Michael J. Thom Father. Nerd. Race fan. Musician.

4Jun/08

Last from Anderson Highland

Well, my time at Anderson Highland has finally come to an end. (Well, actually, it officially ended 5/2 and practically ended 5/10, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.) What a wonderful time I had there. Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Stickler truly were wonderful to work with, and I had so much fun working with all the students in all the various ensembles. I'm blessed to have been given the opportunity to student teach at Highland.

I wanted to share the corollary to my first post about Highland. In the middle of the semester, Mr. Fletcher had the students write two things I was doing well and something I needed to improve on. This produced many interesting (and all anonymous) notes. Well, I asked him to have the students do similarly again, this time at the end of the semester. This produced many interesting responses again, but in very different ways. I even had many students sign the notes. What follows is, again, selections from these notes (typed verbatim, if any errors exist).

I think you're doing AWESOME 🙂 GOOD LUCK! Congrats on your engagement too! 🙂 (I'm sure that's a little late.) If you're dealt with some in this class, you'll be ready for almost anything.. Ha Ha!

You have progressed tremendously. Work on: Discipline & authority.

You're Amazing
don't change Mr. Thom!!!
sectionals are amazing with you!
woot! woot! congrats

it's all good so far that I can see
Don't go

Mr. Tom
You've done a great job. You don't constantly mess up like our student teachers last year. Thanks for putting up with all of my stupid sounds and stuff, and good luck after graduation.

Mr. Thom,
Thank you for being a director for our band
You did well.

Mr. Thom is an awesome conductor and student teacher. Compared to all over the other student conductors, I would say I like him the best. He is easy to get along with and he knows A LOT about what he's doing - more so than our previous student conductors.
Can't think of anything for him to improve on.

Mr. Thom,
You did a super job putting up with this band. I know that even just as a student, this class can be frustrating to deal with, and as a student teacher, you dealt with it well.
You'll make a fine teacher, and whatever school you go to, they'll be lucky to have you! 🙂
GOOD LUCK!
and have fun at graduation.

Mr. Thom -
You are amazing, don't ever change. We'll miss you sooooooo much. Thank you, You're the best!

You were confident without seeming cocky. You seemed laid back but in a good way. (You weren't stressful). You did a Great job conducting.

Mr. Thom,
You did a great job this year with us. Your conducting was actually better than a certain someone else that shall remain nameless!
Thank you

Mr. Thom
I think your great. You did a great job. I like the way you dress. Your style is fly. Good luck in the future. Hopefully one day there will be a cozy couch with Mr. Thom and don't read me and Jordan's text message when you have my phone.

I think Tom is a really good band director. Whatever band he teaches will surely benefit them all.

Mr. Thom,
I think you were great! You were fun and most of the time pretty energetic. I really enjoyed being taught by you. Keep your good sense of humor, because I'm sure your future students will dish out all kinds of stuff. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself though. If they make you mad, tell them! Have a great summer! :]

Mr. Tom youre an awesome guy. Even though you cant beat austin in a race, you're a really great director. Good luck with your career.

goo yob!
(That's what she said) lol

I sure am gonna miss those kids.

9Apr/08

More Amusing Student Work

Yesterday at Highland High School, Mr. Stickler gave the Blues Band a 5-minute assignment: using the provided paper, answer the following question: What is Jazz?  Here are some excerpted responses.

  • It's that feeling when you first get in the shower and no matter how hot the water is it still feels cold at first. Jazz is when you find yourself sittin in a dark corner by yourself.
  • Jazz isn't just another genre of music.  Jazz is a feeling. ... Traditionally, jazz is a genre in which rhythms have lots of accents and tenuto markings. ... In a typical concert band, music is usually soothing to the ear and has a message but jazz is one big party.  Jazz can be loud and rhythmical or it can be soft and smooth.
  • Jazz is a form of music using swing and slurs to make different kinds of sounds. ... Jazz has a nice beat and its [sic] consistent.
  • I think it's a popular form of music that people enjoy lissoning [sic] to.  It's a style of music that has a nice feel to it.
  • Jazz is a music form that first originated from Blues [sic].  It brought something new with is [sic] swing, accents, and its different styles.  Since the only thing before it was classical.  Its music that can more easily describe the players personel [sic] mood rather than classical.
  • The Risky type of music that involves putting together a variety of notes that will sound different and unfamiliar but at the same time still sound pleasant to the ear.
  • From scattin' to actively playing an instrument, jazz grew rapidly.
  • Jazz to me is the gathering of musicians for the common purpose of having fun and playing the same kind of music.
  • Jazz is a form of music that was founded in the early 1900s.  Major elements in jazz include rhythm, improvisation, and instrumental choice.  Jazz takes on many styles of rhythms, but most share a "lazy" swing feeling with unexact [sic] beats.  Improvisation is used in jazz solos.  To solo, one must improvise with the chord being played.
  • a laid back kind of music, with wind, drums, stringed instruments.  Its [sic] very fun to play.  but also challenging.
  • Jazz is enjoyed by all ages today and has made many musicians into legends. ... Jazz is fun and it seems to make older people feel young again.  Jazz is fun to dance to and it's lively and exciting.
  • Jazz is a style of music.  The playes make up notes as the [sic] go (sometimes).  It expresses how the [sic] feel.  There are many different styles of Jazz (to [sic] many to name).  Jazz is listened to every ages today.
  • Jazz is a kind of music that is played more for entertainment that other kinds of music.
  • Jazz is a way people express themselfes [sic] threw [sic] music.  When someone is happy they play bright and joyfull [sic].  When someone is sad they play slower and the music is relaxing.
  • Jazz is music.  It is groovy + it is good dance music.  It has many different rhytms [sic] like Rock, Latin, + Swing.  There is Blues too.  I really don't know alot [sic] i'm still getting adjusted to it.
  • Jazz is expressional [sic].  It has mood and many different styles such as: swing, rock, Latin and many more.  The greatest musicians played jazz.  Louis Armstrong and many others is great credited for the style of scat.  Many people don't understand the true meaning of jazz.
  • Jazz a enumoosmet that is injoned by lots of people throught the years of muncie it is the most inportint thing in life for a methless a kasins.  It was brought too US from African people.
30Mar/08

Ultimate Pictionary

I finally got to play a game with some friends tonight who have raved about playing it before.  They call it "Ultimate Pictionary."  While I have no idea where this idea actually originated, it's brilliant.  In short, each player gets a number of scrap pieces of paper (this number is equal to the number of players; 6 players -> 6 pieces of paper for each player per round).  Each player writes something (anything, really: a name, a movie title, a person, a book title, a phrase, anything) on the first piece of paper in the stack.  Everyone then passes their stack (at this point just the first paper has anything on it) to the left.  Now, each player reads this new card and, on the next paper in the stack, draws a representation of what was written on the first paper.  Next, pass the stacks to the left again.  Now, each player looks at the drawing on the top paper (but not at the first paper!), and writes, on the next paper (which is blank), what he or she thinks the drawing is describing.  Play continues like this, alternating back and forth between writing a word-based description and drawing a visual representation of the words.  Ideally, this game is played with an odd number of players, so that by the end of each round, each player has a stack that begins and ends with a set of words - it just finishes off nicely this way.  Regardless of how many players are playing, each round is over when the players all have their own stacks back in their hands.  Each person then goes through their stacks, showing or reading each paper aloud.  There is no scoring and there is no winner; it's just super-fun to see what happens to the original words or phrases.  It's sorta like Pictionary meets telephone.  Please see the following seven frames for an example of how one hilarious round might transpire.

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16Mar/08

YouTube – Star Wars Cantina By Richard Cheese!

YouTube - Star Wars Cantina By Richard Cheese

This is very funny, particularly if you're a fan of the Star Wars series at all. Just a warning, I don't necessarily condone all of Richard Cheese's work, but this particular video is fine and very funny.

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