Getting to Know You…Thursday November 13, 2014

Today’s Concert Choir Activity was a “bonding” activity. We are quite ahead of schedule for our December concert and I have challenged my Officers and Section Leaders to get to know all the singers in the class. Minimally, they need to know their names – we are 92 strong. They suggested we run a “get-to-know-you” activity. I do these types of activities early in the year with the Chorale girls and we did them with the A Cappella Choir at their retreat in September.

Today, I was actually going to run an activity I’ve done before where I divide the class into four choirs and where we run our rep by the number I signal to the class. (Number 1 = Choir 1 and they sing until I change numbers).   This lets me break up the rehearsal routine and lets me hear the singers in smaller sections, without their Section Leader influencing them.

Today, we added that “get-to-know-you” idea where the Section Leaders and Officers created questions for which they would facilitate responses in their “choirs”.

Concert Choir Bonding Questions

  1. Do you speak any languages (other than English) fluently? Are there any that you would love to be able to speak?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
    1. Who has the most?
  3. Favorite Concert Choir song? Favorite song (ever, or right now)? Favorite artist?
  4. What is your favorite musical? Do you plan on doing anything in Cabaret??
  5. Other than choir, what are your interests and hobbies?
  6. What is your favorite food? What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
  7. What is your middle name?
    1. If you don’t have one, what would you want it to be?
  8. What is your favorite class at school? What is your least favorite? What class do you wish we had at school?
  9. In how many places have you lived? Where would you like to live in the future? Dream location?
  10. What is your favorite TV show genre? Your favorite TV show?
  11. What is your favorite article of clothing?
  12. Do you play any sports, if so what is your favorite to play? What is your favorite sport to watch?
  13. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I chose two facilitators per group – they asked the questions and recorded the responses and then they presented their group to the class. What fun! What interesting things we learned about each other! We were able to get through two of the four groups today. We will finish the other two tomorrow and then the groups will have a little bit of a sing-off…pitting each choir against the other three.

Happy almost Friday!


Wednesday November 12, 2014

So today we said goodbye to marking period one and hello to marking period 2. Grades are now turned in for the eighteen class sections I have. Thoughts are now turning to polishing repertoire for all ensembles for December performances. Kids are still recruiting their friends into choir and I am taking every one of them.  I spend spare minutes during the day recording voice parts on cellphones so these newbies can catch up with the friends who recruited them.

I’ve announced to my Concert Choir that we WILL have a CABARET 2015…not in May, but in March…right after our Spring Musical and just before PARCC testing begins. Trying to create or establish any classroom momentum from March 16th to graduation will be a huge challenge. We will have eight delayed openings from March 16-25th. (Testing in Grades 9 and 10 English/language arts and All students in Algebra I or Algebra II;  Grade 11 English/language arts or all students in Geometry)

None of us are certain what the schedule will look like for teaching. When we run a delay for testing, the students who are being tested come to school at 7:35a and the rest of the school arrives for 10:35a…then we run 21-22 minutes periods 1 through 9 until 2:25p.

School will be closed on April 3rd for Good Friday. Our Spring Break, weather permitting, is April 13-17. PARCC testing will resume on April 21-27th with five delayed openings. (Grades 9 and 10 English/language arts; All students in Algebra I or Algebra II; Grade 11 English/language arts or all students in Geometry)

May 4-15 are AP exams. May 15th is the Senior Prom. Bio testing will give us two add’l delayed openings on May 26 & 27th. Physics Day, which wipes out all physics classes (ten busses??) to test the velocity of roller coasters at Great Adventure, is June 2nd. The Spring Choral Concert is June 9th. Graduation is June 18th. It won’t come soon enough.

In the meantime, my A Cappella Choir Honors has submitted their video testing to Edmodo for marking period 2 grades. My Concert Choir now has deadlines to meet in choosing all cast numbers for their March CABARET. My Chorale girls are minutes away from being performance ready so they are working on the basics I would normally start in January. After a review of the notes of the treble and bass clefs, accidentals and ledger lines (last week), their assignment today was to write out the parts they sing from two of their scores and identify the names of the notes…practical application of the notes they took last week. Everybody’s busy.

In the meantime, I cert 2have successfully completed the 40-hours of online study for the full 100-hour ESL certification!   I have met with Josue, a junior from Honduras, who has been assigned to me (by my request) for tutoring. He has limited English and he is testing my far-away and somewhat limited high school Spanish. I am enjoying the diversity of preparing for his after school tutoring session. It’s been fun!

Keep calm shirtAt the end of the school day today one of the two singers I had who participated in the All-National NAfME Honor Choir in Nashville presented me with a “thank-you” gift…(see photo). I love it!!! I think I will frame it and place it over the clock in my room for all to see…what a thoughtful gift!.

I hope you are all doing well in your corner of the world.

Thanks for reading!