Did you make a pact with yourself to get better organizedthis summer?
Since I know my teacher friends pretty well, I would bet that this isn’t the first year you’ve tried to make this same pact. The hard part is that IT’S SUMMERTIME! We want to spend time doing fun things with family and friends (as it should be)!
I get it. I know you have a strong need to get yourself in order before the school year returns full force and I’m here to help!
No matter how great our intentions are, the thing we really need is for someone to be right there with us to walk us step by step.
So, in the month of July, I’m offering a series of eight 75-minute power-hour sessions.
By committing yourself to dedicated time with other teachers and working through the digital landscape in a progressive manner, you will walk away feeling ready to tackle the new year.
While each session will have a focus area, there are no rules to how you spend your time! The main goal is that we power through and get some things done.
I will be there to kick off each theme focus with a few tips and tricks. After that, it will be heads down and off to work. We’ll finish with a quick check-in at the end and be on our way.
10-15 minutes of Amy talking through some things for you to consider
50-60 minutes with microphones off, task-focused (Amy available for questions).
5-10 minute check-in at the end
We will meet for eight sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays 11:45 am – 1:00 pm EDT.
Session 1 – Devices (Smartphones & Tablets)
Session 2 – Computers (Desktop/Laptop)
Session 3 – Daily Capture and Save (Notes apps)
Session 4 – Blog Content
Session 5 – Documents (File Explorer / Cloud Drives)
Thanks to summer, I finally had a chance to sit down and put together a little creative project I’ve had on my mind for a while!
I’m always looking for fresh, uncluttered, and visually appealing images to use on my computer desktop background or wallpaper.
Years ago, one of the food websites I was following offered a new set each year. Unfortunately, she no longer does this and ever since I’ve never really put any effort into finding something new – I just rotate through her old ones along with a few others.
Back in those days I would have had no idea how to create my own but it occurred to me last year I could easily do so with Canva (which I swear I use almost every day! LOL).
So, I’ve created a set of 12 imagesfeaturing 12 of my favorite quotes (one for each month of the year – which is about how often I try to rotate). I tried using a combination of both educational quotes, life quotes, and productivity quotes. I hope you find the choices well-balanced and inspiring.
My goal was to keep it simple and visually appealing. I think the Piano Pantry dark blue color looks amazing as a desktop background and makes for a really sleek and clean feel.
Here is a slideshow preview. Click on the arrows on the bottom left or hoover along the right or left sides to go forward or back.
When coaching teachers on digital organization, it’s always my recommendation to keep your desktop free of shortcuts and to use your taskbar to pin quick links to your most used programs. This allows your screen to be clutter-free and more aesthetically pleasing.
For any links you do keep on the desktop background, try and relegate them to the side as much as possible. As you scroll through the images you will notice I tried to keep the quotes especially free of the left margin which is my preferred location for anything on the desktop.
Sign up here to get the download delivered to your inbox. It will send you a link and when you click on the link, you will receive access to a ZIP file. From there you will want to download the file to your computer and extract the file.
Be sure and save it in a location you will remember to access. Dare I say perhaps just link to the folder from your desktop? 🙂 LOL
If you really do want to do that, right-click on the folder, then select “send>desktop(create shortcut)”.
This week’s goodies list calls of summer. Who doesn’t love strawberry season? Let’s kick the first few items off this week’s list with some of my favorite strawberry recipes!
Ina’s Easy Strawberry Jam is absolutely AMAZING. Including a few blueberries and chopped apple gives it a gorgeous color and texture.
You almost can’t call this recipe a recipe, but Almond Butter Strawberry-Toast is a lovely and simple combination. I first discovered this combination from Giada de Laurentii’s book Feel Good Food which I blogged about years about here.
I see some people online sprinkling over things like coconut, julienned basil, chia seeds, or toasted nuts. Toasted shaved almonds or pistachios would be my topper of choice but I usually just like it simple!
Nice for a small crowd. I love the variety of fruit as well as the inclusion of bananas. Just don’t put the bananas in until you’re ready almost to serve. A little sweet sauce mixture pulls it all together and gives it a nice gloss.
My favorite flip-flop for at least 5 years has been the Sanuk Yoga Joy.
They’re made of yoga material and even though there’s not necessarily built-in arch support, I can walk in these shoes almost all day with no problems. I buy a new pair almost every summer and own both metallic colors: Pewter and Champagne.
I’ve tried the Sanuk “Yoga Spree” and they are not nearly as comfortable as the “Yoga Joy.”
Do you have any exciting summer reads lined up? I decided to go on a kick covering all the books from one of my newest favorite psychological-thriller authors, Ruth Ware.
She only has 7 books, and I had read two previously, so my plan is to binge the rest this summer and am already two more down. Are any other psychological-thriller fans out there? If so, let me know some recommendations below!
Break into the summer tunes with my Summer playlist on Spotify. Use it as a starting point for starting your own seasonal playlist!
Do you ever great tired of buying chicken broth? The cost can really add up if you use it a lot – especially in the winter months. I love making my own homemade stock but it’s a bit labor-intensive. Recently I discovered homemade bouillon powder. Brilliant! I’ve only made it once and used it in one recipe, but I’m excited to keep trying it out.
I’ll admit I almost tried the online hack of storing avocados in water in the fridge but never got around to it. According to this article, it sounds like it was a good thing as the FDA is warning against it.
My newest piano buddy, Janna, is killing it online with her wonderful teaching videos. Here’s one on Lesson Planning. She always has great advice and insight.
Speaking of piano buddies, be sure you don’t miss out on two of the most popular episodes of the Piano Pantry Podcast so far
Speaking of the podcast, I’ve updated the podcast page here on Piano Pantry. It includes some screenshots showing you how to subscribe on desktop or mobile, or how to rate and review on Apple Podcasts. It’s not always intuitive!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you may already know that in recent years my husband and I built a new house which included moving my piano studio into the basement and out of commercial space.
My husband did a lot of the work while still working a 40-hour workweek, so the bulk of the build took around three years.
Since cooking is my other mojo, I’ve been wanting to share photos of the kitchen and pantry for a good two years now but it kept getting put off.
After finally taking the time to capture some good photos for our cabinet builders to display, I had no more excuses. It’s finally time for a tour!
Considering it was new construction, sharing photos of the empty “before” construction space isn’t much fun. What is interesting though is to see what we went through leading up to completion.
Since our deadline to move out of our rental house was 6 months prior to our kitchen cabinets being ready (or the upstairs being complete in general), we lived in an unfinished basement (my future studio space) with no carpet or kitchen.
After staying at my house (and sleeping in my studio space – ha!) during the MTNA 2022 conference, Janna was inspired to do a tour of her studio!
Teacher Anna Haugen has a website called “Midlife Creative.” She recently did an artist feature post on a woman who makes incredible homemade pizza every Friday night for her family. The kind of pizza she makes is the kind of pizza of I love but don’t take enough effort to make regularly. I’m thinking it’s time for that to change…
Jennifer Foxx hit a tender spot in my heart when she recently shared a new playlist on Spotify she’s been developing called “Feel Good Songs.” Follow her and give it a listen!
Over the last few weeks, I have found myself incredibly addicted to a YouTube channel called Honeyjubu. She is a Korean woman who Vlogs about home life and food. I’ll just say there has been some serious binge-watching going on.
In the process, I also discovered a similar one called Hamimommy.
Do you have any favorite Vlog channels you follow on YouTube? Let me know in the comments!
Oh my goodness, you have to take 5 minutes to actually read and process each of these 14 logos. So fun!
For Easter each year, we drive 50 minutes immediately following church to an extended family pitch-in lunch for my husband’s side of the family. Due to having to pack up food prior to church and have it sit for 3 hours in our car before the meal, I always do easy things that can survive without heat or refrigeration (or be OK with a simple ice pack).
I am gearing up to launch a preschool piano class this fall and was wondering if you’d share with me how you structured your class – number of weeks, length of class, number of students, lesson plan structure, etc.
(I am currently thinking 8-week sessions, 45-minute classes, 3-4 students, ages 4-6.)
I’ve been learning a lot about MLT, audiation, and MMfP, but I feel like I’m stalling the preschool class launch because I am still so new at all of it. I have been teaching using Piano Safari, as well as several other methods for several years now, and recently ordered the new Piano Safari Friends materials. I also have several years of experience teaching the Music Together program (early childhood family music classes). However, I have felt like until I could teach as an MLT “purist,” I should wait.
Your thoughts on combining methods and doing what works for you and your students has encouraged me to consider another way without worrying about doing it “wrong.” I’d love to hear more about your experience with this age group and the bird and bolts of how you structure your classes!
Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog post. It is SO NICE to hear directly from people impacted! So thank YOU! 🙂
As far as the preschool piano class goes, your email made me realize that the photo I shared in the blog post was perhaps deceiving! The photo I posted was from a free one-off summer class I did with our local parks department for a few years. I used that photo because I was pulling from a multitude of curriculums with those kiddos.
I have yet to run a full preschool piano class. While I offer the group class, it seems I’ve never had enough students timed just right for it to be a go. I’ve only ended up doing private preschool lessons. Here’s how I advertise my preschool lessons though:
“Lessons are paid for and attended in 8-week sessions. Students come once a week for a private lesson or group class of 2-3 students (depending on availability). Private lessons will be 30 minutes and group classes 40 minutes”
So, whether it was a private lesson or a group class, parents were only committed for a short period.
I think what you’re planning as far as length, time, and students are perfect!
As far as curriculum goes, for the most part, I now pretty well use Music Moves Keyboard Games books 100% for this age. I’ll tell you what I’ve done in the past though (as far as combining resources) that worked well for quite a while:
I didn’t necessarily use all of these at once but did combine many of them at one point.
As far as the Music Moves for Piano series goes, let me say this: just do it – don’t feel like you have to know or understand it all to try using it! Keep pressing on and learning a little more at a time.
The Keyboard Games Books are in my opinion the absolute best piano book for preschoolers out there as the songs are short, encourage exploration all over the piano, and especially support the audition of basic rhythm patterns in duple and triple meters.
It’s worth it!
Good luck and I would love to hear how things pan out!