Three Things

Three things

There’s a linky party over at Mrs. Miracle’s Music Room, and I couldn’t help but get involved!  Full disclosure – the things I am going to list are all from the Game Plan books by Kriske and Delelles. Here are three things that worked miracles this week…

  1. The No-Touch Tour

My kids (especially kinder babies) really want to check out my classroom.  We do a No-Touch Tour for all ages! You can walk anywhere you want and look at anything you want, but NO TOUCHING. Kinder and first walk and stop when the drum changes. 2nd/3rd move to a song from Rhythmically moving – feet need to match the beat! Fourth and fifth graders move to folk music, stop when the music stops, and get movement challenges when they restart (backward! sideways! crawl!). The kids get to see everything and it’s working their musical ears!

2. Fire Drill…Drill

I never did this before I read about it in Game Plan, but I am so glad I learned about it. On the first day of class, all students second grade and up have a practice fire drill. They learn all the details of what to do if the fire alarm goes off in music. We even have a pretend evacuation! We exit the building, check out our surroundings, and come back in. Now I know every kid knows how to evacuate in an emergency and I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

3. Follow the Leader

I worked on line walking with my kinder students using a nursery rhyme. First we only walked on the velcro floor lines. Once I saw I had them really following me, we ventured away from the lines and into uncharted territory. When we left the classroom, I just had to remind them to line up like little ducks, and they were ready to follow the leader down the hallway. Herding ducks is easier than herding cats…

Lauren :)

Blue drop

Music is SWEET!

Header Get out your toothbrushes, folks! Our school theme for 2015-2016 is “Candy Land.”  I am making some awesome displays for my classroom and sharing them with you!

First up – Recorder fingerings!  Enjoy the peppermint swirls while you practice your positioning. Download Graphic Next are numbered labels you could use for anything in your room!  I use them on my cabinet doors.  I can tell the kids, “Go get the maracas out of cabinets 1 & 2.”  Works great!  I like the rock candy on these. :) Download Graphic Numbers Here are some labels I use on my instrument family bulletin board…

Download Graphic copy

Classroom expectations are the most important.  Here are my rules, rewards, and consequences.

Download Graphic copy

I always have this bulletin board by my classroom clock.  Even if kids are watching the clock, they will absorb some music! Download Graphic And finally, here is my assortment of candy characters!  As I said in a previous post, I downloaded the candies and a cute face Photoshop brush.  Then I went to town making hilarious little people!  My son made some, too – they’re hysterical. Candy Characters Download   I am trying to figure out how big I can print this gumball machine for my classroom.  It would be great on a whole wall! GumballMachine with faces There are so many stories in this gumball machine.  It cracks me up!  There is one very disgruntled white gumball who makes me laugh the most. I hope you enjoy these free printables!  I will post pictures once I have them up in my classroom!

Lauren :)

P.S. I’ve made the decision to share these for free with other teachers.  Please don’t sell them online!


Ah, summer!  Time to sleep past 5:00 AM, take a break from being around 160 kids every day, and to prep all the lessons and shows I will be working on next year.  And where do I turn for inspiration?  Pinterest, of course!

We’re putting on Jungle Book Kids as a district musical next year, and I have been pinning ideas since December.  Now that I have some time, I am putting those pins to WORK!

Today I worked on sets and backdrops.  Let’s start with panels!  We have pipe frames that are 4’x6′.  A flat twin sheet fits perfectly with just a little hemming.  For our jungle, I chose this picture as inspiration:

Panel Pic

What beautiful colors!  I drew out my vision and added a few orange flowers to pop:


The Jungle Book also needs some ruins.  This was the fun part!  These pics PINspired me:

Ruins 1 Ruins 2

In my research, there were a lot of stages with waterfalls.  Well, I want a waterfall, too!  These two pictures made my jaw drop:

waterfall Houses and Waterfall

Look how COOL that strippy waterfall is!  And the monastery around the waterfall?  SO AMAZING.  Here is what they inspired:

Waterfall Ruins

Yep – that waterfall is going to be made out of awesome strippy dyed fabric!  Put them together on stage and you get something like this:

Stage Layout 1

Looks great!  Now that I have my ideas, I can start getting supplies to make them happen.  Tonight I started experimenting with cardboard, tape, and paint to make stone ruins.  I love the awesome detail on this throne:


Here is my first attempt at some stony detail.  I was trying to loosely replicate the arm of the throne.  It is pretty rough up close, but I think it’s going to look awesome from 50 feet away!

throne arm

Not really happy with the color yet, but I can paint over it again!

My other prop project for the day was totally nuts.  Coconuts, that is!  I made some light-weight coconuts out of stuff I had around the house – old foam balls from the PE room, masking tape, and some paint.  Free nuts, people!  I gathered my supplies…

coconuts 1

Taped up the foam balls…

coconuts 2And then painted them to look like jungle bowling balls…

coconutsThey’re going to be great for the kids to use!

Stay tuned for a post all about the amazing things I learned at the Texas Educational Theatre Association Conference about making sets with cardboard, tape, paint, and hot glue.  My mind was blown.  The best part is that everything you make is practically FREE.  If it doesn’t work, who cares?  No money lost!  And that is important when you’re doing shows on a budget.

Got any tips for making great sets and props?

Lauren :)

Crabby Candy

It’s the first day of summer, and I am already messing around with ideas for next year’s classroom.  Something about playing in Photoshop says SUMMER FUN to me!

Our school theme next year is Candy Land.  You know – “Learning is Sweet!” and stuff like that.  I decided I wanted candy with faces, arms, and legs.  I bought this digital clipart file from Etsy for $3.00!


Then I downloaded these FREE Photoshop face stamps from Deviantart:

facesAnd now I can’t stop doing this:

surprised candy

And this…

Sad Drop

And this…

Kidney Stone Candy

Sad candy is so much funnier than happy candy.  Oh, man…my classroom is going to be awesome!  Here is some musical gum…

singing gum

And some dancing guys…

candy dudes

I will have a whole music classroom pack soon!  Check back!

– Lauren :)

Meet your Music Technology MATCH!

I love technology.  I also love helping teachers.  I can’t get enough!  Lucky for me that I get to help plan out the first EVER Music and Technology Conference of Houston.

MATCH 2015 notes

The Music and Technology Conference of Houston is a TMEA- sponsored technology conference dedicated to elementary music teachers. MATCH  is sponsored by TMEA regions 3, 13, 17, 19, 23, and 27 and is currently accepting session proposals!

I know I have some SUPER-smart readers out there.  You guys are doing amazing things!  Why not put in a proposal for MATCH?  It’s going to be a fantastic event.  Check out our flyer!

flyer pic 1flyer buttonflyer pic 2

I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to help organize this conference.  My partners in crime are Juli Salzman (current TMEA Elementary VP) and Michele Hobizal (current TCDA Elementary VP and former TMEA Elementary VP).  These are some serious brains, people!  And I get to hang out with them! Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Let me know if I can give you any more information on MATCH! We’d love to have you!

– Lauren :)

You can also view our flyer on smore!  Click here!

Super School Year Review!

WHEW!  It is finally summer vacation.  This has been a heck of a school year.  It was great, but crazy-busy.  So busy that I didn’t even write on the blog.  Well, I am ready to write this summer.  Let’s start the break off with a school year review!

District Musical
I started off the year like I usually do – with our district musical kids!  We put on Aladdin Kids this year, and it was a HUGE success.  Our students come from 8 schools, work for 5 weeks on a show, and then put on a 13-show tour for more than 10,000 students, teachers, and community members.  It was truly fantastic!

musical shirt two

Student Teacher #1 – Katie the Great!
Right after district musical, my first student teacher of the year came from University of Houston.  Katie was amazing!!  She is a very accomplished singer, and she made my students sound like real professionals.  In addition, she is one of the funniest people I have ever known.  Our days were full of fun and laughter!

Katie and Lauren

On her last day, Katie was hugging all the second graders as they left the music room.  One of the girls looked at her and said, “See you in Heaven!”  We looked at each other and AWWWWWWed pretty hard.  Then a boy walked by, looked at Katie and said, “See you in Hell!”  Uh….what??  We looked at each other and WTFed pretty hard.  I tracked the kid down and explained that maybe that wasn’t the nicest thing to say.  The things these kids hear at home…

Stupid Pills
Thank goodness I had Katie around this fall, because I started taking stupid pills to help curb my vestibular migraines.  The medicine TOTALLY worked, but it made me quite stupid while my body was getting used to it.  Katie and Ginger would sit around and wait for me to say something totally stupid…or maybe they were just watching to see if I would drool a bit.  Thank goodness I got used to the meds and grew out of my idiocy.

Holiday Music Special
Our second annual holiday music special was a success!  Each school recorded one song.  It was all edited together into a program for local public access TV!  The program aired throughout the holiday season.  Here are my kids playing Mele Kalikimaka!

Crazy Carols
My 3rd-5th grade choir kids put on the show Crazy Carols in December.  With Katie’s help, they sounded like super-stars!  Ginger put on a winter art show at the same time.  It was a huge success!  Those kids worked their booties off…not the shoe kind.

My favorite moment was when I was sitting on the cafeteria floor conducting my kids on the stage.  The students sit all around me, so I hear some interesting things.  After one of the songs, a first grader tapped me and this conversation happened:

Kid: Mrs. Summa…I really hated that song.
Me: Really?  I liked it!
Kid: No…”hated” means I thought it was really bad.
Me: Well, maybe you will like the next one!
Kid: I’m not sure…

Student Teacher #2 – Caitlyn the Amazing!
Have I told you how lucky I am to teach near the University of Houston?  The student teachers they send me are phenomenal.  I have never met anyone like Caitlyn!  She can play any instrument, she can sing, and she looks like Elsa from Frozen.  My kids couldn’t take it.  She was just too fabulous!

Caitlyn and Lauren

My favorite Caitlyn moment came when she was showing off her bassoon to one of my classes (second grade again!).  She pulled the instrument apart and said, “this is the boot joint.”  One of my special friends sat up and said, “BOOB JOINT! BOOB JOINT!”  No…that’s not what she said. Caitlyn handled it beautifully! Haha!

TETA Theatre Fest
Thank goodness I had Caitlyn, because I had some conference presentations in January and February.  The Texas Educational Theatre Association was up first.  I teamed up with my fellow district musical directors and presented all about staging your own district musical.  It was fantastic!  Here is our handout if you’re interested!

TETA Selfie

At TETA, we saw the most amazing presentation ever.  An awesome high school theatre teacher presented on how she makes all of her UIL One Act sets from corrugated cardboard, tape, hot glue, and paint.  She was phenomenal!  We’re totally putting her techniques to the test this year.  I will post some results this summer!

The biggest event of my school year was presenting for the TI:ME national convention at TMEA in San Antonio!  Again, Caitlyn helped a ton as we tested out projects and centers that were part of my presentation.  Everything turned out fantastic – the session was a huge success!  Here is the handout – I will write a more detailed post later in the summer.

For the Birds
Right before Spring Break, my 1st and 2nd grade choir performed a show I put together called For the Birds.  It was adorable. Caitlyn accompanied most of the songs on my electric ukulele.  She even taught some of my second graders to play for Three Little Birds!  Not gonna lie…I cried during this program.  It was adorable and sweet!


Fine Arts Showcase
In April I organized our district’s second annual Fine Arts Showcase.  The showcase featured the district’s most gifted performers from grades K-8.  It was a really beautiful show.  There are some really gifted kids out there, and I am glad we gave them the opportunity to perform on the big high school stage for an appreciative audience!  Want to know more?  Click here!

Talent Show
After STAAR testing was done, it was time for talent show.  I had started to feel really sick all the time, so in the week leading up to the show, I really didn’t want to plan the thing out like I usually do.  But I sucked it up and did it right.

On the night of the show, I was really feeling terrible.  A teacher friend who was backstage helping me knew I had been feeling awful for the last few weeks and told me to excuse myself.  Little did I know…

Dadgum Kidney Stone
I wasn’t able to return to the show because I was laying in the school bathroom possibly dying.  After the show, a whole crew of teachers were waiting for me to emerge from the bathroom (awesome, right??).  Well, I couldn’t walk or do much of anything else.  They called an ambulance – what an exit!  I promptly blacked out once we were on our way to the hospital.

Let me tell you – I don’t need to have any more kidney stones.  That’s no fun.  I missed the two school performances of the talent show.  Thank GOODNESS I had gone ahead and organized the show the right way!  Some teacher friends stepped in and ran the show for me while I laid on my couch taking pain pills.  My school rules.

Percussion Kids
My fifth grade percussion group started meeting twice a week after Spring Break.  We finished the year with some concerts for kids in our school.  I also recorded the kids and made a beautiful DVD.  I am going to miss those turkeys!!  They’re outstanding musicians!  I will share a recording later in the summer.

District Musical Auditions
We ended the year with auditions for next year’s district musical – Jungle Book Kids!  Now that I am on break, my mind is full of ideas for sets, staging, costumes, and choreography.  I am ready to write it all down!

Now I am DONE.  DONE!!  I am currently sitting on my couch and enjoying sweet, sweet summer vacation.  I have some new big projects coming up that I can’t wait to share!  Hopefully I will be on the blog more often in the coming year!

– Lauren :)

Q and mom selfie

Shake it Orff

Hey ya, folks!  It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by the blog.  Sorry about that!  Hopefully I will be back soon to share lots of cool things with you!

My fifth graders have been working on playing Shake it Off by Taylor Swift.  They’re having a lot of fun!  My Tuesday class recorded the “blob” version last week.  That’s when we’re all playing our own ostinato patterns at the same time.  Pretty soon we will separate them all out and create a cool arrangement!

I’ll post a more detailed arrangement later – for now, just enjoy the blob.  My student teacher is a great sport.  She’s improvising here on melodica.  Hilariously awesome!  You will also hear our PASS teacher jamming out on drums.  He’s the best!

– Lauren :)


Music Classroom Tour – Music is Super!

Superhero Room Blog Header copy

Folks – I hate to be the one who breaks it to you, but summer is over.  Pack away your season four DVDs of Game of Thrones.  Give your pets one last day-long hug.  It’s time to get back to the kids.

At the end of last year, my campus voted to go with a superhero theme for the upcoming school year.  Cool theme!  So many options!  Actually, one theme seems to be recurring around the school…SKYLINES.  Skylines EVERYWHERE.

Yep – I have a few skylines, too.  And a whole lot of REALLY CUTE superheroes.  I made a million of them to hang in my room.  They are adorable.  And they are all staring at me with the same creepy and blank expression.  Look at this…

lots of heroes

See how they’re all making the same freaky face??  It feels like a setup for a horror movie.  zoom 1

They’re coming….

zoom 2

And they’re not the smartest…

zoom 3

Wish I would have noticed that before I made so many.  Freaking creepy kids.  That being said, I did hang THIS creepy face up.

face door

That is my face.  Last year one of my classes did the most amazing talent show act in the WORLD.  They used giant print-outs of teacher heads.  It was phenomenal.  Now it is on the door that goes into the staff development room next door to me.  I asked my friends for caption ideas, and the consensus seemed to be that I am thinking, “Who farted?” I have classy friends.

Anyway, my room looks pretty awesome, if I do say so.  Here is my instrument family display…


Notice how I hang everything crooked?  I hate trying to get things straight.  My former intern Fredy?  He loves it.  In fact, he got super-anal when he was decorating his classroom last week.  He really wanted his solfege hands straight, so he PROJECTED A GRID FROM HIS COMPUTER ONTO THE WALL.  He’s brilliant, I tell you!  Take a look!

grid lines

Ridiculous.  Everyone is going to do that now.  It’s too brilliant!  Now…back to heroes.  Here is one of my skylines.  See all the cute tiny heroes??


And here is my personalized superhero!


My son’s personalized super hero!


I made a big comic strip on the wall by my desk.  Here is a full view!

photo 1 (2)

The map is back again this year!  My hubby came to the school and helped me this year.  No nervous breakdowns this time!


A few other random pics…

photo 1 (4) photo 3 (3) photo 3 (4) photo 3 (1) image

Here is a view of the other side of the classroom…I haven’t cleaned it up yet…Ugh!






It was fun, superhero theme!  Now you’re up for the long haul. I will take you down in May.  Be good to the kids!

Do you have a superhero theme?  I WANT TO SEE IT!

– Lauren :)

Music Classroom Tour – Wild About Music!

I started this post LAST AUGUST and never finished it! With the14-15 school year looming, I thought I would finish it up and let you see what my classroom was like in 13-14.  Enjoy! :)

Yes!  It’s done!  My classroom is all ready for the 2013-2014 school year.  I had a really great time decorating this time around.  At least until I got to the border…but we will get to that soon enough.  Let’s focus on the positive for now.

I think my good mood can be attributed to the fact that the A/C was on and cooling the business out of my classroom.  A/C is essential to my mental health.

Before you continue, please know that this blog entry is full of tedious detail.  Feel free to read the whole thing, read just the interesting parts, or just scan the pictures.  You can even just close the whole thing now if you want.  But I won’t be your friend anymore.  Just sayin’.

Forest o’ “Wallpaper”

Our school theme this year is “Wild About Learning.”  I decided to make a musical forest with silhouette animals hanging out around the trees.  


I picked my favorite tree and went to town!  Experimenting was so much fun.  Ginger and I worked together to get just the right artistic look for my tree leaves.  We got white butcher paper and covered it in tissue paper of different shades of green, blue, and yellow.  Then we sprayed the paper with water to make the color transfer onto the background.  When the tissue paper was removed, the paper looked amazing!

When the paper was finally dry, I stamped black circles onto the butcher paper with a circle sponge.  Then I laminated the whole thing and cut out the circles during STAAR testing.  It was oddly relaxing!

Finally – time to put up my forest “wallpaper.” To make the trees, I cut out strips of black paper and stapled them on the wall.

tree lines 2

Then I added some more different lines.  Curvy-like.

tree branches

Then I added MORE lines.  I was entering a meditative state.

tree branches 2

Look what I grew with my BARE HANDS!!  A forest!!

tree branches 3

Once the branches were in place, on went the leaves.  SO MUCH FUN!

Now to populate the forest.  Ginger and I had talked about doing patterned animals…plaid lobsters and chevron zebras…but patterned paper is expensive.  I like using the stuff the school bought.  Make something cool!  I settled on animal silhouettes in simple black.

One of the first animals I made was an elephant.  Hung it right over my classroom door.  Shared it with my friends on facebook that night.  My friend Samantha said, “Hey!  I like that anteater!”  Anteater….elephant….either one is pretty ur-mazing if you ask me.  Here are some more (and hopefully, more recognizable) animals who are hanging out in the woods.

Bam!  Bulletin Boards!

Ugh.  The fun artistic part was done.  Now for the drudgery of hanging up my bulletin boards.  Especially that darned world map.  And ALL THE BORDER.  Shudder.  This is what I feel like when putting up border.


Border doesn’t care how beautiful you want your classroom to look.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are.  Your beefy biceps do not intimidate border.  And if you make the misguided decision to put up double (or – gasp – TRIPLE) border, be ready to be dragged off your ladder and down into the icy depths of the ocean by the papery tentacles of devilish paper.  In short…it sucks.  Big time.

But it looks soooooooooo gooood.  How can something so awful be so amazing at the same time?  It’s like a zebra cake.

zebra cake

You know it is awful.  Awfully delicious.  Mmmmmmm.  Hey – it fits our school theme.  I need some zebra cakes right NOW.

How did we get on this topic?  Back to bulletin boards.

Nothing really new to see here.  Pretty much all the same stuff!  Our district bought the Game Plan curriculum, so I changed my rules to match those.

I wanted the branches to overlap some of the displays.  But I used black paper for my backgrounds.  And the branches are black.  But it still looks awesome!  Awesome, I say!!

Just Add Instruments

Time to bring my instruments in from their summer home – my closet on stage.  I recruited my husband and son to help me move everything in.  Not my favorite chore.  But at least it didn’t involve border.  Or a ladder.  Just a cart and some deodorant.  That second ingredient is key.

I moved my instruments around this year.  Just to get them out of high-traffic areas.  The kids are really good about not touching too much of my stuff, but some of them just can’t help it.  I am trying to be proactive and help my sweet little darlings keep their stinky hands off the drums when they’re lining up.

And Now…Some Pics

That’s all I wrote on the topic last year. I guess I just got really busy right before the kids came back! Let’s hope I do better this year.

i dug around and found some pics from the year to let you get a feeling of what the room was like. It was so beautiful. Maybe my favorite ever. Sorry so few pics!