Choosing a top-ten HIT for your elementary school graduation could be a top-ten MISS!
Selecting songs for the graduating class (or chorus) can be tricky. If you ask your students to suggest songs, they will most likely choose Top 10 Pop Songs of the day. If you can find one with appropriate lyrics and message, it might work. However, be aware of a few pitfalls of choosing a pop song the kids love.
I suggest you choose songs your students have no prior knowledge of. Since your students were mostly likely born around 1999/2000, that leaves a whole world of possibilities. Personally, I love Broadway songs from the 1970's. By and large, they have a pop-rock feel, and they're mostly unfamiliar to my students, which makes them fresh and new. Of course, using a pop song from the 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's is also great idea. If you're feeling creative, try changing the lyrics of an old pop song, thereby turning it into a fresh, rhythmic, and exciting graduation tune. For example, I once took the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hit "Working My Way Back To You," and made it into a kindergarten graduation song called "Working Our Way Up To First Grade." It was a big hit! And finally, commercial octavos of original songs are always a good choice.
If you are looking for some fun and original graduation songs, as well as all the standard graduation ceremony music, check out my
Graduation Complete Piano/Vocal Songbook with Accompaniment/Rehearsal
The communication skills of a newbon are astonishing. In fact, speech and language development visibly occurs immediately after birth. Moments after the birth of my daughter, I looked into her eyes and said "Welcome, Rebekah. We have all been waiting for you." Then, through body language, she communicated back to me. Searching with her little mouth she instantly and non-verbally expressed that she was hungry. As she began to nurse, I knew that we had begun to communicate.
Research in Speech and Hearing Sciences recognizes the communication skills of newborns and even the developing fetus during the last trimester of pregnancy. Nonetheless, parents tend to concentrate on the physical growth of their young child as he or she develops. While physical development is very important, communication skills are equally important. In fact, these two areas of development are interdependent for a healthy child.
The following are ten ways you can nurture the five different areas of speech and language development in typically developing infants and toddlers.
1) Eye contact. When communicating with your child, look at his or her face and eyes as often as possible. This helps your child learn that it is appropriate to look at people during communication. Children learn a lot about you through facial expressions and acquire articulation skills by watching the movement of your mouth.
2) Taking turns. Talk to your child and then pause to give them a moment to verbalize. This teaches them the art of turn taking. This skill can also be accomplished during play, using objects and toys.
3) Give your child space. When your child is trying to communicate with you and you know what they want, give them a few seconds before you instantly meet their needs. This will give them the opportunity to vocalize (coo and babble), point, or attempt a word.
4) Give your child choices and then let them express their choice by pointing, vocalizing, or attempting words. The feelings of confidence a child gains by expressing their own choice are building blocks for further exploration of expressive language.
5) Get your child to follow instructions. Start with simple requests that only involve one element, such as "smile" or "kiss." Then increase to two elements when one element becomes easy for your child (i.e. "Hand up," or "Touch your nose," and so on).
6) Read simple books to your child with one or two pictures on each page. Ask them questions that can be answered verbally or by pointing to the correct picture. Try not to put too much pressure on them. If your child does not respond after about 10 or 15 seconds, model the answer for them with a positive tone of voice.
7) Reinforce and demonstrate. If your child produces a verbal attempt that resembles a word, praise them with a pleasant tone of voice and then model the word that you think they attempted. For example, if the child says "ba" for ball, say "You said ball. Yes, it is a ball!"
9) Explore. There are wonderful opportunities to model vocabulary out in the community. A simple trip to the market can be a great chance to name items for your child.
9) Observe how often other people understand your child's speech. This will give you an idea of how clear his or her articulation really is (parents usually understand their children more than an outside listener). Don't worry if your toddler is not producing all the sounds in the English language. Many sounds may not develop until four years of age or later. However, you should consider consulting a speech pathologist if it is extremely hard to understand your child's speech at 3 years of age.
10) Articulate your words clearly when you communicate withh your child. Speak slowly and remember to look directly at your child's face.
While speech and language development varies with each child, there is no question that positive daily involvement from a parent and/or a loving caregiver makes the process much smoother. You, the parent, are the "super model" for your child's speech and language development. Taking time to put these tips into action can give you a thoughtful approach as you interact with your amazing little communicator.
Karin Howard, M.A., CCC-SLP is a practicing speech/language pathologist in Los Angeles. She has taught "Mommy and Me" classes that emphasize speech and language to aid parents of typically developing infants and toddlers. She is also the creator of Exploring Language through Song and Play. a album set with an accompanying lyric and activity book.
When I tell people that I teach music to grades K-5, the response is uniformly the same: "You teach music? Kids like music! They must love your class!" While it's true that children do indeed like music, in a tough school, the general music class can be anything but fun. That's because, unbelievably, you could spend an entire period just trying to get the children in their seats with their attention focused on you!
How is teaching possible if the children refuse to quiet down and behave? As a New York City Elementary School music teacher for the past 25 years, I have had my share of out-of-control classes. Here are a few 'outside the box' ideas for those music teachers who find it impossible to teach due to poorly behaved students.
MAKE YOUR MUSIC LESSON A GAME: Children may like music, but they LOVE to play games. Set up teams, points, prizes, etc...
For example, let's say the aim of your lesson is: To understand the value of a quarter note and quarter rest. Before your music class, prepare four flash cards: two with quarter notes and two with quarter rests. When the class begins, divide the class into two teams. Explain and demonstrate both quarter notes and half notes. Choose four students from a team and distribute the flash cards. Play a rhythm pattern using two quarters and two quarter rests - instruct the students they must line up in the correct order of the pattern played. If all four students are lined up properly, give that team four points.
LET STUDENTS WRITE ON THE CHALKBOARD: Children love to come up and write on the chalkboard - especially if you have big 'sidewalk' chalk.
Any music lesson in which children write the answers at their desk, can be modified to let kids write their answers at the board. For example, in the previous sample lesson of quarter notes and quarter rests, students can write the rhythm pattern on the board - with each of four students notating one beat each.
MOVE, MOVE, MOVE: Children love to move around the room!
Again, most music lessons can be modified to allow for student movement. Using the above example of the quarter note/quarter rest lesson, you could write four rhythm patterns (using quarter notes and rests) on cards and place each card in different areas of the room. Then choose four students - play one of the four rhythm patterns - ask the students to walk to the corresponding card.
I hope the ideas I've outlined here are helpful to you. If you'd like to explore more ideas for discipline in the general music class, you'll find them in my book, Winning Over Your TOUGHEST Music Class.
THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama today announced an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight and unveiled a nationwide campaign at LetsMove.gov to help achieve it.
The national Let’s Move initiative has four major components:
1. Giving parents the tools, support and detailed information so they can make healthier choices for their families. This includes consumer friendly, front-of-package labeling, and involving major media and entertainment companies, top professional athletes, and well-known cartoon characters, in spreading the First Lady’s message.
2. Serving healthier food at schools. Among many proposed changes, major school food suppliers have already agreed to start reducing the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals, to increase whole grains, and to double the amount of fruit and vegetables in the next 10 years.
3. Giving access to healthy, affordable food. Some of the main changes that have been proposed are, bringing grocery stores to underserved areas, helping places such as convenience stores to carry healthier foods, and government grants to establish and improve access to, farmers markets.
4. Increasing physical activity. Children need a minimum of an hour of active play a day, yet, the average American child spends nearly eight hours a day on computers, video games, cell phones, or watching TV and movies. Proposals to address this imbalance include expanding and modernizing the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge, increasing the number of Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards, funding to support schools in their efforts to improve the quality and availability of physical education, and involving professional athletes to promote “60 Minutes of Play a Day” through sports clinics, public service announcements and more.
Music can be a great way to support this new program. The easy-to-remember lyrics and catchy melodies of songs can bring to children — in a fun, upbeat way — the messages of eating nutritious food and maintaining an active lifestyle. And, of course, moving to the energizing beat of a lively song can make exercise a great experience on all levels. So, let’s move!
The song, Let’s Move was written eight years ago by Laszlo Slomovits of the popular children’s music duo Gemini. While not an official song for the first lady's initiative. it sums up the fourth point of increasing physical activity. It encourages kids (and adults) of all shapes, sizes, physical abilites or fitness levels, to move in the ways that are most fun for each of us — whether it’s in an organized sport or simply going for a walk. And the lively beat of the song is great to move and dance to. So, Let’s Move!
Listen to Let’s Move in the audio player, below.
What’s the importance of learning through movement to music? Does it really enhance learning?
Children are born with a major thrust to grow brain cell connections. They seek involvement, active engagement, and hands-on participation in their physical environment.
Babies and young children are like little physicists seeking out all the sensory stimulation and cause/effect experience they can wrap their little bodies around. They are scientists, experimenting with everything they can get their hands (and mouths) on. Gravity, momentum, parabolic flight paths, and stimulus-response are among the subjects they study.
We all know about the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. There are actually two other senses that we depend upon. The proprioceptive sense is stimulated whenever we use a muscle or compress/use a joint. The vestibular system responds where, or how, the head is positioned in space and to the speed of bodily movement. (It’s how you know where different body parts are when your eyes are closed.) It provides a reference point for the other senses in processing their information.
Educational research shows that multi-sensory teaching produces the best learning. When there is a difficulty learning through one part of the brain, the other senses and learning modalities can compensate, complement and enhance each other.
Kids are hard-wired to seek sensory input through movement -- and movement involves the visual, auditory, tactile, propriocepive and vestibular senses. Use of the correct music can engage, motivate, focus, reward and provide the maximum environment for learning. Moving to the right music can compliment and cement in the skill/lesson/goal you are trying to teach.
Use music that is meaningful to the learner:
Margie is a music therapist with over 24 years experience working with pre-school and school aged children. Her Move! and Mixing It UP albums are full of inviting and appealing songs developed to facilitate learning through active movement to music.
Listen to Tweet Tweet, Little Birdy in the audio player, below.
Earth Day 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of this very green holiday. What started out as a cry of concern from a senator named Gaylord Nelson in 1970 has become a worldwide phenomenon. Nelson represented Wisconsin, but didn’t let the state border confine him. He spoke to environmental groups and participated in rallies across the nation to raise awareness about how the earth is treated. Eventually, Nelson’s idea for a day to raise awareness about environmental concern caught the attention of the United Nations. Now many countries all over the world have variations of Earth Day.
What does one do to honor Earth Day? Anything that will help out the planet!
It could be as simple as picking up trash along a sidewalk or planting a tree.
While it’s true that we should be paying attention to our planet’s welfare every day of they year, the fact of the matter is that most of us don’t. Blame it on being too busy or maybe even too lazy, we could all sacrifice a little bit more to lower the amount of waste we generate. According to the Clean Air Council the average American produces 4.39 pounds of waste each day. That’s roughly 1,602 pounds a year! Every paper cup, plastic bag, juice box, and lunch tray has to go somewhere.
What can be done to help? The three R’s of course: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Use a lunch box instead of a paper bag, bring your own shopping bags to the store, take your own mug to the coffee shop, use glasses instead of paper cups when possible, and recycle. Decorated jam jars make very cute flower vases. Get creative!
This April 22nd spend some time brainstorming ways you and your family could go a little bit greener. Your planet, your wallet, and the future generations will thank you.
Earth Day Activities:
Activity Page Downloads: (Click to download.)
Listen to these Environmental Songs while you make the world a better place!
Children line up at a designated starting line. At the word "waddle" they bend over, grab their ankles and begin waddling toward the finish point. The child first to finish, without letting go of his or her ankles, WINS. Asking children to quack while waddling is ducky too.
Flying Paper Duck Craft
Materials: A paper plate, glue, stapler, pencil, yellow and orange construction paper, yellow paint, black marker, string, and a hole punch.
Method: Trace the child's hand on yellow paper and cut it out. Fold a paper plate in half and paint it yellow. After it dries, staple the hand shape onto the left side of the plate to become the tail feathers. Cut out a 3" circle from the yellow paper for the duck head and cut an oval from the orange paper for the duck's bill. Make a tab on the end of the bill by folding in half and glue it to the end of the circle. Draw eyes with the marker or glue on "googly" eyes. Punch a hole in the top of the plate, thread string through it and hang up to fly.
Fun Fingerplays - All the Little Ducklings
All the little duckings line up in a row.
(Stand up in a line.)
Quack, quack, quack away they go.
(Clap 3 times and then walk in place.)
They follow their mother waddling to and fro.
(Put hands behind like a tail then waddle.)
Quack, quack, quack, and away they go.
(Clap 3 times then waddle away.)
Miss Pennypack's Funnies
Question: What happens when ducks fly upside down?
Answer: They quack up!
Question: What does a duck say when he buys something?
Answer: "Please put it on my bill!"
Question: How do you get down from an elephant?
Answer: You don't. You get down from a duck!
Listen to Feathered Friends in the audio player, below.Play Audio:
Did you know that when you are involved in music, more parts of your brain are being activated than with almost anything else?
There is so much research out now describing the many ways music can help children learn! Studies have shown that using music to teach content can actually increase test scores. Learning to read is enhanced through music because music is motivating and engaging.
Below is a brief description of how songs can help within the five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension:
For example, take a look at my lyrics for Bumpbibble Bump. As you can see, this song builds phonological awareness of the /b/ sound, and its association with the letter "B." Children love to use hand motions with songs, further increasing their interest, involvement and comprehension.
Listen to Bumpbibble Bump in the audio player, below
Did you know that there are 34 million people of Irish ancestry in the US? That's almost 9 times more than the population of Ireland (3.9 million). It's no wonder that St. Patrick's Day is such a widely celebrated holiday in the US! The St Pat's Day Parade in the New York City is the largest in the world, with 150,000 marchers and 2 million spectators.
Here are some great ways to celebrate this holiday in the classroom, incorporating Social Studies, art, reading and writing:
Listen to Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in the audio player, below.Play Audio:
From Months of Music by Karen Rupprecht and Pam Minor
Red Light, Green Light
Racing Car Craft
Materials: A cardboard box, 4 paper plates, black and colored paints, paint brushes, white and pale blue construction paper, scissors, and glue.
Method: Paint the box a color of your choice and let it dry. Paint the four plates black and let them dry. Cut out two headlights from white paper and glue to the front end of the car. Cut one windshield and two windows out of pale blue paper. Glue the windshield onto the front of the box above the headlights, and stick each window onto each side of the box toward the front. Ask the child to pick a number and paint that on the sides of the car. Gentlemen (and ladies) start your engines!
Fun Fingerplays - The Airplane
The airplane has great big wings, it's propeller spins around.
(arms outstretched - one arm circles around)
The plane goes up, the plane goes down.
(lift arms)(lower arms)
The plane flies high all over the town.
(arms outstretched and turn body around)
Pigella's Racing Car Snacktivity
An adult mixes the cream cheese with a few drops of red food coloring until smooth. The child then spreads the cream cheese onto the graham cracker and places two pretzels at the bottom for wheels. Choose a number and outline it on the cracker with the raisins. Please don't race when you eat this car!
Miss Pennypack's Pointers
Riding in a plane, train, or car is a treat but...
The healthy way to go is to use your feet.
Walking here and there is great exercise,
It builds strong muscles in legs and thighs.
You can walk fast or be very slow...
Just keep on walking and go...go...go.