Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dem Bones!

Here's a bit of music, art, dance science, and Halloween all rolled into one!

Monday, October 29, 2012


One of the most common childhood games played all over the world!  ROCK PAPER SCISSORS!  This game enjoys enormous popularity in Japan.  There are a variety of versions to play, and it's always fun to challenge music students to one of the Japanese versions.

Janken (じゃん拳 janken?) is the Japanese equivalent of Rock Paper Scissors, but taken to a whole new level in terms of usage and importance in daily life. If there is ever a clash of opinions between two people in Japan, more often than not this potentially embarassing situation will be decided with janken. Who gets to eat the last Rolo, you or me? What DVD should we rent, Terminator 2 or She's All That? Who should take the rap for our company's bankruptcy? etc. Japanese children will play janken tens if not hundreds of times a day. (source: 

If you are planning a trip to Japan (or just want to be a better Rock Paper Scissors player here in the US), check out the strategies in the infographic below!

Pinned Image

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You've come a long way baby!

I've got to say that I LOOOOOVE my new iPhone 5.  I'd not had an iPhone before purchasing this phone, although I did use a Blackberry. I love the easy of interacting with this particular phone.  I love that the apps on my iPad sync automatically to my iPhone through the "cloud."  I love the high resolution photos I can take.  I love how easily I can get to my email.  I LOVE FaceTime! I love the look.  Did I say that I really LOOOOOOVE my phone?!?!?  Here's a look at some old cellphone ads.  In a few short years, our concept of what is innovative in cellphone use and design has sure changed!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ukulele1 HiRes.jpg
Martin 3K Professional Ukulele

The Ukulele is a stringed instrument, usually played with the bare thumb and/or fingertips, or a felt pick.  It was developed in the 19th Century.  It's correct pronunciation is 
play /ˌjuːkəˈll/ EW-kə-LAY-lee;[1] from Hawaiian: ʻukulele [ˈʔukuˈlɛlɛ])

We tend to say "you" kulele -  it should just have the "oo" sound at the beginning.  Did you know that ukulele means "jumping flea"??

The history of the introduction of the ukulele to Hawaiian culture is interesting.  Here's the tale, taken from 

Long ago, a ship came from Portugal carrying a small four stringed instrument. When the Hawaiians saw a boy playing this instrument, they loved the sound that was coming from it. They also noticed how fast his hands were moving on the strings--like jumping fleas, so the Hawaiians named this instrument "ukulele," meaning "jumping flea." Since then it has become part of the Hawaiian culture. Portugal is a small country on the Iberian Peninsula of southern Europe. It also shares the same boundary as Spain. Portugal is about 15,000 miles away from Hawai'i and it took four months, twenty-two days to get to Hawai'i.
The first Portuguese in Hawai'i were sailors that came on the Eleanora in 1790. In 1878, many more Portuguese immigrants came to Hawai'i on the ship Prisilla. In 1879 the ship Ravenscrag came to Honolulu. My great-great grandfather came with his family from Portugal in 1883 when he was nine years old. The Portuguese came to Hawai'i to work mostly on the sugar plantations.
João Gomes da Silva was a passenger on the ship Ravenscrag along with 350 other immigrants. He brought along his braguinho--that is the Portuguese name for the ukulele. He did not know how to play it, so he loaned it to João Fernandes, another passenger, who came from the island of Madeira. When João Fernandes got off the ship in Honolulu harbor, he had the ukulele, and while he waited in the harbor he played and entertained the Hawaiian people that were there. That's when they called it the "ukulele." João Fernandes also played for King Kalakaua, Queen Emma, and Queen Lili'uokalani. He played for a three day luau in Waimanalo, and many other places. He made the ukulele very popular with the Hawaiian people.

The upper grades in music have been talking about the ukulele and viewing videos.  Since it's my planning time, I get to hear it too!  Here's one of my favorite videos that they watched on Monday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bolivia's 7-year-old Jazz Sensation!

His name is Jose Andre Montano Baina.  He is 7 years old - and blind.  However, "dis"ability is not in this child's vocabulary!   He has already performed in the Legislative Palace and alongside famous musicians like Bolivian rocker Glen Vargas.
The young musician began to show signs of his talent at the tender age of four when he started playing the drums with skill usually displayed by artists three times his age. After mastering them, he quickly moved on to the piano and by the age of five had formed a jazz trio!

Jazz is not Jose's only love.  His musical taste is eclectic.  Blues, heavy metal, tango are among his favorites.
His father believes the young boy is just born with a 'music' chip inside him!
Beyond his music, Jose leads a typical life of any child...he goes to school, has homework and even has chores!  Enjoy his performance below!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Positive Thoughts

So often, we can change our entire day EITHER to a negative or a POSITIVE memory.  Sometimes we ("I") need to be re-directed (like I re-direct my students who are off task!)  I've also found that if "I" am positive in my outlook, then OTHERS will respond to that in a positive way.

Not everything in life is fun and games.  However, with our focus on what is important in our lives - our faith, our family - we will see the bountiful blessings that God has bestowed upon us.  It is then that those "not-so-good" experiences have less of an impact on our lives.

A free pdf was published at Kind Over Matter last year.  It's similar to those sheets you see in the grocery store advertising babysitting, lawn mowing etc.  There are little tear-off strips at the bottom for people to take with them with positive thoughts on each strip.  I challenge you to print it out, take it to your workplace, or even put it on your refrigerator!  Spread some positive thoughts.  And check out the Kind Over Matter blog as well.  She always has lots of cool ideas and thoughts!  Go Make a difference and download the full-sized version of the Positive Thoughts printable!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

We are immersed in digital media in every facet of our lives.  My iPhone alone serves the purpose of many, web access, email access, texting, as well as an endless choice of apps - not to forget even a flashlight! In a 2012 survey conducted by The Vision council, more than a third of U.S. adults reported spending four to six hours a day with digital media or related electronic devices. Fourteen percent pegged their total at 10 to 12 hours per day.   Our children's digital use mirror's our, as they spend huge amounts as consumers of electronic devices not only in school, but at home or out and about with friends.  Technology is an important tool, and digital habits aren't likely to change anytime soon.

Digital eye strain caused by an overuse of digital devices is a real issue.  What are some strategies and products that will help lessen the problem?   The Atlantic has a story about the Vision Council's recent report on digital eye strain. The sixteen page report (link opens as PDF) includes a couple of graphics that show you how you can reduce the strain on your eyes when working on your computer or smartphone.  This is worth downloading and reviewing.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Freaky-nomics

With Halloween Fast Approaching, I thought this was an interesting infographic!  900 MILLION POUNDS of pumpkins!!  9 BILLION kernels of candy corn!  60 MILLION pumpkin pies!   Does YOUR family reflect any of these stats?  Thank you to I Waste So Much Time for publishing!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mark 10:35-45

This is a pretty cool way to experience today's Gospel Reading - as an animation of the text.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Social Media for Educators

There's lots of discussion in classrooms, teachers' lounges, Facebook, about the validity of educators "friending" students on social media.  There seems to be a lot of fear out there, especially among administrators, that educators will either accidentally or purposefully use this form of communication with parents and students in an unethical manner.  My view is that if a person, educator or not, does not have ethical core values, their behavior will show that, social media notwithstanding.  Preventing educators from using social medial with their students will not prevent them from choosing to behave inappropriately.

Social media is the way our students communicate with each other!  If we want to be part of their conversation, this is where we need to be as parents, educators, mentors.   Here are some great examples of how educators can property, incorporate social media into their classrooms:

A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media

Friday, October 19, 2012

How Safe is your PIN Number?

We use  PIN numbers everywhere it seems - the ATM, credit cards, debit cards, online purchases.  How seriously do you take it when you choose your PIN??  Do you use one of the MOST used PINS? Here's an infographic to consider.

How Safe Is Your PIN?
Compiled by:

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I've just stumbled upon this ingenious combination of people who emerge their talents, imagination, skills and passion into creative expression. Yessian is a global collective of producers, composers, music supervisors and recording artists.  Dan Yessian and Chris Plansker have recently won a 2012 Emmy.  In addition to hit singles, the group has worked in advertising as well as film and TV.  Browse their website to get a glimpse of their work!

Enjoy this awesome short fly-over of some of America's most beautiful land.  You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"EXCEL"-ing at Excel!

Ever used Microsoft Excel?  Not a very exciting program.  Sure you can make colorful charts, 3-D bar graphs, change the colors of cells, even change the shape and color of cell comments.  And, let's not forget that magical AUTOSUM feature!! 

Well, there IS even more that a person (a very talented person!) can do with this program.  Here is Mystery Guitar Man again, to show us what can be done.  Taking nearly 5 hours to create, this Stop-Motion Excel (spreadsheet animation) will challenge your preconception of this Microsoft Office Program!  Go to The Beat, to see not only the video, but also watch the behind-the-scenes video.  Maybe it will inspire you to create your own stop-motion Excel project!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Magic Piano

Magic Piano is a great little iPad (or iPhone) app.  Using finger touches, you play not only a melody but also HARMONY!  Even for me, an accomplished pianist, this can be quite the challenge as the difficulty progresses!  The app comes with a set of free songs to begin your musical experience.  As you complete songs, you earn "smoola" which can then be exchanged for a new, more difficult song.    There is also the option to buy more songs, but really, it's not that hard to earn smoola!  I really enjoy playing this app, and would recommend it for non-pianists as well as beginner or advanced musicians.  Here's a video of Mystery Guitar Man playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for his "audience."  Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

More on the jump!

Check out LIVE SCIENCE for more info!  Thank you to them for the following infographic!The daredevil's jump from 120,000 feet altitude requires the use of a space suit due to the low temperature and thin air.


Felix Baumgartner's suit and capsule
(Go to to see details about his suit and for more details)

Felix Baumgartner's epic jump todayfrom the edge of space was a sight to behold.  I watched online as Mission Control guided him through his safety check and he then made that plunge towards the earth! Supported by a team of experts, Felix  ascended in a helium balloon to an altitude of 120,000 ft / 36,576 m (over 24 miles!). Felix become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9mph (1,342km/h).  It took him just under 10 minutes to make the descent.  The last few thousand feet were negotiated by parachute.  Some highlights in the video below!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
----Psalms 19:14

This song is from the compilation CD "Sing Over Me", a collection of worship songs. "May the Words of My Mouth" was written by Tim Hughes and Rob Hill. Based on Psalms 19:14. The song helps us remember to keep our focus on Jesus, our hope and our light and our Way.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Here's a very cute song for our young children...featuring some of the symbols of Halloween with a slow, easy-to-learn and sing song!  This song was written and performed by A.J. Jenkins. Copyright 2010: All rights reserved.  Enjoy with your little ones!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary

among the things a person could do on this site are....

  • Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. 
  • Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. 
  • Learn how words associate.

When a word it entered into the seach box, an interactive node diagram ( a web of sorts) is created and connections are made to the original word in a  variety of ways.  Some examples are parts of speech, is a part of, pertains to, is a kind of to name a few. Exploration of just one word will take the user to a myriad of word adventures.  You are taken into a "universe of bouncing, rotating, vibrating meaning by pulling related words into orbit around it. The words careen off one another like balls on a billiard table until they settle down, at which point you can set them in motion again — or choose a new word."

When I entered the word "music," this is my initial graphic. As I click and explore even more connections are made. The key at the left shows what the different colored connections indicate.  Give it a try!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Partysaurus Rex!!

Toy Story's Rex, the green dinosaur, gets a chance to shed his party-pooper past in Disney•Pixar's new animated short.  Hop on over to Disney Videos.  I guarantee you will laugh and want to watch it again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Piano Guys

I have enjoyed watching and listening to The Piano Guys.  They have been together for just over a year, and have exploded in popularity on YouTube.  All are from Utah.  The group is made up of one piano player, Jon Schmidt, and one other instrumentalist, Steven Sharp Nelson, on cello.  The other three – Paul Anderson, Tel Stewart and Al van der Beek – are equally significant members of the group.  Read more about them on their website The Piano Guys.

Five guys from different walks of life with different skill sets, from different places -- each had built their own careers: a piano store owner/videographer (Paul Anderson), a music producer (Al van der Beek), a videographer/editor (Tel Stewart), a pianist (Jon Schmidt), and a cellist (Steven Sharp Nelson). But all with the same ambition: to inspire the world with the talents given them. Each met through seemingly-happenstance, but divinely-influenced circumstances. Combined, they had the tools, the passion, and the drive necessary to independently build one of the most successful music video production companies in the world. They are famous for taking their instruments (especially grand pianos) and video equipment to unbelievable places. But above all, ThePianoGuys love what they do -- and it shows. At the end of the day, they are ordinary guys that love their families and that thank God for the opportunity they have to do what they love.
                               -taken from The Piano Guys Official Channel

Enjoy listening to One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful (5 Piano Guys, 1 piano).  Be sure to read the Story Behind The Song below the video too, located on the YouTube page!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Honest Logos

“A great trademark is appropriate, dynamic, distinctive, memorable and unique.”
–Primo Angeli
A lot of work goes into designing a logo for a business.  It should look professional, unique, simple, yet memorrable.  The following post by graphic designer Viktor Hertz made me smile:)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bee Gees - How Deep Is Your Love

"How Deep Is Your Love" is a pop song written and recorded by the Bee Gees in 1977 and released as a single in September. Originally intended for Yvonne Elliman, it was ultimately used as part of the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever. It was a number three hit in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the United States, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 on 24 December 1977 (becoming the first of six consecutive US number-one hits) and stayed in the Top 10 for a then-record 17 weeks. The single spent six weeks atop the US adult contemporary chart. It is listed at # 20 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.[1] Alongside "Stayin' Alive", it is one of the group's two tracks on the list. The song was covered by Take That for their 1996 Greatest Hits album, reaching number-one on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks.

The song was ranked #366 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In a British TV special shown in December 2011, it was voted "The Nation's Favourite Bee Gees Song" by ITV viewers.

----Taken from

I recently read a blogpost about listening to this song from a different vantage point - that of a dialogue between Jesus and myself. Read the blog at Women Getting Real and then listen to this song with a different set of ears. What speaks to you??

Sunday, October 7, 2012


October 7th marks the 60th anniversary of the barcode. SIXTY years! This technology has been around for a long time! From a pack of gum to education in the classroom to coupons for the grocery store, barcodes are everywhere!

I have recently been experimenting with uses for QR (quick response) Codes in the classroom. I am coming up with a ton of ideas! The use of 1:1 student iPads in our school will soon provide an opportunity for me to try out some of these activities! Here is an infographic with some fun facts about this technology.

To see the infographic, scan this barcode below with your ipad or smartphone. You will need a QR Reader (free) to do this. If you don't have a device that can scan, click on Wasp Barcocde Technologies to access the infographic.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Morse Code Music

I would imagine that if you could understand Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.
----Mitch Hedberg

This is a fun site to connect rhythm and language with Morse Code. It includes: 1) an explanation on how to translate Morse Code into music; 2) an online Morse Code Music generator you can play on your computer; and 3) multimedia activities that integrate Morse Code with other areas of the curriculum! So, take a couple of minutes and learn more about Morse Code and the wonderful connections we can make between language and music over at Morse Code Music!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Melody Street

Melody Street in an interactive story, telling of the heart-warming story of the instruments of the orchestra learning to live in harmony.  "Melody Street introduces children to the wonderful world of music. You can find Melody Street online for learning fun.  It is also an application now for iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gaming in the Classroom

Games lubricate the body and the mind.
---Benjamin Franklin

The abundance of technology available to us as educators today is opening up a world of unlimited possibilities when it comes to finding sources for our students to learn with.  Gaming, blogs, wikis, QR codes to just name a few!  Does gaming really help our students learn?  Are students "playing" or "learning" - or both??  Here's an interesting infographic.  You decide.

Gaming in the Classroom
Courtesy of: Online Schools

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Piggy Saves The Music!

Piggy Saves The Music is a Fun Video Game created by the Plank Road Publishing crew.  Give it a try!  And don't forget to pick up the instruments!!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unifix Cube Drum Machine!

Ready to create some rockin' rhythms? The Unifix Cube Drum Machine connects your knowledge of patterns and ratios to drum rhythms. Simply click on the cubes to make a pattern and press play — your Unifix Cubes will transform into a musical composition you can see and hear! Check it out!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

FALL COLORS....De Colores!!

Fall Colors

A special season’s here again
One I love so much
For colors are their most brilliant
Like the strokes of an artist’s brush

Sunsets are their brightest
As fall flowers take a bow
Everything is changing
There’s a chill in the night time now

There’s earthy sweetness in the air
Apples plopping to the ground
Colors are changing everywhere
Drying leaves make a swishing sound

We know just around the corner
Holidays are near
And as that time approaches
Excitement fills the air! 
Marilyn Lott

The past few days, I've been snapping some shots of the colors found here in south-central South Dakota.  Enjoy the beauty while you listen to "De Colores", sung by Joan Baez.