For the Love of Reading!

{I have been quite reticent lately due to my involvement with the middle school musical – which I will reflect later. I wanted to quickly write this post while it’s still  the Read Across America week!}

There’s been quite a celebration this week for

Reading!

Inspired by two second grade teachers, this reading project was born. They got many teachers to read a page of Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You! for the Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day, March 2, 2014). They efficiently uploaded mp4 files  and scanned PDFs into a shared GDoc folder; I took the recordings and PDF pages into Keynote and  iMovie. We introduced the video in the morning to our PreK-3 this morning and the response has been great! Guessing names of the teachers will not be that fun for people outside of our school, but the students and teachers had fun guessing who is reading.

The following are my take aways from this project:

  • The project was simple and manageable.
  • It’s fun when teachers collaborate. (Teachers want to make more of these books!)
  • It’s a great way for the students to see how teachers collaborate.
  • The project benefits everyone in the school community – the shared link may inspire families to read together or even older middle school students to make similar book projects for their younger buddies.
  • This video was designed such way that it can be used in multiple ways. It can serve as an audio book, as a reading book and for reading practice, and to inspire students/teachers to read and create digital storybooks.

There was another event that took place yesterday to celebrate literacy: Book Swap. K – 5th grade students brought books they already read and are willing to part with. The library was set up with tables with these books for classes to swap books. I thought it was a brilliant way to recycle and distribute books. I can see how the Book Swap can be an on-going literacy event.

Wait, there is more. All the remaining books have been donated to a local children’s library.

I’m thankful that I took a part in this win-win project! If you would like more details, or have better ways to create a project like this, please leave me a comment!

 
Here is the video:

PS: My music classes and I will see about adding music that will go with this video. I will follow up when this has been completed!

 

~@Doremigirl

Why edcamp?

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

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.

Reflections on #NAISAC13 & #edcampIS

NAISAC13 & edcampIS tags

think B I G.  think G R E A T.

My colleagues and I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the NAISAC13 conference on March 1st, thanks to the leadership of my school who funded our trip. It was a fantastic day to travel down town to Philly with the people I work so closely with. I was also very impressed that all of our admins and some of our board members came (some who are past and present parents). A day like this rarely happens, but it happened :-).

So lately, my trips to the Philadelphia Convention Center has been tied to conferences. Seeing massive crowds of educators and edu related people mean vis-a-vis meetings with teachers from my PLN or people whom I will connect with and learn from. But what was different about my experiences on March 1-2 was that these days were dedicated to independent schools and teachers.

It was my very first time attending the NAIS conference. I loved meeting teachers from independent schools around our country and having conversations about our classroom experiences. I attended sessions that pushed my thinking. I really enjoyed morning general session given by Dr. Tererai Trent, and the closing session by Dr. Cathy Davidson. Both women,  graceful and displaying strong leadership, guided us to “be the champion of quality education”  (Tererai) and to “move from critical thinking to creative contribution” (Davidson). I am inspired!

But something stuck out like a sore thumb to this music teacher.

Creativity and arts education are two important focus areas many independent schools are known for. If many (maybe all) independent schools are offering plethora of arts offerings to build a well-rounded student body, then why aren’t we seeing many arts related folks presenting and sharing their ideas?

Don’t misunderstand me. I really appreciated listening to students from Girard College and Baldwin School sing their hearts out before the morning and afternoon general sessions. The performances were inspirational and these moments remind us once more how music enriches our lives. And who can forget the graphic recordings by Five Elements? The recognition of the arts is not in question here, but rather, the presentation by the arts practioners is. What could be the reason for the big void? Lack of funding for IS (independent school) arts teachers to attend the NAIS conference? Not enough interest from the IS arts teachers for NAIS? Who can answer these questions?

I did, however, learned a great deal from a handful of sessions I attended in between the two general sessions I mentioned above. I listened to smart and inspiring IS teachers and thinkers who shared their practices. I want to think big now and hope to learn from many arts teachers when I attend future NAIS conferences. I wished that I had more time with people who came to NAIS! Luckily, the following day would be one of the most special learning day.

think  T O G E T H E R  at edcampIS: Saturday, 3/2.

edcampIS 13 Organizing Team
@birv2, @ksivick, @lizbdavis, @jill_lebiedzins, @hadleyjf, @montysays, @doremigirl,
@lee_bruner, @cmpayne87 & @mpowers3: edcampIS13 organizers. Photo from @ksivick

I was very fortunate to work with the people above to organize edcampIS for 3/2 (absentia Jac de Haan). All of the communication and planning happened online (Google hangout, Google Doc, and emails). A handful of us had met through edcampPhilly or Educon, but most of hadn’t met until the morning of. It was an amazing way to plan for such an exciting day. It was invigorating to be with people who were excited to work to make this day of learning the best day for those who were trekking from NAIS conference to John Huntsman Hall of Wharton School (University Pennsylvania). Over 150  independent school and public school teachers from nearby tri-state areas registered to join us.

Edcamp is the BEST f2f free professional development. People who want to sacrifice a Saturday to learn from other teachers register and show up. And those teachers who have attended edcamps before come thinking about a session they might want to moderate.

Highlights

  • 112 teachers and administrators were in attendance! Wow!
  • 21 posted sessions. Some of NAIS conference presenters also presented at edcampIS! I wished I had time to attend all of the sessions.
  • John M. Huntsman Hall of the Wharton School of Business is a beautiful building. We were very fortunate to use the rooms there and have tech support from U of Penn!
  • Arts colleagues, Dina and Evan, came and we shared our stories of collaboration and arts advocacy around our school community during the second session. I am so proud to work with them!
  • 12 amazing sponsors donated money for breakfast and gifted cool prizes, and swags. They are so generous!
  • Organizing team – did I mention they were great to work with? Everyone contributed to ensure the day ran smoothly.
  • Learners who came (attendees): Having conversations make us connect to inspiring teachers in a great learning community. There were many conversations and connections made. It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Exchanging ideas and learning from seasoned and new teachers is such a privilege. The edcamp was designed for this kind of exchange in a pretty relaxed and fun atmosphere.

If you attended edcampIS, thank you! You made it great!

If planning opportunity for an edcamp comes your way, take it! Recruit many teachers as possible to work with you. You won’t regret it!

Now, where can I find an edcampArts? 😉

~Yoon

Related articles

My first #etmooc!

I registered for #etmooc two days ago…

I’m not quite sure what I got myself into just yet 😉 All I know is that 1) I have learned a great deal through my Twitter PLN last three years, 2) I do a lot of daily online learning, and 3) today is a good day to begin my massive  open online course — with a huge class.

Here we go! Here’s my intro vid!

Happy  learning!

Up next: Massive lipdub!!

~Yoon

PS: made it in a hurry since I’m so late to the party. I used Animoto. If you’re an educator, get a free edu account here. Folks there are great for allowing teachers to use this cool app for teachers and students. I also used my pictures from Flickr and some slides from my Keynote. Song: “Closer to the Edge” 30 Seconds to Mars.

 

An Interview with the New York Times Learning Network

Christmas 2012

Happy December!

It has been way too long since my last post. I apologize for being MIA here. I have been mulling over ideas, but mostly very busy  learning and teaching. The 2012 – 2013 school year has been fabulously rolling along with lots of great progress from my students.

Around Thanksgiving, I was contacted by the New York Times Learning Network editor, @kschulten, for an interview. I am delighted and honored to have been featured in an article published on November 29, 2012 about a rap project I did with my students last year. If you’re so kind, go here and read it!  I was very happy that NYT Learning Network allowed two of my students’ work to be included! I am very proud to share their work there 🙂

I am very thankful for many ways I am learning and sharing what I learn with my students.

Here’s to a great holiday season!

~Yoon

Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the Ensemble

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)

Student Project: Year in Review

I have been wanting to write about this project for some time now. Now that I have the summer to reflect last year and plan for the fall, I wanted to share a fun project and highlight my students. 

One of the perks of being a “connected” teacher on Twitter is that I have an easy access to numerous resources. I connected with Katherine Schulten (@Kschulten), the editor of The New York Times Learning Network, on Twitter and had a chance to meet her in person at ISTE ’11. She is a former English teacher who is passionate about education. I enjoy learning from her and edu related people on Twitter. Some of these teachers have collaborated with me and others have been a source of learning inspiration (read about two examples from my previous posts: Connecting with students in Australia & Music in Me Project).

Right after the Winter break, I read a tweet from @Kschulten about a rap contest for students. The NYT Learning Network partnered with Flocabulary, an online learning site that teaches just about any subject through songs and raps. This project intrigued me because it combined music, tech and research. What important world events would my students remember and care enough to mention?

On the day I read through the contest rules, I realized that the contest closed the following day. I was disappointed that my students would not have an opportunity to submit their work. But I decided to go ahead and tailor the project for my students anyway 🙂

Project: Year in Review

  • PREP – The students and I watched Flocabulary’s The Year in Rap:  2010 and discussed its content and style. The students compared and contrasted the this rap to popular raps they listened to (Kayne West, b.o.b., Nikki Minaj etc.). Discussion topics  included through-composed vs. strophic forms, the rap length, accompaniment, solo vs. BGVs, and what role words and music have in a rap. I segued way into the project by asking, “What do you remember about 2011?”
  • PROJECT

Research: We went over this Google Doc which contains all of the information about the project. I let the kids know that they can decide to work in a group or individually. Most worked in a group, but a few chose to work alone. I worked on this doc with the frame work of NYT Learning Network contest rules, but adjusted to what I thought might work best to my students. I asked several Twitter social studies teachers on #sschat what sites are good for current events and listed a couple links they can go on. My reason: instead of citing just one source for all major news, I wanted to guide the students to seek out multiple primary sources. I allowed 4 class times (about 4 hours) for this project to be completed. Many of the students chose to come during study hall to get their work just right!

Music & Audio Recording: The NYT Learning Network contest provided music tracks from the fabulous folks at  Flocabulary, but since I teach music, I added this important music component to the project. My students have been using GarageBand (Apple app) for some time so I didn’t have to prepare them much for using loops. Unlike previous recording projects, I did not have the students use a separate recording mic. All audio recording and mixing were done from GarageBand.

So take a listen!

MY TAKE AWAY

  1.  FASCINATING TO SEE THE YEAR’S HISTORY THROUGH 12 AND 13-YEAR-OLDS. There were a wide range of topics and highlights. I loved that I discovered that my students are developing global citizens who, for the most part, care about world events. Class and 1:1 research conversations proved to be invaluable. Because students were documenting their work on Google Docs, I was able to follow their work and comment real-time.
  2. EXCITING TO SEE THE STUDENTS BEING EXCITED TO CREATE THEIR OWN MUSIC TRACKS. It was very interesting to watch students work. Partner groups needed to collaborate in class while listening to music (a headphone splitter is our friend). And because they had their Google Docs open, some chose to chat back and forth this way. Student group discussions on music style, lyrics, rhyming scheme, and instrumental choices were happening at a rapid pace. More than anything, they were listening. #win
  3. IMPORTANT STEP: SEEING THE STUDENTS IN HIS/HER LEARNING PROCESS. Some students were great researchers. Some were fabulous at writing the lyrics and some were just excellent at creating the music. The same students, while being so successful at these areas, struggled to use class time, or struggled with another part of learning. Partners were good  (since they chose their own) in this case. They motivated each other. It was important for me to recognize each student’s strengths and struggling areas and work through challenges. I have to say that guiding each group/student was a time consuming task, but to their credit, they worked hard! So…
  4. CELEBRATE & GIVE FEEDBACKS. It’s exhilarating when students call you like the world’s ending because they want you to listen to the short segment they have been working on (remember, I have {dramatic} Middle School students?). Run to them. Be excited for their successes, however short or minor. Also give them honest opinions and guide them to think about things they may have missed. The NYT Learning Network provided a rubric on their site, but I decided to give my own feedback as well as class feedbacks on each project. 

At the end of the school year, this project was mentioned many by my students as one of the memorable learning moments! If you decide to try, let me know how it went.

We live in a well-connected and resourceful time. Take some time to connect with teachers around the globe. You’ll be surprised how many generous teachers/organizations there are. Take time to learn and share! 

Last one…

This project has been shared via Skype with Samuel Wright (Wrightstufmusic) and for his Music Technology Presentation in March. He  is a music teacher and tech guru from Australia with whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Samuel recently blogged about his presentation and mentions my students here. W00t!

Happy Summer!

~Yoon

 

Challenging What We Take For Granted

I’m thankful for the summer to rest, to learn, and to get ready for my students. Just this morning, I came across this TED Talk given by Sir Ken Robinson (filmed February, 2010). I am challenged to think about my passion, about my role as a teacher,  about my students (how they learn and how I am guiding/not guiding them to spend time learning), and about my role as a parent and about what my kids need from their teachers and schools. I am inspired to rethink what I do daily in my classroom. Being a teacher is hard, but is also a great privilege.  I love sharing my passion with my students who are growing up fast in this world.  And I know that I will be a better teacher by changing how I think and do things.

What impact do you think your teaching or interactions will have on your students? 

~Yoon

September ’11 Music Education Blog Carnival

Happy New School Year! 

It is with great pleasure to {finally} publish the September edition of Music Education Blog Carnival here. I want to thank many teachers who submitted great posts. Their thoughts, recommendations, and philosophies, I believe, stretch our own thinking. For those of you who are  beginning a new school year, I want to bid you a great year of deep learning. May the learning in these months ahead transform us so that we can be better musicians and teachers. [Personally, I want to work on listening to my students with understanding and emphathy (Kosta and Kallick). I hope to blog about it some time this year…]

Enjoy reading this edition of Music Ed Blog Carnival! I encourage you to comment on the posts you read. And if you would like to host Music Ed Blog Carnival, contact Dr. Joe Pisano at @pisanojm or visit his site, http://mustech.net/.

{Forgive me if I made mistakes on your posts! There were just too many submissions!

Cheers! ~ ysl 😀

Music Education

Music Advocacy

Music Listening & Performance Review

Music Software/Hardware

Music Technology

Music Tips/ Learning Reflection