About Me


I am a certified Orff-Schulwerk elementary music teacher, teaching in an urban school. I switched from secondary to elementary music teaching in 2006 and it's been the best move (not financially! ) of my career. If you want to have major impact on students concerning music education, elementary is where it is happening. Disclaimer: The topics in my blog do not necessarily reflect what is happening in my current teaching position or with my current students, administration etc. I have a long teaching history and may chose to deal with an element or problem that I have witnessed or experienced in a previous school or have seen being dealt with by other teachers I have encountered...so there!

Mallet Madness!

March 19, 2018
When I first started teaching at my school I used whatever mallets were available. Later, as my instrumentarium grew, I began to cut down on the number of different styles of mallets I use. Yes, I realize that you get a different sound with a hard mallet as opposed to using a softer one, but at the level most of my classes play, I didn't find it necessary. I chose one style of mallet for my alto and soprano xylophones, a different style for my bass xylophones, another for my bass metalophones and another for my soprano and alto metalophones. My glockenspiels all got the the same glockenspiel mallet.
Now the students don't have any problems selecting the correct mallet for their instrument and life is much easier for me.
If your program needs three different type of mallets for each instrument, go for it. 
 

It's Program Time! Yeah or Boo!

April 21, 2016
Programs. Love them or put up with them, elementary music teachers will likely be presenting some sort of a performance for parents. Some teachers, either due to their desire or what has taken place in the past, will put major emphasis on programs. Some drop their District or State curriculum and the music from the musical takes over. In many cases, the music is just a side issue. The major effort is put into choreography, costumes and sets.
Other teachers take what they normally teach anyway,...

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Ok, Kids. Create Some Movement! Duhhhhh.

April 10, 2015
Even if your 4th, 5th, and 6th graders have done movement in your class, there are some groups who will just stare at you with calf eyes when asked to create some simple movement for a song. Some classes will jump right into it, but I recently had a class that spent more time talking about movement than actually doing it. For this group, I came up with a movement word list and a set of cards that could help them get started. I'm happy to say that it worked for them. My Word files for the card...
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Free Orff Music Lessons for Teachers

August 14, 2013
I've posted a "Trailer" for my book, Orff Adventures for Children. The video covers two lessons from the book. The lessons in the book have been kid tested and worked well with my students. Enjoy the free lessons, and I hope you will consider getting the book for yourself. Purchases will help me keep my website, www.orffsite.com going. Thanks. Click here to view the free lessons.
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New Flipped Classroom Section

July 17, 2013
Just a quick note to let you know that I've created a Flipped Classroom page on Orffsite.com. This is where I will be posting some short elementary music and, mostly, Orff related videos, podcasts, slide shows etc, that would be suitable for my, or your, school classroom website. You can find it on the site links above, or just click below. I start with a cheesy video describing how students should take bars off their Orff Instruments.

Flipped Classroom
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Six Comments that Tell You the Parent Conference is Over

July 16, 2013
Before having a face to face meeting with a parent(s) there are some things you want to make certain you've done.
1. You have attempted to resolve the issue over the phone. Notice I said phone and not email. Emailing is a losing strategy for anything more than a simple response. The phone is better unless the caller becomes agitated, belittling or threatening.
2.  Have all documentation and make certain you have followed your school/districts policies concerning parent notification and discipli...

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Orff Adventures for Children is Now Available

March 22, 2013
My new book is now available. Thanks to all the teachers who have already purchased it, even before this announcement.
I hope you find it useful. I think you'd find it's worth the price just for the Gator in the Kitchen song. My third graders love the tune and ask to review it throughout the year. To you who get the book, I will be making available some sound files to accompany the information in the book. I will be posting the files on this website. The book is available through the link at t...

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Orff Adventures for Children

March 16, 2013
I'll have a new book out in a few days, Orff Adventures for Children. It will have ten arrangements for body percussion, movement, speech, non-pitched percussion and Orff Instruments. It will have both original and folk song arrangements. It will be available as a physical book and as a Kindle book. These are arrangements I use with my classes and they are well received. Be watching here, and following me on Twitter to see when it's ready. I'll have a special price for Twitter followers and r...
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Micro-Management & Other Mental Illnesses

September 22, 2012
Micro-management is a wonderful way to control a staff of teachers or a class of students for that matter. Seriously--when an administrator spells out exactly and in minute detail, what content is taught, what methodology is to be used, how to manage every behavior, every lesson plan, every piece of paper, every procedure and monitors each item to make certain it is completed exactly on schedule with no variation regardless of what subject is being taught or what the temperament or personalit...
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Ready..Set...Go!

August 26, 2012
Monday, August 27th, is my first day with students for the 2012-13 school year. This year I will be floating between two schools. Being a traveling teacher is not the vision I had in my head when I entered the teaching profession. Vision aside, it's a reality. Teaching load, number of classes per day, has also increased this year. Currently I am scheduled to have four days with six classes per day and one day with seven classes. It could be even worse. I won't know that until after the first ...
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