Well THAT Didn’t Last Very Long……

Retirement, that is.  I’ve had a lovely year off.  I taught voice and helped out with rehearsals at the High School in the district I retired from.  Little did I know I was being prepared……


On Monday I will begin a new school year, in a new school with a new room…..and students, K-12.  Now, anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows that there are no 7-12 lesson plans on it.  That’s because I’VE NEVER TAUGHT 7-12!  AHHHHHHHHH!  So, Tuesday Music is about to become very interesting….lesson plans from a rookie.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I will greet my new, older students.  I don’t know anything about them, except that the 11th and 12th graders haven’t had music since 5th grade.  Actually…that’s a little bit comforting.  It makes me feel a little less “in over my head.”

I’ve started 2 notebooks…one for the k-5 students, which I’m not nearly as nervous about, and one for the 6-12 students.  I think it will help me stay organized if I can keep the two separate.

So here’s what I’m planning for class number one, for all of my non-elementary students.  I would love comments and suggestions.  Help me!

I am all about relationship in the classroom.  I want to get to know these kids, and I’d like them to get to know me as well.  I think that rapport goes a long way in being able to get your lessons across.  Students who know that you like them and want them to do well, and are not going to jump down their throats if they don’t understand will try hard and ask questions.  I guess I’m trying to create a safe environment.  So, the first thing I’m going to do is tell them a little bit about myself:  I taught music in public school for 30+ years, I’m married to a man that some of them know, since he teaches guitar at the same school, I have 3 sons, all grown and gone, and 2 wonderful Golden Retrievers.  Reading is my favorite hobby.  Since I’ll be teaching at a small Christian School, I’m also free to tell them that I’ve been a follower of Christ since the age of 17. Hopefully, there will be something in there that each one can relate to.  I plan to ask if anyone has any questions for me, just in case.

Then, I’ll need to start getting to know who they are of course.  I’m going to ask each one to tell me their name, and somethings they would like me to know about them.  It’s not music, but in this situation, I think it’s time well spent.

As I do with the elementary students, I have a folder for each of them for papers, music and student work.  The first thing that will go into the folder…which will stay in my classroom, so that I can look at them….is a questionnaire.  I’m hoping that it will give me some idea where to start.  So, here it is…my very first non-elementary activity.


Name_____________________________________   Grade_______

1.  What is your favorite style of music?  *Pop  *Rock  *classical  *Jazz  *Broadway       *Hip Hop  *Christian Contemporary  *Country  *Bluegrass  *Celtic  *Other

2.  To what radio station do you most often listen?

3.  What was your last purchase on iTunes?

4.  Do you play any instruments?  If so, please list them.

5.  Do you enjoy singing?  If so, at what level?  *In the shower.  *In church.  (As part of the congregation).  *On a praise/worship team.  *In a choir.  *  I’ve had voice lessons. *I know my voice type: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass.  (Circle the one that best fits your voice, if you know.)

6.  Circle one:

*I can read music.

*I can read music to some degree.

*I cannot read music.

7.  In your opinion, why is it important to study music?

8.  Name something besides a musical instrument that can keep a steady beat.

9.  What is the difference between beat and rhythm?

10.  List as many musical vocabulary terms as you can think of.  (Example: treble clef, staff, tempo….)

11.  List all of your musical experience:  (Example: Praise Team, Cherub Choir, Band…)


That’s as far as I’ve gotten.  As you can see it progresses from personal information, to  an assessment of what they do or do not know.  After I’ve given them some time to fill it out, we’ll discuss it.  I get to know them better, and there are a few good conversation starters in there.

But what else should be on here?  What else do I need to know?

Thanks in advance for your help!



Jane Rivera  

All Rights Reserved

August 2013