Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Plans for the New Year

A few things that are brewing as we "round the turn" and start to prepare for the 2013-14 school year:

1. For the first time we have a senior and freshman choir.  I have 19 enrolled in the senior choir and 29 enrolled in the freshman choir.  I need to figure out how to coordinate repertoire.   It is exciting to see so many numbers.

2. I have 13 enrolled in band which is a few more than last year.  I hope to really push this group this year.

3. I think I will use edmodo in class.

4. I hope to be completely digital in senior choir, using forscore as their folders.  I have 20 iPads so I am not sure how to deal with the 29 students in freshman choir.

5. I am ordering smartmusic for iPad, even though it hasn't been released yet.  A bit worried.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


 Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a rehearsal of the Cadets in Meriden, thanks to the Maloney Band.  It was a really great time.

A few observations:

  • These kids work hard.  This was the end of a twelve hour day, and they still had four hours to go.
  • The kids run everywhere.  They run to the bathroom, they run to their water for water break, they run back to their spots to repeat a set.
  • Its loud.  
  • There is a 100% expectation of excellence.  There was frequent calling out of those who were less than perfect.
  • This years show is pretty complicated.  I'm excited to see what a month of twelve hour days will produce.
  • There is a lot of staff who seem to work very hard.  I am not usually a fan of huge staffs.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ideas for New Year

Some items on the horizon, better known as summer work...

1. Digital folders.  I'd like to make the full transfer to digital folders for band/choir.  Band and senior choir are no problem as I have 20 iPads and around 17 in each class.  Freshman choir has 29 currently. I think I will go 1-2.

I anticipate using forScore but I might still be drawn to Chromatik.  Both allow students to create folders and send .pdfs home.

I need to figure out how to digitize theory work and newsletters.  I might use Evernote and Penultimate.

2. Badges.  I'd like to figure out how to use these in class.

3. Musical.  One way or the other I hope to produce some sort of a musical in the Spring.

4. I need to find a sequential theory work book for classes.  Something where I could have students work at "their own pace".  I need to formalize our theory and sight reading work.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am exploring using badges in my classroom, inspired by Doug Belshaw, Vicki Davis, and our very own Mike Oberdick.  I will be teaching a one semester class called "freshman seminar" next fall which is pass/fail.  It seems well suited the badges ideas.

The two platforms I have looked at are ClassBadges and ForAllBadges.  I'm not in love with either of them.  I am hoping for a rather dynamic reporting system.

I expect to have a series of required badges.  You must complete the badge to pass class, based on the curriculum.  Badges like research paper, note taking, presentation skills, etc... I also hope to add "fun" badges like attended dance, played a school sport, sang in concert, etc...

The hard part is figuring out how to use badges in my graded classes.  I can offer badges, but the next question will always be "so, whats my grade?".  I need to figure out a way to make that translation.  In my high school band we literally had badges for All-State, years in marching band, etc... I might do something like that.  But I need to make it cool enough for the kids to keep checking on their account.

Comments welcome!