Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Third grade students have started to  learn to play the recorder this semester!  They are all very excited!  We have learned 3 notes so far, B-A-G.  We can play LOTS of songs with those three notes!  We have talked about the proper way to blow into a recorder (slow and with warm air), as well as how to properly care for our recorders.  (It's important to remember that the recorder is an instrument, not a weapon to hit little bro with!)  
The earliest use of the word "recorder" was in the household of the Earl of Derby in 1388: nomine Recordour.[1]   There are many sizes of recorder ranging from the Sopranino to the Bass.  We are playing the Soprano Recorder in class.  

Today we did an activity matching the "bumble bees" with letter names to the "trash cans" with the notation on them.  The students did pretty well!  There were a lot of bees that needed to find their can!  After things were matched up, students chose patterns of the melodies to practice with their partner.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Grades 3-4-5 have begun learning the ins and outs of blogging this semester.  This is an exciting time for them!  They are learning about blogging etiquette and applying it to their own classroom blog.  Grade 6 was blogging last year, so they are continuing on the journey of being even better bloggers!

Blogging and social networking have become huge forums for discussions and the sharing of knowledge. As I work to prepare your child for their future, I want to give them as many authentic writing experiences as possible.

Each classroom blog is totally private to the students and teachers in that particular classroom.  These blogs are NOT public.  Their classroom teachers, Miss Amie, and myself are the only people who can see the blog besides the students themselves.

Kidblog (at is designed specifically for teachers and students, and is completely secure.  I have set up a class network of blogs, where each child has their own, and they are all connected through me. In this way, we can communicate amongst each other, but our work will not be visible or accessible to the public at large. Your child has their own specific password, which will give them access to edit their own blog, as well as the ability to comment on other studentsʼ blogs. However, each and every post and comment will come to me first for approval. In this way I can monitor the conversations and ensure that everything is positive and appropriate.

Ask your student to show you our classroom blog!  They can access it simply by going to or you can also find it through my wiki page at  Students really LOVE to blog!!  

Martin Luther King Jr. and The Beatles!

Are you wondering, "What does Martin Luther King Jr. and The Beatles have in common?"  Did you know that Paul McCartney wrote the song "Blackbird" as a tribute to the 1963 march on Washington?  The song is credited to Lennon/McCartney.  While in Scotland in 1968, McCartney was inspired to write these lyrics.  The song was released Nov. 22, 1968.  As McCartney explained before his solo acoustic guitar set during the Driving USA Tour in 2002, the word "bird" is British slang for girl.  So, blackbird, becomes a synonym for "black girl."  
Enjoy listening to The Sessions Voices performance of "Blackbird."  The video incorporates Super 8mm footage and documentaries from the national archive. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I Will Go Lord If You Lead Me!

John the Baptist’s Testimony to Jesus. (from John, Chapter 1)29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.30 He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’31I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”32John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.33I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’34 Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” 
imagesCAWOM8CYThe  Gospel reading for this weekend again tells us of the Baptism of Jesus, but from John's point of view this time.  All of John's life was spent "preparing the way" for the One to come.  He lived his life on that belief - what great faith!  Can you imagine the moment when it was revealed to him that the man standing by him was indeed the Son of God?  To FINALLY see the fulfillment of his life's work. 
I wonder if John had any moments of doubt.  He had followers who supported him, but I bet there were also those who thought he was crazy!  
We all have people in our lives who are "John"...those who think differently than the mainstream...maybe they eat differently, dress differently, live differently as well. Some people are on the "fringes" of society..or at least they are viewed as such.
Are they prophets with a message as John was?  Not everyone accepts the status quo or sees things like "normal" people do.  Do they view this as a liability....or a gift?  How do WE see it?  Perhaps YOU are one like John!  
Whether we live on the fringes or in the midst of the what is viewed as our society, what is really important is our relationship with God.  Are we like John, giving our entire life to the mission that God has for us?  Can others see who you are living your life for?  
Dan Schutte wrote Here I Am Lord in 1981 (wow, that's a LONG time ago isn't it!).  It's been a staple of many Christian hymnals.  The song is based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.
As you listen to the verses of this song, put your voice to the lyrics.  Listen and meditate on where the Lord will lead you!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


This weekend the Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  I've been thinking about the various ways that different Christian denominations view baptism.  Some baptize infants, others only those who are old enough to profess their faith in Jesus Christ.  Some don't even have an outward sign for baptism (such as sprinkling or immersion into water).  The Quakers are one such denomination.  They see baptism as an ongoing spiritual process that should not be treated as an event.  In some denominations, beliefs and practices surround baptism might vary in different congregations.  

For myself, I don't see the infant vs. adult issue as primary. After all, for God, time is not like our time.  I would venture to say that the heart of the matter lies in our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Do I really give my life over to him, each day?  Do I live my life with Jesus as my center, my focus, my reason for living?  

Consider your own baptism today.  Were you an infant, teen, or adult?  Do you remember your baptism?  What were the feelings you had on that day?  Anticipation?  Joy? Humility?  If your denomination baptizes children as infants, recall those moments when you might have had your own children baptized or been a Godparent or witness at a baptism.  Did you recommit yourself as well as that tiny baby was being presented for baptism by the parents?  Did you accept the responsibility along with the parents for guiding that child in the Christian faith?

The baptism of our children was always a very special time for me.  I felt like God was always there with me, as I parented my children, even when I thought I was a failure, I knew that HE had my back!  I knew that HE would always, and will always be there for each of my children!  My youngest son, Tim, was baptized on Easter.  I'd always wanted to have a child baptized on Easter, and sure enough, the timing was perfect for it with Tim!

Here's a chart that I found on at  It's a quick look at the many ways in which baptism is viewed by some of the major Christian denominations.  Of course, this could also vary from congregation to congregation.  There is also a link to the denomination if you want to learn more.



It expresses a person's personal faith in Christ, who died for our sins. By immersion only. Baptisms by other churches are accepted on conditions.


It is not entirely necessary for salvation. By immersion only. Baptisms of other churches accepted if done by immersion. Infants are not baptized. Candidates must first believe.


By pouring, sprinkling or immersion. Baptisms of other churches accepted when performed as Catholic Church prescribes. Necessary for salvation. Infants are baptized.


Do not believe in outward ritual of baptism. The ongoing spiritual process should not be treated as an event. Inward baptism and communion are most important to spiritual life.


By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion which ever method is preferred by the applicant. Baptisms of other churches accepted.  Not necessary for salvation.  Infants are baptized.

Disciples of Christ

Done by immersion, showing one's obedience. Symbolic of death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Only those old enough to know what they are doing when they confess the name of Christ are baptized.

Eastern Orthodox

By immersion for the remission of sins and entrance into church. Essential to salvation must be performed by one holding proper priesthood authority. Required of all 8 years & older. Infants are not baptized.


By immersion or pouring. In an emergency any Christian may baptize saying "in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost". Necessary to salvation. Infants are baptized.

United Church of Christ

Done at time of confirmation and reception into church. Infants presented by parents or sponsor. Usually performed by sprinkling.


By sprinkling, pouring or immersion. Baptisms performed by other churches accepted when all Bible conditions are met. Necessary to salvation except in rare instances. Infants are baptized.


By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Is only an outward sign of one's entrance into the church.  Baptisms of other churches accepted. Not necessary to salvation. Infants are baptized.

And to end with a little music - here's a little bluegrass for your day...the Bluegrass Gospel Project singing River of Jordan.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Terje Isungset...Musician and Artist!

Norwegian Terje Isungset is an accomplished percussionist and composer.  He takes music beyond our traditional boundaries, crafting his own instruments from elements such as arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep bells, and ice.  Yes, you heard right.  Ice.  He has produced 9 solo CD's as well as writing for commissioned events such as jazz festivals, dance performances, film, theater etc.

He is a pioneer in ice music, a dream of his which seemed unachievable, but he proved that wrong!  In 1999 he was commissioned to create a concert held in a frozen waterfall.  This was for trumpet, vocals, nature percussion and ice.  His first ice music CD, "Iceman Is", was recorded at Ice Hotel Sweden in 2001.  The world's first ice music festival took place at Gello-Norway in 2006.  His first ice music tour, a total of 33 concerts, took him to Japan, Norway and Spitsbergen.

Some of the instruments he has created can be found HERE.  Below is a recording of one of Terje's concerts with The Trondheim soloists and Lena Nymark in Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway on January 20, 2012.  The string arrangements are by Knut Anders Vestad.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany - what is it anyway?

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day and Twelfth Day, is celebrated on January 6.  This celebration occurs on the 12th day after Christmas.  The word Epiphany means "manifestation" or "revelation."  In the Western culture, Epiphany is associated with the visit of the Wise Men to see the child Jesus. Christ reveals himself to the gentiles through the Magi.  In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany emphasizes the baptism of Jesus by John, where Christ is revealed to the world as God's own Son.  Some denominations commemorate the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine, another manifestation of Christ's divinity.

The Gospel of Matthew is the only place that the Three Kings are mentioned in Scripture.  Matthew says that they came from "the east" and does not even give a specific number. Tradition assumes there were three Wise Men since three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh are mentioned. Scholars speculate that these men came from the areas of Persia, Arabia, or perhaps India.

It's generally believed that the kings took at least over a year to reach Jesus, traveling thousands of miles to worship him, and acknowledge Him as Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  The Wise Men were warned in a dream to return home via another route, and not report back to Herod.

This was quite the journey that these three Wise Men made...thousands of miles, to a foreign land.  What inspired them to respond and persevere?  These men had a determination to find Jesus, and they did! 
He wasn't hiding from them, and He isn't hiding from us either!  He wants a relationship with us, we need only seek Him out.  Just as the wise men did not return home along the same route that they came, we also are forever changed when we encounter Jesus in our life.  We turn from old ways of doing things, to living through the eyes of Love, the eyes of Jesus.

As the new year begins, I challenge myself to travel through my life seeking Jesus, just as these men did.  I want to persevere in seeking Him, in seeking His will for my life.   "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7)....Those Three Kings had FAITH!  

The video below gives a glimpse of the celebration into a Latino celebration for Three Kings Day...complete with gifts!