This blog has been created so others can follow my adventures of returning to a music classroom! I spent my first year out of college as a Middle School Band Director, then as the Music Associate at my church for five years. During that time I decided to make a change and began pursuing my Master's in Library Science. I spent five years as the Media Specialist at a primary school and deeply desired to return to my true calling. I've been given that chance in two elementary schools and I am really excited!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project FUNDED!!!!

I am over the moon excited because my 2nd DonorsChoose.org project got funded 2 days ago and it shipped from Best Buy for Business TODAY!!!!

I requested a BOSE sound docking station for my iPod!  Woohooo!!!  *happy dance*

A huge hug and thank you to my personal friend "Sassy" and DirecTV.  If you missed it, DirecTV posted a picture on their Facebook page asking for people to share the photo.  Well, I shared it and posted my project in the comments and they finished funding the project!!!

Now, planning the next project...a carpet for the music room at the primary school.  The little kinders have the MOST trouble with the chairs throwing them out!  LOL!  The hard part is deciding what type of rug I want!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Veteran's Day Program

Tomorrow our upper elementary grades school will honor local veterans with a Veteran's Day Ceremony.  The guidance counselor and I have put this program together and the grandfather of some students will be our guest speaker and a few 4th and 5th grade students will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner and then provide a special musical selection.

I chose Remember You by Teresa Jennings from the Volume 7, Number 2 Issue of Music K-8 Magazine.  I just can't get enough of Music K-8!!!  :~)  The students looked soooo good up on stage today!!  Just made this teacher's heart super happy!

Keep a look out for pictures from tomorrow's program!

Have a lovely Wednesday evening!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


This month on my personal Facebook page, I have been listing things that I am thankful for everyday.  You know - the hubby, my munchkins, family, friends and my JOB!  You know, I graduated from college over ten years ago and I have gone through my fair share of jobs since then...band director (1 year), church music assistant (5 years), media specialist (5 years) and now in my 2nd year as a music teacher.  In looking back at how I've gotten to where I am, I kick myself that I didn't start out here!  But, if I had done that, I would have missed out on so many growth opportunities and meeting so many awesome people!  So, I am thankful for my journey to where I am!  I am also over the moon thankful for my job!  I am where I need to be and I LOVE it!!!

Mrs. King posted an idea that she's been using in her music room (http://mrskingrocks.blogspot.com/2012/10/4th-graders-play-pumpkin-pattern-memory.html#comment-form) and I am going to tweak it to use in my room!  I am so excited about this!!!

I am so thankful that there are awesome music teachers out there that share their ideas, lessons and activities so I can get ideas for my classroom.

I encourage you to think about what you are thankful for on more than the one day set aside for Thanksgiving.  It is a wonderful feeling and I love reading about it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Sunday Quickie

While I'm lesson planning, I figured I'd hop over and do a quick little post.  Wow, wow, wow - the kids are just soaking up all kinds of music stuff!!  I so wish I could post pictures of their happy little faces while they play Mallet Madness!  But, alas, I have not had time to send home the permission slips so I CAN post. Right now, I'm super focused on getting the permission slips for my Donors Choose thank yous and getting the pics for that done.  Oh maybe this Friday I will get a little more caught up!

Holiday programs are beginning to come together.  More on those a little later!  I will have the primary grades program on Monday, December 10 and the 5th grade program on Tuesday, December 11.  Will I be more crazy intense than usual, hmmm YES!  That's okay - I wouldn't trade it for anything else!!  I am seriously LOVING my job!  Feel like the luckiest girl EVER!

Okay, must get my plans turned in!  Happy Fall y'all!  :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

TBA Open House Week! ~ Monday=Meet the Teacher

If you haven't heard, Teaching Blog Addict, TBA, is undergoing some changes that I think will be a win-win for all involved!

This week, TBA's hosting Open House Week. Each day has a theme or topic.

Monday's topic is Meet the Teacher.

My name is Cheryl Lukac.  My birthday is WEDNESDAY!  Even though the whole getting older wiser thing is still growing on me, I do LOVE to celebrate my birthday!  I work in a rural part of South Carolina that is about an hour outside of Charlotte, NC.
This is my 8th year of teaching - 2000-2001, I taught band, then spent 5 years as the Music Associate at my church, 2006-2007, I returned to the "classroom" as a media specialist, after discovering that path was not a good fit for me, I am back to teaching music on the elementary level.  This will be my 2nd year as a music teacher.  Funny thing is, I started teaching middle school band 12 years ago in the SAME building where I teach half the day and I'm spending the other half of my day where I worked as a media specialist!  I keep coming back!  My husband has said that I'm not allowed to leave these schools again until I retire!  LOL! 

I'm certified to teach music at all grade levels and content types grade Kindergarten - 12th.  I however, LOVE elementary music and would prefer to teach band rather than chorus or orchestra.  :)  But, please just let me teach the little ones!  I'm certified in music in North and South Carolina and this past year, I added Elementary Education (grades K-6) to my NC certificate.

Every morning I start my day at the Primary School (grades Pre-K - 2nd) and at lunch I head over to the "big kid" school for grades 3rd-5th.  Between the 2 schools, I will see almost 800 students a week.  Both schools are Title I and got A's on their SC report cards last year!

I LOVE what I do and I LOVE my students! If I didn't, I couldn't go back day-after-day!

In 2002, I married my college sweetie, who is a high school and middle school band director.  We have 2 amazing children, ages 8 & 6.  We go to Walt Disney World every chance we can afford!  My kiddos love to be outside and have wonderful imaginations.  They have helped me become a better teacher and I would not trade my life for anything else!

I love to have fun!  What better way to spend my day, than singing, dancing, playing instruments and getting my students to be super creative!
I love to use technology in my classrooms and I enjoy helping others find the best ways for them to incorporate it into their teaching lives.  It makes me sad when I discover that teacher friends are "scared" to use the technology they have at their disposal.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Labor Day SALE!

Starting Saturday all products in my TpT store will be 10% off until Tuesday!  So, if you haven't already, be sure to download some of the items!  :)

I have been so super busy between finishing my time in Charlotte and getting things ready for my move back to Pageland.  I hope to post more often again soon!

Happy Monday and have a GREAT week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Workday Worries

Oh.My.Goodness!!!!  So much running through my brain and I can't get it to slow down enough so I can make a to-do list and aaahhhhhh!!!!  Open house night is always so much fun - everyone seeing each other after going months, students going back to see former teachers and oh the hugs!  I LOVE it!  Today was even better because I got to totally surprise former students that I haven't seen in a while and share that I'm going to be teaching them music!

It was so much fun and I am so glad that I got to do that today!  Now, I'm going to write down a few "to-dos" and then go to bed.  I am tired!

Happy Monday evening friends!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Christmas is in the air!

WAIT...WHAT?!?!?!  Sorry to put a damper on your end of summer celebrations!  BUT...I have to, have to, have to start thinking about Christmas/winter holidays/and what have you.
I was looking though the materials already at my school for my 5th graders and while I like what's there, most of it has been used within recent years.  So, that leaves me looking for something new.  A few of the musicals that caught my eye are...

North Pole Musical by Jacobson and Huff
A Pirate Christmas by John Jacobson & Roger Emerson
North Pole Star by Albrecht & Althouse

I'll keep you posted on the winner.  If you have a suggestion on a musical you love, please share!

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Help please!

Our school is having a PASS celebration for the students that met their goals on their end of grade tests last year.  Any suggestions for a fun song that I could sing with a small group of 5th graders?  I want something that will be easy for them to learn but, is funky and fun and really up beat.

I've looked through a few Music K-8 issues but nothing really jumped out at me...so, I need help!
Thanks in advance!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Picture Time!!

Wanted to give everyone a little tour of my classroom.  I've included some before and after shots!  Lots of things will change throughout the year.  This is the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade school.  I haven't gotten anything done in my K-2nd grade school - YET!  Will be working this weekend and the first of next week on it.  Bringing in the hubby and my daddy for some muscle!

This is a before picture of what the room looked like the first time I walked in. 

Another before picture, to the left is the door to the hallway.
SMARTboard!!  Nuff said!  LOL!
Ah, the after picture!  Still have some work to do.  Notice my fairy helper in the left there?!?

Word wall - missing my alphabet letters and it will be done!
Music is a Sweet Treat bulletin board.  A download of the ice cream scoops can be found at www.musicbulletinboards.net.

Music Mission Statement.  I stole borrowed this from Mrs. Inserra at Bangert Elementary.  You can find her awesome site here.

My door!  :)

Hallway display - Welcome BACH (chickens!!)  You can get the download of the chickens here at Ms. Swedberg's blog.  So, that's all for now!  Few more days and then the kiddos enter the building!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Donors Choose Project

I have just been cleared with a new Donors Choose Project.  This is the first time I've been a SONIC teacher and I'm excited and hopeful that the Limeades for Learning program will help my project get funded.  YOU can help too!!  If you could just share $5 (tax deductible) to my project, I would be forever grateful!

I'm asking for a BOSE SoundDock station to use at both schools with my iPod.  Please take some time to view my project and other projects from teachers all over!  Help us, as we help our students learn and better themselves!

Here's the link to my project - HERE!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School SALE!

Get up to 28% off items at TpT - use code BTS12 to get an additional % off items in my store that will be discounted 10% Sunday and Monday, August 12 & 13, 2012 ONLY!!  I know that right now my store is a little bare, but I am hoping to have at least one new item added tomorrow.  Here's a hint, think SMARTboard, rhythms and back to school!  :)

I know that LOTS of others are taking part in the sale, so if you have things in your TpT wishlist - now would be the time to buy!!

Here's the link to my STORE!
Happy Shopping!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Itching to get into my rooms!

I don't have to tell you all that I am beyond ready to get into my classrooms!!  Oh, I love our custodial staff (and will be making them some little treats!) and I want to shout "FINISH MY ROOM NEXT!"  I can't do that!  I AM going to sit back and be patient and wait...so while I wait, tomorrow, I am taking my kiddos to the mall that has the teacher store!  I told them that we are going to play putt-putt at the NASCAR speedpark so they'll hopefully let me shop some first!

Tonight, I had a GRAND thought while I was sitting in the drive-thru line at the golden arches...since I have to be away from my classes for the first week and a half, why not VIDEOtape myself talking to them.  Then, that takes a little pressure off the sub to make sure they cover EVERYTHING I want covered on our first class meetings.  Wow, wow, wow!  Now, I'm even MORE excited and ready to get my rooms set up so I can call "ACTION!"

The drive-thru line was CRAZY, so I pulled up Evernote on my phone (lifesaver that app is - I tell ya!  If you don't use it, you totally should!) and I started typing out a script for my back to school video lessons.  So excited, I am beyond words!  Now, if only I had an iPad, then I could do my video without having to use my phone...sigh, and dream a little dream.  Okay, I'm back!

Here's my awesome find from the music teacher blog-o-sphere!  Mrs. Swedburg at Made for Music Teachers has created some awesome funky Bach chickens and they are so going to go outside my door at the 3rd-5th grade school!  Here's a link and here idea came from Mrs. King at www.musicbulletinboards.net (Mrs. King has some awesome things on her blog and site also!)  I think that's all I have time for tonight - HUGE storm booming outside!

Happy shopping to me tomorrow!  Yay!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Give with Target

Have you heard?!?  Target is giving schools $25 gift cards for every 25 votes they get via Facebook.  Find out more and vote for a school near you at Facebook.com/Target.  You can vote 1 time each week.  So, spread the word and get votes for your school!  I think this is so awesome!

If you're looking for a school to support - Pageland Elementary or Petersburg Primary in Pageland, SC would LOVE your votes!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This week

Monday, I spent the day working on things around my house.  HOW do we get laundry done and keep the chores taken care of during the school year?!?  Seems like that's all I spend time doing during the summer!  Tuesday was spent stalking watching the Olympics and Wednesday was spent signing the contract in my new district.

So, today and the rest of the week I'm going to be creating games, planning classroom set up (can't get into my rooms yet) and planning some lessons.  Working on a Prezi (www.prezi.com) to use the first classes with my upper grades.  I'll post that when I get it finished.

Pinterest has been a HUGE help in my finding games and activities I can incoporate into my teaching.  What are some of your favorite games/activities/lessons?  I didn't do much with "Star Spangled Banner" last year, so I am looking to do more with that in grades 3-5.  Mostly, I am really looking forward to setting up my rooms and making them my own!  I have some barred Orff instruments, but DonorsChoose is going to be used to help me get more.  Most of what is at both schools is old, broken or doesn't sound good.

Oh I just can't wait to get started!!  Don't think I've been this excited about the start of a school year since my first year teaching!  LOVE!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Big News!!!

Hi friends and family!  I've had some big news that I've had to sit on for a while, but...I am making a job change.  Yep, 2 weeks before workdays start and I'm going to change states (again!).  I am going back to my Chesterfield County roots to teach in Pageland at both Petersburg Primary and Pageland Elementary!!!  The building that now homes PES is the former location of Pageland Middle School, where I spent my first year teaching band!  AND Petersburg is where I spent 5 years as the media specialist.  I totally feel like I am going home!  and it's a super wonderful feeling.  BUT, am I stressed!?!  YES!!!

I have 2 classrooms to set up, that haven't been cleaned, so I can't get in them.  AND, I'm going to have to spend a least part of the workdays and some of the student days in Charlotte.  WOWZER!  3 classrooms to set up and lesson plans to prepare for me to use and a sub to use maybe...who knows!!!  However, the end result with my being back in Pageland is sooo worth it!!  I will be spending the next few weeks squeezing the last moments of summer fun in with my babies and working on lots of projects!

Ahhh only 2 weeks!!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Headed Home :(

Kinda sad today, we're on our way home from the beach.  I LOVE the beach!  Would move here in a skinny minute if hubby would...ahhh, but neither of us are keen on trying to sell our house, find new jobs, move with the kiddos in tow.  So, for now I will dream beachy dreams for retirement!  :)

Having some time to rest and recharge has me pumped up to get started on some plans for this year!  I am most excited about the dice games I mentioned in my last post and I've come up with some other ideas I can't wait to share!

One thing I am super pumped about is using "Mallet Madness" with our kinders and firsties from the get-go.  Not using barred instruments, but tambourines, triangles, rhythm sticks and hand drums.  If you haven't used Mallet Madness before, it is really fun and I highly recommend it!  I used a few bits at both schools last year and am looking forward to impelmenting more!

Look for more to come in the next few weeks!

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Friday, July 20, 2012


While looking through some files I downloaded during Teacher Appreciation week, I was struck by inspiration!  Lacey at Wild About Teaching had her dice games pack as a free download so I snagged it!  :)  Here's the link to the pack in her store on TpT.  Her games for using dice in math are AWESOME!  And I thought, hey, why not do some music games using music dice.  So, I will be working on that project soon.  I'll let you know when it's ready to go.  Do you have music dice in your classroom?  I don't but will be looking for some blank wooden cubes to use.

Anyone else finding it hard to believe that it's almost the end of July?!?  Really. Can't. Believe. It!!!  As I work through items on the to-do list, I think of more items that need to be added to the list!  Grrr!!  But, I want to get it all taken care of now and not right when school starts!

Happy Friday!  Enjoy you're weekend!

Monday, July 16, 2012

1st Quarter Assessments Ready!

I just uploaded today's project to TpT!!  Here's the LINK - please check it out!  I created assessments for each grade level K-5th to use at the beginning and end of the first quarter.  I pulled out 4 standards for each grade to focus on this quarter and built the assessments around them.

As North Carolina moves toward an EOG type assessment for the arts, I want to start getting prepared and ensuring that my students are prepared.  Haven't heard anything lately about the progress of said assessments, but I'd rather be safe than sorry!

I hope that you find the assessments useful.  I am getting the hang of creating fun stuff and can't wait to do more things!!  :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday randomness

Hi all!!  First of all, I can't not even begin to tell you, I sold my first item on TpT!!!!  So stinkin' excited it's all I can do to not be jumping up and down!!!  Woohooooo!!!!  So, whoever you are that bought my seating chart - THANK YOU!!!!!  You have literally made my day and I was having a fantastic day already!  *BIG SMILES!!!*

I've had family here since Friday and I have loved every second of it!  Really, I was sad to see my sis-in-law and my nieces leave today.  :(  Can you believe how fast the summer is going?!?  It really boggles my mind!  We're going to the beach this week at some point, and I'm hoping to meet with my new principal.  Plus, I really should get to the doctor...I've seriously had a headache since June 1, except for the 12 days I was in Florida...hubby said we should just move down there!?!  Okay by me - NOT!  LOL!

So, since it is Sunday and all, I thought I would start trying to get my brain in gear to thinking about school and the Sunday evenings to come.  What does your Sunday evening routine look like?  For me, I blog stalk a bit and then make sure I'm set for the week.  Laundry, grocery shopping, making lunches and all that jazz.

This week my goal is to create my pre-assessments for each grade level for the first quarter.  To do so, I must cement what I want them to know by the end of the quarter.  I've got some good ideas for my younger grades, but really need to reflect some more for my upper grades.

Thanks if you've stuck through the brain mess/random thinking this far!  I'm excited with a headache and 2 children playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos...time for them to go to bed!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Item Posted!!

So excited!  Got a new item posted to my TpT store.  TpT = Teachers Pay Teachers, in case you were wondering.  So here's the LINK so you can check it out.  I've worked on it today - it's a seating chart with places for behavior tracking and assessment data.  Think I'm going to LOVE it!

On a personal note, I still feel so exhausted from my vacation!  Totally can't get back into a groove of getting some work done.  I had interviewed at 2 schools back in June, but sadly, I didn't get either job.  :(  BUT, I'm going to look at the bright side ~ I still get to return to 1 of my schools in the fall, so I will get to continue building relationships with my co-workers.  Now, I'll just have to get to know staff and students at 1 different school.

Got to hang out with my "co-teacher" at the school I'm staying at yesterday, and we got our kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade lessons planned for first semester!  YAY!  Today I've been looking for a holiday program for our 2nd graders to do...any suggestions?!?  One idea we're bouncing around is not doing a full blown musical, just have a few students highlight points of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas and doing songs from those holidays.  Also, add in some songs from around the world...I don't know might get too busy.

Okay, off to the grocery store - yay!  Hope full brain functions return soon - lol!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


We are packing for our almost 2 week vacation in Disney World!  I am so excited!  After our trip we have several fun outings planned.  I am also working on a few projects to share for my classroom.  Pinterest has been an excellent resource for activities and other ideas!  Have any of you found ideas that you're going to try next year?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I am ALL for an awesome giveaway!  Here's one from Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade and Katie from Thrity-one Gifts.  You can read all about it here!

Sunny Days + Thirty-one Giveaway

I love following Denise - she does great things with her students!  If you have never used Thirty-one products - I highly recommend them!  I have the thermal tote that I use EVERY day for my lunch!  I am currently crushing on the All-in-One Organizer Tote...just can't decide what print!  LOL!!!

Good luck!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rhythm Caterpillars

Second Grade students used paper circles that I drew various rhythms using quarter notes and rests, eighth notes and half notes.  They placed the circles in any order then clapped the rhythms.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Music + Poetry = LOTS of laughs

5th grade students have been writing Haiku poems about something they like, love or are passionate about.  I have really enjoyed reading them and listening to why they're writing about their subject.  This week they will be setting their poem to a tune in the pentatonic scale that they are creating.  Will try posting some next week!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

African - American History Month

This month I have been focusing a little on jazz and the African-American musicians that made this style of music so popular.  I found several great resources on http://discoveryeducation.com and http://www.brainpop.com to assist with this venture.  We have been doing lots of active listening and the students have to complete a "Musical Jumping Jacks" form as they listen.

One of my favorite jazz musicians is Dizzy Gillespie because we share the same hometown.  Best laugh of the week - a student, "So, you went to school with him?  That's cool!!"  Ummmm...can we tell who wasn't listening!?!  But, it did provide a moment to go back and re-teach about time periods in history.

One last thing I wanted to mention about the sites listed above - they require a paid subscription and I highly recommend both if your school/district doesn't already subscribe.  I so couldn't teach without either!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February Freebie

Over the next 2 weeks, my 1st and 2nd graders will be learning the song This Candy Has Words from Music K-8 magazine Vol. 22, No. 3.  At one of my schools there has been a big focus on character education, especially kindness and compassion.  The students will be creating "candy hearts" to share with their classmates.  We are taking part in Rachel's Challenge and the students have been creating chain links of kindness which has been going well, but some of the students have lost a little interest in it.  So, I thought this would be a great way to re-energize their interest in the Challenge.

I've created this worksheet for students to write kind words to some of their classmates.  ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Today's class

I just HAD to brag on my 5th grade class today!!!  We've started a new group project using improvisation and the students were to use the words "Beep", "Honk", "Twrrrrrr" and "Ding" to create a Musical Machine.  They were in groups of 3 or 4 students and as a group they created a 4 beat soundscape using the words.  Last night, as I was preparing for today, I started to get really concerned about how it was going to work.  This class tends to have less than excellent behavior...so, I said, "Self, if tomorrow blows up in your face it will be a lesson learned.  BUT, give them a chance!"  And, boy, did they rise to the occasion!!

My co-teacher told me she's had her students enter the room and sit quietly to listen to a selection of music for a listening exercise.  So, I thought - that's GREAT!!  I'll try it!!  That was a GREAT GREAT GREAT way to start the class.  They had to sit quietly and LISTEN!  and that's what they DID!!  Woohooo!!!

Then, we started on the activity and they did such a great job!!!!  I can't WAIT til next week to see how they complete their work and we're going to put their creations all together to create a "machine"!  This lesson came from the book Making the Grade: Creative Standards-Based Lessons for the Music Classroom by Valeaira Luppens and Greg Foreman and can be purchased at www.alfred.com.