Monday, May 27, 2013

My Teacher toolbox

I really need to get organized so I don't waste time fumbling for or looking for things.

I saw a teacher toolbox on pinterest:

She printed onto patterned paper. She got her Stack-22 at Lowes. I went to Home depot and found the same brand. Her box was around $16. After seeing that the Stack 39 was only a few dollars more ($19.96), I bought it so I could include my regular recorder belts and beads. Soon, I'll write about my full recorder program and post a picture of my box for the extra belts. If you look further down on her post, she shows that she painted her box a bright color. Check out her directions if you want your box to be brightly colored. 

I have been using one file crate for my regular recorder belt yarn and beads and one for my extra belt yarn and beads and although it has helped me stay organized, I think the drawers will work even better. This box has drawers for many basic supplies I use plus drawers for my regular recorder belts and beads.  This is box I bought:

Get your teacher toolbox labels here:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm Floating Down the River

Every year in fourth grade, we do a song and game called "Floating Down the River". To play the game, you all get into a circle. Everyone walks on the beat in a circle. The student who is "it" walks on the inside of the circle in the opposite direction. When you sing, "O-hi-o", the student takes the person who is by him or her and goes into the middle of the circle. They do a movement called "motorboat". They put their feet close together and right in front of their partner. They both take hands and lean back. They move their fee in tiny steps while going in a circle while everyone sings "Two in a middle and you can't dance Josie", etc. When the song is over, those two students go into the inside of the circle and when they get to O-hi-o, they each take a partner and both do motorboat. Everyone then sings "four in the middle and you can't beat Josie". This keeps going until you have almost all of the kids in the middle. Finally, everyone takes a partner and we sing, "all in the middle and you can't dance Josie". My kids love this!

I was born and raised in Ohio, so we discuss a little about Ohio.  I also used to live in the Pittsburgh area where they have the three rivers that come together into downtown Pittsburgh, the Monongahela river, the Allegheny river, and the Ohio river . I take a little time and show them pictures of it and the numerous bridges. We sing an Ohio Alphabet book called "B is for Buckeye" (in sol mi tones)  that shows spectacular things from A to Z about Ohio. I believe there are other books like this in this series written for other states. 

We practice all of the numerous rhythms we have learned up until 4th grade and each student gets to say them as a solo, one student each class period for a long, long time. After saying each stack of rhythms alone, each student gets to put up his or her name in a special font chosen in advance on our "Rhythm Wall of Fame, a bulletin board. See my post to get the "rhythm wall of fame" bulletin board labels.

Once everyone in the class has passed off the rhythms, we have an Ohio Celebration for one class period, where they get to see some special traditions of the Ohio State Marching Band by video, of which I was a part, and eat Buckeye candy that I make once a year for the fourth graders. It is a great opportunity to give an introduction to a really good marching band and a different kind of music.

Buckeye Recipe:


1 1/2 cups peanut butter 6 cups powdered sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup butter softened
4 cups semisweet Chocolate chips


Mix all ingredients together except for chocolate chips. Roll into balls and put on wax paper on a pan. Put toothpick into top of each ball. Freeze until firm.

Melt chocolate chips in double broiler or in a glass bowl set in a pan of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth.

Dip frozen balls into chocolate, leaving a portion of the top showing so they look like buckeyes.

Tips on making the chocolate dipping work: I use a big silver deep pan. I put water in it and then I put a glass measuring cup in the big pan for melting my chocolate. Let your water simmer a bit. Keep stirring the chocolate or it will burn.

Put in 1 tsp shortening for every 8 ounces of chocolate to thin it a little. When it is smooth, take your measuring cup out. Even when your balls are frozen, it is challenging to get the chocolate on. I have found a good method is to hold the toothpick in your right hand and get some chocolate out of your measuring cup with your left hand, using a large spoon. Then roll your ball on the toothpick, leaving the top clear. I was able to do around 200 in a short time.

If you want them to look perfect and not have the little toothpick hole, you can smooth over the hole with your (clean) finger. These are really tasty. The hardest part is limiting yourself to just a couple of them. 

I love this tradition and with my Ohio Roots, I felt that this would be a great name for my blog.

Check out some other fabulous posts for Fermata Friday.