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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Favorites 2017

Another month has flown by, and we are now truly in the thick of 2017! I'm taking a minute today to reflect on some of the things I especially enjoyed this past month. I hope you'll leave a comment at the end with your "January favorites" as well, so we can all find new things to enjoy in February! :)

1. The Rubber Band Method

As most of you know, I work in a pretty behaviorally-challenging building. I've put a lot of thought and effort into my behavior management systems and have built strong class communities and relationships in most of my classes now, after 4 years in this position. But there are always going to be those few students who, for a variety of reasons, will always struggle with their behavior and need a LOT of reminders/reinforcement to keep them on track. In their homerooms, most of these students have their own charts that they fill out, or systems in place with their teachers, to help keep them on track. The trouble is that with hundreds of students and classes coming in and out all day, it is almost impossible to keep all of that set up in the classroom AND remember what to do with which kid when they walk in the door.

Enter the rubber band method, a technique I learned from the school psychologist. Basically you start with several rubber bands on one wrist, and when a student needs a reminder to get back on track, you move one rubber band to the other wrist. The goal is to keep most of the rubber bands on the original wrist, and you pre-establish with the student what the reward and consequence will be for keeping or not keeping rubber bands. So that they can see success, especially in the beginning, it's important to start with more rubber bands than the number of times they are normally disruptive/misbehaving, and then as they become consistent with their behavior, you can challenge them to keep it up with fewer rubber bands to start with. The beauty of this system is that I can just keep the rubber bands on my wrist all day and not have to worry about pulling something out or putting things away depending on the class. It doesn't disrupt the lesson to move one over, and nobody else in the class needs to know why you're doing it.

I shared this technique in my recent blog post introducing myself on the TPT Music Crew blog. If you missed that post and you want to get to know me better, head on over there! :)

2. Music Ed Blogs website

Jennifer (from The Yellow Brick Road) and I have been working for a few years now on different ways to foster a spirit of idea-sharing amongst music education bloggers and the readers of those blogs, and I'm so excited about our latest project: the MusicEd Blogs website! Although a lot of people rely on social media (Pinterest, Facebook, etc) to find out about new blog posts, social media doesn't always reliably inform readers about new posts, and finding out about new blogs only happens by pure luck most of the time! To help people find relevant content, stay on top of new posts from favorite blogs, and discover new ones to love, we've created a website that currently serves 2 purposes:

1. Shows the latest posts from all MEB member blogs in one place
2. Gives a tabulated list of all MEB member blogs, organized by category/topic

We are still adding new blogs all the time (so if you don't see your own or your favorite one listed, fill out the form to get added!), and we hope you'll find this resource helpful! There are 2 ways to get the most out of MusicEd Blogs: bookmark/pin the page so you can visit it any time, and follow the site on Facebook to get notifications from all different bloggers from one spot.

3. This stuff:

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  1. I LOVE the rubber band idea! Also, I'll be on the lookout for that cookie butter. Though, I'm not sure I'd want it around, for the simple fact that I'd probably eat it all by myself!

    1. The cookie butter is dangerous!!! ;) Thanks for hosting!