Conversations

New Year Challenge: Sound Illustration

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Happy 2014!

I hope your new year is off to a fabulous start!

I enjoyed a much needed break. During the two-week break, I came across a cool photo journal app, that got me to start a new daily photo journal. I’m enjoying seeing daily pics and enjoying the stories that accompany the images. I’m glad to take part in Blipfoto community!

This morning, I came across an interesting challenge by Cathaber who invited her readers to post their daily pictures with an appropriate soundtrack. For me, image + story + soundtrack = perfect!

Today’s blip is about cold, cold winter. It snowed about 7-8 inches overnight. This would not be that big a deal except that the local newscasters announced that our area is colder than Alaska right now!

So I got to think about what soundtrack I’d accompany my blip today. As I do for many of my classes, I just started listening to music and started making a “Winter” playlist….so here is the selection I made for many new winter songs I came across.

I’m tagging some people who are always listening to music and thinking about teaching connections:

@stepanpruch

@nobleknits2

@royanlee

@malynmawby

@reed_man

@TriToneJones

@scott_watson

For the friends I mentioned (or other readers): I invite you to start a daily picture-a-day (365 project) so that we can do it together. If this is too much ;-) I invite you to tweet or let me know if you write a post with a soundtrack that describes your day. I wonder how many soundtracks and songs we can track throughout the year. Life seen through music, doesn’t it sound just beautiful?

My blip post is here with my playlist!

Here’s to a great year full of music!

~Doremigirl

Why edcamp?

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edcamphill.com

It’s 7:08 PM and I am super energized!

Today was edcampHill, the first edcamp hosted by a boarding school. The Hill School (Zach Lehman, Headmaster) graciously opened up its campus for the afternoon to a group of teachers who traveled from far and near to spend a few hours of learning. I was happy to assist Kim (@ksivick) and take part in the organizing team.

As soon as edcampHill began around noon, teachers’ enthusiasm enlivened the room. The session board filled up just as quickly the meeting room was being filled up by the attendees. After checking in and getting their name tags, teachers enjoyed a big bagged lunch provided by the Hill School. Teachers enjoyed talking over lunch and got ready to begin their learning.

I want to point out 3 noticeable differences of this edcamp over other ones from the past:

  1. Later start time. Starting at noon was a practical decision made by the Hill School as it holds classes on Saturday mornings. A later start to edcamp gave travelers time to travel to edcamp location unhurriedly. I know I felt good coming in later in the morning.
  2. Free, delicious lunch. It was so great that we started the learning day with a delicious lunch. Not worrying about where to find places to eat (and for organizers, not having to point attendees to local eateries) was a huge plus!
  3. A personal touch. Nothing beats face-to-face meetings. It was great for Zach Lehman, the headmaster, to greet many attendees as they walked in. His personal welcome set a positive tone to start our learning.

Sessions – Conversations

As I mentioned earlier, teachers wasted no time posting sessions. The sessions were:

  • ArtStor: Using High Quality art from museums
  • Using Primary Sources for Student Engagement
  • Play = Creativity: 21st Century Children – Are they missing this?
  • RTII: Response to Instruction and Intervention. Data, Exceptions and Technology Integration
  • “Digital Writing” in various disciplines
  • Technology and Real World Learning in Foreign Languages
  • The Connected Educator: Learn to Build a Personal Learning Network
  • Flipping Instruction
  • Blogging in the Elementary Classroom
  • Inquiry-Based AP Labs
  • iPad Apps
  • Can Entrepreneurship be taught?
  • Connecting Classrooms to Open Data for real world learning
  • Educational Leadership: Drivers of Systems relating to people
  • Homework – No; Studying – Yes! (achieving mastery)

Three 45-minute sessions passed by quickly as teachers engaged in meaning conversations, sharing experiences and resources. What I love is the conversations and sharing that takes place at edcamps. Personally, I attended the sessions underlined. It was fun co-leading discussion with Kim on being a connected educator. Every session was meaningful.

So why do I get involved in edcamps?

I believe that it’s the best learning format for teachers to learn and share. Coincidentally, this morning’s #satchat topic was on faculty meetings. Edcamp model for Professional Development was mentioned numerous times by yours truly and other educators. What is there not to like? Nothing can beat free registration, teachers teaching teachers, casual and fun learning environment.

If you took part in today’s edcampHill, thank you! I learned much and my colleagues and I will take back what we learned to our school community. You have made me a better educator and colleague.

Thank you Hill School! Many teachers left energized and happy! Thank you for being a gracious host.

Let’s do it again real soon! *High* Five*

@Doremigirl

Smolder in Tenderness

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I listened to Beethoven Clarinet Trio, Op. 11 for the first time earlier this week. It was my first hearing the work; I was struck by magical textures of clarinet, cello, and piano. Listen to the second movement, Adagio, if you please:

If you don’t use Spotify, listen to it via YouTube (audio quality isn’t great, but this is one of the best examples I can find):

Graceful.

Tender.

The movement is just beautiful. 

This is how I will describe my experience in Washington DC since Tuesday. I’m fortunate enough to be included in this year’s cohort of NAIS Teachers of the Future (ToF) program. 19 of 25 ToFs made it to DC to advocate our loves: students, passion, teaching, and learning. This particular group of educators were not only talented, they were personable and engaged. Our discussions continued over meals beyond session times. For most of us, this summit was the first time we interacted with the National Assocation of Independent Schools, its President, and staff. From large group sessions to small group breakouts (unconference model), we shared, discussed, and brainstormed ways we can better serve our students, schools, and the educational community. NAIS, thank you for making this possible!

The movement is just beautiful

Each teacher’s passion and purposeful initiatives sparked interest and excitement during this vital, two-day retreat.  It’s my hope that this movement of the independent school teachers will be more than a single spark. ToFs, let’s keep the fire going. Just like Beethoven’s tender music, let’s keep the fire smoldering in tenderness…for our students and for the independent school community. Our work is just beginning…let’s make it count!

You can follow our discussions and posts on NAIS Connect site. Look for posts from Teachers of the Future discussion group.

Learn. Create. Talk. #etmooc post #2

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Create.

So I’m being pushed.

I’ve been MIA on Twitter and G+ last year and a half due to many reasons. I don’t need to go into what those are, but I had made my decision after much thought. As I mentioned in my #etmooc intro video, my daily learning life changed since I started joining Twitter and building my PLN. This network included a wide range of educators, administrators, education groups, edu product builders (and some edu product promotors) etc. I started gathering resources and links. In secret, I became a ninja curator on Diigo and Delicious. Here was a music teacher, wanting to save a lot of things for other teachers to share and build relationships.

Connecting with people takes a lot of time. Reading & commenting blogs, tweeting, retweeting, cross-posting on G+, Pinterest, Learni.st or Facebook take some time (to set up, especially if you are anal about intricate ways to connect all your devices to services). Face-face meetings are the best in cool conferences, but they come with an expensive price and need a lot of planning to do all cool things. After a full-blown, all-power-to-me kind of start to social media learning plunge, I had to take a step back. I took a long break….ok, I wasn’t totally disconnected. I just wasn’t actively tweeting ;-).

After all, I had changed because of online learning. I connected with the world and gained real, precious friends. Through many kinds of learning and connections, I’ve had the time to think/imagine/assess/dream about who I am as a learner and teacher. It was mostly good stuff. I just needed time to repurpose and reflect.

In the last two months, though, I’ve been imagining/dreaming again about connecting and learning. This time, not about curating (how to get stuff), but about creating. How am I enabling my students to create music? What essential skills am I teaching them so that they feel secure to wander and make their musical journey? What relationships am I building with them?

While I’m contemplating these things in between teaching, driving, being a mom & wife, I was trying to get to #etmooc archives (I signed on very late!) and had some Java upgrade problems. I tweeted and this is what I got:

In the previous tweet, I told Ben I liked his video on #etmooc homepage “#ETMOOC Is Overwhelming. So, Let’s Make Some Meaning.” Instead of just saying, “Thanks,” he casually invited me to join the conversation – #ILikeConversation. I was nudged to respond, but it was late so I went to bed instead. Next morning, I find a G+ invite from Ben to join Reflective Practice Vlogging community. Naturally intrigued, I accepted the invite and started learning. Surprisingly there were only 40 people in this community. Lurking as the 41st member, I read some convo threads and started watching some vlogs. It was very cool that Ben et al made videos to think together with others. It’s like being f2f, but you’re not. The cool part is that you can respond to someone’s question/idea via vlog. I haven’t had the time to think about making a vlog and it might take me a while, Ben. The concept is brilliant and scary for me. Conversations need to be real and natural, just like how we talked at Educon two years ago, Ben. Just maybe this is what open online community needs!

Another push comes from a book I’m reading by Scott Watson, a music teacher who wrote Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity. I’ve known Scott to be a great role model as a teacher who enables his students to create music and share with their community. His book reflects his gentle spirit which guides teachers to “allow students to share themselves” (p.6). Thank you, Scott! Can’t wait to read more!

The last push comes from my students. I’ve shared with my middle school students how I’ve started photo-a-day challenge three years ago. I asked them a simple question this January to join me in seeing the good stuff and capturing it as a picture format. A handful of students got excited and started posting their pictures with descriptions on GDoc. So to be a hip teacher, I opened a Tumblr account and started posting pictures. I had no idea what pain it is to customize codes on it! I’m learning codes left and right, learning to add Disqus codes and all. Yesterday, I shared a post with my students giving them photo tips and ended the post with encouraging them to comment on each other’s pictures and having a dialog. Funny, reflecting and conversation found their way here, too!

So after 4 Java updates, I’m finally onto opening some #etmooc archives. I’ll be doing what I can and reflect. Thanks for the poke, push, encouragement, learning!

~Yoon

PS: Submitted my lipdub vid. Did you?

@EdcampIS ’13 in Philly!

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edcampIS13

Saturday, March 2, 2013 | 8:30am – 3pm

JON M. HUNTSMAN HALL | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA | 3730 WALNUT ST, PHILADELPHIA, 19104

I’m excited to be on the organizing team for EdcampIS 2013! If you are a teacher/admin from an independent school attending NAIS conference, or live near Philadelphia, I hope you will consider coming to a great day of conversation and learning. You don’t teach at an independent school? No problem! You’re invited, too!

It was my privilege to attend Edcamp Philly in 2010 (I think this was the very first of all edcamps!). It was an amazing day learning from other teachers and sharing what works in our classroom. @birv2 titled his recent blog post perfectly: “EdcampIS – learn from the real experts“. See, every edcamp session is facilitated by teachers like you and me who teach every day. You design ways to introduce concepts and skills. You discover ways to ignite learning-passion in your students. You work through challenges and know what apps/tools worked for you. Like Bob said, you are an expert!

Share your ideas and discoveries at EdcampIS! I’m hoping that all of #isedchat or #nais teachers will come and encourage their art/music teachers come. As a music teacher, I’m always looking for ways to connect with arts teachers :-). Did I mention that #edcampIS is absolutely free? Find out more info or register here!

Our #eduAwesome friends from California made this great video about Edcamp. I invite you to watch and even share it with your colleagues if they do not know what unconferences are.

Great job, @billselak  + team for making this great vid! See you all on 3/2!

~ Yoon

Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the Ensemble

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I can’t get this TEDTalk by Charles Hazlewood out of my head. It’s been months since @shaugland shared this link on Twitter.  Even if you are not a conductor, you should watch this. If you are a parent, a teacher, or a musician, you need to watch this and get into the conversation:

This brilliant presentation contains much food for thought.

TRUST is an important word. I would guess that many of us like being on the receiving end (ie. people trusting us). Boy, isn’t it hard to trust others? :-)

This quote by an unknown author deeply resonates with Maestro Hazlewood:

Trust is the best medium for success. It creates an environment in which people feel free to be authentic, passionate, committed, and willing to share all they have to offer. ~author unknown

 

I reflected a lot, thinking about the simile (conducting is like a small bird in your hand) and the lessons learned through the South African Music project, the singing demonstration by the TED Choir (the F-E-D motive), the extraordinary story behind the Paraorchestra, and of Haydn‘s wordless, but apparent revolt in Farewell Symphony finale. The Maestro challenged me as a musician and teacher to assess myself as an artistic leader.

What am I doing to create a safe and passionate space for my students? What needs to change?

Musicians and music teachers, think of your ensembles. What is your story? What is your experience building trust with your group? How do you inspire the young musicians to feel free to be themselves, but give all to their ensemble?

And do you agree with this statement?

Where there is trust, there is music, and by extension, life. Where there is no trust, music simply withers away….

 

Why or why not?

~ Yoon (will post a post regarding my experience with my choirs)

Opening Ceremony Music at the 2012 London Olympics

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Andrew Maunders designed this alternative Olympic poster

It was an amazing night of celebration in London last night. The opening ceremony, under the direction of Danny Boyle, was full of spectacular visuals, integrated social media, tech, doused with delightful surprises and humor.

And of course, MUSIC.

It was a great mix of pop and classical music. I loved hearing two children’s choirs (were there more?) and the London Philharmonic under the direction of Simon Rattle. It was wonderful to see conductor and musician extraordinaire, Daniel Barenboim, carrying the Olympic flag with seven others.

I also loved that happy, energetic drummers stood on the sidelines as the athletes marched in. The drummers kept the atmosphere upbeat and moved the marchers at a fast pace.

Music, once again, played a vital role in the opening ceremonies. Congrats to Danny Boyle and the people of the UK. You have a great wealth of creativity. Thank you for sharing with the world.

So if you were looking for a list of music heard during the entire ceremony, here it is (thank you, Spotify)! My absolute favorite is Elgar’s Nimrod. What’s yours?

(N.B. I started watching the ceremony a bit late so if I missed something, let me know. I know there were some things I missed due to commercial breaks, too. Leave me a comment below!)

~ Yoon (PS. I absolutely love sharing world events with friends from all over the world. Tweeting during the ceremony was memorable!)

Previous Post

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@Doremigirl:

Instant Isaac of J2LComics gets a review from @dougpete!

What an honor!

Originally posted on doug --- off the record:

I really like it when an idea takes off.  I also like it when students find a way to showcase their talents and abilities.  There was a convergence of these recently.

Without a doubt, the best takeaway for me from the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia was a chance to meet Yoon Soo Lim (@doremigirl) in person.  It’s one thing to have a friendship courtesy of social media but being able to meet that person face to face certainly puts it over the top.  Since our original meeting there, we have managed to stay in touch.

Recently, we were chatting about our kids and one of the things that came across was the love for creating comics that her son had developed.  It was more than just the type of comic that we see created via electronic media; he drew them by hand.  That makes it extra special.  In…

View original 346 more words

Questions, Conversations, and the Rachmaninoff’s 2nd

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21/366/2012 Snow Day

Happy 2012! I have been away from blogging since September. I’m finding a moment on this snowy morning to reflect (and remember how to use WP interface!). The past four months have been packed with performances, student projects, stories, challenges, and relationship-building conversations. Today’s post will focus on the conversations I have been having with my students. And for the record: it’s good to be back!

ONE of the best part of being a music teacher at a small private school is that I get to teach many grade levels. In the past, it got really crazy when I had two classes back to back – one being the oldest and the other, the youngest group of students. Thanks to the thoughtful schedulers, however, I have a schedule that works out beautifully this year. I also get to head a lunch table 3 times a cycle with the K-2 students (yes, we eat sit-down, hot lunches with the students!) and go out to 2 recesses after lunch.

There’s a group of Kindergarten students I want to share about. Whenever they see me,  they run to me with open arms and look up with the brightest eyes and smiles to ask me, “Mrs. Lim, are you on recess duty?” For some reason, they let me in since the beginning of the school year: they let me play a role in their daily recess make-believe stories. Their excitement,  their voices, their curiosity, their unfiltered thought process, and their love inspire me to live each day with a passion to discover and learn. They also remind me what important role I have as a teacher to all my students…

Interestingly, the following TWO conversations with my middle school students this week reiterated my last point.

Conversation 1: My students have been creating music on GarageBand for a project so during an afternoon study hall, a group of students came to work on their projects. One particular student had been working on his project pretty extensively so I told him I would love to listen to his music when he’s ready to share it for a feedback. I sat in the empty seat and wanted him him to finish editing; he started asking questions about editing music. Our conversation started as a Q and A for GarageBand, but ended up talking about his passion for music. After he told me he would like to do something in music, I was frank with my 13-year-old student (he has an amazing listening skills and can play just about any instrument). I told him I can see him creating, mixing, editing music in the future.

Then there was a short, but awkward silence. His widened eyes stared at me with a disbelief. He asked me, “Do you really think  I can…?” My answer: “Yes – I believe it!”

What I realized: my believing-in-what-my-student-can-become is just as important as what I’m teaching him now. We will definitely have more conversations, but for now, I’m going to think of ways I can support and get my students like him to think of possibilities.

Conversation 2: I was starting a class and while surveying the room while making my announcements, I noticed that one of my students was missing. A friend of the student quickly remembered that he was in a meeting and wanted me to know that he might be late. So we started the class. When students dispersed to worked on their projects, that student came to talk to me. He apologized for being late and wanted to run an idea by me. I was curious so I listened carefully.

Essentially, he pitched an idea to the student government to change a school dance into a night of student-run concert night. Tickets will be sold like a a real concert and the student line-up have to be really good. But there was more. The concert would be a benefit concert – it is to raise money for the music department so that we can have more instruments/equipment.

He asked, “What do you think? Do you think it’d be helpful? Would you approve this idea?”

:-) I had not seen this coming. Here was a student who was thinking about how to help me and my colleagues to create music better with our students. I was thinking, Whoa, what kind of kid is this? Did we make an impact on his music learning so much that he wants to give back? I am totally humbled and excited: we have future music education supporters!

There are THREE ways I can summarize what I’ve been learning:

  • Students matter more. Building strong relationships in and out of classrooms helps me to understand students better and will make me a better music teacher.
  • {For any teacher or parent} what we do everyday for the student (children) and for our profession (family), make an impact in our schools and communities (relationship). Be strong & be excellent!
  • The past 4 months (the active learning and reflecting months) have been like Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony (third movement). The ebb and flow of life bring us sweet, harrowing, and unforgettable melodies like this one. So here’s my life in music. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do, especially at 3:54.  ~ Yoon

(Hear the entire third movement! Here’s the part 1 to the excerpt you just heard

http://youtu.be/v60qgwtOQCI)

Talk it Up!

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And Design a Deeper Learning Environment

The following post has been featured in the July edition of VIA, an ezine dedicated for arts integration. I’m honored to have been contacted by VIA’s editor, Susan Riley, who has asked me to write a post focusing on creativity and the arts technique for the classroom teachers. Check out her website which has wonderful arts-integrating resources! If you’re curious about this ezine, download and read the entire July edition for free here (VIA is normally distributed quarterly through subscription). As always, I would appreciate your feedback and conversation!  Happy July!   ~Yoon

While saying good-bye to a happy 5th grade music class, I engaged in a quick conversation with their teacher about what the kids have been learning in my class (song writing: verse, chorus, lyrics, melody, and accompaniment).

And then I asked her, “So what are they learning with you?”
That one question led both of us make time to connect again in the teacher’s lounge and talk about what the students are learning in the classroom. Through one conversation, we discovered how we can connect and build on our students’ learning together. By asking each other questions, we got each other to think about students’ learning at a more in-depth level. The question I had to answer was, “Is there anything I can do to strengthen their learning?”
photo by Kim Davies, Flickr CC
Here is a project that resulted out of that conversation: The Preamble Project (click on the link to listen). The students were learning the Preamble and the US Constitution in social studies. After talking to the teacher, I had to answer the following questions:
  • What would be the best way for the students learn and memorize the words to the Preamble?
  • Would watching a segment in School House Rock be helpful?
  • What musical and thinking skills will the students demonstrate?

I concluded that helping the students write their own original Preamble song was the answer. Rather than just memorizing the words to the Preamble, my students sang the words to a tune they composed. Will they remember the words that precedes the US Constitution? Of course. Were they engaged in their learning? Absolutely!

If you are looking for ways to incorporate music into your lessons, here are some ways you can try:

Don’t be Afraid.
Being fearful snuffs out learning opportunities for you and your students.
As you prepare your lessons, think of a couple ways you can think artistically.
Remember that we are in the classroom to guide the young people in good learning. This means you do not have be the performer. Just create the creative spaces for them.
Start brainstorming arts-infused projects and make lists of possibilities.

Start a Conversation.
Collaborate with an arts teacher at your school. Share what you are currently teaching and ask simple questions to see if there are possibilities to collaborate on a particular unit.

  • Keep communications clear (time lines and goals) and start with simple ideas.
  • Keep a photo/video journal of the project.
  • Remember 2 Things: 1) not all of your conversations will end up as a project and 2) understand that  through the conversations your preconceived  ideas may change.  Keep an open mind!

Look & Listen for Inspiration.
Many teachers in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) share a great wealth of resources and lesson ideas. I read blogs posted by these teachers and see how I can apply their project ideas into my classes. You can do this, too. Look for inspiration in other creative teachers. Also look for inspiration in your students. Many young students are tech saavy and know really good sites for music. Ask them to share their good finds with you. They will be happy to share when they know you are opened to be taught by them. Here is an example of how I listened to my students.

Try.
Did you ever try using applications like GarageBand or Audacity to create your own remixes or mashups? Or have you ever tried playing music related games like Tap Tap? What is keeping you from learning? What would you like to try first?

~ Making an iTunes playlist titled, __________ (fill in the blank, i.e. quiet work time). What music would you include and why?

~ How about a podcast featuring a student and using music in the background?

Whatever the project, give yourself some time to use a specific tool and get comfortable.
Here are some links you can start exploring.

Have Fun :^)
Relax. Take one step at a time and enjoy the process. Your joy of learning will be infectious– even when things just don’t work out. Remember I asked you to journal about your learning process? Now share your journey with other teachers!