music room tour!

I hope you all will forgive this departure from my typical food-based posts. Because I have something incredibly exciting to share with you:

My new music classroom!

I am thrilled about my new space. Yes, it’s not a brand-new room, the walls need painting, it’s sort of a goofy shape, the fluorescent lights have a weird yellowish tinge, and there’s no sink. But it’s MINE! After three years of not having my own classroom (going between schools and then going from class to class on a cart), I am so excited to have my own "home".

So without further ado, here are some pictures of the space!

First, the music bulletin board in the hallway. I can’t take any credit for this; Sarah designed it and put it up. I really love it, and probably will not be able to bring myself to tell her when/if some kid rips one of the owls or leaves off the board.

Whooo can read these rhythms?

Next, the music room!

This is where I store our instruments. We don’t have very many pitched instruments (just some Boomwhackers and a few tone bars) but we do have a lot of unpitched percussion instruments. Sarah helped organize and label everything. Don’t they look great? The owl clipart is from Fancy Dog Studios, via Teachers Pay Teachers.

Instrument Storage

This back corner is where I have all my personal stuff. Coffeemaker, coffee, snacks, and a minifridge full of cold water and Diet Coke.


In those closets I also have all my children’s books. I love using children’s literature in my teaching. I picked up a whole bunch of books at a recent library sale. I found a lot of great books, including this awesome one called Two Girls Can.

I’m a bit of an office supply junkie, so I was really happy to find these storage containers at the local thrift store. As you can see, I got about halfway into a "spraypaint all the boxes!" project and gave up. Maybe next summer.

Supplies storage

Here are my current bulletin boards. Thanks to the excellent Dr. Shehan Campbell, I try to teach as much world music as possible in my everyday lessons. We’re going to keep track of the music that we’re learning from all over the world.

Songs Around the World

I also believe in teaching students about instruments in the typical Western orchestra, and part of that is learning how we classify instrument groups. I don’t love pre-fab posters, but I picked these up at Chicago Teacher Store last time we were in Bucktown. They are pretty good, although I don’t like classifying piano as a percussion instrument.

Instruments of the Orchestra

Here is my desk area. This is probably the cleanest it will be all year. Above my desk I have nice notes and pictures from students as well as quick reference materials and a calendar from the greatest grocery store in the world. Notice also my DIY teacher planner!

Teacher work area

This is where students sit. I put gym floor marking tape down so the chairs always end up in the right spot. With my own room, I am really hoping to do more dance and movement this year. Having easily marked "chair zones" will allow even little kids to put their chairs back after a movement activity in the middle of the room.


I found this small round table on the stage and decided to put it in the back of the room. I like the idea of having a space to sit down with other teachers, eat lunch, make posters, etc. Hopefully it doesn’t just become a crap magnet. If it does, I will probably get rid of it.

Small work area

This is my awesome whiteboard. Until this past summer, it was a chalkboard, but we had the district maintenance folks install a whiteboard over the top. Above the board, I have my Curwen hand signs (they’re magnetic, so I can pull them down and place the on the board too) and space for our daily objectives.


This summer I joined the school PBIS team. PBIS, or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, is a schoolwide system that focuses on (among other things) positive reinforcement and clear expectations. One of my jobs this summer was to re-do our schoolwide signs. I’m pretty happy with how they all turned out.

Expectations / Rules!

This is my favorite part. When our school upgraded the gym sound system, the old speakers and amp/mixer were left unused. It’s not the greatest quality equipment, but it’s more than enough for my needs. These things all go into the soundboard:

  • Apple TV (more on this later)
  • Computer
  • Keyboard (in case I want to channel my inner Ross Geller)
  • CD player

Sound board / mixer

I even have a microphone (a Shure SM58 that our principal found somewhere?) that I’m thinking of hooking up, although I don’t really know how useful it would be. Maybe for assessing solo singing?

Finally, the projector. I got my projector through DonorsChoose (here is a link to the original, completed grant). I use this thing every day, along with Powerpoint, my iPad, and a cool app called Doceri. These tools allow me to have Smartboard-like capabilites from my iPad, allowing me to walk around the room, teach from behind the piano, have students write on the "board" (iPad), etc.

Instead of a real projector screen, I just covered this bulletin board with a white sheet from the thrift store. It’s not a perfect solution, but I do like that it is basically a 16:9 (widescreen) size.

Projector screen

That’s pretty much it! I know that I sound like a real dork, but I honestly can’t wait for school to start. I can’t wait to bring students into this music room so we can start singing, dancing, writing, playing, thinking, discussing, listening, and making music. Bring it on!


4 thoughts on “music room tour!

  1. I have SO been there with not having a room for my students!! You don’t sound like a dork at all!!! Love what you’ve done with your space. Have a great year making music!!!

  2. I’m very impressed! The round table at the back of the room could also be used as a “time out” area called THE OBSERVATION DECK. If a student needs his own space to calm down or be removed from the group, they could sit at this table and when they have observed someone else following the rules, they can raise their hand, state the rule that the person is following and then rejoin the group! I love having a separate table off to the side or in the back!

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