New Year, New Stuff

I love buying stuff for my classroom. I like to reason with myself, saying that I need to get a lot of things now so that I don’t have to buy them later. Every year I am wrong. Here are some of the things I found for my classroom that the kids are enjoying in class!

First things first, Target is the best. I love color and they did not disappoint this year!

I am spoiled with having a great local teacher’s store down the street….I NEEDED a tiger puppet, ok?!

Our school is adventure and travel themed this year and I was so excited! Maps are awesome so I bought a bunch of different ones!

And you can’t forget manipulatives…thanks to Target and IKEA!

 

Then you have to decorate…

This was the unpacking stage of back-to-school. Check out those beautiful colored bins from Target! They are so useful!

Not everything was new…I raided my parent’s house and brought back all my old books and animals. Mom was happy to have it out of the house, I’m sure.

I even recruited Krista…she did an awesome job on my book display while I messed around with new costume parts.

Everything now has a place. The bass bars were up for the storm so they don’t take all my table space usually.

My instruments have parking spaces! (The junk in the pile went to another school)

A decorative shelf AND bulletin board this year?!

This is what I thought I would has as a bulletin board this year…

Then I ended up with two more! Here is one I think I will keep up most of the year. The other one will change. It says “Music is a Universal Language” then the colors are different types of music around the world.

 

Now, just don’t ask how many pounds of pumpkin and cat erasers I have in my possession…..

 

THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE GREAT!

 

 

Surviving The First Weeks

I was so excited for a new school year! I bough tons of stuff at Target (post to follow), laminated everything that stood still and revamped everything for my room. We had just around 2.5 weeks of in-service (I had to do new teacher orientation since I started in January). On Friday before school was set to start, the teachers were sent home because of the impending storm.

Then came Hurricane Harvey.

I was fortunate where I live because I did not have any damage. Houston and the surrounding areas got over 50″ of rain in 3 days time. People were being rescued in boats where there were normally traffic jams. It was a huge mess, but everyone worked together to make a bad situation a little lighter.

We finally started school two weeks later and I was SO EXCITED to see my kids. We weren’t sure what would happen on the first day since so many families were displaced, but this year has been great! We just finished our second week and music class has been rocking!

My third, fourth and fifth graders have been learning about instruments and ensembles. I have continued my choir and added a drum ensemble and they are pumped to join both of those groups. I am recruiting kids to be in band/orchestra/choir in middle school, plus getting them excited to sing and play instruments in class.

My babies (K-2) have been learning how to use their voices, dance, and play instruments. They have so much energy that I put my head down on my desk after Kindergarten. They are fun, but I have never started fresh kinders before…they’re babies! We dance and sing and move and do poems and pretend, and after that, we still have 40 minutes of class! 🙂

Kinder learned about the 4 voices: Whisper, Talk, Shout and Sing. On day 1, they learned with Sharkee (original name, trademark Kinder red group). He gave them examples and they responded. On day two, we used whisper phones to call up Buc-ee and ask him questions. We also learned “Deep in the Heart of Texas” because Buc-ee is the unofficial mascot of everything Texas.

and of course, we did an instrument cakewalk. Throw on some music, march around the circle and play the heck out of some jingle bells. They love it!

Our next rotation is fall themed! I’ll update on how it goes…it doesn’t cool down for fall here, so I anticipate a weather lesson incorporated into music class. 🙂

 

Posted in K-2

Classroom Theme Reveal!

New State, New District, New Classroom, New Expectations

Man, am I excited.

We are in the process of taking one district and adding it to another district, which means we are starting everything over. New beginnings are allowing us to basically start from the ground up to create an excellent school.

My administrators (who are awesome) have challenged us to decorate our rooms to the extreme, like the Ron Clark Academy (look it up, the rooms are amazing.)

We each got to pick a theme and no two rooms could be the same. I was alerted of this via a phone call while I was blue crab fishing with my sister so we immediately for to work thinking of a theme.

Fishing in Galveston

Fishing in Galveston

With Krista’s help, we decided on something.

Vintage Airstream Camper

Why? Because it’s different. Because I had tons of space. Because no one else would think of it. Because “Under the Sea” was probably taken.

We took the idea and ran with it. I started Pinteresting and didn’t find much; apparently it’s too different! 

I was lucky and found an awesome Teachers Pay Teachers post of vintage campers in every color. Thanks to RebeccaB Designs for my inspiration! Her post can be found here.

I have been working at home for about 6 weeks and in my room for 2 days and will post the entire classroom tour when it’s before-school finished! (We all know it will change before kids actually get in the room.) 🙂

Emptiness=Possibility. Bring it on.

Emptiness=Possibility.
Bring it on.

Texas Teachin’

I’m Back!

Last fall, I was lucky enough to be a blogger for the K-State College of Education. I loved talking about my journey as a (basically) first year teacher. Since then, there has been a lot of changes.

In February, there were lots of rumblings about Kansas not starting school in the fall because of the lack of budget. As a music teacher (or specials/extracurricular as people say), I started to worry that my subject would be cut and I would be out of a job. Luckily, it didn’t get that bad, but I started to look elsewhere for a job. After some life changes earlier in the school year, there was nothing holding me back from picking up and moving somewhere else. By “else” I mean south.

I took a bit of advice from my mom and applied in Texas. All over Texas, actually. In February and March, I applied for dozens of jobs from band to choir to mariachi from Corpus Christi to Amarillo. One job stuck out to me; not only because it was a clean slate opportunity, but also because it was ten minutes from Galveston. Grading papers on the beach sounded a lot better than shoveling snow!

In March, I was hired as a middle school choir director in the great state of Texas. I would be moving to southern Houston to teach in a great district. I resigned from my position in Lansing, packed up my classroom (LMS was set to move to the “NEW” middle school), and moved 1200 miles away to League City, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

I have been here since the middle of June and I absolutely love it. It is hotter than the surface of the sun, but the abundance of fresh Mexican food, super friendly people and a short drive to the ocean makes it all worth it. I have fully embraced the move and have surrendered my Kansas citizenship to become a Texan. Sorry Kansas, love you but….Texas.

TexasGreat

I have had such a warm reception here; I have found a great church on Galveston, been working with a P.E.O chapter on the island and have a super supportive school staff. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be.

deepintheheart

It’s Been Fun…

I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog through the wonderful K-State College of Education. It has been an honor to write for the college and show off my classroom to help bridge the gap between undergraduate and post-grad educators. I have learned SO much about the power of reflection and promotion of education that I feel empowered to continue writing about my classroom, but also sprinkle more hobby-based posts such as cooking, crafting and traveling. This experience has me bitten by the blogging bug!

Anyone who is interested in taking the plunge and starting (or continuing their own) blog, DO IT! You will love sharing your experiences with others. I felt that through my writing, I became a more positive person. It is weird to think about, being a positive or negative person, but when you have to write something down that is semi-permanent that other people will read, you realize that some of the things you complain about (the copier being broken, kids asking dumb questions, etc…) don’t seem like that big of a deal when you go to write it down. Many times I would think, “I should blog about this because it’s frustrating and others are probably frustrated about it too,” but I get home, think it through and decide that some things aren’t worth worrying about.

Once again, thank you all for following the blog through the COE, it was a blast and I would love to contribute to K-State and the Education department in any way that I can in the future. Wildcat Teachers (or EdCats) need to stick together!

Posted in Uncategorized

Serving Families During The Holiday Season

This week is a week for family, giving and caring. Unfortunately this time of year tends to show the staff who is missing out on the important needs, like food, clothing and shelter.

My school just finished a food drive for our school’s food panty. We serve up to 25 families each week, sending bags of food home on the weekends because they have fallen on hard times. We have a great group of ladies who come in to organize the pantry, stuff bags and fill in what is low. They work with a local church to make sure our kids and families are taken care of; it really is a cool program.

We also participate in an Angel Tree. I picked up an angel for a 6 year old girl who needed clothes; what a perfect way to spend my time! I loved picking out cute little outfits, especially knowing that one of our own kiddos would be wearing them to school.

I personally try to help out the students who walk into my classroom, whether they have a bad day or a bad home life.

  • I always have food in my office: Someone comes in crying? Have a chocolate. Someone needs breakfast? Have a granola bar. Food solves everything.
  • I work with kids to pay for their uniforms; they can work off debt  (if that works for their parents, they’re just middle schoolers after all.) or do a payment plan.
  • I let kids express themselves in my classroom. Can’t handle working on an assignment in class? I’ll give you an alternate task to get your mind off whatever is bothering you. My room is decorated so much because I have kids who come in and say “Ms. S, can I decorate today? I want to take my mind off (X).” I always let them.

Yes, kids need to know how to read, write, read music and do math, but they also need to have their basic needs met. They cannot focus on fractions when they are hungry. They don’t care about reading when they may get beat up when they go home.

During this holiday season, be understanding. Not every student will have a great Christmas break. Not every student will have a large Thanksgiving dinner. Not every student will have a coat when they have to walk to school in the snow. This is the world we live in.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Keeping Your Classroom Clean

November is the time to get sick. Kids can take the day off; you can’t. You have to sniffle to work, cough while lecturing and overall feel badly. There are a few things you can do to make your room feel a little healthier, while probably helping that funky smell problem, too.

  1. Buy hand sanitizer. I went to Costco at the beginning of the year and bought 2 gallon pumps of sanitizer. This has made me feel so much better just having the ability to get some cooties off of my hands since the nearest bathroom/sink is in the office.
  2. Clorox Wipe Everything. At the end of the week, I wipe down the piano, my podium and my desk. I am amazed at how disgusting it is even after a week. My janitor is awesome at keeping the floor clean, but he isn’t responsible for surfaces. I also have students wipe down my drums and chairs, which makes the room feel better.
  3. Fabreeze. I have scentsy-type warmers and fabreeze to spray on everything. Middle schoolers have that fog of “stank” that follows them everywhere and these precautions help get you through the day.
  4. Take care of yourself. Don’t let kids cough on you or play their instrument when they have strep. Ew.

These few things help a lot in the fight against kid germs. If you have other ideas, shoot them to me- I always want to save a sick day!

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m Too Tired To Name This Post: November

Every good thing must come to an end. The energy that I got from teaching the kids at the beginning of the year has finally caught up with me.

I’m so tired that I came home and laid on my floor for an hour. The cat fell asleep on my back.

November, also known as “Kids Are Jerks” and “Everyone is Puking” Months, is known for Thanksgiving. The problem is that once Halloween (and the following sugar coma) hits, there are only a few weeks left in the semester. You know it and the kids know it, which means they will not turn in homework, won’t listen and won’t care until after that Thanksgiving break. Keeping track of who was sick, who is in the nurse and who was sent to the office is tiring, especially if you tack on lack of internet (going on 4 days!) and extracurricular activities, you are spent by 10am.

To my future teacher friends (and current teacher friends, I don’t know who reads this!), take care of yourselves. This is my second semester teaching, but I already feel a little crispy around the edges. I come to school at 6:30am, spend my plan and lunch in the office or workroom, I spend every afternoon with lessons, concession stands, drama club or tutoring, then come home and work on school stuff until I fall asleep on the couch.

I have a problem.

How do you say no?

If you know me personally, you know I am non-confrontational. I don’t like making waves and don’t want people mad at me. I am a yes girl, as in I cain’t say no (Name that musical!) This applies to my personal life, as well as my professional life. For the record, I AM NOT COMPLAINING, I love my jobs and duties very deeply; I just have too many things on my plate, which I have realized.

Here’s what’s on Ms. Scheuerman’s Docket:

  • SWACDA, NEKMEA and KSMEA Honor Choir Students (require rehearsals, travel)
  • Pep Club (concession stands, incentive cards, shirts, placards for teams)
  • Drama Club (putting on a Melodrama in the Spring, costumes/props/lights/sound/sets)
  • Rehearsing 6 choirs
  • Teaching 4 hours of private lessons per week
  • Planning my best friend’s wedding (Maid of Honor, whoop whoop!)
  • Developing curriculum for 2 new classes next year
  • Decorating my classroom for Winter
  • Preparing for the 60 new students who signed up for choir in the spring (not including the 85 that are already in 7&8 grade choir)
  • Taking over for the NEKSMEA Middle Lever Honor Choir Chair
  • Serving on the LMS Site Council
  • Playing piano at the Lansing Correctional Facility for the Men’s Choir
  • joining PEO
  • balancing family, friends, pet care, house work, and my new car (Ford Fusion Hybrid, highly suggest)

Just remember; November is beautiful and the weather is great, but it kind of sucks in the school world. Dodge those flying germ sprays, take care of yourself and go home and watch two hours of How To Get Away With Murder, you deserve it.

Remember, it’s all for the kids!

Posted in Uncategorized