Ms. Simons Says!
Welcome to my website! I am extremely excited to have you in class this year- I cannot wait to show all my students how much fun music can be! Music has been very important to me my entire life; my hope is to instill my passion for music into future generations of aspiring musicians. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Below is an example of how students earn grades on a daily and weekly basis. I use Microsoft Excel to keep track of grades.
The Concert Choir is the top auditioned ensemble at Grant High School and is comprised of sophomore through senior men and women. Throughout the school year we work on high quality vocal literature (mostly acapella) and travel throughout the state giving concerts and doing clinics with collegiate music professors. We also spend ample time working on sight-singing, music theory, and dictation skills. The commitment level required to participate in this ensemble is intense, but the rewards are even greater.
The annual school musical is an opportunity for students to participate in a full-fledged musical. Auditions are required and consist of 16 bars of a show tune, a short dance routine, and a memorized monologue. Rehearsals are from 3:30-5:30 Monday through Friday starting after Christmas Break with the performances in mid-March.
Solo & Ensemble (Extracurricular)
Solo & Ensemble is an opportunity for students to prepare a solo art song and perform it for a judge for a rigorous assessment and rating. If a rating of 1 is earned, the student may perform again at the State Solo & Ensemble contest. This is an extracurricular activity, and requires payment of entrance fees from the student. Outside preparation is required as class time will not be set aside for individual rehearsal.
These are some of my favorite links to support effective teaching and the enhancement of learning.
Musical Minds: Imagining and Listening to Music
The Effect of Music on the Brain
Virtual Choir- Eric Whitacre
Introduction to Orff
Kindergarten Music Class
Reading Pen: This pen is a portable reading device and dictionary. Used just like a highlighter, students simply "scan" text which can then be read aloud to them, defined, and saved for later use. Available with both English and Spanish dictionaries and at different levels (both basic and advanced lexicon), this will help any student who struggles with reading and/or has a visual impairment.
IntelliKeys: This is an alternative to the standard computer keyboard. Anyone who has difficulties using a regular keyboard due to physical, visual, or cognitive disabilities greatly benefit from this product. This allows the keys to be enlarged and be in contrast to each other for easier location for the students. Teachers have many different overlay options; depending on the curriculum and assignment, they can design what keyboard will work best for their student.
Content Area Game
Divide the class into groups of 3-5 and varying abilities levels. They will visit 10 stations set up through the classroom, each equipped with a song excerpt and a set of Boomwhackers. It is their task to work together to sight sing the music using solfege (the Boomwhackers are there to guide them) and figure out where it comes from. The examples can come from literature they've performed, popular songs, warm-ups, and classic folk songs. They work for 4 minutes at each station. The group with the most songs identified will be the winner!
The Women's Choir is a non-auditioned ensemble comprised of freshman through senior women. Focus here is given to healthy vocal development and musicianship skills. High quality literature is performed throughout the year at concerts and community events.
Links to Exploring Music
Leipzig Music Trail Photo Album