TEAM: Together, Everyone Achieves More!

Hi All,

Today, I’m feeling really thankful for the times that I’ve TEAMed with others to achieve more. I’d like to share a few collaborations that led me to become a teacher, and to bring Edutunes to where it is today. I’ll start with a few pics and song samples of the “end” (where Edutunes is today) in case you’d like some entertainment as you read on!
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“Lips the Fish,” with Deanna Jump:

      Lips the Fish Edutunes Deanna Jump

“Apples, Apples,” with Deedee Wills:

      Apples Apples Sample - 8:6:15, 7.29 PM

I started writing this blog with a feeling of pure gratitude. Then, I ended up realizing that my “areas of gratitude” could be categorized into ways to help kids, classrooms, and schools … While this blog ended up being “all about me,” I’d like to blog more in the future about all these categories:

-Getting families involved in children’s education: The “Home-School Connection”
-Developing friendships and collaboration in the classroom
-Attributes of great leaders/administrators
-Attributes of supportive colleagues
-Things I’ve learned from “coopetition” on Teachers Pay Teachers

1st Area of Gratitude: My Family

My original songs were all in collaboration with my family. We’ve been writing little raps about our dogs since I can remember. Sample: “I want a bone, and I want it now. If you won’t give it to me, bow wow wow!” I still remember my 5th grade poetry unit, and how they helped me to write “A Mouse in My Shoe…” Perhaps I will someday turn it into a song! They have given me so much support over the years, from helping with college, to buying my first computer. I am so thankful for my sister, Lisa, who helped to get me my first teaching job. She gives me amazing ideas and uses my materials everyday in her Kindergarten classroom. A little known fact…When Edutunes, teaching full-time, speaking around the country, and life became too much for me, my dad basically took over and kept Edutunes alive … And of course, Edutunes continues to thrive because of the support of my loving husband, Rob!

2nd Area of Gratitude: Friendships

Flash back to my education program at the University of Hawaii in 1996. My roommates, Mia and Andrea, were working together on our final project. True story–Theirs was SO good that I wondered if mine would get a passing grade in comparison! They asked me to be part of their group and gave me the job of painting a rainforest. I said, “I can’t paint a rainforest.” I painted most of a rainforest, and they each added an animal. It turned out amazing!!! I never would have painted a rainforest without them. I also may not have passed that class:) Thanks to both of you for your friendship, and to Mia for continuing to use songs with your Kinders everyday! (I will find that rainforest and post a pic asap!)

3rd and 4th Areas–Professional Relationships/Leadership and Collegiality

I believe that Edutunes would never have happened without an AMAZING principal and extremely supportive colleagues. I still remember the day that my principal, Dr. De La Vergne said, “You should do something with these.” This principal’s six words inspired me to produce them professionally. She encouraged me to do a study of teachers in the district. Eighty teachers gave me tremendous feedback that resulted in the songs I have today. There were SO MANY problems with my original ideas!!! In today’s increasingly negative education culture, I feel so thankful to have had such positive experiences.

While discussing colleagues, I want to mention the people who have really made Edutunes possible–Randy Renner, David Beldock, and Pierre Grill–My amazing producers.

5th Area of Gratitude: Teachers Pay Teachers “Coopetition

I feel so grateful to be part of Teachers Pay Teachers. I just went to their annual conference, where I learned the term “coopetition.” Teachers help each other as they make products, even as they compete. I have recently teamed with two TpTers, Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills. I blogged about using songs to teach about Deanna’s adorable “Guided Reading 101” characters below. As you may have read, we’ve collaborated to create Guided Reading Strategies Activities and Songs {Beanie Babies Guided Reading}. Click the link to see more about how Lips and Friends can help your students learn effective reading strategies.

While some people would keep business relationships to themselves, Deanna is an amazing person. She introduced me to Deedee Wills and recommended that I write songs to accompany her best-selling poetry units. We’re not even finished yet, and we’ve already been #6 on the TpT best-seller list!!! If you like “Apples, Apples,” please click here to find out more about our “growing bundle” of poetry-songs. (I’ll blog more about these soon!)

Where will Edutunes go from here? I became a teacher because I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. I feel like I’m doing that–in my classroom, and beyond–with my songs. I’m taking a sabbatical this year to study for a doctoral program in “Educational Design and Technology.” I hope to find ways to use technology to bring those songs that started out as an “Ode to the Dog,” out into the world!

I’d also like to be a positive “coopetitor:” I’d love to feature guest blogs from people like Deanna, Deedee, Mary Carr of “Carrberry Creations,” and Paula McClendon of “Dazzle on a Dime,” the ultra-positive Nikki Heiman from “Creative Inclusion,” and MANY MORE!

Please tell about collaboration in your life, in your classroom, in your school…Through your additional ideas, we can TEAM up to make a greater difference–and to achieve more–together!

2 thoughts on “TEAM: Together, Everyone Achieves More!

  1. What a wonderful post! I love the poetry collaboration. I am so proud of you and all of your achievements. Your music is unmatched by any other educational music group I know. You are doing spectacular things to make learning fun! I’m honored to be a guest blogger for your site. I’ll get busy! :)

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