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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Music Classroom Re-Organization Post Pandemic

In the wake of over a year of pandemic teaching, everything is a mess. Before we can start getting ready for next year, we have to clean up from the last one! Over the last few weeks I've been working on cleaning up the chaos left by pandemic teaching, from my own well-being to my computer files and everything in between. The most obvious mess I have to deal with, though, is the actual *stuff*. After teaching in so many different modalities in so many different locations, my classroom supplies are all over the place! Today I'm sharing some specific steps I'm taking to get things back where they need to be so I can have an organized space to start next year and have all the supplies organized so I can use them when I need them!

1. Everything in Its Place

Over the past 18 months I have taught on a cart, in a small office space at school, from my home "office" (aka a corner of my bedroom where I set up a desk to zoom), from my home "studio" (aka a corner of my basement where I set up recording space for asynchronous lessons), and in my music classroom. I have instruments, curriculum resource books, scarves, puppets, and other teaching supplies all over my house and all over the school building! So the first step is getting things back where they belong- which for now (a month away from the start of school) mostly means getting all the school supplies back in my classroom closet in as organized a fashion as I can. This way when I go to set up my classroom for the fall I will at least know where everything is, and if I've lost anything (yes, I have) I know what I need to order.

2. Reassess Supply Needs

Teaching without shared supplies, without students being able to move, and without a classroom definitely forced me to make do with less! Rather than rushing back to using #allthethings, I want to be intentional about evaluating whether the extra supplies are actually things that are helpful or just creating clutter. Anything I can streamline is a good thing when it comes to teaching, especially teaching young children! For example, I used only digital "manipulatives" for composition this year rather than the physical manipulatives I normally use. I definitely know I want to get back to using physical manipulatives rather than going all digital, because I know that especially for younger students it's a much more effective way to learn, but I don't think I need them all! For my upper elementary students I plan to keep the rhythm manipulatives I've used in the past, but I may not continue to use mini erasers to place on the staff like I have in the past, but use the online tools I found this year instead.

3. Rethink Classroom Organization

Having taught in so many different spaces under so many different conditions has also given me a chance to reevaluate my classroom space as well. For us it's likely we will still have some social distancing in place in the fall so I will be taking that into consideration. I've also had a lot more experience with technology and will continue to use some things, like using my board as a second monitor, even without distance learners on zoom. If you are thinking through your own classroom space (whatever that may look like in the fall), here are all the different spaces I've taught in, both during and before the pandemic, and how I set them up. I'll be thinking through my setup in each of these as I think about my plans for the fall!

This is the final post in my series on "cleaning up the covid chaos"- after a month of processing and reorganizing from this past school year I feel like I'm finally in a place where I can start to think ahead to next school year! If you want to see the rest of the posts in the series on how I've been trying to intentionally take the time to process and work through everything that happened over the last 18 months before even allowing myself to start thinking ahead, with the specific steps I've been taking in each area including my emotional, physical, and social well-being, technology, and curriculum/ lesson plans, you can find all of those here:

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