Friday, January 25, 2013

Chinese New Year Music

Chinese New Year is coming up next week! My daughter was adopted from China so this is a big deal holiday in our house; when she wakes up on CNY she has a special red envelope (hong bao) with "lucky money" inside and we do other things to make it a fun and meaningful holiday for her. Our school (where I teach and she attends) also has a sister school in China! Here's a piece I wrote last year, the title is "Xin Nian Kuai Le" or "Happy New Year". Easy level bordun for accompaniment- add unpitched percussion (UPP) for the percussion line- lots of gongs, drums, etc. to "scare away" evil spirits. Very nice with a big, low gong at the end. Good for your upper level recorder players, too- those who have a solid low "C". Look on youtube for pronunciation guide - Xin = Shin, Nian= like it sounds, Kuai= kwahee, Le = luh Yi (number 1) = eee, Er (number 2)= are, San (number 3) = sahn, "Jia Yo" (Let's Go! as in cheering people on) = jya yo. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sub Plans...Lots of 'Em!

So.. the day after my huge holiday concert, Dec. 13th to be exact, I found out the nausea I had been experiencing since Thanksgiving was actually a perforated bowel. So, off to surgery I went that Thursday eve. three weeks ago today! And guess what they found? A piece of a toothpick.. never putting those in my mouth again. I've had this surgery before (had colon cancer in my 20's.. another long story) and it's a long recouperation time. I was in the hospital for 11 days, got out just before Christmas and was able to spend Christmas morning home with my family which was wonderful but weird as I was pretty much nested on the couch surrounded by lots of pillows and medications. My incision got infected so I have an open wound that's draining and being packed every day (ick) and am now working on sub plans. I won't be back to school until probably mid-February which I'm not exactly pleased about but it is what it is. I will be going into school tomorrow to meet with my long term sub and kids return Monday so we've got a ton of work to do tomorrow. One of the best things I've found about sub plans is to leave them verbally. Use an app like evernote or record yourself another way (so many options) and talk to the kids just like you would in the classroom. When the kids need to find partners, or move to another part of the room, etc. I always say, "press the pause button now and then turn it back on when the kiddos are in place". Subs LOVE this. Another good activity is a music game round robin. I have the sub divide the students into small groups of 3 or 4 and the students play music games like Music Candyland, Counting Up the Mountain, etc. I had an earlier post on music games from early fall, look back and you'll be able to find tons of games. Groups play their game for 10-12 minutes and then rotate to the next game. This keeps things fresh and really fun as they rotate through. I also keep a Sub Plan Songbook with CD's I put together years ago just for times like this. In the Songbook are suggestions for songs with books, games, activities, and tons of songs with visuals. All the song pages have appropriate ages listed so the sub has no questions as to what songs might work with different grades. It's truly a lot of work, but it's going to pay off for me now!