Saturday, October 31, 2009

Arts Integration Class - A Success!!

On October 28th and 29th, I presented a workshop at the University of North Florida which focused on music methods for the non-musician. The students I taught are studying to be elementary school teachers and must incorporate the Arts in their classroom instruction. A few of these students had private music lessons as young children, but the majority of them were non-musicians. I was asked to provide them with songs and musical activities that would inspire children and engage the learner in a musical way.

I hauled instruments for them to play, I took my guitar and armed myself with lots of simple, singable songs that anyone can teach. We practiced vocal inflection with a slide whistle, we enhanced a book entitled "Froggy Learns to Swim" with rhythm instruments, we acted out the "Butterfly Cycle Song," we learned to play an ostinato on the drums while singing a Nigerian song, we compared a note tree to a pizza (lesson comparing note values and fractions) - we crammed as much as we could into two hours and forty-five minutes of class time. Curriculum integration was the key and a fun time was had by all!!

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Until next time...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kindergarten Lesson

In my post dated, October 14, 2009, I shared my lesson plan for what is commonly known as the "Teacher Assessment Instrument" or "Employee Evaluation." I opted to use a kindergarten class and build on what they were already studying in their classroom.

Our kindergarteners have been working with nursery rhymes to gain a better understanding of phonemic structure, blending/segmenting sounds, rhyme scheme, and early comprehension skills (characters in a story). I used a nursery rhyme that was originally published in England in 1842 entitled, "Lucy Locket." Only one student was familiar with this rhyme.

My lesson covered multiple musical concepts including pitch-matching, intervallic relationships (solfege), creating a melody map, working with unfamiliar text, vocal inflection and crescendo/decrescendo. This may seem like a lot for kindergarteners to assimilate in one 40-minute lesson, but when sequenced and presented properly, learning happens.

Please take a look at the following video. This video captures the highlights of the lesson in the order in which they were presented. It will also provide you with a glimpse into my classroom so that you can see the depth of instruction our youngest learners are receiving. Feel free to leave me a comment at the end of the post.

Kindergarten Lesson from athby tamburrino on Vimeo.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure"

Yesterday, at 9:00 a.m. in 54-degree weather, you would have found my sister and I dressed in matching running gear, surrounded by a sea of pink and waiting for the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" 5K to begin. This race is held each October and proceeds from the race are used to support breast cancer research. We were going to run it last year, but I ended up in the hospital two weeks prior to the race. My doctor would only allow me to walk it, so I never actually got to run it - until yesterday. My goal was twofold - to run the entire race without stopping and to complete the 3.1 mile run in under 45 minutes. I was successful on both counts! My unofficial time was 42:17 and I ran all the way to the finish line where my family was cheering and snapping photos like paparazzi. I couldn't believe it!!
Since I have never been athletic, this was an amazing feat for me. My husband is a former cross-country runner who has been sidelined with an injury for over a year. He was beaming as I crossed the finish line and could hardly believe what he had just witnessed! Maybe next year, we can all run it together!! It was a great day for a run and a great opportunity to take part in a community event that was meaningful and family-oriented. Until next time...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teacher Assessment Instrument (Employee Evaluation)

About this time each year, my principal places a clipboard outside her office with instructions for every teacher in the building "to sign up for your observation." With 90 faculty members at Chets Creek, this is a daunting task for a principal. She must pre-conference with each teacher, observe a lesson taught by the teacher and follow-up with a post-conference once the observation has been completed. It takes numerous weeks for her to see everyone in the building!

I usually choose to show my work with the intermediate students (grades 3-5) because these students are more mature and have well-developed musical skills (playing instruments, keeping a steady beat, clapping in unison, singing in an ensemble, reading notation, etc.) that are not necessarily well-developed in younger children. This year, however, I decided to take a risk and invite my principal in to observe a lesson taught in kindergarten (she was formerly a kindergarten teacher and understands the nuances of teaching young children). My pre-conference is scheduled for Monday, October 19th; the observation is scheduled for Thursday, October 22nd and my post-conference is scheduled for Friday, October 23rd.

The lesson I will be teaching involves multiple concepts including pitch-matching, steady beat, lyrical rhymes, expressive elements (crescendo/decrescendo) and reading solfege (intervallic relationships between notes) accurately. The poem I have chosen to use in this lesson is an old English Nursery Rhyme entitled, "Lucy Locket."

Please view the following slide presentation to get a better glimpse of what will be presented during the lesson.

I will teach a mini-lesson for 15 minutes at the front of the class and then transition to the back of the classroom for the application portion of the lesson. The learning is applied by playing a game of "hide the penny." Each student will have the opportunity to try to find the penny, but must pay attention to the expressive elements being sung (crescendo/decrescendo) for clues as to who has the penny. If our voices grow louder as we sing the rhyme (crescendo), the student is getting closer; if our voices grow softer as we sing the rhyme (decrescendo), the student is moving farther away from the person to whom I have given the penny. It's a great way to engage the children while teaching multiple concepts without them even realizing it.

Until next time...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's "Young People's Concerts"

Each year, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra hosts its "Young People's Concerts" for elementary-age students in Duval County Public Schools. The concert is free and the district pays for transportation. This concert series is a gift from the Orchestra to your children.

On October 30th, Chets Creek Elementary will fill ten school buses and head downtown to the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Every fourth and fifth grade student will get to experience a "live" performance by our very own symphony orchestra. Our second and third graders will make this same trip in the Spring.

This Fall's program is entitled, "Music of the World" and it is designed to engage students in active listening as they solve "The Case of the Stolen Tuba." We will visit Austria (Mozart's birthplace), Italy (Rossini's birthplace), New York City (Gershwin's birthplace), Hungary (Brahms' birthplace) and Ukraine (Tchaikovsky's birthplace.)

Educational materials were sent to us at no charge to prepare the students for the program. The materials are arranged in a "Mission Impossible" format with musical examples from each composer presenting various clues to solve the mystery. In Mozart's "Overture to the Marriage of Figaro," the students listen for a tuba in the performance, however, the tuba had not yet been invented. As we move on to the country of Italy, we hear the overture to "The Barber of Seville," listening also for a tuba in the orchestra. (No tuba yet!!) The next piece we hear is "An American in Paris" by George Gershwin. Students are instructed to listen for the jazzy elements in the piece. They discover that there is a tuba scored for this piece, however, the JSO can't play it without their missing tuba. Then, it's off to Hungary where we tune into "Hungarian Dance No. 6" by Johannes Brahms. Lots of brass instruments are used in this dance piece, but the tuba in our orchestra is still missing. Finally, our program concludes with the fourth movement of "Symphony No. 2" by Tchaikovsky. Students hear all of the instrument families in this piece which is "grand, bold and majestic." And...there could very well be evidence of a tuba in this performance!

Miss Lambros has been leading our "Super Sleuths" around the world trying to locate the perpetrator of this crime. Our students are greatly enjoying this integrated study of Music, History and Geography. Mrs. Tamburrino will be chaperoning this field study and will do a follow-up lesson upon our return.

Until next time...