Playing Music in the Classroom

Now that so many paid music streaming sites are being widely used (some cell phone plans even include them in your contract for free), it is a great thing to bring into the classroom whenever possible. I understand that some of the state rules do not allow for music to be played during testing and that is something we should be aware of – especially as we work to get our students acclimated to the testing environment. Even still, despite the state testing regulations, so many studies have shown that music in classrooms helps our learns focus and feel more at ease and in some cases, more confident, it is sometimes difficult to figure out which stations or genre of music would be best for our learners. This comes down to the purpose of the lesson and the energy needed to complete the task effectively as well as the amount of conversation that will be happening throughout the lesson. For example, the stations played while students are in small groups could be drastically different from the stations played while students are working on a collaborative project. Below are some stations that I have heard being played around campus and some stations that I have used with students as well:

For a Calming Room Environment:

To create an atmosphere of calm and ease, I enjoy using songs without words that I still know the tune of – things like songs remastered as lullabies or film scores. You may even hear your students talking about what song is being played

If you are interested in more lullaby choices, check out the Lullaby Renditions website here – they have about every rendition from Iron Maiden to Beyonce and Hamilton! Click the link above and then choose the album you are interested in, you can add it to your Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify or Amazon Music account with just a few clicks! This could even become part of the prizes you offer your students – a student could choose the artist they listen to for a day and have some voice and choice recognized in this classroom routine.

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For Collaborative Group Work

When students are doing a group project or a task that requires a lot of movement or conversation, you do not necessarily want to play a calming lullaby. Instead, it might be a lot more effective to play music with words to help gauge the noise level of the group.

I have yet to find a station where all of the students enjoy the music genre. What I have found is that having a conversation around learning and appreciating the work of music has helped students understand that just because it is not their personal preference does not make it “bad.” This is another area where I have seen a lot of teachers offer voice and choice to their students. Instead of the teacher putting on their music, a student who has earned the privilege can choose what artist to listen to – just make sure you have your explicit music filter enabled to play radio edits as needed.


With the surge in popularity of apps like Tik Tok (formerly Musical.ly), it is clear that so many students have music and moving somewhere in their list of hobbies. Whenever possible, music is a great way to help our learners feel like their voice and choice are being recognized! If you have another station that you and your learners love, please share it out with others!

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STEM Weekly Announcements 4.7.2019

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through

WINGS ● We Include everyone ● Never Give Up, have a ● Growth Mindset to ● Soar off to college

Shout Outs:

  • Shout out to Ms. Carolina, + Team for committing and following through with 3 wonderful performances of Shrek Jr.
  • Welcome to our new school counselor Mrs. Karina Caro! She will be joining Coach Chris in room 601 starting Monday, schedules with new groups and times will be sent out by the counseling department this week.
  • Shout out to ALL TEACHERS for committing and following through with parent conferences before break! We had a great turnout of parents in attendance at conferences!

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📸Pictures: (1) World of Work day (2) Shrek Jr Cast (3) World of Work Day

Additional Information:

  • Read Naturally QR Codes: We have recently been able to create QR codes for the read naturally passages for levels 0.8, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0! Please feel free to use the attached documents as needed, if you would like the paper copies with the passages and the QR codes attached, please see Heather Galyen in room 903! Spanish versions are being worked on now!
  • Social Media Hashtags: We always love to see the great work you and your students do being shared on our social media accounts! If you are comfortable posting your great work, please feel free to include our school hashtags:
  •  Imagine University: Imagine Learning has created a platform where there are videos that walk you through their programs. You can use this as a tutorial for your students or to learn more about what they are offering to our learners. You can sign up by going to https://university.imaginelearning.com/
  • ILE Checking Reports: You can hear your student’s reading on ILE by going to the audio files under the student portfolio section. This can help hold your students accountable for their work, especially when you listen to them recordings with the students as needed! If you would like more information about ILE reports, please contact Heather Galyen.

Week at a Glance

After-School Duty: 6th Grade ** Q4: Grit **

Please sign up for your formal observation in Room 201!

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Looking Ahead & Other Information:

4.18.19 Spring Kermes

Creating Your Own Narrative

I was recently reminded how important it is to be in control of your own story while working on the yearbook. I had some pictures that I had collected of our Mindlabs classes and a few STEM, VAPA and STEAM classrooms. As I was sharing the yearbook pages for teachers to review, they were responding that the pictures did not accurately capture what actually happens in their classrooms. This is so accurate because I just happened to go in and snap a few pictures for the yearbook when I did not have enough to represent their class or program in the yearbook! These chance shots of course did not show the innovative and exciting lessons that are happening all of the time because they were captured at random and unplanned times. This is not to say that we can never walk into a class and see amazing things happening sporadically, this is, gratefully, the norm at Feaster; however, what I find innovative and exciting may not be the best example of what the teacher is doing or what the students are capable of.

In one case in particular, I found the notebooks that students were creating were particularly organized and impressive. When I emailed the sample yearbook page with an adorable picture of the students holding up their journals and smiling, the response that I got back made me realize how important it is to control our own narrative. The teacher responded that while she liked the picture and appreciated the work being put into the yearbook, the pictures did not accurately show the amount of hands on activities being done by her students. Included with this email were about 8 other pictures of students actively learning with manipulatives and materials other than paper and pencil. This was exactly what I wanted…teachers to make their own narratives, to showcase the norms in their classrooms instead of relying on others to control that and misrepresent what is being done. I would never want to take over someone else’s story, but in the absence of knowledge, we often make our truth. To prevent someone else from telling our story, we must tell our own.

As I reflected on this experience, I realized how important it is for us to share what we are doing in our classrooms with others. It is so important to tell our own story of what is happening in our classroom to help others see beyond what is observed when someone stops in by chance, like when a grade level plans a walk through to see best practices, when we have parents touring the school, when we have scheduled observations and any other time we just want to share the great things we are doing.

Creating our own narrative and helping others see our own stories can be so powerful because it helps us lead the learning of our peers, helps us inspire other educators and may even help us grow as learners and professionals as well. Sharing our own stories can be done so many ways (talking in the lounge, sharing during collaboration, planning vertically, building a professional learning network, etc) and one way that I have found that has the most impact is by sharing with others online. When we share what we are doing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, any online platform, we are helping inspire others and we are creating our own narrative and taking over our own classroom story so that what we are doing is not misinterpreted or misrepresented. So make sure that no one makes up their own truths about your classroom and what you are doing because of the absence of knowledge…tell your story and help inspire others!

STEM Weekly Announcements 03.17.2019

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through

WINGS ● We Include everyone ● Never Give Up, have a ● Growth Mindset to ● Soar off to college

Shout Outs:

  • Shout out to Coach Schnelle, Coach Reggie, & our Girls’ Basketball Team for Committing & Following Through by ending the season strong and making it to the playoffs!
  • Shout out to our Noon Duty Supervisor & Jeannie for having a Growth Mindset by attending a restorative practice training at the district. They learned several new strategies to implement with our kiddos!

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 8.31.10 AM.png📸Pictures: (1) Girls on the Run (2) Tangsoodo Club (3) Speech Contest winners + FCS Board

Additional Information:

  • Airdrop: If you notice that your students are sending or receiving airdrop files that are not on task, please email Heather Galyen so that she can disable this as needed. Please have a conversation during a trust circle with your students if this is an issue. Students should communicate with you if they see a file that is being sent without permission. When the airdrop message shows up, it will show the name of the student who is trying to send it, so please make it a classroom routine for students to show you the screen before hitting accept or deny. This will help us understand who is sending the unwanted airdrop message. Thank you all for your help with this.
  • Change Clocks: if your clock is still wrong from the daylight savings time, please follow the instructions below;
    • Hold down the set button until all of the numbers flash
    • Click set until the hour flashes and everything else is blank
    • Click the plus button to add an hour
    • Click set until everything is back as it should be
  • Shrek Jr: Opening night of Shrek Jr is on Tuesday, March 19th, show starts at 6:00 PM!
    • Tuesday – SOLD OUT!
    • Wednesday – few tickets left
    • Thursday – SOLD OUT!
  • Cheerleading Fundraiser: Coach Leslie and the Cheerleaders are raffling a Hotel Del Gift Card Raffle tickets are $10 for the $200 Hotel Del gift card. Please email coach Leslie at leslie_amp@hotmail.com if you are interested,
  • Girl Scouts: we will be hosting an informational meeting for Girl Scouts on campus on Tuesday, March 19th at 5:00 PM. Flyers will be placed in your boxes on Monday, please make sure that these go home with students.
  • Scholar Dollars: We have entered the voting competition, Scholar Dollars to help gain additional funding for our Mindlabs programs and electives! Voting opens on 3/11 at 8:00AM and we encourage all teachers to vote every day from 3/11 – 3/22! Please help us out by sharing the information below on your Class Dojo and Jupiter Ed pages: Help us keep our specialty STEM and VAPA programs funded by voting everyday online using the link http://www.myscholardollars.com/vote/?show_school=5009 (this link will be live from 3/11 at 8:00 AM until 3/22 at 8:00 AM). Please vote daily to help support our programs here at Feaster Charter! If we have the largest number of votes, we will be awarded with $25,000!!
  • On the Blog this Week: this week’s post talks about reflecting on our use of flexible space and making sure that it is used by our students, read the full post on our blog: https://feastercharter.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/flexible-seating/

Week at a Glance

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Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 4.8.19 Students & Teachers Return from Spring Break
  • 4.9.19 SOM Awards Assemblies
  • 4.12.19 STEAM Career Fair

VAPA Weekly Announcements 3.17.19

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through

WINGS ● We Include everyone ● Never Give Up, have a ● Growth Mindset to ● Soar off to college

Shout Outs:

  • Shout out to Coach Schnelle, Coach Reggie, & our Girls’ Basketball Team for Committing & Following Through by ending the season strong and making it to the playoffs!
  • Shout out to our Noon Duty Supervisor & Jeannie for having a Growth Mindset by attending a restorative practice training at the district. They learned several new strategies to implement with our kiddos!

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 8.31.10 AM.png📸Pictures: (1) Girls on the Run (2) Tangsoodo Club (3) Speech Contest winners + FCS Board

Additional Information:

  • Airdrop: If you notice that your students are sending or receiving airdrop files that are not on task, please email Heather Galyen so that she can disable this as needed. Please have a conversation during a trust circle with your students if this is an issue. Students should communicate with you if they see a file that is being sent without permission. When the airdrop message shows up, it will show the name of the student who is trying to send it, so please make it a classroom routine for students to show you the screen before hitting accept or deny. This will help us understand who is sending the unwanted airdrop message. Thank you all for your help with this.
  • Change Clocks: if your clock is still wrong from the daylight savings time, please follow the instructions below;
    • Hold down the set button until all of the numbers flash
    • Click set until the hour flashes and everything else is blank
    • Click the plus button to add an hour
    • Click set until everything is back as it should be
  • Shrek Jr: Opening night of Shrek Jr is on Tuesday, March 19th, show starts at 6:00 PM!
    • Tuesday – SOLD OUT!
    • Wednesday – few tickets left
    • Thursday – SOLD OUT!
  • Cheerleading Fundraiser: Coach Leslie and the Cheerleaders are raffling a Hotel Del Gift Card Raffle tickets are $10 for the $200 Hotel Del gift card. Please email coach Leslie at leslie_amp@hotmail.com if you are interested,
  • Girl Scouts: we will be hosting an informational meeting for Girl Scouts on campus on Tuesday, March 19th at 5:00 PM. Flyers will be placed in your boxes on Monday, please make sure that these go home with students.
  • Scholar Dollars: We have entered the voting competition, Scholar Dollars to help gain additional funding for our Mindlabs programs and electives! Voting opens on 3/11 at 8:00AM and we encourage all teachers to vote every day from 3/11 – 3/22! Please help us out by sharing the information below on your Class Dojo and Jupiter Ed pages: Help us keep our specialty STEM and VAPA programs funded by voting everyday online using the link http://www.myscholardollars.com/vote/?show_school=5009 (this link will be live from 3/11 at 8:00 AM until 3/22 at 8:00 AM). Please vote daily to help support our programs here at Feaster Charter! If we have the largest number of votes, we will be awarded with $25,000!!
  • On the Blog this Week: this week’s post talks about reflecting on our use of flexible space and making sure that it is used by our students, read the full post on our blog: https://feastercharter.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/flexible-seating/

Week at a Glance

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Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 4.8.19 Students & Teachers Return from Spring Break
  • 4.9.19 SOM Awards Assemblies
  • 4.12.19 STEAM Career Fair

Flexible Seating

Over the past several years, there has been a huge shift in the layout of classrooms. I have noticed a lot of  classrooms on campus that are doing an amazing job with offering flexible seating. When I say amazing, I mean that it is both provided to the students and the students are actually utilizing it! It is one thing to offer a couch, lower tables, higher tables, yoga mats, etc. However, if these areas are not being used, what is the purpose of having them? As I have reflected and found similarities between classrooms where the flexible areas are being used and classrooms where it is not as utilized, I have found that there are some ways to encourage our students to be confident and comfortable enough to actually utilize the spaces we are providing. By asking ourselves and our students reflective questions, we can create a more effective learning environment:

  • Are students using all of the areas that you have provided?
  • Do students have choice when deciding where to sit?
  • Is there a system in place for what happens when their favorite spot is taken?
  • Did students help plan when you created the flexible seating areas?
  • Do students use these areas appropriately?
  • Is the seating conducive to a productive working environment?

Like students in our classrooms, I have my favorite areas to work as well. There are some weekends when I work and I drive past three or four Starbucks to get to the one that I like to work at most. It is nothing against those other Starbucks, it is simply that they do not have the seating accommodations that I like or they do not have enough areas with outlets. We all have our own work environment preferences. So, the point is that when we can get our student’s voices to show in our classroom environment, we can learn more about how our classroom environment will be effective for them as well. How powerful would it be if we held a trust circle where our students shared their feedback about our classroom?

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I recall one my first years trying out flexible seating and my students loved it at first! Then, I realized that over time, they became less interested in certain areas. As I started conversations with them about what caused the change, I started to realize that they did not feel as comfortable because the areas had begun looking old and ragged. I looked at the classroom with a fresh perspective and realized that the once plump bean bag chairs were now flat like tortillas and the once new throw pillows were squashed and in some cases stained. I held a conversation and got their feedback about how to update the areas. I then started a Donors Choose and got new materials funded. Once they arrived, we had a conversation centered around caring for the new areas. This helped students include their own voices in the set up of our classroom and it helped them learn more about respecting our room environment. I also learned what types of materials can withstand the daily use of 30 plus students! Through this reflective conversation, the students had their voice and choice respected and they had the opportunity to improve our work area as a team and classroom community.

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When we are looking into our classroom environment, it is always useful to hear from our students to get their input and to do our own research. If you are interested in updating or creating your own flexible seating areas, here are some great places to start:

STEM Weekly Announcements 3.11.2019

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through

WINGS ● We Include everyone ● Never Give Up, have a ● Growth Mindset to ● Soar off to college

Shout Outs:

  • Shout out to Ms. Zurcher, Ms. Quesada, and Ms. Silverstein for keeping all staff and every student in mind as they took time to meet with all teachers to collaborate on students who have IEP’s, communication and team work is vital for the success of our SPED students!
  • Shout out to Social Committee for having a growth mindset and organizing the car wash for staff! There is still time to sign up, the car wash will be on Tuesday, email Cassandra.mateos@cvesd.org.
  • Shout out to Mrs. Silva and Mr. Samaniego for keeping all staff and every student in mind as they are creating a motivational video for our students for testing! Mr. Samaniego was out and about filming on Friday, be ready for your turn!
  • Shout out to Ms. Ruppert, Ms. Zinskey, Ms. Morris, Ms. Palacio, Mrs. Hernandez, & Mrs. Tellez for committing and following through with the Girls on the Run Program!

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📸Pictures: (1) Yearbook Preview (2) Laya and Amelia eating from one of our students hands (3) Students show off their science notebooks!

Additional Information:

  • ScholarDollars: We have entered the voting competition, Scholar Dollars to help gain additional funding for our Mindlabs programs and electives! Voting opens on 3/11 at 8:00AM and we encourage all teachers to vote every day from 3/11 – 3/22! Please help us out by sharing the information below on your Class Dojo and Jupiter Ed pages:
    • Help us keep our speciality STEM and VAPA programs funded by voting everyday online using the link http://www.myscholardollars.com/vote/?show_school=5009 (this link will be live from 3/11 at 8:00 AM until 3/22 at 8:00 AM). Please vote daily to help support our programs here at Feaster Charter! If we have the largest number of votes, we will be awarded with $25,000!!
  • Sign On Trouble: If you or your students are having any issues logging onto programs like Achieve3000, Illuminate, SmartyAnts, etc. please make sure that you clear your cache. Instructions on how to do this from Safari, Chrome and an iPad are attached.

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  • SBAC Troubleshooting: With the interim SBAC testing coming up, we want to make sure that you have a resource to go to if you or your students are having issues logging on or using the AirSecure app. Please see the attached SBAC Troubleshooting guide.

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  • Printers: a lot of wireless printers have been disconnected due to updates with the IP address. If you have this issue or need a printer installed to your computer, please contact Heather or Roel so they can install it for you. If you have an immediate need to print, we have attached instructions showing you how to install your own printer.

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  • iPad Covers: please take some time to check your iPad covers and make sure that they are in like-new condition. If you see any rips or markings that cannot be removed, you will need to send the device to the media center. The student will be able to purchase a new iPad cover from the ASB store before or after school for $5. The Media Center will not accept the payment, students must pay at the ASB store. Thank you for your help with this, we need to make sure that the covers last for longer than a year!
  • Yearbooks: You can still preorder your yearbooks online! Please share the information below with your parents:
    • You can pre-order your yearbooks online by going to https://ybpay.lifetouch.com/ and entering the school code: 12722419. Yearbooks start at $20 for a soft cover! Preorder yours today, online sales end 3/17/2019!

Week at a Glance

  • After-School Duty: 4th Grade
  • ** Q3: Zest & Gratitude **
  • Please sign up for your formal observation in Room 201!

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Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 3.18.19 – 3.22.19 Parent Conferences
  • 3.25.19 to 4.7.19 SPRING BREAK