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.  


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. 


  1. Great thoughts Aimee, thank you! I'm have to turn in a budget (line items within an assigned specific amount total). Knowing that I could be traveling room to room or may still be in my room. Both have different budgeting needs; any thoughts on how to submit spending estimates even though the next school year could go several different ways?