Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Learning and Creating

Music Classes.....exploring the orchestra
Second and Third Grade music class is enjoying an iPad app called Piano Carnival as I project it on to the SmartBoard.  Piano Carnival is a narrative that accompanies Saint-Saen's Carnival of the Animals. Attached to each page of this story is a video of the appropriate piece of music as well as additional drawings AND a movie of those drawings being created in Photoshop!  SOOOO cool!
What really impressed me was the website for educators ) that is linked in the "grown ups" area. This site has lesson plans and activities to accompany the book AND Common Core Standards are listed that apply to each lesson! 
There are many ways to use this app with your classroom. Project on a SmartBoard, just use your iPad to present the story, or put on a classroom set of iPads for individual use. Another great thing about this app is that it is FREE!  Check it out music educators!
We are talking about the Instruments of the Orchestra in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Students have listened to and watched the classic story of Peter and the Wolf ( Петя и волк, Petya i volk in Russian)by Sergei Prokofiev
Peter and he Wolf was written in 1936, capturing the personality of each character with their own special instrumental sound.
Prokofiev actually visited the Disney studio when Disney was creating his animated version, released in 1946.
We enjoyed the Disney version very much!  The Russian film by Susie Templeton provides a great contrast to the animated version.  
Another great resource is the video of Peter and the Wolf with characters created by Chuck Jones, starring Kirstie Alley and Lloyd Bridges.  It's a unique approach to the story.  The added bonus to this DVD is an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra as well as a game.  There are 25 different combinations in the game to match instrument sounds with animals.
We have also watched the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform the piece, which gives great visuals of the musicians playing the instruments.  Of course, the Jim Gamble puppet version is a favorite as well.  Each version is a little different from the other in style, setting, and even characters.  Students compare and contrast those differences in our discussions.
Technology Classes....blending skill with creativity!
Younger students got creative while practicing our navigation and mouse skills this month with Easter egg decorating from the ABCya site. Each student had their own style, it was amazing to see!  
We have been creating Interactive Google Drawings in technology for Grades 4-5-6 these past few weeks.  The students were given a topic to research, depending upon their last name.  Countries of Asia, Symbols of South Dakota, Horse Breeds and Towns in South Dakota were the topics.  We learned how to use the tools of Google Draw, and how to link a photo or graphic to more content to tell more about it.  The content could be a video, a website, or the students' own Google document with information that was gathered.  Click on the photo below to see Olivia Lyon's Interactive Google Drawing.  She created her own slide show for South Korea.  When you get to the actual page, click on each country's photo to see the link to explore!
 Countries of Asia
Second and Third graders have been using their skills to create word clouds.  Since we are studying the instruments of orchestra in music, we created designs using the various families of instruments, printed them out, and they are now on display in the music room.  
This project was not only fun, but integrated many different subject areas:  technology, music, spelling, art and design, and math (did you wonder why some words are bigger than others??).
All students continue to work on their typing skills regularly with TTL4 and online typing games.  One of the students' favorite games is "Words Per Minute."  A cool feature of the game is the tally of best scores for the day.  The competitive side of typists comes out when we play!

Friday, March 3, 2017

.....According to His Purpose

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PURPOSE.  We simply write for 5 minutes on a prompt and see what is created!  I've enjoyed doing these quick writings.  If you would like to give it a try, check out the Facebook page or this blog:  Kate Motaung’s site


Purpose.  Romans 8:38 tells us that ALL THINGS work together for GOOD for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  ALL THINGS.  Not just the happy, sweet moments of life, but the painful, gut-wrenching moments as well.  I've seen this over and over in my own life.
A small change of schedule resulting in a chance meeting to minister to another person, an opportunity denied, only to be presented with another that is more worthwhile.  Little things like this happen every day.  If I am looking, if I am aware, if I am TRUSTING that God has my back, then these "coincidences" of life are obviously God at work.
But it's not just in the little things that I've seen the hand of God....the purpose revealed.....
It's also in those things that are so life-changing that we will always know the day, the hour, where we were, who was with us, when it all went wrong. Not always easy to see the purpose there...but it is.
A job interview lost might give way to another opportunity yet to be revealed, a painful divorce transforming into a new life, the death of a son a path to reconciliation with my parents.
Yes, there IS a purpose.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Time is Flying in the Music Classroom!

WOW!  It's March already!  Spring is almost here!  It's a busy time of the year for music educators.....concerts, vocal and instrumental contests, preparing for graduation! 
We took time out from our concert preparations to help our community celebrate Music In Our Schools Month.
Martin Grade School has a tradition of decorating grocery sacks so watch for some artwork with your purchases in March!  Some classes have started decorating their sacks!  Of course, they all hope that their parents will be given THEIR sack when they check out of the grocery store!  As you can see below, there are some pretty crafty bags that will be filled with groceries in the coming weeks!

This month is full of celebrations!  March 3 is a special day for our nation.  March 3 is National Anthem Day.  On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed into law “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the United States’ national anthem.  As we know, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics for the Star-Spangled Banner on September 14, 1914, during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. It was originally called “Defence of Fort McHenry”.   This was one of many patriotic songs, but grew on the American people.  America did not have an official national anthem a the time.  It was over 100 years before the Star-Spangled Banner was our official anthem.
We have several musical performances coming up.  Hope to see you there to help our students celebrate Music In Our Schools Month! 
Students and educators appreciate the support they receive from their families year-round!  Thank you for supporting the arts in your child’s school by attending concerts, encouraging him/her to practice an instrument and sing in the choir!