Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The making of the sub plan video

So I had this genius plan to make a short DVD that set up each of the theory worksheets I wanted to set up for my students to complete while I'm gone on Friday at the local music education conference (CMEA). It was on my to-do list to do all week long....

And then this week happened. It has been absolutely nuts. I usually run every day (run/walk). Its my break from the craziness of the school day. Today I did not get out to the track.

Tuesday night I selected the music theory lessons.

Today (Wednesday) I sat down at 5:00pm to have my hair cut and sketched out a rough draft on a notepad of my lesson plans.

I realized in the craziness that I had no one to video tape me and I figured I would probably be too tired tonight to want to actually video tape myself teaching after such a long day.

So I made slides out (literally drew them because it was faster than looking for images online or making stuff in Sibelius). I just drew out examples, scanned them in, saved them to my desktop by class and then imported them in imovie.

The rest remains to be seen....this is not going to be a high budget film...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resolutions that are thrifty

I enjoy New Year's Resolutions. For me they are motivating, probably because I'm a highly self-motivated person. The past two years I have had New Year's Resolutions that I have stuck to and they have really helped change my life for the better. This year I continued adding resolutions, personally and professionally. A few of my professional New Year's Resolutions include the following:

-Not to sweat the small stuff. This basically means stop stressing out. Ultimately its only high school band. This also includes getting ready of anything that stresses me out. This is actually a resolution from two years ago and I got so much better at this I decided to do it again because I still have a long way to go for improvement on not stressing out. I mean come on, I teach teenagers, these people (and sorry their parents) often = stress. Needless to say I don't want anymore stress in my life.

-Sightread more. This is a thrifty resolution because I have tons of music that is worth sight-reading at every grade level. Plus when I came to the school I inherited sets of chorale books, older band methods, etc. I just need to make the kids read and read and read. The hard part for me is repetition. I find that work but I don't always recycle them every year because I forget that even though I have already done with them, it does not mean that they have learned it with me. So I just need to repeat reading the books and easy music every year.

-Enable my technology to make my life easier.

Funny about that one. Well, I bought myself a killer Christmas present to complete my collection of totally sweet and amazingly awesome technological gadgets. I have a digital camera. I have an MP3 recorder. I have video Ipod and an ipod touch. I also have a small non-mac MP3 recorder (no screen). This year I purchased a flip camera. Its pretty amazing. My biggest problem right now is that I forget I have it and haven't started using it. I plan on using it to do everything from show products/descriptions of how to do things on the blog and to share information with my students.

I am actually considering video taping myself teaching a unit this week and having my students just follow along with me with my sub on Friday. The kids know how to set up the class room and the projector. I possess all the technology to video tape myself teaching a lesson, copy the handouts for the kids, burn the video lessons to DVD and provide a sub plan for my totally competent sub.

I think I may try that this week. Heck, I'll even share the lessons here.

Now if I actually pull this off, this is a killer use of technology. It's like video conferencing with your students. Actually its even better than that. If I can pull this off, I will have successfully figured how to be two places at once. You know I could video tape the announcements at the end of rehearsal, save the movie and post on facebook & school loop (our blackboard style program we use at school to share info via the web, more on that later) here, an ST blog, and yeah even my youtube channel. That would be so cool....I need a personal technology assistant. Applicants contact me directly (hahahaa)

What else am I doing with technology? Ipod touch apps. There really are free apps for everything. I will be talking about all of these apps at greater length but right my new fav is "wunderlist". There's an app for the ipod touch and a desktop program for my computer. This is exactly the kind of technology I need as a band director. I need something that is able to be updated from computer which is where I do most of my prep work. I need simpfied versions accessible and updated (sync'd) easily to my computer so all my info is updated constantly. Wunderlist is simply two do lists with notes sections! I'm now wireless in my classroom (God willing that the district office power failure is fixed this weekend). I have an obsession with post it notes and long paper lists. I'm trying to move this addiction towards a more "green" tech approach to list keeping.

Other apps that I have or want to get that I use on my itouch at work include all my mac programs (ical, itunes, iwhatever. I have mobile me so this syncing just happens all the time), wunderlist (starting this week), Bento (filemaker pro program with an app that I use for task management, music library, student records etc. It is five stars), fingering chart, virtuoso (piano), iDisk, app (can you say "marching band season"), youtube (yup I use youtube in my job), and the yelp app (we go on a lot of band trips, yelp is very helpful for many many things).

Happy Saturday. I'm off to my new fav place to hang out....the public library branch location. I am personally being thrifty and saving money by not splurging on my love of books. For someone like me who is a book addict the library is our mecca. I have work to do and am more productive when I leave the house (I learned this in college). I can't work from my office to due to said power outage at the district office, meaning that the internet/district server is down at my office (that sucks but hey I need it Monday to make my technology make my life easier). I also need to return books & get some new ones as well as check out some cd's to burn/share with my students (uh-oh there's another thrifty secret).

Coming next....the making of the digital lesson plan for Friday. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrifty Thought of the Day

If nothing else, I will try to post a "thrifty though of the day". Today's thrifty thought...occasionally go shopping in your own band library. A lot of band programs don't have a lot of money to purchase new music anyway, but I really encourage folks with older music libraries to just sit down and look through things and even just sight read stuff that you don't know at all. We did this the other day in Wind Ensemble. We played an older piece called Jamaican Folk Suite (not to be confused with Jamaican Folk Dance Suite, which I love). We read it and its a going to make a great little piece for our freshman at the spring part....its free!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What will you find here?

What will you find here? Savvy commentary about my day to day life as a high school band director. I will mostly be sharing information regarding how I afford to run my band program through creative efforts. I work hard to find great fundraisers that provide products that folks actually want with a pay out that makes it worth our effort. I find a variety of activities that parents and students can do (instead of sell) to make money, again that's worth their time. My goal is to share with you and for my readers ultimately to share with us.

What is to come? A new description of my new library system that we are putting together. Its going to be pretty sweet when its all done.

Features on three of my favorite fundraisers! Welcome to the thrifty band director...I hope you enjoy!