your students! 

I'm thinking this could be great for review, sub plans, at home practice, and class use. So many possibilities! And did I mention that it's FREE? The teacher's favorite word! How will you use this amazing tool to make your life better or easier? Share it in the comments below!