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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

November Highlights 2020

November was... quite eventful! When I first started writing these monthly recap posts I had a few intentions in mind: have a way to share some of my day-to-day, amplify content from other bloggers I was sharing on my Facebook page directly on this site, and highlight some of those little things I share on my Instagram account that aren't lengthy enough for a full blog post. The problem is, I am not a savvy social media person, so when things get crazy, that's the first thing I drop. So rather than try to limit myself to sharing things from my social media accounts, I'm going to just recap life in general (and still amplify other bloggers- don't miss their great content at the end of this post)! 

1. Switch to Remote Teaching

The biggest thing that happened to me was my district's switch from hybrid to fully online learning. It was, of course, definitely the right thing to do, but that didn't change the loss I feel. I'm glad I get to teach live classes on Zoom rather than just throwing asynchronous assignments out there like we did last spring, but it's still just not the same. And because we are on a rotation seeing 2 grade levels at a time for 3 weeks each, I actually never got to see my 3rd and 4th graders in person before we switched to full distance- our district's first day of remote learning was also the first day of my first rotation with them! 

Some things I am definitely not missing: running around the building with a mask and headset pushing a cart that was never meant to see that much action with super unreliable internet and a work computer that shuts down whenever it feels the need is not what I call a good time. But as we all can attest, limiting our face-to-face interactions is so hard!

2. Time with Family

No, we didn't all get together for a big meal, but I continue to be so grateful to have my parents nearby and so willing to help out with my daughters. Having the time to just hang out with them, playing board games, decorating the house for Christmas, and spend a little more time away from computer screens has been just the thing we all needed. And we did get to Zoom in my sisters and their families for a meal "together"! 

3. Songmaker Composition

I do a unit every year with my 6th graders where they create their own chord progression, notate it, add a melody, and perform/ record the completed piece (you can see the project here). It's one of my favorite things to teach because it combines so many important concepts and it's the first time their compositions really start to sound "legit" to them- it's daunting but so worthwhile. I was teaching 5th and 6th grade most of the month with our rotational schedule, and we did that project but modified for the hybrid model- since they all have their own devices (which we've never had before), I had them put their compositions into Songmaker as part of the creation process. It went so much better this way! Students could visually see the chord tones and hear the chords and melody together immediately so they could make adjustments immediately. We all loved it and I hope to continue doing it this way from now on.

4. Blog Catchup

If you missed any of my posts this month, you can catch up on your reading here! The conversation I had with other music teachers in various teaching situations was one of the best things I did this month for sure- if you haven't already that is a must-see.

5. Music Education Posts

These are some of my favorite posts from other writers that I found helpful this month- I hope you will take the time to read them as well:

I hope you find some new inspiration for the month ahead, and that you had a wonderful November as well! 

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