New Video at TPT For Earworm Factory


My first video will soon be posted to Teachers Pay Teachers. It has a Halloween theme without having any mention of Halloween. There are no ghosts, witches, jack-o-lanterns, or Trick-or-Treaters. It simply uses images of the moon, a lot of bats, and a few spider webs. The name of the piece is “Reaper’s Ride,” so a Harvest-time ride it what I’m hoping it will evoke for those of you who cannot use Halloween images or songs in your classrooms. Here is a sample of the “A” section and part of the “B.”

Reaper’s Ride

2017-2018 NDES Concert Dates

To see the concert dates at North Daviess Elementary School, please, click the 6th link on the left under the title, McAtee Music. The Veterans Day program is held at the high school, but all other programs are held in the North Daviess Elementary Gymnasium. Notes for each grade participating will be sent home before each concert. In addition to the listed concerts, the NDES Choir sings carols for the school as well as an appearance at the Spirit in the Park Christmas Festival at Odon, usually the first week of December. Please, join us! Mrs. Simone will also display art work by her art students in the NDES Cafeteria!

2016 Nutcracker Photos

The Christmas program for the 2016-2017 year was “THE NUTCRACKER.” The first and fourth grades of NDES performed. It was a lot of fun! This is the only musical for elementary students that I come back to over and over again. The first time I did it, my oldest daughter was in the 4th grade, which would be approximately 1992! I have all my printed programs from every concert I have done at North Daviess, so I should go back and look to see exactly how many times we performed this show! The Chinese costumes are some of the old tunics I made for a Beatles number when I taught high school, which would date them before 1991. The band uniforms I got from Washington Catholic. They were pitching them, and we were doing the show, THE MUSIC MAN. That was 1982! I’m such a pack rat!

NDE Music Classroom 2015

This has been a pretty crazy fall. One of my daughters was recently married, and the other is going back to college. The genealogy bug has hit again, so the music blog is neglected. I have started making lists of ideas, so I hope I can start posting more regularly. Here are some pictures of my room from August. It is already messier by now!

2014 Veterans Day

We tried something new this year. Actually two somethings. First we danced to a song choreographed by John Jacobson. The little ones really loved it–the bigger ones, not so much, but they did it. Sixth Grade students are always so worried about how they will be perceived by the High Schoolers. The second thing that we tried was making a giant flag. I had my fingers crossed. It made me more than a little nervous as I spent a lot of time mapping it out, assigning shirt colors, and explaining it. We always go to the high school in October for the Battle of the Buildiings (a fund-raising event by the student council to benefit Camp About Face). This year I took pictures of every row, every section, and mapped the students’ seating positions. Then I color coded the map and told the teachers what colors for every student. It worked out pretty well. I didn’t get a photo of us singing (standing, with the 50 stars all held up) as I was busy directing. Someday I hope to see a video of it!


We sang four songs: “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” (our standard), “Eleven Eleven” (featuring our 1st grade–if I can get the audio recordings merged into the video, I’ll add it), “Our Red, White, and Blue” (one of the prettiest songs ever), and “This Is My Country” (not the traditional one but a new version by Music Express). Here are two of the videos:


2014 Fall Classroom Pics

It’s a new year, and I love to post pictures of my room because it’s the cleanest it will ever be during the school year. There are several new additions to the room. My back shelf area was looking rather tacky by the end of last year, so I decided to cover the shelving with curtains. I realized after taking measurements that the curtains would be about the same dimensions as a small stage. My Mom helped me with the sewing. The cut off pieces of navy sheets were perfect as valances for my windows. Sheets are great to use for curtains because they already have a fire protection coating. These sheets were much cheaper than fabric from JoAnn’s Fabrics (even with a teacher discount). K-Mart is the only place that I could find flat sheets not bundled with pillowcases and fitted sheets. I had enough left over to cover my textbook shelving, the space under my desk, and my sound system cart. I already had some toy microphones, so I added them in the mic stands (kids love them) and bought a couple of red rugs for the stage floor. I plan to make a puppet area with the remaining sheets, making a curtain up about a yard high from the ground to fit the length of a 10-foot 1″ diameter PVC pipe. It could be held in place by the two bar stools I have in my room, one at the piano and one in the front that I use as my reading chair.

Owls are featured in our school theme this year, and I just love it. There are owls everywhere–in stores, on clothes, and there are plenty of great items in the Teachers Pay Teachers store. Most of my bulletin boards were downloaded from there. On the green felt bulletin board (really two cork strips) I added  clip art owls. I did alter the colors of the owls to match the colors of each grade in the old MacMillan/McGraw-Hill Spotlight On Music textbooks. I found the owl door mat at K-Mart, and the colorful trees were saved for me by our former guidance counselor, Susan. One of her family members I believe worked at a Goody’s store, and they just throw this stuff away. She brought me all kinds of cool cardboard decorations last year!

Last year I got hooked on the iPad app iDoceo to keep seating charts and records of attendance, turns, etc. This year I’ve added PlanBook from, and it is wonderful. It is so much easier than Publisher, which is what I’ve used for the past decade. I’ve been teaching at ND for over 34 years and can VIVIDLY remember having to fill in those lesson plan books. It took forever to write everything by hand!

Here’s looking forward to a great, music-filled school year!

The Inspiring PS22

My favorite videos for students to watch, to see students experiencing the joy of singing, is the PS22 or Public School 22 Choir in New York, directed by the amazing Greg Breinberg. I love the children’s passion and enthusiasm. Mr. Breinberg reaches the students by having them sing all kinds of pop and alternative music, and the result is wonderful. Beautiful, original harmonies with great solos are made even better by all the happy faces. I get really nostalgic while watching them. We used to have time to sing and sing and sing in the elementary school. The Indiana State standards have to be covered now, although I can never ever cover them completely. I miss this–the kids standing around the piano and singing their hearts out. Standards are important, but this kind of passion is magical.

America, the Beautiful

I created this video in 2004 and uploaded it in 2008. The music track is by Plank Road Publishing. That was before I knew anything about getting permission for posting on YouTube. Luckily, the nice folks there let me keep it up on the web, because it has been a comfort to many people across the country, especially the young students who really love it. It has over 800,000 views and over 400 comments. This song also seems to draw a lot of wrath from people from other countries who don’t share our love of liberty. Long ago, I locked it down so it couldn’t get anymore comments unless I approved them. There were also a lot of discussions about this song versus our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and which is the better song for our country. Hope you enjoy it!