Monday, June 29, 2020

MORE Summer PD!

The global pandemic with Covid 19 has brought about so much pain, division, and negativity. BUT, there has also been some good that has come from this time of being home.  Today I am going to focus on one of the positives that have come from our current circumstances.
This summer is unprecedented in so many ways. Levels courses, workshops, and summer professional development has moved from specific locations to being available everywhere. This Wednesday I will finish my Land Ho, Falling Forward, Not Failing Forward Workshop and I have had over 600 people from the US, Cypress, Ukraine, UK, Ireland, Scotland, Cypress, Spain, Finland, Greece, Germany, and Estonia!  When else would I have been able to teach fellow music teacher friends from this many countries? It has been amazing. 

International Sunday Sharing

JaSeSoi, the Finnish version of the American Orff Schulwerk Association began in May with a Sunday gathering of International Sharing for music teachers. In June my friend Thom Borden and I continued with a USA version. Every Sunday at 11:00 AM Eastern time we experience singing, dancing, playing, and creating with hundreds of fellow music teacher friends from around the world. The session is about 30 minutes, then most people stay for the 10 minute break out session (a lovely zoom feature) with a random group of music teachers from around the world.  The presenters change each week and it has been SO WONDERFUL! How to join? On facebook, go to International Sunday Sharing USA and join. The link to the live zoom is published Saturdays.  At the end of July JaSeSoi will begin again and we will continue the sharing from Finland!

AMIS Online Summer Sessions

The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) has wonderful (and free) PD  EVERY Wednesday at 8AM Eastern time. Click AMIS Online Summer Sessions. Can't go? No worries- it is all recorded!  Check out the Getting the Most from SeeSaw session! SO good and shows how to create, share, and add skills to SeeSaw creations.


Sing, Say, Zoom and Play!

Rocky Mountain Orff Chapter and Regional Organization of Colorado Kodaly Educators (ROCKE) has free PD EVERY Tuesday from 11AM to 1PM Eastern Time. Check it out: Sing, Say, Zoom, Play! Summer Online Learning Series.

Looking for more?  There is a HUGE list of PD from a previous post several weeks ago - go check it out!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Make an Ocean Drum and Ocean Canon

My most lovely friend and fellow Orff teacher, Crystal Pridmore, shared  a beautiful ocean canon on the facebook group, The Singing Space. Most of you know I am originally from Maine and have a pretty serious love affair with all things ocean.  When I heard this lovely canon, I loved it for it's simplicity, but also for the orchestration and minor key tonality. Beautiful! Crystal so kindly gave me permission to share the song and also the activity she sent to her students remotely on making an ocean drum.
Originally pitched in a minor, I have written it in d minor as that would work for children's voices. Hope you enjoy listening and find a way to incorporate this into lessons with students as school ends or as a beginning of the year activity or anytime next year.

Make An Ocean Drum


By the Beach Canon

Have a wonderful day! 


Friday, May 29, 2020

Summer PD Free and Fee

The Best of Times...The Worst of Times — Carol McLeod Ministries ...

We have experienced the worst of times.  We have also experienced outpourings of gratitude, appreciation, and love.  We have seen a country divided over masks, race, and so many other problems. But we have also seen a coming together to help others in need and, especially in the music education world, an outpouring of sharing, caring, and connecting.
There have been so many wonderful webinars and workshops online lately! This summer the possibilities and options are richer than ever before.
So, here is a partial list - please let me know what courses you find and I will add them to the list.

Free

Colorado Kodaly Tuesday Webinars - varied presenters.
 Facebook - International Sunday Sharing USA - every Sunday Live only
Midnight Music Monthly Training
Southern Methodist University Intro to Orff Course (offered 2x), Intro to Kodaly
Los Angeles Chapter of AOSA summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.
Teaching With Orff summer workshop plans, cost to be determined.

Fee/Credit Options

Detroit Orff Chapter Sharing session, Responsive Classroom for Music/Art/PE Teachers study, Book Study, $5.00-$10.00
Witchita State University Kodaly courses - $16.00-$52.00
MusicEd Forward course "Advocating for Sound Music Learning in Fall 2020 and Beyond, $27.00
World Music Drumming has MANY Summer Samplers - $20.00 per hour, most courses between 2 and 4 hours.
Musitex College has three courses around music technology and online teaching $39.00-$99.00
Kansas Orff Chapter of AOSA Online Workshop - $50.00
Kodaly Levels Seattle - 4 courses - $75.00 each or all for $250.00
MusicEd Forward - various courses and costs
International Music Education Summit $97.00
The Artie & Denise Online Odyssey - $100.00
Southern Methodist University, many course offerings, $150.00-$300.00
World Music Pedagogy course Teaching Music/Teaching Culture $195.00
University of Kentucky four Orff course offerings - $215.00 each
Kodaly Music Institute has eight course offerings - $275.00-$425.00
Anderson University Dalcroze and Ukulele courses $300.00-$800.00
Anderson University Orff Curriculum and Orff Masterclass courses $625.00-$800.00
George Mason University has five courses - $310.00-$1336.00
Vandercook College of Music offerings include Kodaly, Orff, Technology, and others. $350.00 per credit hour, courses are 1, 2, or 3 credit hours ($350.00/$700.00/$1050.00).
University of Bridgeport, MSED 530X: Inclusion in the Orff-based Classroom, 2 graduate credits $1330.00

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

What We CAN Do and Moving Forward


Road Sign, Attention, Right Of Way, Note
Can you relate to the question marks above?  I think many of us are stumbling forward with Remote/E/Distance Learning but also looking to next school year and asking the question of "What will that look like?"
Are you feeling the pressure of all this uncertainty?  Take a moment and watch and listen to Jimmy Fallon and crew (with pots, pans, glasses, even a toaster as instruments) perform Under Pressure:

We are all wondering and there are no clear answers. If you would like to see me talk about this, head over to these links - technology was not my friend today, so it is in two parts.
What We CAN Do Now and Moving Forward, Part 1: 
Part 2:

Here's What We Know


  • Comparing your lessons to others creation of padlets, flipgrids, SeeSaws, Google Slides, Google Classrooms, and Virtual Classrooms damages your
    1. Sense of Self
    2. Doesn't Help You Get to Your Goals
    3. Limits You
  • Next year may include a mix or one of these teaching realities: remote, streaming live from our classrooms, face to face with small groups in our classrooms, face to face with large groups,  traveling on a cart, with a mask, without a mask, with a face shield, without a face shield, seeing our students on a different schedule, remote one week or day, face to face the next, etc.

We Also Know

We are creative.
We want to be relational with our students.
We will teach children.
We will teach children music.
We will teach the elements of music; rhythm, harmony, melody, form, and expressive qualities. 

Things to Consider

 Some things will be more important than ever - a focus on social/emotional learning. Students will need music to heal, to celebrate, and to move forward in a positive way.  
Structure and routine.  Students will have been out of school and away from tradition, routine, and socialization for almost six months. It will be a time of re-learning, particularly for our youngest students, and our more vulnerable students. 


Moving Forward

So, what can we do now?  SO much!!!Think about what you want your Kindergarten, Fifth Graders, ________ to know about one element of music - rhythm, for example.  What would you normally teach your students to prepare division of beat?  A song?  Ok - If we are unable to sing the song together due to restrictions, make a recording of yourself singing the song to play during the class. Students can sing the song "in their heads and hearts". Perhaps they can sing specific words or the highest, lowest or "home" pitch.  Learn the song the same way you normally would- maybe you record yourself teaching the song by rote in sections with space for students to sing "in their heads and hearts" until they can lip sync the whole song. Now of course, that is not the best and it will be awkward at first, but we are moving forward, right?  Then maybe you may have had students keep the beat with the song - use body percussion or non-locomotor movement- jump, twist, wiggle, sway, etc.  Perhaps students clap the "way the words sound". Then maybe you had them play instruments. Uh oh- sharing may be problematic due to virus.
But wait - what if each student brings in an empty oatmeal box, 4-5 pairs of chopsticks, and 2 plastic eggs filled with pennies, plastic beads, paperclips, etc. (no food items- bug/insect/vermin issue).  If parents are unable, others could donate. No plastic eggs?  Oriental Trading has 144 for less than $5.00. The best part - everything goes INSIDE the oatmeal box, AKA drum. These would be stored in classrooms along with art supplies, etc. They do not take up much space and everything for music class goes inside the oatmeal box. Play with lid only, use chopsticks as mallets or create rhythms using chopsticks as manipulatives or use as conducting batons, tap together for light wood sound, etc. 


  
Hopefully, you are getting the point here - we can still teach music!!! No, it won't be the same. Grieve that, mourn it, and choose to move forward.  

Technology

Obviously, there is some amazing tech, sites, and apps available to many of us that we will continue to use remotely or face to face.   
 If your students will not be able to use barred instruments next year or you are on a cart AND your students have access to tech in their rooms, Brent Geyer has created some fabulous internet based virtual xylophones for our students to use. Not an app, nothing to sign up/in, no personal info shared, and beautiful sounding!  Many thanks to Brent for providing these for FREE!!!

       When you have come to the edge of all the light you have And step ...

   There is a line from my favorite medical drama that is in every episode. The director of the hospital asks a simple, yet powerful question - "How can I help?"  

Let me know.  I may not have an answer, but I am here for you. 




Sunday, May 3, 2020

Manipulatives to Use for Remote/E-Learning

We music teachers love our manipulatives, whether they are the mini-erasers from Target, stuffed animals, popsicle sticks, or printed items.  Engaging students to actively create while in remote/3-learning is challenging.  I have been using Google slides to create manipulatives students can move around and wanted to share these with you here.  You can use these in many ways - the final slide has the ones you may want to use with students to go with the Bee Bee Bumblebee rhyme. 
Here is what the moveable slide looks like - with cards the students can click and drag to create new rhythms based upon the traditional rhyme.














There are other slides to use as well in the classroom:
















Here's another to use with Bluebird Bluebird: 
















Hope you enjoy these and let me know how you use them! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Remote Learning Successes

Remote Learning has been a learning curve for me. As an Orff trained music practitioner active, hands-on music making and engagement is how my classes roll. It's not that I dislike technology, but rather that my focus is on activities, games, songs, movement, and very little technology. I also think our children have far too much access and interaction with technology and not enough with other humans, but that is a different conversation. My biggest hurdles with online/remote/e-learning have been using technology in a meaningful way. So, crash courses in imovie, screencasting, and google slides.
Our school leadership wanted to ensure that relational teaching stayed at the forefront of our thinking and planning activities and lessons for our students while they are not on our campus and our physical presence. School is still happening, and I am so thankful that our leadership made relationships our primary goal.
Image result for image music and heart

Delivering Content

Knowing we were to keep our faces front and center made delivering content decisions easy - it was going to be me recording videos with songs, activities, and lessons.  I already had a youtube channel (3 in fact) and one I had used for sub plans before where I recorded lessons, so that was an easy decision. 

Powerpoint vs. Google Slides
I have used Powerpoint forever, but think I will be switching to Google Slides now for several reasons. 
Obvious, probably, but whatever I make is automatically saved to my Drive.
Easy to create a link.
Many other reasons - the top two sealed the deal for me.

Google Meet vs. Screencastify
So far, I have found Screencasting to be the way to go. Screencastify is a free add on from Chrome and is truly ridiculously easy. My favorite features are the edit once recording is complete, and the highlight cursor! 
 I also like that once I record I can edit the recording.  Free up to 5 minutes long, click here for a tutorial and info on how to redeem the free coupon code for unlimited access.  

Here is a lesson I made for my students that has been very successful as we have moved to Remote Learning:


3. How to Beatbox (complete with a mistake -no, we are NOT perfect and it's OK)



4. Beatboxing Video - my kids loved this and sent me videos of themselves making up beatboxing rhythms which have been so fun to listen to! 




Videos

I have also made many videos of myself singing and using childrens literature with songs.  Lessons are following a flow of "steady beat or rhythm activity", "review" (song), "new" activity or lesson and always end with an invitation for students to send me a picture of their "Sidewalk Symphony" or "Clapping Challenge" or "make up a new verse" and have gotten some wonderful pics and videos from families.  
What have your successes been? 




Sunday, March 8, 2020

Remote/Online/E-Learning and Hands -Off Dances

Social Media, Icon, Structure, Networks
There are many reasons schools may choose to close to on-site learning and move to remote learning. In times of flu or illness running rampant through our petri dishes, um ... schools we need to be careful about hand holding, instrument sharing, and taking care of our physical health. At present, COVID - 19 is spreading around the world. 

Friends teaching overseas have already been teaching online for months as their schools closed in January.  Some school systems around the US are closed and others making preparations and plans for possible closings. Teachers are being asked to create lessons students can access from home to continue learning.  School, Board, Music, Blackboard
This list is just a quick overview of some possibilities - many more exist and it has been amazing to see the camaraderie of music teachers joining together to help one another continue our students music education. Please add to the conversation - read on and you will see there are many places and spaces for you to join, ask questions, and find answers. If you are not on facebook and cannot access the groups, leave a comment here and I will post your question/comment on fb.  Stay healthy, everyone!

Some of us will stay teaching in our schools and the rules and restrictions around contact, sharing instruments, etc. will be important to consider, particularly in our classrooms where so much of what we do is movement related.

Hands Off Dances/Movement

Click this link for a playlist of many no-touch dances. Please let me know what others you have and I will add them to the playlist. As of right now there are 35 videos. 

For others, we will move to remote/online/e-learning formats where our students will be home and we will be using a platform to teach from. Our school uses Powerschool, and if we go to a remote format, we will direct students and parents to Powerschool and to our existing pages where we can record videos, add documents, and add links to Seesaw, youtube, etc.
Some teachers will use existing subscriptions (such as Musicplayonline.com, Seesaw, etc.) and others will be able to access some new ones - check out this googledoc of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due To School Closings.


Remote/Online/E-Learning

So, how to teach elementary music online?  


  • First look at what is already done you might be able to use.  

Google doc with  FREE General Music Distance Learning Resources & Activities

Short, Sweet, Specific
This is the message from many teacher friends overseas who have been remote/online/E-Learning for months. Will students receive lessons in an email or online platform your school uses, will you need paper/pencil activities or online activities? Lots of things to think about here:
Resources for Teaching Online (Not Music Education Specific)



Facebook Groups - Ask Questions, Get Answers, Info, Comments


Ways to Create Lessons with "Active" Teaching (Students See Your Face)

  • Video yourself teaching a lesson, upload to:

YouTube (free) Playlist of  Ted-Ed Music for students here.
Vimeo (free)
Seesaw, (also ready made lessons by music teachers) 
Google Classroom (free)
Edpuzzle "Make Any Video Your Lesson" (free)
Flipgrid (free) article here on 20 Ways to Use Flipgrid in Music Education



  • Create screen recordings - "how to" activities and websites. 
Screencast-o-matic, free
Tutorial:




Screencastify free up to 5 minutes of video, Chrome Extension (Use chrome web browser) 
Tutorial:


Other Sites to Look At/Make Plans/Activities/Lessons:


Tutorial for Elementary Aged Students:


Sample Lessons or Lessons YOU Can Use

  • Online Lesson using Children's Literature

My friend, Kathy, teaches at Seisen International School in Tokyo and while her school has been out she has continued the learning. She happily shares a very successful lesson we can model using A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.
 A House for Hermit Crab - 3.9 x 0.3 x 5.5 inches 
Her school uses Seesaw but anyone can see this. I love how everything is included right in the Seesaw app!  This could also be done as a youtube or vimeo video with a link to materials in a google doc. 

The New Victory Theater in NYC 

This amazing theater has canceled it's amazing line up of shows, but is bringing lessons for ages 6-12 direct to us at home. The first week (March 16-20) is Percussion Week complete with Body Percussion, stepping, and a bucket or two! Their videos are very kid-friendly:







Teaching Music Digital Learning

Looking for something by grade levels to see what someone else does? Check out this great resource by David Row of Make Moments Matter. 

Music Teacher youtube Videos

Laura and Daniel are music teachers in Hong Kong and are experts now at remote learning. They have a HUGE selection of videos to choose from and they are so clever!  They deliver content through the home learning section of their music blog
 Here are two of their videos.:

Brahms Storm












Loose Tooth Music Note Reading



Mariana teaches in Tokyo, here is a link to her many videos.  Here are a couple of her wonderful videos:

Grade 1 Lesson 5:  Rhythm and Movement









Grade 4 Recorder Lullaby
















Krista teaches in Hong Kong and she has several videos students can watch and write a response to - here are a couple:

Instrument Game Show - Do You Know Your Instrument Sounds? 



Singing with Solfege -"Hey, Hey! Look at Me!" (Mi-So Edition)


Other Possibilities 

Che Che Koolay - folk song (traditional) from Ghana

Students learn the song and then can play along with various parts - this would need short directions such as, "Find something at home that makes a shaking sound and play the shaker part when you see the four ta (quarter)notes." Or, "Find two pencils or wooden spoons to try playing the rhythm stick part when you see the rhythm rest titi rest ta."
Have students make connections to Ghana in this short video - chocolate, gold, and poisonous snakes - COOL!! Start the video at 1:00 (advertising before that).

Can Music Bring Joy When Times are Tough? Watch, Listen, and Respond

Check out this googledoc of a sample watch/listen/respond using google forms. Easy to recreate and so perfect for upper elementary to help them deal with the uncomfortable emotions surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Let's Dance

Play along using a fitball (students could use a pillow on a chair and wooden spoons or chopsticks instead of drum sticks)


Hello Echo Rhythm Song




More from Kathy in Tokyo

Jump, Jump, Everyone:









Kye Kye Kule Movement and Song:



What other ideas do you have?  Please join the conversation and let's all help each other continue to make music with our kiddos.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Not Your Typical Dragon

My daughter loves dragons and has ever since she was a wee little thing - first it was dinosaurs, then she "graduated" to dragons and has stayed there ever since. She is a pretty amazing artist and you can probably guess her favorite subject!  These are some of her drawings, both digital and traditional. She is 12, by the way.

When I found this book I knew I was going to have to do something with it- the theme of not fitting in and being like everyone else resonated. My daughter is Chinese- born in China and adopted by us. I am a musician in a family of dairy farmers and we are both artists. My daughters love for dinosaurs and dragons also resonated with being "different" and we heard from many people how "unique" she was as these are stereotypically considered male dominated subjects. Well, I have a sweet girl who loves them and so do I! Enjoy the lesson!






Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Black History Month


Black History Month, Banner, Purple
Stories
Each person has their own history and life is not a single narrative. We are a collection of people living in multiple environments with multiple identifiers.  I am a White female, she/her, a mom, daughter, sister; I am a musician, teacher, artist, author, blogger, and crafter; I am also the mother of a child who was adopted from China so our family is Chinese American; I am a singer, actor, dancer, and jewelry maker. I was raised in Maine but live in the South and love to travel. There is no single story to me, no single story to you and no single story of the human experience.
Please watch "The Danger of a Single Story":


Recently there was a lengthy discussion on Facebook about White teachers using spirituals in the music classroom. Though there were many perspectives, it is important to remember that each of us teach from a place of our own stories; positive, negative, and somewhere in between. It is important to remember during Black History Month that it is a time to pause, remember, and celebrate the music of Black and African Americans. That is not a single story of spirituals and Civil Rights music, but so much more. 


Today we have a guest blogger.  We are going to learn from the amazing Franklin J. Willis.
Mr. Franklin J. Willis currently serves as the Elementary Music Coach for the Metro Nashville Public Schools district. For the past decade Willis has taught both general music and choir at the elementary and middle school levels. He is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Country Music Association Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence award. He specializes in providing musical instruction that will empower and engage all students and teachers to achieve their best through authentic culturally relevant learning experiences. Click on Franklin's picture below to learn more about Franklin and his advocacy for music education.  




Aimee: Hi Franklin, thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions from your perspective.  The focus for many music teachers during Black History Month seems to be on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.  What do you feel is important for everyone to understand about Black History Month?

Franklin: First, I think it is very important for students and teachers to understand the history of why we celebrate Black History Month. Mr. Carter G. Woodson [was] considered the Dean of African American History [who] worked tirelessly to educate the public about the achievements of African Americans. His life was dedicated to sharing the history of African Americans. I recently learned about a fabulous resource by two veteran Social Studies teachers, Lanesha Tabb and Naomi O’Brien that provides context on how Black History Month was formed and why we celebrate it. Download this free resource by clicking this link


Now that we have an understanding of what Black History Month is and why we celebrate it every year let’s discuss how we can celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans in the music classroom. African American music is diverse and has birthed musical genres throughout history. If a music teacher wishes to focus on our sacred slave songs, which we call spirituals I believe that it is fine. However, please give the spiritual the same respect and study as we would give a classical piece of music with our students. Give students the opportunity to ask questions about the music. Provide historical context for them to understand how the spiritual was created. Offer students an example of the evolution of the spiritual, like “Mary Don’t You Weep” by Take 6: 
Including all of this information is very important because it just doesn’t focus on the pain of the spiritual. However, it shows through a horrific time in our history these songs were created, and this is how they have changed over time. Spirituals are just as varied as African American music itself. There are songs of sorrow, songs of joy, songs of despair, and songs of hope. Ensure that our students learn the depth and vastness of the spiritual.

Aimee: When done well, Black History Month should focus on ___________.

Franklin: Black History Month should educate students about the accomplishments and achievements of African Americans. There are many appropriate ways to celebrate Black History Month in the music classroom. Listed below are some of the themes I have used for my Black History Month Programs in the past.
·       The Evolution of the Spiritual
·       The Music of Motown
·       The Women of the Civil Rights Movement
·       The Music of the Harlem Renaissance
·       Lift Every Voice and Sing: Music of the Culture
·       Yo! What’s Up? The Story of Hip-Hop Music
·       Music of Africa: The Beat of the Drum
·       The Dream Lives On! The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.

In order to create these Black History Month programs, I started with the end in mind. Questions that I consider when planning a Black History Month Program are the following:
·       Why do I want to present a Black History Month program?
·       What did I want my students to learn?
·       What do I want the student body or community to learn from observing the BHM program?
·       How did I want students to experience this music?
·       What grade level did I want to feature?
·       What is my school ready for? (I could write a lot about this one!)
·       What classroom teachers would be willing to help me plan this program?
·       How will I inform students, teachers, administration, parents, and community members about this program?

The greatest question of all these is the first one. Why do you want to present a Black History Program? If it is to check off a list of things that you have done this year, please don’t do it. Take time to consider the importance of teaching the important history and contributions of African Americans. All students should learn about Black History Month. Black History is American History.

Aimee: Who would be your top 10 African American musicians for music teachers to focus on during Black History Month?

Franklin: My top 10 African American musicians, composers, or artists to teach to students would be the following: (These are not in a specific order.)
·       Scott Joplin
·       Nina Simone
·       Beyoncé
·       R. Nathaniel Dett
·       Stevie Wonder
·       Kirk Franklin
·       Marian Anderson
·       Margaret Bonds
·       Quincy Jones
·       Run DMC

Aimee: If you had 4-6 lessons to go deeper into celebrating the contributions of Black and African American musicians to teach about during February, who and what would you choose?

Franklin: If I had four to six lessons to dive deeper into a subject surrounding African American music it would be the subject of African American composers. Often times our students only learn about African American artists, however I think there is valuable information students and teachers can gain in the study of our Black composers. In my undergraduate Music History class, we studied several European composers and only studied one African American composer which was Duke Ellington. I did my own research and learned about many black composers before Duke Ellington who were trailblazers and virtuoso artists. Composers like Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Scott Joplin, R. Nathaniel Dett, Harry T. Burleigh, Florence Price and many others who opened the doors for future African American composers and artists to be accepted for their talents. Listening to their music was empowering and it let me know as a student that just because we were not studying it in class, doesn’t mean it is not worthy of learning. Many teachers simply teach what’s in the curriculum and quite frankly learning about innovative African American composers is not on the list important things students should know in music education.

So, if I were digging deeper with students, I would do a historical overview of African American composers in classical music. Complete listening exercises that ask students to think and listen critically to the music. Compare and contrast the music of these composers with the more famous European composers to find similarities and differences. Finally, I would have students write a personal reflection of what they learned about the composers and to choose a favorite selection that we listened to as a class and tell me why.

Aimee: What kinds of activities make sense for our youngest students?

Franklin: Black History Month activities for our youngest of students could include story books, short melodic songs, and movement activities. Follow this link to get ideas about books to utilize during Black History Month. Stories allow students to read and visualize a character in a personalized unique way. Moreover, when students can identify and see themselves in the literature they are more engaged and learning is relevant. This lesson plan by Charissa Duncanson incorporates short rhythmic activities with the book Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews. 
Trombone Shorty
 Also an easy way to get younger students involved with African American music is by having them keep the steady beat to the music. That is a major standard for our Kindergarten and 1st grade students. Can students keep a steady beat to R. Nathaniel Dett’s Piano Suite In the Bottoms: IV. Dance. Juba? Yes, THEY CAN!


Aimee: What are your favorite resources to pull from to ensure everyone feels included in the conversations in your music classroom?

Franklin: My favorite resource to use in the music classroom not only during Black History Month, but in general is Expressions of Freedom by Dr. Rene Boyer. This teacher resource does a wonderful job of connecting African American spirituals to the Orff music pedagogy. Every time I teach a song from this resource students absolutely love it!

Listed below are some great resources available from some African American music educators and composers specifically for the elementary music classroom.

Thank you so much for a rich conversation!