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!

Barbara

3 thoughts on “Wednesday November 12, 2014

  1. PARCC testing certainly is a challenge. Field trips are prohibited the entire month of March and May. March was always our District Choral Festival and a great way to honor MIOSM. Now the Festival is at the end of February. May will be interesting with a concert scheduled at the end of the month. I would push back into June but our scheduled last day is June 12 and end of the year administrative activities have already commenced. Our Superintendent reduced spring break to just Good Friday and Easter Monday a few years back. Here is a scheduling question for you…The girls in Chorale…do they perform Concert Choir rep as well? If so, do they take two sections or do you teach them in their Chorale class? If they learn in their class, when do they get the opportunity to rehearse with the Concert Choir?

    I think I would rather have the testing the way your district is implementing it. Our District is wiping out two complete months on the calendar, and both of them are Concert months.

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    • Chorale is its own ensemble, separate rep. They have one sectional a week where Concert Choir has two.
      I think you need to forget, for a while, the idea of “concert months”. That was last year.
      This implementation of testing will not last. It can’t. English and math teachers will never have the time to teach their curriculum unless their curriculum is now to teach to PARCC.

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  2. Concert months are definitely yesterdays news this year…Except of course for December…I wonder how we survived and flourished without all of this testing. We had some…but to reserve two entire months of school with no outside activities in just crazy. We will be Ok..we always are, no matter what they throw at us.

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