Friday, January 25, 2013

The Journey Begins . . .

Some may call me crazy, but I have decided to attempt my National Boards. I found out in December that a federal subsidy to refund half of the application fee was expiring. Anyone who completes their portfolio by March 31st is still eligible for the subsidy. Baby #2 is due March 29th! I thought long and hard about whether I should attempt this task while in my third trimester. My final decision was made when I realized that I would be even more crazy to expect to have more time for my National Boards when there are two children demanding my attention! I always planned on completing my boards because it would be a significant pay raise. It will count as my Rank I, but my district and state also offer additional salary supplements to National Board Certified teachers. The hard work will definitely be worth it in the end!

I thought about waiting until I was completely finished with my boards before blogging about it, but I think I will keep you posted with tips and wisdom that I discover along the way. I have made one big realization this week regarding the videos. Two of the entries have time limits of 15 minutes. Many of my lessons start on the carpet in front of the Activboard to prepare the concept and lesson material, then we move to the Orff instruments. Although I try to be as efficient as possible, the transition to move to the instruments causes delay in instruction as we often must get extra mallets for students sharing instruments, take off bars to prep the pentatonic scale, etc. You are not allowed to edit the videos submissions, so this was very puzzling if I wanted to include part of the instruction on the carpet and on the instruments. 

Yesterday, I had an epiphany! Before beginning the lesson and before hitting record on the camera, the students chose their instrument they would be playing for the day. We took care of all issues with mallets and removed the appropriate bars. After everything was prepared, we came back to the carpet to begin the taped part of the lesson. The transition to the instruments took 60 seconds or less! 

Now, on to my next challenge . . . finding a way to mute the intercom system and telephone!

If you are also attempting your National Boards, I would love to network! Comment below or you could send me a private message if you are a fan of this blog on Facebook.


  1. I have been thinking about doing my National Boards, can't wait to hear about your progress.

  2. I have friend sin other states who have done it! I am in Texas, though. But I am interested to hear about the process! :)

  3. I am in WI - and have been thinking about it...would love to hear your thoughts/reflection as you embarked on this.

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  5. I did not certify for National Boards this year. This will be my third year. The only entry I have to retake is entry 1. I am having difficulty figuring out what qualifies for a unit. I did a unit on World Drumming but I only scored a 2 on that. Do you have any suggestions?

  6. I did not pass this year. I missed it by only 3 points. All of my portfolio entries scored a 3 except for entry 1. So, I'm sorry I can't be of any help. I had chosen a recorder unit for 4th grade. I kind of knew when I was analyzing it that I had messed up designing the unit. But, at that point I was on maternity leave and could not record more footage. My lowest scores were on the computer test. With a newborn at home, I just didn't have as much time to review music history and music theory. I'm still not sure what I will choose to retake.