Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Angels Singing - Slice of Life Story
Music is an important part of my life. Most times I would rather listen to music than have on the television (unfortunately, my husband does not agree.) However, I love Palladia, a cable channel that features live performances by a variety of current performers. If you are a Springstein fan, you really should try to catch his concert filmed in Barcelona, Spain. Check your guide as this show is scheduled again for at least one date in February. Way up on my “Bucket List” is learning to play the piano…maybe this summer I will take a stab at it. We have a piano standing proudly in the living room waiting for a tuning and some music making.
How about music in the classroom? I love the way primary teachers have songs for transitions, rhymes for word study, songs for the seasons, and so on. As a fourth grade teacher, we sometimes will sing around the December holidays, on birthdays, or patriotic songs for Flag Day. However, since day one I have played music my classroom. I first started listening to classical music when I was in college. It was just what I needed to calm me and enhance my concentration. Therefore, it seemed like a good fit for the classroom. Often these instrumental selections are by pianist, George Winston, one of my favorites. I also have a few instrumental Pandora channels. Students respond to the soothing quality and many times someone will remind me if I happen to forget to put it on during reading and writing workshop. Last Friday, I lightened it up a tad and chose something with vocals. A wonderful calm settled in the classroom. When I asked students at the end of writing workshop for some feedback, they loved the change and assured me it was not distracting. Who doesn’t love Jason Mraz or a little James Taylor?
Music has also made its mark during a classroom routine called “Brain Gym”. The fabulous occupational and physical therapists in our building have developed videos that incorporate short bursts of movement to music. Each routine begins and ends with yoga-like exercises with higher intensity sandwiched in between. The research based programs feature different cross lateral movements that stimulate the brain. Each one is between five and six minutes long. Children love “Brain Gym” and hustle through math clean-up with anticipation. About a week ago, we tried a new routine that featured “cool” “today” music. WOW, almost instantly twenty five voices joined together in song. There’s something about children singing that can bring me to tears in a heartbeat. These beautiful voices singing “Fireflies” by Owl City was just what I needed. I was mesmerized by this moment of unity. It also reminded me that they are nine and ten year old children. Moments like this come along at just the right time and whisper to my heart…slow down…celebrate… savor the small moments.
More to come about inferring with “Fireflies” in a future post that will feature on our thinking about the song… our “reading between the lines” to understand the lyrics of this beautiful song (poem.)
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