April 18, 2016

The Perfect Alarm Clock Will Fix Your Oversleeping Habit - THE FIRST DAY!

Teachers, parents, students, people of the world, humans - let's face it - mornings are rough for most of the general population.  We are all guilty of riding the snooze bus (beep beep) way too often! Those 8 minutes become 16, then 24, and then 32 - and then before you know it, its a dry shampoo and coffee in the car kind of day.  

I have become quite fond of my snooze button.  And as the school year winds to a close, I find myself majorly struggling to get out of bed.

This may not be a music or education post...but this is one we can all get on-board with, whatever walk of life we are in!


My alarms used to look like this....
This resulted in incessant alarms going off for what seems like every 3 minutes.  Yet, when did I actually get out of bed?!?!?!   6:15!!!!   Yes, really!  Completely ridiculous.  Not to mention my husband beside me probably wanted to smack me upside the head!


Kiwake is a paid app that I happened to stumble upon as some type of paid promotion in my Instagram feed.  Shamelessly, I clicked on the promotion and boy, I am sure glad I did!  I played around with the app and went through the tutorial quickly and easily.  The app is so friendly it makes you want to use it.  Here's a quick run-down of how I use the app and how it has helped me immensely:


You can choose how many alarms you want to set, what days and times, you want them to go off.  This makes me super happy.  You can choose what alarm sound is used and all of them are quite pleasant and cheerful to wake up to.  Or you can choose a song from your own music library on your device!


The best part of this app is that after a brief what they call "cool-down" (I call it "3 more minutes of sleep") period, the alarm goes off again and will not stop until you get out of your bed and take a picture of something around you that you pre-determined.  I chose to take a picture of either my shower handle or my toilet because that is where I would go first (pee then get clean, amiright?).  So you put the object into the view of your device camera and the app finds it a match and the alarm silences....briefly......


Once you've woken up your body by walking somewhere (for me, the loo), you have to wake up your brain.  The app makes you play one of these little games and you have to get a set number correct (you get to choose the difficulty and number of times to play) in order to move on to the next part of the alarm.   If you're not actually awake enough to pay attention, it can be very annoying to keep missing.  Force yourself to wake up and do well and you get to move on!  Two examples from the mini-games (also, you can test out the mini-games before you have to complete them with a 5:30 am fog-brain....they're actually quite fun!)
You have to touch the red tiles as they fall before they reach the bottom

A pattern of colored tiles as displayed.  Remember the pattern and recreate it.  


The last step to turning off the alarm is to review your goals and motivation for the day.  You can customize this any way you want.  I kept mine simple to remind myself why I am awake and why I have to keep going (hey, remember!...so you don't ruin another day oversleeping!).  But you could very easily customize these the night before to help you remember the important things you need to remember that day.  Super cool and quite handy!  

I am hoping that this tool will help you get your mornings back and take on the day a little less rushed and a little more prepared!  I know it has for me! 

DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsed or paid by Kiwake for this review.  I am simply sharing a tool that has helped my days get started a little better! 

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March 30, 2016

New Blog Background!

I have always wanted to create a custom blog background for here at Learn Me Music.  But it was always slightly intimidating and involved way too much HTML coding for my comfort level, if you know what I mean!   So I stumbled upon this excellent tutorial for creating a custom blog background using PicMonkey by Ashton at Something Swanky!  It was super easy to follow with very clear screenshots for extra-detailed instructions.  

I had completely forgotten about the gem that is PicMonkey.  If you have never played around with it, I highly recommend you take a look and waste spend a couple hours some time experimenting!  It has many features that are completely free which is what I used; however they do have some more custom tools for a yearly paid subscription.  Depending on how often I use PicMonkey, I will definitely consider paying for the upgraded version!   
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March 25, 2016

"Mon Papa" French Folk Song Orff Arrangement and Some Updates!

I am so excited to share some news here.  Recently, I submitted my resignation from my current teaching position, effective at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.  I am going to take time to be home for my family, to keep our household in order, to take a breather in life, and to focus on my children and husband.  It was a terribly difficult decision and one I prayed and breathed in God's Word for many days and weeks.  I truly love teaching music, I love the students I teach, and I most definitely love the teachers I get to work with everyday.  What a true blessing!  It was the right decision to leave but that never makes it any easier.  I am grateful for my twelve years as a public school teacher and I am even more grateful for this new opportunity.  And I will make it the very best I can, glorifying and honoring God in all that I do.

In the news as well, Learn Me Music will now be on YouTube at my very own YouTube channel, Learn Me Music.    I am so excited to be producing instructional and educational videos on my products at my TeachersPayTeachers store as well as digging deeper into techniques, strategies, and tips for teaching music to young ones!  What a joyous and challenging job us music teachers have!  I am hoping that my channel will give music teachers a go-to resource when the lesson plan idea bank is running dry or you're struggling with how to approach a concept or topic.  This is the newest and latest development in a continuing story that I am happy to share with you!

Here is my first in a series of Orff arrangements I will be publishing.  I started small and simple but this is just the beginning of my ideas!  So stay tuned!  Follow, subscribe, like and comment!  Let me know what you would like to see or what topics you would like me to share!

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March 6, 2015

MIOSM: Music in Our School Month Resources

Happy March and MIOSM, everyone!  This year in particular seems to be an important Music In Our Schools Month, as it is the 30th Anniversary of celebrating music education in the schools across our country.  Music In Our Schools Month is a music advocacy initiative supported by NAfME (the National Association for Music Education).  To read more about the initiative and ways you can celebrate MIOSM in your school and community, visit NAfME's MIOSM page here.
To celebrate MIOSM here at my school, Clark Creek Elementary STEM Academy in Cherokee County, Georgia, we created our own music advocacy posters to hang in the main hallway of our school.  Here are some pictures of the installation:

I traced some large letters for "MIOSM" on butcher paper (TIP: If you're not an all-star freehand letter drawer, no worries! Project a word document using a projector onto your board, covered with some butchers paper, and trace!!  Perfect letters everytime!).  Then I hand wrote the words "Music In Our Schools Month" on each letter, cut out, and laminated.
The student posters are a variety of colored pages from some templates I created:

  • An acrostic with the letters MUSIC that students can add their own words for the 5 letters in the word "MUSIC" (adjectives, music terms, etc.)
  • An acrostic with the letters MIOSM for the words "Music In Our Schools Month"
  • A template that has this year's MIOSM theme:  "Music Makes Me __________" that students can design, color, and illustrate

  • A template that says "I {heart} music because...." that students can design, color, and illustrate
You are free to "steal" my ideas and make your own templates for students to color.  Or if you don't have the time, hop over to my TeacherPayTeachers store and get the templates already done for you!! They are on sale for a limited time this weekend (3/6-3/9/15) so hurry!!   

In addition to these posters on TpT, I have teamed up with roughly 40 other music TeachersPayTeachers sellers to create 4 A-MA-ZING eBooks to celebrate Music In Our Schools book.  These eBooks are filled with teaching tips, resources, games, and other kinds of other goodies.  I am an author on the third book, Instruments of the Orchestra.  And best of all.....they're FREE!!  Yes, 100% FREE!  You can't not download them if they're free.  They will be released on each of the 4 Mondays of March 2015.  Links are below as they are released!  


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