Friday, August 31, 2012

Some interesting things about being the new young teacher....

So, I think that a few of my students may have little crushes on me... It is just kinda funny. I am pretty sure that one little boy (a first grader!) was trying to muster up the courage to say "I love you" after he called me over and told me that he had something he wanted to say... He said "I think you are a really nice teacher" very quickly instead. I then had another student (a fifth grader, I definitely need to be a bit careful with this one...) come up to me and say, "I had a lot of fun in music", but it was just the way that he said it... Oh kids. :)

This definitely adds an extra element to teaching, that is for sure... It is funny though, because I was reflecting on when I was in 6th grade at Naples Elementary and basically every girl in the school had a crush on Mr. Beane, and I think he was around 26, and I am even younger. Girls were seriously so disappointed when he got engaged lol. I also have been thinking about my teacher in 4th grade who was a second year teacher, if I remember correctly and I remember how she still seemed nervous, which just makes me feel better that is for sure, I am not the only one! Everyone has to start somewhere.

I was talking to one of my student's parents and we were discussing how in life we are constantly at the top, then the bottom, the top, then the bottom...which I had never quite thought of. I mean, last year, I just felt so comfortable at BC and I definitely felt like I owned the place in a way. I could talk it up to anyone and I could easily show people around and explain traditions, etc... But now, a few meager months later I am back at the bottom, as the new teacher at school.

Just so you are not worried about me, I am COMPLETELY content and happy with my position, and I truly LOVE my job and all my colleagues are wonderful, even if I can't relate with many conversations since they revolve around being parents and/or being married...  :) ("So my parents did this..." doesn't really fit the conversations") It has been so great though because one of the teachers has a student teacher and so I have someone to talk to that is my age! Sadly she is only here for another month :(. And the part-time spanish teacher is a student at BC so I can totally relate to him.

So I hope you enjoyed my reflections and ramblings about being the new young (hip? ;) teacher.

God bless!
My first pay day treat!! (And I mean that this is a treat! I haven't really splurged on anything!) :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Following Christ has nothing to do with success as the world sees success. It has to do with love.
~ Madeleine L'Engle ~

Guess what song?!?

Guess what piece??

I will give you hints...

- I am doing a little Unit on Impressionism.

- Yes, the kids are drawing churches sinking in the water

- The composer is Debussy.

Give up???

La cathedrale engloutie! By Debussy. :) La cathedrale engloutie- Debussy

So, on this website: I found this awesome idea for a lesson on Debussy's Sunken Cathedral. You see, in college, I did an original orchestration of this pieces, so I know it quite well. :) :) 

So I gave kids sentences which described what was happening in the music and so they drew their interpretation (hence the surfers and sharks...) I just love to watch the creativity of kids, it is quite endless. Then they had to listen to the piece and put their pictures in order of what happens in the story. They did a pretty good job, with a little help from the teacher. :) 

Monday, August 27, 2012


So, today I had an impromptu lesson on Debussy's Nuages:

First of all, this lesson made me quite nostalgic for Benedictine and my wonderful Music History and Orchestration classes where we had the privilege to break down this piece and understand why it is so beautiful and unique and a perfect example of Impressionism.

I did my "Music Words" wall and had my 3rd graders tell me what they heard. I just loved to hear their individual and very creative interpretations of this masterpiece. The four words which my students chose were: strong, heavy, smooth and flowing. The two boys chose strong and heavy while the girls chose smooth and flowing which I thought was so incredibly interesting. The boy chose "heavy" because of the times when there was a lot of depth and a lot going on. I asked him if it could be when all the instruments were playing to together and he enthusiastically agreed. What really surprised me and truly gladdened my music teacher heart was when I asked them what type of music this reminded them of, particularly which country, and they all were like "Chinese music!" It was just so neat how they could hear the pentatonic scale in this piece.

So, as we discussed the piece I asked if there was a student that wanted to draw what they heard on the board and this is what I got...

The sun down is what he drew.... He told me that is made him think of a desert which in turn made him think of Indiana Jones! Too funny :)

Many of the students told me that it was very suspenseful. My favorite description was when one boy shared with the class that he heard "an abandoned church and then a light is streaming through one of the windows...". How cool is that? It is amazing what kids can come up with when they are given the chance!
This is my Music Words wall (the yellow part of the bulletin board) in case anyone was wondering...

Dinner is served!

So surprisingly, or maybe not so surprising... I can't decide... I CAN cook! I mean, I do have the genes since my mom is basically the most amazing cook I know. So, I have decided to share with you some of the meals I have cooked! :)

And just so no one gets worried... I am almost Paleo! I definitely cheat here and there, but almost every meal has been completely senza Gluten :) Aren't you proud??

So this is my first meal that I cooked all by myself. (For my first week I had left-overs from when chef-extraordinaire was visiting :) :)

Stir-fry complete with a Corona :) (I kinda just made this one up (well with a lot of help from Mom!)

So after I made my stir fry, I started to have a little more confidence so I have made apple pork chops for when my wonderful friends, Christine and Laura Lynn visited, taco salad, chicken caesar salad, honey mustard chicken (last night), rosemary chicken, to name a few :) 

My grandpa asked me (on the phone) what I was eating (I think he was worried I was doing takeout or just not eating lol... and then I listed off meals and he was like, "Oh, so you are cooking?" :) Yes I am and finding out that I enjoy it! 

Here is my version of chicken cacciatore kinda... I made Giada's Sauce and then googled how to saute chicken... it was quite yummy! 
Apples beautiful thinly sliced! :) 

When my friend Emily (one of my wonderful roommates senior year at BC) came over, I made her this Apple, Onion, Cabbage and Sausage Hash that my mom swears by, it was so so so good!  I loved to watch as the onions and apples were dyed this pretty pinkish purple colors from the red cabbage! (I know I am weird :) :) 

And finally, this is my dinner that I am enjoying tonight! Wellness Mama's recipe for her version of Chipotle's burrito bowl. YUM!

 I hope you enjoyed the glance into Meghan's kitchen. If you want any of the recipes just let me know. (Or if you are my mom's friend, just ask her ;)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Even if I had commited all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this the multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into the flaming furnace of God's love." - St. Therese of Lisieux

--- I heard this quote last night during a talk and I just LOVE it. We all have to trust in God's unimaginable depth of merciful love. No matter what we do or say or think, God loves us more than we could ever imagine!

A music teacher's board! :)

Thelma and Louise on their way to KS!

So, I have decided to share a little about my adventures this summer on the way to Kansas. So, as most of you may know, my wonderful amazing and super fun mom drove to Kansas with me to help me move into my apartment. My dad lovingly called us "Thelma and Louise" as we set off on this adventure. (I still don't really know what he meant by this... lol) So, on Sunday, July 29th, Mom and I drove from the Our Lady Star of the Sea parking lot on our way to my new adventure. We had decided that receiving our Lord as a family was the best way to begin this new part of my life. It was a very hard and emotional mass, but at the same time it was just so beautiful. Star will always hold a very special place in my heart. 

So, to start our trip Mom and I went to... you guessed it.. Starbucks! for the essential breakfast with COFFEE! :) So, we drove through the beautiful states of WA and Idaho to arrive in Montana. I was the navigator extraordinaire (well with the help of the Iphone and Trip Tiks lol.

 I am pretty sure this was in WA lol :) I probably should have labeled these.

 Definitely still Washington! It has such a beautiful landscape and such elegant evergreens (not the "scrubby trees of KC"- as Mom called them...

So, we stopped in Montana for our first night and we were so excited because we were able to watch the OLYMPICS! :) (Cuz us Grays are so old-fashioned without cable...) So, Mom went out and bought us beer and pizza, the perfect girls night dinner! (Just so you know the pizza had a delicious sour dough crust so it was legit...) 

 This was me being a bit artsy... :)

 Cliffs and the neatest rock formations, I truly began to appreciate the beauty or rocks and cliffs in Ireland.
 Here is the Trip Tik: So much fun to use and learn about the various places!

Our second night was spent in Rapid City, SD so that we could travel to Mount Rushmore the following day. Mount Rushmore is actually a place I have always wanted to visit, but we have never stopped there. It was so memorable to share this visit with my Mom as she reminisced on when she saw it when she was younger. :) 

 Wide open spaces!!! Journey to my new life! :)

 Good ole' Kansas, my new home :)
 And Mama by Washington of course!
 My FIRST time at Mount Rushmore, so cool!!
 There we are! :)

 The cheezy must have tourist shot :)
 I was trying to be artsy and have Mount Rushmore in the mirror, didn't quite work sadly.
 Me with guess who?? :) It was so fun to see the life size statues of the presidents.
 And mom with... Washington of course!
 "In 30 miles WALL DRUG- Free Ice Water and Coffee for 10 cents (or something like that)"
 Yep, we are definitely tourists! 

Mom the tourist... :) 

So, after 3 wonderful and full days of travel, we made it too Kansas! :) 

I hope you enjoyed my small description of my travels. And I just need to give a shout out to my parents. I would NEVER have been able to start out this new adventure without them. My dad did an amazing job packing the car, but mostly he is such a fountain of love and inspired advice. My mom was just the best travel partner and driver (yeah... she drove the whole time, she LOVES driving tho... :) She also helped set me up in my apartment, buying the essentials and stocking my kitchen with spices and other necessities (like coffee!) God has just blessed me with AMAZING parents! I have no idea how to thank God enough for them. :) 

"How is this "boring" for you?"

So, this is my new favorite quote from one of my students. One of the two (yep only 2) trumpet players in my 6/7/8 grade band said this after I stated that, "This is a 'learning' process for all of us."... I made clear to him that it definitely was not boring lol! I have decided that boring is probably the last word I would use for the wonderful and incredibly fulfilling and demanding career of teaching.

I have realized that one of my strengths in teaching is keeping the younger kids engaged and quickly changing the direction of the class. For example, instead of repeating myself many many many times to tell the students to sit "crisscross applesauce", with their hands in their lap, and with their mouths closed..." I instead, told them that my marker is a magic wand and after I wave my magic wand and open my eyes, my entire class will be seated and quiet. It is indeed quite magical to see how well this works.

Granted, there are many times that I find myself repeating those directions, but then I receive great inspirations to make it a game. It is just amazing the difference!

I just love to see kids falling in love with music and to see them start to understand the concept. It is also amazing to see how quickly the little ones pick it up. I was teaching the preschoolers (3 year olds to be exact" and I had them repeat "do-re-mi" and to follow what I did. I was singing "do" and leaning forward with my hands on the floor, and then as I raised the pitch to "re" and moved my hands a little of the floor, and then with "fa" I moved them even further off the floor... The little ones followed me AND they were singing on pitch, it was the coolest thing! I then had them listen to Vivaldi's Spring and act like "big strong trees" when the dynamic (volume of the music) was forte (loud) and then shrink to little bugs when the music dropped down to piano (quiet). The kids began to tell me when to get bigger and smaller when they started to understand the concept, I just loved seeing their enthusiasm.

Now on the other side of the spectrum, my junior high elective, I am definitely having a harder time figuring out how to teach them. If anyone has any suggestions on how to make a unit of Careers In Music (which includes a small unit on Music in Movies and a short composition project) incredibly enjoyable and applicable for the 7th and 8th graders, I would LOVE to hear it. For some reason I can teach and relate to the little ones so much better... lol. I think in a way, I am intimidated by the junior high schoolers... Don't get me wrong, the kids are really great kids. I just only have them once a week, so it is hard to get to know them and figure out how to teach them.

So, as you can see, my career is definitely NOT boring! ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Here it goes....

After writing my life update, I decided, well with some encouragement, that I should start a blog. I plan to truly just keep all my friends and family updated on all the blessings that God is bestowing upon me. He has just been so amazing to me in so many ways!

Thank you for all your support and love! I hope to use this tool to keep in contact with everyone and just to share my joy of life!

God bless!