Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recorder Karate

Music teachers, if you're like me - you have to teach recorders at some point in your curriculum.  It takes a lot of time and patience, but it can be a wonderful learning experience for students.  As many of us, I use Music K-8's Recorder Karate framework for music learning.  The premise behind the book is that as students master skills, they earn belts for their recorder.  Great, right?  Yeah, until you have to put a belt on that recorder!  For years, I used ribbon carefully cut in 6 inch strips in all nine colors.  The students would tie their belt on the recorder and hope and pray it didn't fall off!  This year, I had an epiphany!  You know those ever-so-popular Rainbow Looms?  You know them - look at every second grader in your school (those rubber band bracelets and necklaces).  Why not use the bands from the Rainbow Loom for Recorder Karate belts?  Love it!  I purchased each color (still searching for brown - they make it but my craft store didn't have it in stock) as well as a little case to keep them organized.

As students play and earn a belt, they slide their belt onto the bottom of their recorder.
No more cutting little strips of ribbon, no more tying knots for students.  I think this is my favorite idea this year!  And if your looking for some other new ideas for your students - please check out my Recorder Karate Page on my students' website.  There are fabulous resources for students and teachers alike.  I also have an entire Recorder Movie page with videos posted on TeacherTube.  And if you are a Leader in Me School like my school, check out my Recorder Karate Goal sheet on TeachersPayTeachers.  It's FREE!  It's a fabulous tool to guide students to set goals for themselves as they are learning the recorder.  What other great recorder tips do you have for teachers?  Please share in the comments below!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Winter Songs & Activities

I love the winter months!  I am a native Michigander and have learned to embrace the snow and cold because I have no choice!  One of the things I love to do is take the magic of the seasons and use them in my teaching.  Young children love imaginative play, so what could be better than to take an adventure to the North Pole to sing with a Polar Bear?  Or make (and eat) holiday cookies?  I've put together some of my favorite Winter Songs & Activities is a neat little unit on TeachersPayTeachers.  Check it out here!

Not sure yet?  How about downloading a freebie from my Winter Songs & Activities.  My Polar Bear Song is a favorite with many teachers!  Let me know how you use the songs in your classroom!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tis better to give than receive...

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19

I am really great at giving.  Whenever I have a friend in need my first thought is "how can I help?"  I am not so good at receiving.  The thought of asking for help - financial or otherwise - makes me extremely uncomfortable.  Why?  Because the father of lies sits on my shoulder whispering in my ear.  "You are unworthy.  Asking for help is a sign of weakness.  You can do it alone, you don't need anyone."  Lies, lies, lies!

The truth is that I need help.  Daily. (And if I'm being honest, sometimes hourly!)  I need the help of my heavenly Father to get me through each day.  But all too often I go to God as if He is a great genie in the sky - asking him for my every want and desire.  WANT is the key word but it's not what God promises.  God promises that He will supply my every NEED.

So here I am with this desire God has placed on my heart to adopt a second child.  I don't want to ask for help from anyone, but I need help.  This adoption will cost nearly $10,000.  I am asking for help to raise $2000 - one installment of the adoption fees.  I am humbled by the outreach of friends and family who have taken up my cause, purchased gig bags and auction items, or made a donation.  I am touched beyond words by your generosity and love.  Through you, God is taking care of my need and reminding me to trust His perfect plan.  As I wait, I will continue to praise and thank Him for all He has done for me.  Love to you all! -j

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Adopting Baby Two

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible!  It speaks to my biggest faith challenge - my need to control - versus letting God work His plan in me.  My friends and family know my story well.  I am a passionate teacher, accomplished in my career, with a heart for children.  The only thing missing in my life was the "Mister."  I would be a millionaire if I had a nickel for every time I prayed (begged) God for a husband!  It was during one of those ugly-cry-your-eyes-out-to-God moments that God nudged me to relent control and let Him work a plan in me.  It certainly was not the plan I had for myself and I couldn't see how for one second it was going to work, but isn't that where God delights - making the seemingly impossible possible?

God's plan was that I would adopt an infant through a private agency.  Those of you who know about adoptions know that that private adoptions are costly and that two-parent homes are preferred.  I had a small savings account and no husband.  In my eyes, I was not going to be anyone's first choice.  In God's eyes, I was someone's perfect choice!  I was matched with a birthmother in two months and two months later, I was holding my beautiful son.  Miles is now 22 months old and the greatest joy of my life.  I cannot imagine my life before him - I exist to love this child.  Even so, my heart longs for more.  I know that God has plans greater than just Miles.  There is another child in my future, a child saved by grace for me to love.

So here I stand again with no idea how I will do it.  How will I be momma to two?  How will I pay for another private adoption more expensive than the first?  I should be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety but instead there is peace in my heart as I start this next leg of my journey.  That peace comes from knowing that God has it all figured out.  He knows where the funding will come from.  He has already selected the birthmother.  He knows my child's name.  I am filled with peace and love as I prepare my heart and home for baby two.  What I hope you will take away from my journey is that God has it all figured out for you too - if you just surrender your plan to Him.  Love to you all! -j