Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rap Tap Tap MIOSM

I am a fairly new convert to instagram. I say convert because I used to get a lot of my teaching ideas from pinterest and facebook. Instagram has a plethora of music teachers and it is growing daily with wonderful teachers (among others) sharing lessons, teaching ideas, etc.
I have used the book, "Rap Tap Tap" before, but haven't used it in a long while.  Then, just yesterday, I saw a post from the amazing @snapclappattersonmusic and it all came together!
Music in Our Schools Month is just a few days away and this is a wonderful transition from Black History Month as this year's theme is All Music, All People.  Love the inclusivity of the theme!  Try something new this month- get out of your American folk song comfort zone and share information, culture, and musical culture of students from around the United States - we are from so many places with rich music histories and ways of using music to celebrate, dance, sing, mourn, and bring together communities.

1.  Rap Tap Tap

Read the book, after each page, say, "Rap, tap, tap, think of that". Rhythm is quarter, quarter, quarter, rest, quarter, quarter, quarter, rest.

2. Rhythm sticks

Read book again, add rhythm sticks with speech.

3. Tap Dancing Demo

@snapclappattersonmusic had her students stand and tap dance the rhythm of "Rap, tap, tap, think of that" after each page. 
I showed my students the following videos first: 
Savion Glover, Signature Demo (it is a commercial for a fridge, but the fridge isn't seen until the very end, cool fridge!)

Then I had my students stand and try out some tap moves. This video is SO nice and slow and really perfect for our wee ones!

4. Tap with Book

Now we are ready to tap the rhythm already learned - stand and tap dance the rhythm of "Rap, tap, tap, think of that" after each page. I had my kiddos try out some heels, toes, and brush steps and they rocked it!
So fun! Now go check out this AMAZING post from Elizabeth at Organized Chaos for a lesson already ready for you using the book, "My Family Plays Music".  This one is perfect for SO many grade levels. 
Happy (Almost) Spring!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Why I Can No Longer Use Seuss Books

I have been following several social justice pages on instagram.  Just a few months ago some information came out and a study was completed more recently about the works of Dr. Seuss. 
 I understand this information may shatter some long held beliefs and affection for Seuss books but this is important information. 

Here is excerpt of an email I sent to my admin recently:
Notable scholars and researchers have analyzed Theo
dore Geisel 's books and political cartoons and identified racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism in his illustrations and characters. 
There have been several studies I have been following concerning the racist, anti-Semetic, and sexist overtones in the works of Dr. Seuss. Research on Diversity on Youth Literature (RDYL) published a comprehensive study recently with shocking results:
The National Education Association (NEA) has also.moved away from celebrating Seuss:

This article breaks down the issues clearly and concisely. 

Around the US, parents have reported not allowing Seuss books in their homes and keeping their children home from school every year on March 2 as a result of these findings. Students themselves have challenged the celebration of Seuss. 

As a member of an Asian American family (our daughter is Chinese) I feel the need to speak up and speak out. Asian characters in Seuss' books are described in the text as "helpers that all wear their eyes at a slant" from “countries no one can spell”. Eleven Asian characters are stereotyped, wearing “rice paddy hats”. The three (and only) Asian characters who are not seen wearing “rice paddy hats”, are carrying a white male with a gun on their heads. 

Remember the article I wrote about racism and music? Just as I have edited the music I use in my classroom to ensure racist histories and uses are no longer in practice, so we must do also with the literature we use and the people whose lives we celebrate. Our focus could easily shift to celebrating diversity in order to include everyone in a way that will not cause harm or hurtful feelings to our families or students. Celebrating Seuss is to celebrate a man who wore blackface in minstrel shows and perpetuated stereotypes, racism, and sexism. 
Once we know better we must do better. 

Can't we do better?
I understand some of you will join the many who no longer use Seuss and some will say, "But we are being too sensitive" or ""This kind of racism was a product of the time" or "I am not throwing everything out that I have used - it's good quality music and his books are good quality children's literature". My response is - do no harm.  Just as the medical community operates by this motto, so should we.

If you have the potential to cause hurt feelings or harm a relationship with a child or a family, don't do it. Simple, right? 

To those who say, "That was appropriate for the time" or "We are being too sensitive", I saw this quote on @theconsciouskid on instagram, 

"Excusing someone's past bigotry as "a product of their time" ERASES everyone who fought against that bigotry while also living in that time". 

To those who say, "I am not throwing everything away....", 

We are not saying throw everything away. However, celebrating these books and this person is to celebrate racist, sexist, and stereotypical perspectives. There is a PLETHORA of amazing children's literature out there not written by Dr. Seuss. Get thee to a library.

Can't we do better?  I can.

New Study Published on Racism and Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What Sound Do You Hear Now Timbre Listening Activity

So, yeah, it's been a few weeks since I posted here. I was presenting at the OH-SO-Awesome Ohio Music Educator's Association (OMEA) conference for 3 days, then the very next weekend I was presenting in Manitoba, Canada at their Chapter Workshop. Again, a bunch of wonderful people to present for and look what one of them made- yes, artistic cupcakes in the shape and color of my book, Painted Music!
 The temperature may have been 25 BELOW zero (and the day I left home it was going to be 75 degrees so a 100 degree differerence!) but the sweet Manitoba chapter warmed my heart with their hospitality, kindness, and sweetness!
I posted this activity many years ago and am going live with a facebook and instagram live post in a few minutes so be sure to check out facebook for the video - @o for tuna orff and you can see the song and activity in action!
The game is borrowed - created by my wonderful Orff Level II and III instructors, Randy DeLelles and Jeff Kriske. The visuals are created by me and if you would like the full pdf with the slides below, send me an email -
Happy (almost) March!!!