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It's time to add a sprinkle of leprechaun magic to our music lessons. With the shimmering promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we embark on a journey of rhythmic exploration through the enchanting world of Leprechaun Games. While our compass remains true to our curricular goals, we'll weave in the spirit of a beloved cultural holiday, celebrating St. Patrick's Day with themed rhythm practice. So, grab your shamrocks, and let's dive into a treasure trove of musical fun where learning meets leprechaun lore!

Working in small groups offers numerous benefits for students in a music classroom. It fosters collaboration, encourages active participation, and provides opportunities for peer learning and support. Small group activities also allow for personalized instruction and differentiated learning experiences tailored to individual student needs. In this blog post, we'll explore four engaging triple meter center games designed to facilitate the review and exploration of rhythm concepts in elementary music education. These activities are fun for students and offer valuable opportunities for reinforcement and application of musical skills.

If you're interested in learning more about managing music centers effectively, be sure to check out our detailed guide titled "Navigating Elementary Music Centers: Teacher Strategies, Procedures, And Success Tips."

Game Instructions:


Center Game #1: Write the Rhythm Room

At this center, students will find four rhythm cards and a corresponding Write the Room worksheet. The Write the Room Worksheets can accommodate either Level 1 or Level 2 rhythm cards. Students' task is to copy the rhythm patterns from the cards into the boxes with matching pictures. They should then chant each pattern using rhythm syllables. For an extra challenge, students may write their own pattern in the space provided.

Center Game #2: Triple Meter Composing Corner

For this activity, set up the center with a selection of rhythm cards chosen by the teacher and the Triple Meter Rhythm Composing sheet. In small groups, students will collaboratively choose four rhythm patterns to create their composition. They should copy these patterns onto the composing sheet and then practice chanting the composition using rhythm syllables.



Center Game #3: 3/4 & 6/8 Meter Sorting Station

In this center, provide one set of 3/4 meter and one set of 6/8 meter rhythm pattern cards, along with 3/4 & 6/8 meter label cards. Depending on time constraints and student proficiency levels, you can include four or eight rhythm patterns. Students should shuffle the cards and turn them face down. As each student in turn draws a card, they chant the pattern on each card, and then place it on the correct meter label card. Chanting the pattern is an important part of this station!


Enrhythmic Patterns

Are your students ready to take their rhythmic skills to the next level? Enrhythmic patterns offer a thrilling challenge for young musicians, as they navigate rhythms that sound alike but are notated differently. This activity is an excellent way to deepen understanding and hone listening skills in a fun and engaging manner.

Before diving into the enrhythmic challenge, it's essential to prepare your students adequately. Begin by guiding them through listening, chanting, and moving to triple meter patterns and music. This foundational step sets the stage for grasping the nuances of enrhythmic patterns.

Next, introduce the concept of reading either 3/4 or 6/8 meter rhythms, utilizing your preferred learning sequence. You can incorporate Leprechaun Rhythm Pattern Cards into listening games or center activities to reinforce this concept effectively.

Once your students are comfortable with these rhythms, introduce the "other" triple meter and present the Leprechaun Rhythm Pattern Cards in this unfamiliar meter. This step expands their rhythmic repertoire and prepares them for the enrhythmic challenge ahead.

Enrhythmic Challenge


Now, it's time for the main event: the enrhythmic challenge. Provide your students with two sets of cards representing 3/4 and 6/8 meter rhythms. Guide them through comparing these rhythms and identifying patterns that sound alike. After some guided practice with the whole class, you can transition to playing the "match the patterns" center game (see below). Alternatively, you can utilize the Write the Room worksheet for further individual practice in recognizing enrhythmic patterns.


Remember, this learning sequence is a journey that unfolds over months, not days. As the teacher, you'll be the best judge of when your students are ready to tackle this exhilarating challenge. So, keep an eye on their progress and readiness, and when the time is right, dive into the world of enrhythmic patterns together!


Center Game #4: Enrhythmic Pattern Challenge

At this center, students will find sets of 3/4 meter and 6/8 meter rhythm pattern cards, along with 3/4 and 6/8 meter label cards. Their task is to chant each pattern and match the cards that sound alike.


Triple Meter Fun


Don't forget, triple meter is the hallmark rhythm of Irish jigs, making it the perfect addition to your St. Patrick's Day musical festivities! To enhance your Leprechaun Games, teachers can create their own triple meter rhythm cards using simple materials like index cards or green construction paper. However, for a hassle-free option, consider using the Leprechaun Rhythm Pattern Cards available in Sally's Sea of Songs shop on TPT. These ready-made, print-and-go cards will add a touch of magic to your rhythmic adventures, allowing you to focus on engaging your students in the joy of musical exploration.




In closing, as we bid adieu to our Leprechaun Games rhythmic adventure, let's remember that the ultimate goal of teaching rhythmic notation transcends mere symbol recognition. Just as leprechauns hide their gold at the end of the rainbow, we aim to empower students to audiate the rhythmic treasures concealed within notation, allowing them to hear and understand the sound of the rhythm in their minds. Therefore, as we engage in activities centered around rhythmic notation, let's not forget the importance of ample practice in listening to and chanting rhythms, followed by labeling the sounds with rhythm solfege.

Through these enchanted learning experiences, students develop their ability to decipher rhythmic notation and nurture a deeper appreciation and understanding of rhythm in music. So, as you continue your rhythmic journey with your students, may the mischievous spirit of the leprechauns guide you toward rhythmic fluency and musical expression.

Musically yours,






 




March isn't just a month on the calendar; it's a symphony of celebration – Music in Our Schools Month®! ๐ŸŽต✨ For 40 years, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as the month to recognize the importance of music education for all children. Let's take a moment to appreciate the profound impact that music education has on our students' lives, transcending beyond the notes on a staff.

My school operated on a year-round calendar for many years and was regularly on break for two weeks in March. This made planning large, month-long activities impossible for me. Still, I found several simple ways to call attention to our school music program. Choose one or two to implement this year!


Simple Ways to Celebrate MIOSM®

  1. Bulletin Board: Create a bulletin board outside your music room featuring photos of students making music. Include a "There's Music in Our School" list of field trips, guest musicians, and performances. You may amaze yourself at the number of music events that have taken place in your school this year!
  2. Staff Survey: Send a brief survey to your faculty and staff asking them questions about their past and present music involvement. Were you involved in a music ensemble in school? Are you currently a member of any music ensembles? Do you play an instrument? What is your favorite style of music? Post the answers on a bulletin board for students to read. For a more interactive board, separate the staff names from the answers and ask students to guess who is who.
  3. Guest Musicians: Invite a guest musician to perform for or with your students. The guest musicians can be local professionals, parents, school administrators, or school board members. If you have a large musical community, consider inviting different musicians for each grade level or class. These guests can be spread out over the month. 
  4. Teacher/Musician Performance: Another option is for YOU to perform for your students. Sing or play your instrument for them. Choose whatever style of music you are the most comfortable with and one that your students might be different than what you do with them in class. 
  5. School Announcements: Create several short, informational announcements supporting music education that can be included once a week or even daily in the school announcements. Topics might include composer or musician facts, brief listening examples, or music advocacy statements.



Show Off Your Students with a Concert

Planning a student performance in March? Whether you're organizing an elaborate concert or a casual gathering to share some musical fun with your school community, consider incorporating these ideas:

Highlight Diversity: Showcase the various performing groups, guest artists, or music field trips that enrich your school's music program each year. Celebrate the diverse talents and experiences within your musical community.

Amplify Advocacy: Take the opportunity to read aloud several music advocacy statements during the performance. Raise awareness about the importance of music education and its positive impact on students' lives.

Informative "Informance": Consider hosting a simple "informance" to give insight into the types of music learning happening in regular music classes. This could involve short demonstrations, explanations of musical concepts, or even interactive activities to engage the audience.

Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive elements into the performance to actively involve the audience. This could include sing-alongs, audience participation segments, or opportunities for students to share stories or reflections about their musical journey.

Collaborative Projects: Showcase collaborative projects involving multiple disciplines or departments within the school. This could involve joint performances with the drama club, art installations inspired by music, or multimedia presentations combining music with other creative forms.

By incorporating these suggestions, you can create a memorable and impactful student performance that celebrates the joy and importance of music in our schools.

Music Advocacy is Important

As we celebrate Music in Our Schools Month®, consider how many ways you might use this curated collection of music advocacy statements.  These powerful affirmations highlight the transformative impact of music education on students' lives, making them perfect additions to concerts or school announcements.
 
Unlocking Cognitive Potential: 
Music instruction isn't just about hitting the right notes; it's a cognitive workout for young minds. Studies show that students engaged in music programs often exhibit higher IQ scores and enhanced academic performance. It's like a secret code to unlock their full cognitive potential.

Orchestrating Reading Success: 
Reading and music dance together in a harmonious partnership. Learning to read music enhances language processing skills, creating neural connections that fortify reading abilities. It's a literary symphony conducted by the magic of musical notes.

More Than Musical Notes: 
But it's not just about reading music; making music has its own set of benefits.  Actively participating in music creation strengthens memory, attention, and executive functions – skills that seamlessly transfer to reading tasks. So, whether they're composing their melodies or decoding musical notes, students are gearing up for success in the literary realm.

Rhythm and Melody: 
A Cognitive Ballet: Rhythm and melody skills are the unsung heroes of cognitive development. They boost language and math abilities by enhancing pattern recognition, auditory discrimination, and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts within the structure of music. It's a cognitive ballet where every beat and note contributes to a well-rounded mind.

Building Communities through Music: 
Beyond the cognitive perks, music education is a community builder. Collaborative music-making teaches teamwork, communication, and mutual respect. Group performances create a sense of belonging and pride, fostering a supportive community within the classroom. It's about creating connections that resonate beyond the music room.

Emotional Intelligence in Harmony: 
Music classes are a playground for Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Through playing instruments, singing, and collaborating, students explore self-expression, emotional regulation, and empathy. It's a symphony of emotional intelligence where every note contributes to a more emotionally aware and connected community.

Music for Joy's Sake: 
Yet, amidst all these cognitive and emotional benefits, let's not forget the simple joy of making music. Music for the sake of making music is a celebration of creativity, self-expression, and the sheer delight of creating something beautiful together. It nurtures a love for the art form that lasts a lifetime.

Let's Celebrate!

I encourage you to consider ways, either small or big,, that you can highlight music in YOUR school. For even more ideas,  and the official graphics, sample news announcements, and more, visit the National Association for Music Education website.

As we celebrate Music in Our Schools Month®, let's amplify our voices in support of music education. It's not just about playing instruments; it's about orchestrating a future where every student has the opportunity to experience the transformative power of music. ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’™

Musically Yours,











Picture a lively music class where students embark on a rhythmic adventure, guided by the playful notes of the jazz era. It's not just about learning notes; it's about creating a vibrant symphony of skills that will stay with them for a lifetime. Using jazz music to introduce these musical skills brings a bit of lively fun to your lessons. Because the musical elements that make jazz music so fun are also present in many other genres of music, once students have a grasp on the concept, it will be easy to transfer the skill to a different style of music. 

Here's your guide to fostering essential music skills with a jazz twist, tailored for our budding maestros.

1. Syncopation - Adding a Dash of Surprise: Introduce syncopation as the spice that adds flair to the rhythm. By emphasizing off-beats, students not only develop a sense of timing but also a groove that'll get their classmates tapping their feet. Syncopation is the secret ingredient that turns a simple rhythm into a musical adventure. For an introduction to syncopation, consider listening to Harlem Stride Style Piano music, contrasting the left and right hand parts. You can find a complete lesson that includes a Syncopation Chant here: The Great "Jazz" Migration and Harlem Stride Style Pianists

2. Improvisation - Let the Creativity Flow: Jazz is the perfect playground for unleashing creativity. Encourage your young musicians to explore their own musical ideas. Picture the joy on their faces as they compose their melodies, even if it starts with just a few musical doodles. One simple way to encourage improvisation is to choose a very familiar melody, and then sing the melody using neutral syllables such as "bah." Finally, improvise new rhythms for the melody. 

3. Scat Singing - Vocal Jazz Magic: Invite your students to discover the joy of scat singing, where words take a backseat, and voices become instruments. It's like a musical conversation where they get to express themselves freely. Jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald would be proud! One of the earliest jazz musicians to use scat singing was Louis Armstrong. Learn more about Louis and early New Orleans Jazz, including a scat singing practice activity here: Louis Armstrong and New Orleans Jazz

4. Listening Skills - Tuning into Musical Stories - In the magical world of jazz, listening isn't just hearing; it's like following a musical story. Encourage your young ears to pick up on the different instruments playing in harmony. It's a bit like solving a musical mystery – can they identify the saxophone's smooth whispers or the lively conversation between the drums and piano? As their listening skills grow, so does their ability to appreciate the rich tales woven by jazz musicians. Swing music and big bands go hand in hand. Learn more about swing, the instruments of a big jazz band, the Harlem Renaissance, and Duke Ellington here: Harlem Renaissance Musicians: Duke Ellington & Bennie Goodman

Instrument Exploration - Discovering Jazz's Sound Palette: Transform your classroom into a mini jazz club by introducing the concepts of a jam session and collective improvisation. Let the kids get hands-on with simple percussion instruments or even makeshift ones. This hands-on exploration not only sharpens their listening skills but also deepens their appreciation for the diverse sounds of jazz. 

One of my favorite lessons in 4th & 5th grades used "found sounds" like cardboard boxes and shakers made from soda cans or plastic water bottles. Following listening examples and discussion of complementary rhythms and leaving space for others to play, we jammed. We created a groove. Of course, our early efforts fell apart quickly. After a short discussion about what sounded good and what went wrong, we tried again. Each attempt at creating a groove was a little better. I did not assign any parts, the students were improvising on their own and making corrections as a group. It was awesome! The same activity would work using classroom percussion instruments. I encourage you to try it!

5. Jazz Lingo - Adding Some Swing to the Vocabulary: Infuse your music lessons with a touch of jazz slang just for fun! Introduce terms like "ax" for instruments, "chops" for musical skills, and "gig" for a performance opportunity. It's a playful way to teach music while also immersing your students in the vibrant culture of jazz. Imagine their smiles as they confidently say, "Let's jam, teach!"

With these added words, your classroom becomes a linguistic jazz haven, making every lesson a delightful blend of education and entertainment. Need some inspiration? Try out this Jazz Terms Word Wall & Write the Room.

Done-ForYou Jazz Lessons
Planning time is always at a premium, right? I have prepared five done-for-you lessons on Early Jazz & Blues that will keep your students engaged. Each lesson includes some jazz history, biography info on an influential musician, listening examples, and at least one activity to get your students to make music using one of the jazz elements. The bundle also includes printable exits, an Easel quiz activity, and an Easel assessment. 


Take my jazz resources for a test drive! Learn more about my free resource, in this post: 
Bringing The Swingin' Big Apple Dance Craze Of 1937 To Your Music Classroom.

Grooving into Musical Mastery:
Now, let's groove into the heart of our elementary music classroom. In a survey conducted with elementary music teachers, 90% reported positive changes in students' musical engagement after incorporating jazz elements. 

With these five key elements, your elementary music class is set to swing and sway with the delightful rhythms of jazz.  So, fellow music mentors, let's embrace the spirit of jazz in our classrooms. It's not just about teaching music; it's about nurturing a love for it that will echo in their hearts for years to come.


Musically yours,






  




In our last chapter, we dove into the art of organizing and managing Music Centers, navigating the waters of strategic crescendos and harmonious learning seas. Now, as our musical tale unfolds, let's journey further into the melody maze and explore specific activities that transform your classroom into a haven of musical discovery.


The instruments are tuned, the stage is set, and the melody awaits your magical touch. Join me on this rhythmic odyssey, where each station is a musical adventure ready to unfold! ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿš€

1. Tech Station: ๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ’ป Explore the digital realm with Boom Cards, Google Slides, or interactive Quaver activities. Let your young musicians embark on a tech-savvy journey, where the language of music meets the language of technology. For a captivating resource, check out our Digital Music Resources category in the shop.

2. Game Station: ๐ŸŽฒ๐ŸŽถ  Enhance vocabulary through engaging games like Squirrel Fun Dynamics Match or Music Symbols Memory Match. Turn the learning process into a playful composition! Amp up the fun with our Music Centers Activities category available in the shop.

3. Movement: ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐ŸŽต Let the rhythm guide their feet! Engage in Freeze Dance or explore scarf movement patterns for a harmonious blend of music and motion. Use engaging movement cards like this Movement Cards Bundle for inspiration.

4. Instrument Identification: ๐ŸŽบ๐Ÿ” Stimulate their musical minds with flashcards or matching activities, connecting pictures with instrument names for an interactive learning experience. Elevate this station with our Instruments of the Orchestra resources available in the shop.

5. Singing or Instrument Playing: ๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽธ Elevate the melody with a station dedicated to singing or instrument playing. Unleash the joy of making music firsthand! 

6. Worksheet or Writing Center: ๐Ÿ“๐ŸŽผ Foster creativity through note writing, composition exercises, vocabulary building, or intriguing composer biography questions. Enhance this station with our Write the Room resources from the shop.

7. Notation Creation Station: ๐Ÿงฑ๐ŸŽต Build musical landscapes with Legos, Play-Doh, chenille stems, or other materials. Let imaginations soar as students bring notes and rhythms to life. 

8. Composition: ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŒŸ Unleash budding composers with manipulatives or worksheets. Watch as their musical expressions take shape! Dive into composition with our Composition Activities available in the shop.

9. Musical Books/Library: ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŽถ Cultivate a love for music literature with a dedicated library. Immerse in tales that resonate with musical notes. Explore Bringing the Pages to Life for a captivating list of books for your musical library.

10: Vocal Explorations๐ŸŽค๐ŸŒ€ Embark on a vocal adventure using ribbon, yarn, or chenille stems to craft curvy pathways for young voices to follow. Choose a favorite pathway, whether it's a gentle swirl or an adventurous loop, and bring it to life on a worksheet. Display it proudly on a bulletin board, share the vocal journey with the class, or take it home to enchant family members. Explore a variety of digital vocal explorations, each accompanied by its worksheet, available in the Vocal Explorations category in the shop. 


These center activities are the key to creating a melody maze that keeps the rhythm of learning alive and thriving in your elementary music classroom. However, remember the first two tips in the previous post Start Slow & Steady and Choose Activities with Purpose. It will be too much to have all 10 of these centers running in your classroom at the same time!  Choose only the activities that will meet the goals of your current unit. Depending on your class size, 4-5 centers are usually plenty to manage.


Which station will be your students' favorite musical pitstop? Share your musical center adventures below!


Musically Yours,






  



Welcome, fellow music educators! Today, let's dive deep into the intricacies of organizing and managing Music Centers in our elementary classrooms. Navigating these musical waters can be a bit tricky, but fear not; I've got a set of procedures to help you sail through with ease.


Choose & Manage Music Centers: Orchestrate a Symphony of Learning

Start Slow and Steady 

Begin your musical journey cautiously by introducing one grade at a time, one class period at a time. Expand gradually as both you and your students gain experience and success. This approach ensures a smooth sailing experience for all.

Choosing Activities with Purpose

Delve into activities that either review previously taught concepts or offer extra practice. This strategic selection keeps the learning ship sailing in the right direction.

Pre-teaching for Success

Set the stage for triumph by preteaching activities with the whole group. Whether it's playing a game together, creating a brief instructional video, or having a small group of students demonstrate, laying the groundwork over multiple class periods is key.

Manageable Group Sizes

Keep things harmonious by limiting group sizes to 3-4 students. Pre-selecting groups in advance helps to maintain order and minimize behavioral hiccups.

Setting Clear Expectations

BEFORE the musical voyage begins, establish expectations for gameplay, cleanup, movement, and more. Clear guidelines ensure a smooth and focused session for everyone involved.

Structuring Center Movement

Decide on your preferred center movement approach—set rotation times (for example: 10 minutes per station) or free movement between stations (for example: students may move to any station with less than 4 students currently in the station). Tailor this decision to the nature of the activities; for instance, free movement works well for independent activities like write-the-room.

Assigning Group Jobs

Enhance teamwork by assigning or allowing students to choose group jobs. From readers to materials managers, giving each student a role fosters a collaborative atmosphere. Some job ideas are reader (reads task card), materials manager, checker (holds an answer key), recorder (writes things down), reporter (shares a report of the group to the class), time keeper. These roles can even switch within the designated time frame, adding variety to the musical mix.

Balancing Sound Levels

Maintain a harmonious atmosphere by carefully choosing activities that involve making musical sounds. Limit these activities to one or two centers to prevent the room from becoming a cacophony. Similarly, thoughtfully select instruments, considering their volume levels to create a conducive learning environment. As we all know, some are naturally louder than others!



Prepare Center Materials: A Key Prelude to Harmony


Before you embark on the Music Center journey, take a moment to tune your materials for the perfect pitch in your classroom symphony. Just as a well-prepared orchestra ensures a smooth performance, having everything assembled and easily accessible sets the stage for an orchestrated learning experience.

Gather Materials in Advance 

Collect all necessary materials for each center activity beforehand. From instruments to worksheets, make sure everything is in good condition and ready for action.

Organize Materials for Efficiency

Arrange materials thoughtfully to minimize setup time during class. Utilize storage bins, labeled containers, or shelves to maintain a neat and accessible setup. Read more in this post on creating File Folder Centers.

Create Clear Instructions

Prepare clear, concise instructions for each center activity. Include diagrams or visual aids to assist students in understanding and completing tasks independently.

Double-Check Availability

Confirm that there are enough materials for all groups to participate simultaneously. Have a backup plan or alternative activity in case any materials need quick replacement.

Consider Student Accessibility

Ensure that students can easily reach and manage the materials assigned to their group. Optimize the layout to promote independence and minimize disruptions during transitions.

Test Run the Setup

Before the class arrives, do a quick test run of the center setup to catch any potential issues. Make adjustments as needed to streamline the process for both you and your students.

Foster a Collaborative Environment

Encourage students to assist in setting up and cleaning up their designated centers. Promote a sense of responsibility and teamwork to make the process smoother and more efficient.

Incorporating these steps into your routine transforms the preparation phase into a harmonious prelude to your Music Center sessions. A well-organized setup ensures that your teaching days unfold with ease, allowing you to focus on the joy of making music together. 


Conclusion

As you embark on your Music Center adventure, remember these tried-and-true procedures. With careful planning and thoughtful execution, you'll find your teaching days flowing smoothly, much like a calm sea under a clear sky. Happy sailing, fellow educators!





Musically yours,


 
 



What do you do with holidays in your elementary music room? "Celebrating" the constant stream of holidays can be challenging, especially when most of us only see our students once or twice each week.  Finding a way to embed various musical concepts into a holiday "shell" can bring on the fun and engagement that students may need while still reviewing those melodies and rhythms. 

Valentines Day was always a little challenging for me. I never wanted to get into any discussions of romantic love with my little ones, but there seemed to be hearts everywhere in their classrooms! Then, of course, I finally wrapped my brain around the concept that hearts have beats and music has beats. I should definitely be able to do something!

I know you are probably wondering what took me so long! February had lots of big events for me. One grade had a symphony field trip, two more were preparing for a program, and I was always out for a couple of days for my state music conference.  This was every year.   The more I considered it, I realized that even those grade levels preparing for upcoming events could usually squeeze in a themed warmup, rhythm review, or brain break.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I only recommend products that I know and love.


As we navigate the wild world of music teaching, especially in the program-heavy month of December, I've brewed up a piping hot blog post to share some sanity-saving tips. Picture this: juggling rehearsals, concerts, and the regular classroom shenanigans. Oh, wait. You don't have to picture it, you are living it! I get it—there's no tired quite like musician/teacher tired in December. So, let's dive into a conversation soaked with practical wisdom. 

Today's jam: Tips for Closing Your Music Classroom for the Holiday Break. 

TIP 1. Put away everything from the last concert/performance. 

I am writing this in December and I KNOW from experience that you had multiple concerts in this week or so before winter break. I also know that you are tired. (And maybe sick. How many times did I lose my voice in December?!) Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Wrapping up all the loose ends from those concerts feels so good! 

TIP 2. Clean off your desk. 

Or at least organize what is there. It was always helpful if I left myself a note or set out memos to my future self that I needed to address that first day back. Put those memos right where you can see them when you first walk in. 

TIP 3. At least consider what you will be teaching on the first day back. 

You may not have the time or energy to complete your lesson plans, but giving some thought to what might get you through the first day or two and then locating any instruments or manipulatives is very helpful.  As I gained experience and a bank of past lesson plans, it was easy enough to take a quick look at last year's plan and choose which part of that could be tweaked and reused. However, especially in my early years of teaching when I didn't have that bank of plans, I couldn't muster the energy to actually write the plans during those last few crazy days in December. I always found it easier to write my actual lesson plans after I had had a few days off.  It sure was nice to have something in mind to get me through that first morning!

TIP 4.  Check your email. 

Depending on how busy you have been leading up to the break, look through the last week or two worth of emails. One recent year, I had been so busy & stressed that I totally missed a one-sentence instruction at the very end of an email (that I had apparently only scanned) and I reported to the wrong building on the first day back from winter break.  Save yourself the embarrassment and just double-check to see that you didn't miss something.

"Future You"

The first day back after a break brings its own set of stresses (i.e. will my computer turn on or be stuck updating all morning?), but it sure is nice to come into a clean room, with a clean desk, and ready for a fresh start. "Future You" will thank you! Take care of yourself and enjoy your break!


Musically Yours,