Welcome to the end of the school year, teachers!

It is hard to believe another year has come and almost gone. Of course, this brings up a discussion that always comes up amongst my music teacher friends – “What, if anything, should I bring home for the summer?”.

Now, this sort of goes along with the theme of, “How do you pack up your classroom for the summer?” simply because you will not pack away the things that you plan on taking home.In the past, I have been very ambitious with my take-home collection. As far as the amount of materials, think an entire shelf of a bookshelf. That’s how much I would bring home. It would sit in a cardboard box all summer long and I would walk by it thinking, “I should really devote a couple hours a week to pre-planning and go through that box!”. Did I ever actually do that? No. Nope. Never. All it did was leave a box print in my carpet and haunt me all summer long. I know I am not the only person who has done that, so if you have, please leave me a comment so that I don’t feel lazy.

So, without further ado, I give you a list (which could change) of the things that I plan to bring home with me this summer – all with the best of intentions, but far less than an entire bookshelf worth of books:

  • Materials for any PD that you are participating in this summer. I am taking Orff Level II, so I will need all of the materials on the list for the course, including my recorders, Orff volumes, etc. Adapt this to meet whatever PD needs you have this summer.
  • A couple of music education related books to read over the summer. I have plans to read “Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints” and “Elementaria,” which I have tried to read in the past but was distracted away from by Netflix. Hey, I’m human.
  • A couple of long-range, big-picture planning resources. Think “American Methodology,” “Game Plan,” “Jump Right In,” “Kodaly in the (insert grade level here) Classroom,” etc. I am somewhat of a resource collector, so I have pretty much everything there is with which to plan (and I realize how lucky I am). However, I will not bring ALL of it home. I will choose about two and that’s it. I have to be realistic. How much will I really use? How much pre-planning is useful? To what level of detail should I pre-plan? Those are questions that are very individual to each teacher and are determined by things like how strict your district curriculum is (mine is very open to each teacher’s strengths and background), what resources you have and also how much teaching experience you have. I would strongly advise that you NOT try to plan all of your lessons down to the minute for the entire school year ahead of time. It is not practical, as things come up, classes progress differently, etc. Keep long term plans general and skills based, but don’t tie yourself down with every little bitty activity. Just my personal view. Your mileage may vary…
  • Any valuable personal items. Am I bringing home Expo markers and Post-Its that I purchased? Of course not. Am I bringing home my personally owned ukuleles and such? ABSOLUTELY.
  • Please, and I say this as someone who lives where there are hurricanes, TAKE PICTURES of your room, bookshelves, instruments, etc. before you leave for the summer. If something unfortunate were to happen such as a break in, fire, hurricane, zombie apocalypse…you absolutely want evidence of the items that were in your room and the condition of those items prior to the event. Some schools take yearly, detailed inventory. Mine does not, aside from technology items. If you are a REAL go-getter, you can find several barcode scanning apps that can store your book collection as a digital list. I have done this in the past and have not needed it aside from trying to make sure I don’t rebuy something I already have.

Do you plan on bringing things home for the summer? What is your take-home strategy? I would LOVE to hear about what other teachers bring home. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

Have a spectacular end-of-the-year!



Marti Chandler

Hello! My name is Marti Chandler. I graduated from the University of Houston in 2002 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (Go Coogs!). I have 16 years of classroom teaching experience and it is both my work and my passion! I spent my first two years teaching Elementary Music in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, then came back home to teach in my hometown of Houston, Texas in 2004. I have been teaching Elementary Music and Choir in Clear Creek ISD for the past 14 years where I have also served as Co-Director of the Clear Creek ISD Elementary Honor Choir and have written curriculum for the district. In addition to those roles, I also enjoy hosting student teachers from the University of Houston and designing classroom teaching materials for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. When I am not working, I enjoy traveling, nerding out about meteorology (I love to track hurricanes!), cooking and spending time with my rocket scientist husband, three children and our giant, goofy Mastiff named Mags.