Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome Back to School 2015-2016

Welcome back to Snyder for the 2015-2016 school year!

I hope everybody had a restful and peaceful summer vacation! I am looking forward to many great things this year, including the 1st and 3rd grade concert, 5th and 6th grade chorus concert, and many MANY other great events! Please take a few minutes to get to know me!

Musically yours,
Mrs. Gillette

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome back to the 2014-15 school year!

     Welcome back parents, students, and friends to the 2014-2015 school year! At the bottom of this post is the general music/ 5th grade chorus handbook for the school year. In this handbook you will find information on how class is graded, discipline procedures, concert attire, and various other things happening in the music classroom this year. I hope you will all take the time to look over it, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. My contact information is included in the hand book!

I hope everybody has a great school year!

Mrs. G

Snyder Elementary
General Music/ 5th Grade Chorus Handbook
Music Teacher
Amanda L. Gillette
130 Warren Street Sayre, PA 18840
(570) 888-7742
Ext. 3909

Welcome Back!

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to an exciting year of music at Snyder Elementary! We at Snyder Elementary have many traditions including concerts, talent shows, general performances, and in class general music that will continue to flourish this year.

Making this happen is an easy thing to do; making it happen well will take teamwork and
responsibility on the part of the teacher, the parents of our students, and the student

The purpose of this handbook is to become familiarized with the procedures,
and calendar of the Snyder music program.

It is my belief that music is truly one of the greatest of the arts, to make music
together is a unique and thrilling part of being a human.

I am looking forward to working with all of you, students and parents alike, this
upcoming school year. If you have any questions feel free to call or email me at the
number enclosed on the cover sheet.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream..”
                                                                              -Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

Amanda L. Gillette

National Standards for Music Education

1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
5. Reading and notating music.
6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

Ensembles with Mrs. G at Snyder Elementary

5th Grade Chorus

This ensemble is required for all 5th graders. The chorus will perform a variety of
vocal literature appropriate to their grade level. A spring concert will be performed (dates TBD) at the Sayre Area High School in the auditorium. This ensemble rehearses once a week on days 2 and 5. Miss Webster and Mrs. White’s 5th grades students are on Day 2 from 1:10-1:55pm. Mrs. Lyons and Miss Swingle  5th grade students are on Day 5 from 2:00-2:45pm.

1st and 3rd grade singers

Each year all 1st and 3rd graders at Snyder Elementary will put on a concert (December 8th at 6:30pm in High School Auditorium, with a snow date of December 18th. ) both grades will perform a variety of music appropriate to their grade level.  Each class rehearses once a week, every week, leading up to their performance.

Concert Attire
Concert attire for 5th Grade Chorus 1st/3rd grade concerts will be as follows:

All school policies on attire are in affect for concerts.

Grading Procedure

General Music:

All students start with an “E”

Grades are based on 3 factors:
1.)    Behavior
2.)    Participation
3.)    Class Assignments

Points may be deducted for:
Inappropriate classroom behavior (Consequence 2 or above)
Unwillingness to participate in the class work lesson of the day
Not completing class assignments as directed

5th Grade Chorus

All Students start with an “E”

Grades are based on 3 factors:
1.)    Behavior
2.)    Participation
3.)    Preparation

Points may be deducted for:
Inappropriate classroom behavior (Consequence 2 or above)
Unwillingness to participate in rehearsal
Not bringing required materials to class

Discipline Procedure
Discipline is essential in creating a safe learning environment in our schools. As such,
the following classroom procedure will be implemented during all classes, performances, rehearsals, and extra

1. Listen! Listen! Listen!
2. Raise your hand and wait to be called on when you have a question.
3. Be kind to EVERYBODY!
4. Ask permission to touch instruments.
5. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
6. Keep classroom volume appropriate for activities being performed.
7. Enter the room and line up quietly. 

1. Verbal warning
2. Movement of student in classroom closer in proximity to the teacher.
3. Sent to “Time to Pause” table where students will reflect on what rules was broken and what choices they can do to improve their remaining time in music class.
4. Recess time inside, and note sent home to parent(s)
5. Dismissal from classroom and sent to principal
6. Request meeting with Parents

Positive Consequences
1. Freeze Dance
2. Opportunity to gain a music moolah
3. Opportunity to gain a prize from the music treasure chest
4. More positive consequences will be available depending on the term and
opportunities available at that time.

If a student chooses to blatantly and/or maliciously cause a serious classroom disruption,
the severe discipline clause may be used and the student may immediately be sent to the

principal’s office and advanced to the fifth consequence.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mr. Maraca goes down under!

Mr. Maraca has become one of the student's favorite lessons, which is VERY exciting to me! Not only do they learn about the music of different countries, but they are learning about another country's culture, environment, government, just about everything! They are getting a "snapshot" of what it may be like to be submersed in another culture completely. This time Mr. Maraca is back from his "Vacation down under!" I'm hoping the students enjoy this slideshow as much as the past ones! You can find the whole powerpoint at my store at

 I always start off Mr. Maraca PowerPoints with clues for the students to guess where he is.
I find it impossible to learn about Australia and not talk about the Kangaroo!When researching about them I learned that there were over 50 different kids of Kangaroos and they range in size!
The Aboriginal (Aboriginies) people were the first inhabitants of Australia. Part of their culture was using music during their "dream time".  The music would signify different things such as animals, weather, events etc.
The didgeridoo is my favorite Australian instrument. I was lucky enough that in college one of my professors had one and I got to try it. It's a great way to learn how to circular breath!
Of course, you can't learn about Australia without talking about the Sydney Opera House! Later on as an extention idea the students will to an online scavenger hunt in the computer lab. They will go to the Sydney Opera House web page and have to find out how many rooms are in the opera house, what groups perform there, and how long it took to build (to name a few!)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Music Olympics

During the month of February the 3rd-6th grade students participated in a series of "Olympic" games in music class.  These games were designed to be a "mid-year assessment" for me to evaluate where the students are in class, and see what areas we needed to work on in the future.  

The games ranged from singing, to notation, musical terms, to breath control. I kept a medal tracker on one of my bulletin boards that allowed the students to see what gold/silver/and bronze medals they won, and the students had a blast, and I had fun with assessment!!!!!

The Events:

Boomwhacker relay-

In this event the students had to read rhythms on flash cards count them out loud, and then play them on the boomwhackers.  They had a choice of playing and counting Kodaly symbols, or actual notes.  If they chose the Kodaly symbols and got it correct they received 1 point, for every note they got correct they received 3 points.  I set a timer for 10 minutes and however many points they had by the end of the game is what their class points were.  

assessement: By doing this I was able to see which of the students were able to read, and play rhythms. I was also able to evaluate which students needed more help with counting real notes, as opposed to Kodaly symbols. 

Music Racer-

In this game the students had 5 chances to work as a group to see how quickly they could identify the notes on the staff. By using the website I was able to have random notes come up on the projector screen, as the students called the notes out I clicked on them allowing the next note to come up. They were identifying 8 notes as quickly as possible, the quickest ties my kids got to was 11 seconds! Not too shabby!!!

assessment: This event was to evaluate the students on how well they know the note names of the notes on a treble clef staff.  This information will be important to know in order to get the kids into composing their own music on a staff (our next project!).

Long Note-

What kid doesn't love to just hold out a note as long as they possibly can??? As a parent, I know my oldest will do this just to hear her own voice! But! In Mrs. G's music Olympics it's not only something the CAN do, but it's something they GET to do! Each student was timed with a stop watch to see how long they could hold out a note.  I took the student with the longest time, and that became their class time that I used to figure out medals.  

assessment: There is a method to the madness that is the long note competition! All of these students have to sing in music class, or in chorus, and as such, we have been working on the proper breath control for singing. Breathing from the diaphragm versus breathing from your chest (or shoulders as the kids say, because they can see their shoulders go up with they breath in). Some students I was pleasantly surprised when I saw they were able to hold a note for 33 seconds! Others only made it 2 seconds. This lets me know which classes need more help on breath control so that they can have a better sound when singing!

Egg Note Relay-

In this event there was a giant bucket of Easter eggs. On each egg I drew with a sharpie marker a different musical term, such solfege, dynamics, tempo's, etc.  The students would have to listen to the clue I gave (such as: find the egg that means to play soft), run to the bucket, find the egg with the corresponding symbol on it, and then put the egg on a spoon. After the egg was on the spoon they had 3 tries to walk the egg down to the other end of the room where a bongo drum sat. They would have to hit the bongo 3 times, walk around and bring the egg back to me, dropping the egg into an Easter basket. There was a timer set for 10 minutes, at the end of the time however many eggs were in the basket is what their score was. 

assessment: In this event I wanted to check the students on their musical vocabulary. What did they know, what don't they know so that I can work on that later.  For instance they were all very good at solfege, but had a hard time with tempos i.e. allegro, largo and so on.  I now know that we will need to spend more time going over those things with them.

Name That Tune-

In this event there was 30 song titles and their composers on a deck of cards. One at a time, the students would come up and sing the song on the card, trying to get the rest of the class to guess the song. The difficult part, however, was that they were not allowed to use any real words. The students had to use doo's or la's or something other than the words to get the rest of the class to guess. When the song was guessed correctly then the the person who got it correct was the next one to sing, and the other person took their spot.  

assessment: There was a lot of great things to assess here. One of the national standards for music education is to sing alone, and with others. This got the students singing all by themselves. This is HUGE, a lot of times students will not sing alone, especially if they don't think they sound like Bruno Mars, or Demi Levato, but because it's in a game setting, and they're not using "real words" they will sing! Also, the rest of the class is actively listening to what the person is singing, this gets their ears in gear! They are analyzing what they are hearing, and are able to train their ears to figure out what it is they're listening to. 

All together, I feel as if this was a GREAT form of assessment for me. It gave me some very invaluable information on the students, where they are, and what areas we need to improve upon. It was done in a way that allowed the students to have fun, and allowed me to administer assessments without them having to be the same old, same old. 

Musically yours,
Mrs. G

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MIOSM-Music in our Schools Month!

March is MIOSM, otherwise known as Music in our Schools Month! As an advocacy exercise the school district's band director and myself have been having the students fill in the blank to the statement "Music makes me **_______**!" Some of the students have put a lot of thought and attention into this statement! My personal favorite is a student that said Music makes them a better student!

Together the band director and myself have had the kids create cards with their fill in the blank items and created a bulletin board that is at the center of our school so every day the whole school passes by and can think to themselves, "Music makes me **_______**!"

Our goal is to have the entire board filled with different student's ideas by the end of March!

Friday, January 31, 2014

It's been awhile!

Good Morning Mrs. G's musical machine followers! It has been quite a long time since I've posted about the wonderful happenings here at Snyder Elementary.  However, I have good reason for it! I just recently returned from my maternity leave.  On November 7, 2013 I had a beautiful little boy, 7 lbs 10 ounces, blue eyes, all ten fingers and all ten toes! :-)

I am extremely happy to be back at school with my other "kids", all 600 of them! I hope to have some new fun things updated on here soon. Please check back soon to see how my kids take on the "2014 music Olympics!"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mr. Maraca takes on Mexico

For those of you who don't know who Mr. Maraca is, let me introduce you!
 This is Mr. Maraca! He travels to different countries around the world on vacation and brings back slideshows of his travels to my general music classroom.  In his slideshows the students learn about the similarities and differences between the United States and the places he visits, some different traditions or holidays of those places, and (the best part!) the music of those countries!

Recently Mr. Maraca went on vacation to Mexico for the Day of the Day celebrations. Here's a sneak peak at his adventures...

Generally, the full PowerPoint, which can be purchased at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I use with 4th-6th grade.  Then I use an adaptation of the PowerPoint for my younger grades.  

To tie into the Day of the Dead celebrations that Mr. Maraca teaches us, and the music of Mexico, primarily Mariachi bands, I have the younger grades reinforce the beginning notation of Ta and Titi with a "color by number" type page while we listen to the Mariachi music.  
After we colored our pages we cut them out and used them as masks, and danced and celebrated to some Mariachi music.