Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pow Wow 2012

POW WOW....the annual event that draws hundreds of people to our campus, a cold snap (this year it was rainy AND cold) and takes us back to our early days in North America by celebrating those who came before us.

The day begins outside with an authentic gathering of tribal people (kindergartners) dressed in full regalia representing eight different tribes.  They perform tribal dances, sing "Dancing Song of the Skunk" and "Sunset" and listen to a story about the Timucuan Indians who roamed North Florida several hundred years ago.  We do our best to make the day as authentic as possible and it is one of those Chets Creek traditions that is not to be missed.
Chief Chets Creek, Chief Jumping Frog, Chief Sing-Um-Song

Once the outdoor ceremony has finished, each kindergarten class rotates through various centers experiencing Native American culture.  They practice symbol writing, play clay bingo, listen to the story of the "Three Sisters" in an authentic tee-pee, play tribal games, paint with natural dyes, learn the "Canoe Song,"  enjoy a Native American Artifacts experience and taste food that would have been eaten by the locals at that time.
Chief Sing-Um-Song teaching "Canoe Song"

The kindergartners that participated this year will return as first graders to watch next year and return again as fifth graders to assist our newest crop of kindergartners with their Pow Wow.  And so the tradition continues....

Until next time...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

LaVilla Side-by-Side 2012

My Saturday mornings are usually spent at the grocery store, doing laundry or cooking up food for the impending work week.  However, today I spent the morning with four of my students in a music-making opportunity especially designed for them.  My fourth-graders were exposed to some wonderful music, an extremely talented clinician and an opportunity to learn from more advanced students who currently attend two of our Arts magnets in Duval County, Florida.  The purpose of this workshop was to build musicianship skills in the elementary students.  Sight-reading several pieces of music was a critical component in the exchange between the students and the clinician.

There were approximately 120 students from 15 elementary schools around the district in attendance at the "LaVilla Side-by-Side" workshop today.  Each 4th/5th grader was paired with a music mentor from LaVilla School of the Arts or Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  They worked together in rehearsals this morning and performed together for their parents and teachers at the conclusion of the workshop.  The sound that Mr. Pendry was able to evoke from this young group of singers in just a few hours of rehearsal was simply amazing.

As I reflected on the accomplishments of the morning, I was taken back to my days in elementary school.  I'm talking forty years ago, folks, and there were no arts magnets in Duval County at that time.  Had there been, I would certainly have pleaded with my parents to take me there.  What an incredible opportunity for these young musicians to work side-by-side with more advanced singers.  I love the concept and hope it will continue for many years to come.

Mr. Shawn Pendry and Mrs. Theresa King did an excellent job of organizing this event and I was so glad my students could take part in it.  It was definitely a morning well-spent!

La Villa Side-by-Side 2012 on PhotoPeach

Until next time...