I Love My Room, Part 1


After years of sharing rooms with art teachers (not at the same time!), teaching in cafeterias, kindergarten classrooms, and even one year teaching in the gym, I’ve loved my current position (I think it’s been nine years. I’ve lost track!)

After taking my sabbatical last year to work on my Ph.D., I realized one of the things I missed the most was…..setting up my classroom. Weird, right? But there’s something about tweaking a bulletin board that is just rather cathartic. Since I worked as a substitute while on my academic leave, I could gather quite a few new ideas and was very excited to incorporate some and make them my own.

Today, my room was ALMOST FINISHED. I did finish my bulletin boards and would just like to share things. Later, I’ll post pictures of my whole room.

OK, this isn’t today, and this isn’t a bulletin board, and the room is still rather messy, but I wanted to share my Sub Tub. Every year, I’m trying to find just the right twist so I don’t return from a day off to find out a sub has shown my kids Gangnam YouTube videos. (Yes, that happened).

I substituted for a totally organized teacher who set up this folder, with class rosters, explicit directions for electronics, wonderful details on classroom management, and other important details, tabbed and organized by category. My three ring binder has my main schedule, schedule by block days (we’re on a 4-day rotation), class rosters, seating charts, electronic directions, medical advice, IEP and special education advice on a need-to-know basis, and tips on being a good substitute, as well as notebook paper. The cart has a drawer for worksheet masters and games directions, a drawer for the games themselves, and a drawer for substitute-but-also-curricularly-appropriate videos and DVDs, including approved downloaded YouTube videos and videos from Discovery Kids. Crossing my fingers……

I have had an old green chalkboard in the back of the room that I usually used as an “art gallery” for kids’ drawings, but really, it sort of made my room look dingy. This year, I covered it in yellow paper with a duct tape border (music note!), which held the paper in place. I printed off targets for the first few weeks and glued magnets to the backs of the paper (after laminating) because the chalkboard was magnetic. There is a little baggy hanging up by the letter “K” with images of targets. As the classes achieve mastery on a music target, I will add a little target image next to the goal to show progress and mastery, then switch the objectives out as time goes on. (The colored cart below? Work in progress. Old labels do not yield easily…The hanging bag is from Thirty-One and is perfect for my accidentals bars for my Orff instruments)

This is my Vocal Football board. I will have little shirts with kids’s names on them and a set order of simple solfege patterns that are grade appropriate. As the students individually demonstrate proper singing with various patterns, which get more difficult progressively, they will advance to one of the goal lines. This is a project that needs tweaking, but will be made available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Stay tuned!

ELEMENTary, My Dears!  This is the bulletin board I use to introduce the music elements. The yellow paper is the “puzzle” board. As classes show understanding on various music elements, one student gets to put a piece of the puzzle on the board until the puzzle is all complete.

This is my Rhythm Racers poster. It is similar to the Vocal Football and Recorder Karate motivational boards. Each teacher is assigned a race car pattern, and each student gets a smaller version of that race car. As they demonstrate the ability to either echo certain rhythmic patterns through clapping or other body percussion or show the ability to read rhythm patterns (more advanced), their cars get closer to the finish line. And yes, I do realize as I look at this the poster is upside down! Need to fix that tomorrow…..The carts below are for class recorders; a third grade cart, fourth, fifth, and sixth. Since I have three classes per grade, this works out great. The Thirty-One hanger is one that I purchased used from one of my consultants. (It’s dangerous. One of our former kindergarten teachers and my current student teacher both sell Thirty-One, and I’m an addict). That hanger will be for vocal football self-assessment papers and the little paper figures the kids will use for Rhythm Racers, Vocal Football, and Recorder Karate. They will be in envelopes by teachers until students “get on the board”.

My Recorder Karate board. At the left are little clip art characters from the Recorder Dojo section at Music K-8.  Again, each teacher will be assigned a character from the K-8 clip art, and their students will have miniature versions of the characters. As students pass a belt, they will put their characters on the corresponding color. The clipboard to the left was a Pinterest idea. I used old music and ModgePodge!

I have had so much fun with this hallway bulletin board. Using a diecut, I cut out small colorful music notes. As teachers have been showing up for work (and students hanging around!), I asked them to sign their names on a note, and they go up on the bulletin board. One of the things I want to do for Open House in a couple of days is ask parents and kids to sign notes as well. Everyone involved with a building are notes in a school’s symphony, and together, we can make beautiful music!

More tomorrow as I put my room together finally…..

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I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have just completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.


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