My PreK students came to class this morning; yesterday was their PreK Holiday Sing! Program.
17 adorable, cherubs sang their hearts out yesterday, melting all the hearts of the audience members. Grandparents and parents made up most of the audience ;-), but the PreK’s buddies (the Fourth Grade class), the Eighth Grade class, and other teachers came to show their love also.
So when the PreK students walked into class today, I greeted them and because I’m a curious cat, I told them when I sing each student by name, they should sing back, “Yes, Mrs. Lim” and say what their favorite part was from the program. (I was expecting things like seeing their parents, siblings or buddies).
So I sang, “Hello, G________, ” and the student sang back (with the cutest and beautiful voice), “Yes, Mrs. Lim.”
“My favorite part from yesterday was that you were there.”
Sweetness! There is nothing better than this kind of love I receive from my youngest students.
We all hugged. And I told them they were my favorite part of yesterday.
Kindness and mindfulness. I learn a lot from my students!
Happy 12th day of December!
So I sing on!
I have to trek back.
2013 Thanksgiving + Hanukkah = Thanksgivukkah happened simultaneously.
Hanukkah ended in the evening of December 5th, 2013.
So here are my favorite new Hanukkah songs I found on Spotify. I used most of these with my students (to perform or to listen to).
For non-Spotify users – here is the list to Google for your pleasure.
- Swingin’ Dreidel – Kenny Ellis
- Rock of Ages (Maoz Tzur) - Artaria String Quartet
- Hayom Chanukah – Shira Kline
- Hanukkah is Here – Joe Nelson
- Happy Hanukkah – Matisyahu*
*Artist Hilli Kushnir created a beautifully illustrated storybook of Matisyahu’s “Happy Hanukkah”. Check it out. It’s great for teaching the song to students.
Rest in peace, Mr. Mandela. You let your light shine through the darkest times.
Happy fourth day of December
I still have an hour and a half to wish you this
So what music have you been listening to? Since my last post, I’ve been rehearsing with my students for many performances that will take place in the next two and a half weeks. I’m trying hard to enjoy each day – the challenges and the joys that come with teaching.
I’m posting two versions of Angels We Have Heard on High. One song, two different styles and pacing. I love both renditions by these great musicians.
Music teachers, this type of music making would be fun to do with students – play a song taking turns at the piano! Would we dare to open our grand piano at school to experiment using the strings and the soundboard so that just one piano will be “the” band? Yes!
This is an unlikely duet (two guys!), but the color of the their combined voices is like butter. Who would have thought Brian McKnight and Josh Groban? Awesome. I like that these singers reached the song’s climax without compromising the feel of the song. But then again, we are talking about Brian McKnight and Josh Groban!
Did you like either of these renditions?
I will post more music recommendations for Christmas,
(Now I say, “Happy fifth day of December!”)
Happy First of December!
If you’re like me, you’re wondering how 2013 has gone by so fast. And if you’re a teacher like me, chances are you will be busy during the 20 some days in school and not really enjoying the holiday season. Music teachers, you know what I’m talking about :-).
I’m making an effort this year to ready myself for a month-long celebration. I want to be awake and be present hearing the sounds and laughters from the children around me (especially my own), cry with those who are suffering, and living the moments with friends new and old during this month.
I have much to be thankful for!
Here are 3 ways that will help me to celebrate during December:
1. iTunes Radio – let it work for you.
If iTunes Radio is new to you, you should try it. Although I’m a Spotify user, I use the iTunes Radio in the car because Spotify radio is only for paid users (read about it here). I love the iTunes Radio because
- It’s free streaming music
- It plays very few commercials (and most of the commercials are music/music concert related)
- I can use it in the car
- And I can look at the history of what I listened to and find new favorites
You can start by listening to featured stations like Guest DJ – Kelly Clarkson who picked her Christmas favorites. It’s fun listening to celebrities’ playlists and commentaries. You can also start a station by clicking on the + sign (see image below). I’ve loved using the iTunes Radio since October (iOS 7 update) and found many stations that helped me to find new Holiday favorites. Can you tell how I’ve been looking for special holiday songs by looking at my stations? LOL!
The Radio also works like Pandora when you star a song you like – the station will play more songs like the one you starred. Enjoy the season with music!
2. I read an interesting blog post titled “Kindness Elves: An Alternative to Elf on the Shelf Tradition” this morning. I love this post because the blogger shares her pursuit of kindness and character-building activities to kids during the Christmas season. I share her sentiments about Elf on the Shelf being a bit creepy and about the whole behavior modification (or manipulation) through using Santa or Elf-watching. I’m all for wonderment and making magical moments for children. What I don’t like is that many things we do in our culture enable the children to play the entitlement games. So what struck a chord with me is that her variation on the Elf on the Shelf is about Kindness Elves “who love to help and notice kindness in others”. I emailed the post link to my colleagues at my school already and want to see the kindness in my students each day. So here we go! Let’s look for kindness and give help to those who need it!
3. Give a thought to giving. Anna, the Kindness Elves blogger, said that we give presents because we love those people not because they deserve to get them. I agree. Instead of buying random gift cards, wouldn’t it be great to find a meaningful gift? I know how hard it is to find a great gift, but I found one today. So here I want to share it!
I sure didn’t have to take 5 to fall in love with this amazing product ;-). I learned about Koostik from Kelly Tenkely (@ktenkely) who wrote a post about her dad’s craftsmanship here. I love that Koostik products are handcrafted in America with natural resources, aesthetically uber cool, and are highly functional. I think smaller models will be good for cars without Blue Tooth. I’m hoping to order one in the next day or two for my husband. I just have to make a decision for which device…(I hope he doesn’t read this post).
December 2nd update
The good folks at Koostik and I’ve been tweeting back and forth about some specs so here they are:
The Original is 8.5″ x 3.5″ x 2″ and is approx. 1 pound.
The Pivot is 7.25″ x 3.25″ x 2″ and is less than one pound.
They are super friendly and great with questions and follow-ups. Shhhhh - I ordered mine – you should, too!
So how will you spend your December? If you find meaningful gifts (the ones you make or find), please share them with me in the comments. Also share some good music you may find on the iTunes Radio. And please join me in celebrating the goodness of life with children.
May your December heart be filled with goodness, kindness, and music!
Thanksgiving By Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
My heart is full.
During the app share session at edcampHill, I shared MentorMob.
- All YouTube or Vimeo videos I selected for my students are in one place without the clutter of suggested videos or comments.
- Documents or slides for learning can be directly added to the playlist so that teaching and learning time is not wasted.
- Easy to view the entire playlist collection on the sidebar.
- Sharing the playlist with students and parents is easy.
Here is an image of my playlist. Uploaded Doc that will be followed by a video of the music the students will listen to. There is a list of videos and docs on the left side. The circled tools are for editing, sharing and more (copy, delete, or change privacy).
- Go to mentormob.com and click on the EDU site (left bottom).
- Sign up using your email, Google, Facebook, or Persona accounts.
- Click on the “Create” button on the top menu.
- Fill in the title, description, type, category, & tags.
- Decide whether your playlist will be public (can be viewed by all) or unlisted (only people you share the link will be able to view it). I like to share with teachers so I leave mine in public.
- Hit the “Save and add content” bar.
- Click on the + sign to add links, documents, or articles.
- Add step info/ challenge questions.
- You can click on the pencil to edit any step on the playlist and modify any way you want it.
- You can embed your playlist on your blog/class website and have centers-like activities set in your classroom
If your class blog is a WordPress.com like my blog, you will not be able to use its iframe code to embed the playlist. Fortunately, I use Edublogs and Google Sites so it’s not a problem when using MentorMob for school. The embedded playlist would look like this:
So for my music classes, I no longer use the YouTube playlist I created for my students. MentorMob is great with customer service on Twitter (@MentorMobEdu). I like browsing through playlists created by other teachers in other subjects, too.
Check it out! You’ll be glad you did!