Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Three Things I've Learned This Summer

I'm joining Aileen Miracle in a linky party sharing three things we've learned this summer. I've been on maternity leave since spring break, so I haven't really been in work-mode. So, I'm going to share three things that my 2 year old, Landon, has taught me this summer. He is my "Sour Patch Kid". He is super sweet, but also super sour!

#1) My House Is A Canvas

Landon loves to find pens or markers and leave his artwork on any surface he can find, including--the couch, the walls, the curtains, his bed sheet, his books, and his BABY BROTHER! For this lovely piece, Landon's medium of choice was a Sharpie!

 #2) My Laptop Is a Step Stool

I use my laptop on a lap desk and often sit it in the floor by the couch when I need to get up for something. Landon loves to stand on it even though I repeatedly ask him to stop. Just a couple days ago, I opened my laptop and discovered this. :(

#3) My Son Is A Beaver!

He chews on EVERYTHING! There are missing chunks on our storage ottoman and tv table. He also loves to bite chunks out of foam balls.

Are all boys like this??? I never had any brothers, so I have no clue. I hope this destruction phase passes soon. At least he has a cute face!

Coda! As a bonus, I'll add one more thing I learned from my daughter: 
(Disclaimer: The bingo chip's incredible journey ended in the trash can! This photo features a clean chip from the box.)
What did YOU learn this summer???

Get To Know You Blog Hop

Hello! I am participating in a blog hop with several other music education bloggers. We are each sharing our background information and then answering a more specific question. We invite you to comment and share your answers as well to be entered in a giveaway. For more information about this and if you would like to start at the beginning of the blog hop, follow this link: http://www.yellowbrickroadblog.com/2015/07/getting-to-know-you-blog-hop.html

My Background

I have lived in Kentucky all my life. I began playing trumpet in 6th grade and began to take music more seriously in high school. I chose to major in music education because music was my passion and I wanted a career I would enjoy. I hold bachelors and masters degree in music education, both from the University of Louisville. I completed all three levels of Orff-Schulwerk training at the University of Kentucky.  I am also a National Board Certified Teacher. This August, I will begin my 11th year teaching.

Influential Music Teachers

In past posts, I have mentioned the influence of Dr. Rob Amchin  He is the head of the music education department at the University of Louisville. Prior to elementary methods, I thought I was destined to be a band director. Dr. Amchin opened my eyes to the wonderful world of elementary music!

 I have also posted about my former trumpet professor, Dr. Michael Tunnell.
 Without the scholarship he awarded me, I would not have been able to attend UofL. Doc T also taught me the importance of being patient and kind when working with children.

My biggest influence, and favorite music teacher, is my high school band director, Mr. Gary Parker. Throughout my childhood, I was very shy and lacked self-confidence. In middle school band, I was just a mediocre musician happy to play a second trumpet part. I never thought I had much potential. Mr. Parker encouraged me to practice and improve my trumpet skills. I never thought it would be possible, but my senior year I made the top symphonic band at All-State!

Mr. Parker also challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and become a leader. He started a leadership team as a way for students to provide input on important decisions affecting the band. The students on the leadership team attended a workshop by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser. I have seen Dr. Tim present many times, both as a student and as a professional, and each time I learn something new. Becoming a leader in band became the foundation for my success as an educator.

Mr. Parker also asked us to make goals each semester. We made individual goals and he allowed for open dialogue for us to make group goals for the band. We posted our goals in the back of the band room and the group goals were in the front of the band room. He referred to them often making us reflect on our actions and evaluate our path to reaching those goals. They weren't HIS goals, they were OUR goals. He held us accountable and didn't let us slack off. He didn't want us to waste our potential. I continued to set goals for myself throughout college and even today I'm always looking for ways to improve my teaching.

There was a poster on the wall in the band room which read, "Never settle for less than your best."

I often think of this poster, and of Mr. Parker, when I feel like I'm in a rut and not giving my job 110%. Thank you, Mr. Parker, for helping me develop a great work ethic! Thank you for helping me discover my passion for music! Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn't. Today, I am providing for my family while doing a job that I truly love and I owe it all to you. Thank you for opening that first door and showing me a path to begin my journey as a music educator!  

Thank you for reading! Don't forget to comment below sharing your most influential music teacher!
Each blog will be answering different questions. If you would like to learn more about me, check out the comments on their posts. My username is "miredo".

Now, go visit Mrs. Tanenblatt for the next stop on the blog hop!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thanks For the Bonus Points!

I was on maternity leave from Spring Break through the end of the school year. I recently visited school for the first time to drop off some items. One of those items was an awesome table I found at the local peddler's mall for only $10! 

While I was there, I checked my mailbox and found some end of the year letters and cards from teachers, parents, and students. One letter in particular melted my heart.

"Dear Mrs. Dennis, I will miss you next year. We were given an assignment to write a letter to our favorite teacher. I thought of you! This is the letter! You were my favorite because you gave us fun songs, gave us educational games, and expanded my knowledge in music.
First of all, you were my favorite because you gave us fun songs! I loved peanut butter pie! It was my favorite! We also got to learn about sixteenth notes!
Second of all, you gave us educational games! Now, I know the staff like the back of my hand! It's the most important thing to know when it comes to leaning music! It was really fun too!
Last but definitely not least, you expanded my knowledge in music! I love playing it and singing, so it's probably my favorite subject! I always wanted to be a singer and make music. Now, I feel more confident that I can! Thank you.
In conclusion, you are my favorite teacher! I love the way you teach, the subject you teach, and you in general. I'm happy you were my music teacher the last six years.
From J______
P.S. You were also my academic team coach, Orff instructor, and choir conductor. You get three bonus points."


I will miss this girl tremendously. She is very talented in many aspects of her life. She is an excellent student and terrific writer. She is a very talented musician and dancer. She has a strong sense of character and she is a true friend to anyone she meets. She is destined for success! I can't wait to see what the future holds for her!

Thanks for the bonus points, J______!

This post is part of the Fermata Friday Linky Party!

Fermata Fridays Linky Party

I will be joining Elizabeth at Organized Chaos, as well as other bloggers, to participate in Fermata Fridays! It will be a linky party to share ideas about music education.

For this first week, we got to choose a past post or create a new post. There was no theme, but I chose two posts inspired by students. I chose to revisit "Tangle-Free Ribbon Wands", a solution discovered by two of my students. I also created a new post reflecting on a letter from a 5th grade student at the end of the year--"Thanks For the Bonus Points". I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Family of Five!

I'm back into work mode after a break for maternity leave. I'm happy to announce we are now a family of FIVE!!! It has definitely required some adjusting, but I'm loving every minute of it. We now have 3 beautiful children--Leah (5), Landon (2), and Luke (3 months). My daughter will also start kindergarten in August! I look forward to seeing her in my music class.

July 1st Music Freedom Freebie!

I have joined in with several other music teachers to offer some fabulous resources for free today only! My resource is a pdf file presenting the poem "Cobbler, Cobbler" along with a printable worksheet for students to compose using rhythmic building blocks.

Follow this link to find my freebie:

Follow this link to view all July 1st Music Freedom Freebies: