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Archive for Author Joel




Author:
Posted: March 17, 2014
Category: Music Education




So recently some friends of mine did a video of themselves singing Love Is An Open Door from the movie Frozen. It showed up as a blip on the radar, but I didn’t act on it until today. I saw their clip again, but this time it had been picked up on another website and was starting to gain a little bit of traction across the Internet. So I watched it. It was nice. It was cute. It was adorable. I shared it on Facebook.

Then I began to think about it a bit more. So I watched the original and realized it was some parents lip-syncing their way through the movie soundtrack. Like what you or I have ...



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Author:
Posted: February 9, 2014
Category: Music Education




This past summer was a whirlwind tour for me and someday I may share a bit about the amazing experiences I had traveling by myself across the country (including three nights stranded in airports, a fourth of July parade in a small town outside of Boston, following my beloved Texas Rangers to Saint Louis, New York, and Baltimore, a ride to the airport from Shelly Terrell, and an amazing time in some of this country’s finest cities). But now is not the time for this.

Now is the time to address the biggest change in my educational life. After 11 years of fighting in the trenches, I have finally moved on to the major leagues. I moved on from my ...



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Author:
Posted: June 24, 2013
Category: General




This summer I made the decision to go on a somewhat extensive tour of a few of the major cities in the Northeast United States. During the process, I reconnected with my friend Nelson, with whom I marched drumcorps 17 years ago. I haven’t seen him in the intervening years and so it as been great to catch up with him the past few days. It turns out that he has spent the last few years doing comedy in and around the Chicago area.

We went to The Second City Comedy Club last night and watched a completely improvised musical about a Golden Fleece. We have talked extensively at meals over the last few days as well. Some of our ...



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Author:
Posted: May 28, 2013
Category: Inspiration




I don’t care if it’s your teaching job or your personal habits or your social life or what it is, we all face burnout at one time or another. Or another or another or another. At times, I can feel like we are in a dark tunnel with no escape and we don’t have the energy to escape. Ummm, not that I have ever experienced that, of course.

ANYWAY, you may or may not be struggling with this now. I would guess at this point in the school year, none of us in the United States are wanting to ever teach another school year. It happens. So I present to you an autobiographical short story that addresses this concept.

Once ...



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Author:
Posted: May 27, 2013
Category: Classroom Management




As I was going through some old paperwork a couple of weeks ago, I came across the binder that I used with my band three years ago. I remember that was a difficult year because the classes were terribly large. My first period brass class had somewhere around 60 students, and my second period woodwind class had just over 70 students. As you might imagine, this posed a number of classroom management issues from time to time and really had the potential to wear me out. In the very front of that binder, I found a pre-class checklist that I had come up with and was flooded with memories. I think most of these questions will, if applied on a ...



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Author:
Posted: September 5, 2012
Category: Rookie Teachers




“You’ll understand when you’re older.”

We tell that to our students, and they don’t like. We hear it when we start out in the teaching world and we don’t like. I remember an experienced band director told me once that he would tell me how to be a better teacher if he knew. He just knew that experience would help me get better. That frustrated me to no end.

I’m a step-by-step guy (if you haven’t noticed by reading other articles on this blog). “Just figure it out” is annoying to me. The way I like to figure things out is to look up the answers and work from there. “Experience is the best teacher” didn’t quite do that for ...



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Author:
Posted: September 4, 2012
Category: Classroom Management




I have written extensively in the past about classroom management and I admit I have glossed over some things while belaboring other points way beyond the point of exhaustion. Below are a few of the common classroom management pieces of advice and a handful of simple tricks to use in effort to make those things happen. Try one or two and see if things become easier…

  • Work on your pacing
    • Slow down your rate of speech; kids don’t comprehend information as fast as we do
    • Be silent more often; silence allows kids to reflect more on what has been said
    • Communicate urgency without getting frantic
    • Be in control of what you say and how you say it
    • Don’t argue with
...


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Author:
Posted: September 3, 2012
Category: Why Teachers Quit




Disillusionment is common to most of us involved in the teaching profession. We all deal with it at one point or another. Here’s the general path many of us take:

  • You major in education because you want to change the world
  • You realize that in order to teach, you need a find a job
  • You go through disappointing interview after disappointing interview and are told if you had more experience, you would be perfect for the job
  • You get frustrated that the only way to get experience is to get the job they won’t give you because you don’t have experience
  • Some school district that was not your first choice offers you a chance…finally
  • You take the job because it
...


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Author:
Posted: September 2, 2012
Category: Rookie Teachers




I am in my 11th year of teaching now. Where did the time go? One of the top search results that sends people to this blog is “First Year Teacher” so I thought that the beginning of a new school year would be a great time for something like this. I’m sure there are tons of other things that first year teachers should know, but here are a handful of tips.

  1. Persevere
  2. Learn from the wisdom of others
  3. Avoid gossip
  4. Work diligently
  5. Leave room for a personal life
  6. Live on less than you earn
  7. Students are a reflection of their parents
  8. Students are a reflection of their teacher
  9. Persistent problems are usually caused by something you are doing/allowing/omitting/forgetting
  10. Find a
...


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Author:
Posted: July 27, 2012
Category: Inspiration




How is this year going to be different from every other year you’ve taught before? Do you have a specific plan to ensure that it will be? Here’s a simple suggestion that I aim to implement in my own teaching this year. Ready?

Plan
Each Sunday, I am going to think about what has happened in recent weeks and identify one weak area that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t have to be the biggest problem area. In fact, sometimes targeting a seemingly insignificant problem that I know I can rectify helps me gain confidence to attack the bigger, more ominous ones later on. Perhaps I can tackle one specific element of a larger problem area. The whole “one bite ...



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Author:
Posted: June 13, 2012
Category: General




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Sanity?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do
...


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Author:
Posted: June 12, 2012
Category: General




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching:
...


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Author:
Posted: June 11, 2012
Category: Personal




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of
...


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Author:
Posted: June 10, 2012
Category: General




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Students Learning?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How
...


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Author:
Posted: June 9, 2012
Category: Inspiration




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Students Interested?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How
...


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Author:
Posted: June 8, 2012
Category: General




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How
...


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Author:
Posted: June 7, 2012
Category: Classroom Management




Five years ago, I wrote a series of seven articles called “Questions That Will Save Your Career” that still remain among the most visited articles on this site. When I wrote those, I had successfully completed my 5th year in education. This summer, after 10 years, I am revisiting some of these older concepts. Today, I revisit How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How
...


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Author:
Posted: June 6, 2012
Category: Inspiration




After having successfully completed my tenth year as a professional educator, I have come to realize that a lot of what I used to think worked didn’t really work…at least not long-term. While some things may be effective in the immediate future, they are not sustainable down the road, and sometimes even backfire if used to often and too early.

  1. Love your job and your students
    No matter how hard you try to pretend you love your job, if you don’t, the kids will see right through you. Students feed off of the energy that the teacher gives off in the classroom. If you love your job, they will know it. If you hate your job, they will know it.If
...


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Author:
Posted: June 4, 2012
Category: Inspiration




I started this blog more than five years ago. I have now come to the conclusion of my 10th year of teaching. It strikes me that there is a lot of information contained in here (especially in the older articles) that is just flat out wrong, misleading, or easily misunderstood. In the upcoming weeks and months, I aim to readdress some of those same issues from my new, far more patient and friendly mindset. At the same time, there are some core beliefs I held to in those early days that are ever strong in me and I want to really bring those out as well.

Over the last two school years, I have been in a situation where I ...



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Author:
Posted: April 10, 2011
Category: Blogging & Technology




A reader writes:

I’m currently student teaching. I’m very passionate about music and music education. A couple of years ago I felt a sudden terror when I recognized I was nowhere close to ready to be a successful teacher, and I started delving into as much material as I could and doing whatever else I could (camps, etc) to get ready. Your blog was one of the first good, free resources I found, and I’ve been reading ever since. So first, thank you for your contributions.

This past summer I had a friend start a music blog, and I thought, “Wow, that’s a great idea.” I love to write, especially in reflection and with the goal of learning from my ...



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