Hi Chandra! Thanks so much for writing! I always amazed at how differently school districts handle music teachers. I can't imagine teaching on a grant and in your situation. Bless your heart. One thing I can suggest in Denise Gange's Music Play curriculum. I was given this curriculum from a retiring teacher and love the fact that you need nothing to make it work. Since you are working on a grant, I'm wondering if you could also get one for her materials! It is a very reasonable curriculum to buy when compared to all the other things out there and she has it all set up for national standards. I don't use everything in the curriculum but the things I do use are wonderful. There are grant applications on their site! I hope that helps a little?! You are a saint to be teaching in the situation you find yourself!
Hi Chandra! I asked the music teachers on the MK8 music list about your situation and have a reply to share with you. If there are others, I will post those as well.
"I was in the same boat when I started where I was the last year and a half. Except, they didn't even give me a list just "meet all the state standards" and zero budget and paraprofessional pay with the "promise" of certified pay when my license came in. Didn't happen and I'm not there anymore as of the end of last month.
I would have loved to have had the opportunity to get MusicPlay. The principal didn't even want me to work on a grant. She was very undermining and ended up forced to resign an didn't even come back the last week of school.
From everything I have seen and heard, MusicPlay is an awesome asset. Hopefully in my next position I can swing MusicPlay and quaver's. I'd love to work in quavers. My kids loved the free trial stuff I got from a session on quavers at Mississippi mea conference."
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I was in a similar situation as well. I'm ending my second year at my
elementary school. I'm actually a contracted teacher, b/c I haven't gotten
my credential yet, but will be working on it this fall. So, they're not
paying me much. Luckily, I was working with another contracted music
teacher a year ago, she had a few books called "Wee Sing Sing Alongs" "Wee
Sing America" and "Wee Sing Silly Songs" and she offered to make copies for
me. I've used these books a lot. I don't have the cds to these books, but I
play guitar, so it works for me, and the kids. Even if I didn't play
guitar, the kids love singing these songs, esp the silly songs.
Luckily, I was given some instruments to start general music classes, and a
mariachi group, and they also wanted a choir. Having access to instruments
was really great considering our limited budget, but all books, and cds
were on my personal budget. I've bought cd's from Greg and Steve, Hap, and
Palmer, Kalani hand drum books, orff movement books, eurythmics book by
Black and Moore, in fact Dr. Moore was one of my professors in college, and
is a certified eurythmics instructor, Suzuki method, mariachi books, choir
books, the list goes on.
I found mariachi books on the MENC website that have worked very well with
our group. It was a huge challenge for me to get this group off the ground
by myself. I only got to see the children two hours a week, and they came
all together, and were all beginners, never have seen a note in their life.
Luckily, I had mature children that would wait patiently while I worked
with the violins, the guitarron's or vihuela's or guitarists. We recently
had our first concert at one of the local feeder high school, and played
several exercises, and Cielto Lindo, which turned out to be a huge success.
My principal was really happy, and asked if I could intern, so that I can
stay while I'm in my credential program. I'm still waiting to see if the
district will hire me as an intern. I'm hoping they will, because I really
enjoy working with these children a lot.
Good luck, and I hope your situation will get better.
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I did a multi-part series on my blog regarding curriculum. I have received much private, positive feedback regarding it. Here is the link to part I:
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When I first started they gave me a key to a room and a list of students. In the new school two years ago they gave me a key to the room but no list of students. Next time they will probably give me nothing at all. I teach public school so obviously all the state expectations apply.
I applied for MusicPlay grant and they gave us a grant that covered 50%. The principal came up with the rest of the money. I bought a projector (the one the school provided me with did not work with my laptop) and projected MusicPlay Power Point presentations and Quick Movies on the wall (two 2nd graders got stuck in my projector screen the year before when they tried to take robber stoppers off the legs of the screen to throw at kids. After un-stucking them I decided that a wall is safer) MusicPlay teacher guide comes with CDs with both performance and accompaniment tracks for every song - I think at least 100 songs for each grade level. I love all the Kodaly and Orff activities. Every lesson includes a game. It is working very well for me!
I don't think teachers in public schools should agree to teach on a cart anymore. This is 21 century and given the importance of entertainment, marketing and communication industries, music teachers need to have access to technology and training on how to prepare today's children for 21 century careers, not given a cart and a boom box.
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It's either a cart or nothing! I teach in a school that I will never have
a room. Every nook and cranny is filled to the brim with OT, PT, Speech
therapy, Pal's tutors, SPED classes, small group intervention and on and
on. I have been doing a cart for the last 14 years so I'm used to it. I
have found there are a few advantages. One, I am on time! I can see what
the students are doing and the classroom teachers see what I am doing. I
have learned to be fully self contained. If I need technology, I have a
laptop and a projector on my cart. I can clear the floor, dance and play
instruments with the kids and put it all back again in 30 minutes. If I
unplug it I plug it back, if I write on it, I erase it, if I move it, I put
it back. If I know I will need the board, I write what I need on either
bulletin board paper or a piece of dollar store tablecloth and put it over
what's on the board. I never erase unless I ask and I try not to do that.
I have another school and I do have a room there, but if we get 3 more
second grade students, I will lose it to a second grade classroom. And
this building is two story with no elevator!!! But again, you make it work
FOR THE CHILDREN!!!! I'm the only music teacher they get so I MUST cram as
much as humanly possible into what ever time/circumstance I see them.
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I would strongly recommend that music teacher take a Kodaly levels class this summer.
When I was getting ready to come back to teaching, after being home for 13 years with our sons, I was trying to decide between taking Orff or Kodaly levels.
I finally settled on the Kodaly, because I figured I wouldn't know whether or not an eventual job would have the Orff instruments, and have never been sorry.
Jill Trinka's quote during those levels classes comes back to me, reading this music teacher's situation: all you need is a piece of chalk.
Granted, other things are wonderful to have, but I did a long term sub job, in a tough city school, without a classroom or any materials, after doing two Kodaly levels, and loved it!
Sometimes I think we can be our worst enemy if we make a bad situation look good, but maybe in this case, if this teacher can begin to improve this program, she will gain credibility which may translate into materials.
DonorsChoose grants are awesome but not sure you could fund a curriculum that way.
Shame on a school that would put the burden of providing for these students' music education on the back of the teacher! But unfortunately, it happens way too often.
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I hope these comments are a help to you!!
June 16, 2013