Lately, as I’ve been cleaning out my room for the summer (only 7 more school days!!), I’ve been taking stock of what items I have that I use all the time, what I don’t use at all anymore, and what I’d really love to order. And since I also get the big budget materials of instruction money this year – which only comes around every 3 years in our county – I want to order some really good stuff.
So the piles have been growing. My textbooks are in nearly new condition and have great music and connections in them. They’re definitely staying. As are the world drums – these are fantastic for making reading connections because it provides a pathway for fluency. The records that have been sitting on the shelf in my office for 20 years – gone. They’re going to the black hole which we fondly call “The Warehouse”. So are the old “dittos” that have been sitting in my file cabinet since before I started at this school. When the purple ink has begun to fade, it’s time to be recycled.
But there’s one thing I’m dying to order….Magna-Tiles. I saw these used at our visit to The Lucy School as a way to help teach math, but I can see their use in so many other things. Check out their website here. Essentially, they are magnetic tiles that you can use to create any 3-D object your heart desires. It teaches patterns, fine motor skills, spacial problem solving skills and more. They even have an idea gallery where you can spark your own creativity.
I’d love to use these as a way to teach meter, patterns, note values, and maybe even melodic intervals and chords. I draw so many connections in my music classes to math, that adding a visual element would be so valuable to my kinesthetic and visual learners. Plus, I truly think that these tiles will be a wonderful way for our special needs learners to participate in our class at an even higher level.
What are some of your favorite items that you use in your classroom? Anything you’d like to add to your wish list? Share with us and write a comment – I’ve got my notepad and pen waiting to add more to my wish list!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.