MS. rachel KELM is an EARLY CAREER TEACHEr in aim’s cita program

My name is Rachel Kelm. I am a 2nd grade teacher in the School District of the Menomonie Area. Music has always had an important place in my life, and I am so excited for the opportunity to learn more about using music as a tool in my classroom. Thanks for sharing in this journey with me!

Ms. Behnke is Ms. Kelm's student teacher, and she also joins AIM as one of our first CITA STUDENT TEACHERS! 


1. The students LOVE Dr. E!
Every morning, my kiddos ask if Dr. E is coming in today. Then every afternoon they ask when she's coming, and if she's going to be there soon, and is she coming after this...? And they always get so excited to see her walk through the door. I even spied a couple of them giving her hugs as she came down the hallway the other day. :)
The kiddos working on chanting their names together on our first day- look at that concentration!

2. I am SO glad we started with something related to classroom management (rather than curriculum).
I think some of the students were not quite able to handle all of the excitement of starting this new adventure together. Our first few days were filled with A LOT of energy (emphasis on the A LOT!). But as the students have become familiar with Dr. E, and have learned that this is going to be the norm in our classroom this year, they have mellowed out quite a bit. We were even able to complete some pretty incredible lyric-writing on Friday (which would NOT have happened earlier in the week).
Starting this kind of project with our curriculum in mind would have been very stressful with the behaviors that were happening in the first few days. By starting with a community-building project (something 'fun'), students and teachers were able to experiment and play in a less stressful environment. We were able to try things and get comfortable with each other and our music before the curriculum gets added in.

3. The students are going to grow so much this year!
I am an awe of all that the kiddos have accomplished in this short time. We have gone from not being able to keep a steady beat as we pat our knees to chanting our names around the circle... (almost) in rhythm... without anyone giving a beat! Some students have gone from 'too shy to participate' to volunteering to start our activity. And that's just in 4 days! I can't wait to start partnering this music with our curriculum to see how far they grow!

4. I am starting to integrate our activities into my own teaching already!
Erika has only been in during the afternoons so far. But that doesn't mean we keep what we're doing with her to just that time frame! So far, we've taken our chants and used them as a greeting during our morning meeting. I've used the students' gestures to call on them during carpet times. We've also worked on a game to use as a brain break using our gestures and chants together. And we've tied in some of our discussions about rhyming and lyrics as we look at poetry.

5. It is incredible working with Erika!
I realize we are only a week in, but it has been an incredible experience working with Erika as a teaching artist. With everything we plan together, she makes sure that it is something I am truly going to use, and will be able to use in the future. She truly has my needs, as well as the needs of the students, at heart as she works on planning.
I am very much an idea person (my struggle is actually implementing all of my ideas!). And sometimes I feel like I spit out way too many crazy ideas to try this year. But Erika is always willing to explore any possibility with me, and I think we have some pretty exciting things in the works for this year.

Whew! That's just from week one. I can't wait to see what's to come!