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Showing posts from June, 2012

Rock Band!

I stepped WAY  out of my comfort zone this semester and instituted a Middle School Rock Band at our school.  The whole thing was inspired by a visit to The Feyerweather School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There you will find students doing Rock Band for their music class in grades 6, 7, and 8.  I don't have permission to post video of our band, but here is a Middle School band I found on youtube.  They are excellent!

There are six guys in this band and we did it with the entire 14 kids in our graduating Middle School band.  Here is how the instruments broke down in our class.

3 singers, female, took turns singing solo with some tutti in the chorus sections
2 drummers, one with a kit, one with a conga and sticks
2 basses
4 guitars
3 keyboard players

Here is a group from The Feyerweather School singing "Forget You Cover."

Rock band inspires kids to study music as no other activity I've ever done.  Our students were forming garage bands, getting together after school …

Talking to your principal about difficult subjects

Money, illness, maternity leave and compensation, family crisis, discord with a colleague, a difficult parent situation, whatever the reason for meeting with your principal, unless it's a routine meeting, it's dealing with unpleasantness and both parties are concerned about conflict, power, and perception of others.  If you are in any job long enough, you will need to meet with your principal for an unpleasant reason.  Here are some tips for preparing for that meeting.


Tip #1:  See your principal as a human being
In many school cultures, administration and staff are pitted against one another and are in enemy-like relationship.  Like so many prejudices, this one is powerful and colors each party's perception of the other before the meeting.  There are a few things that you can do to avoid this pitfall.
1. When you begin your tenure at a school or get a new principal, get to know them.  Don't wait for something to go wrong.  Where do they live?  Do you have any common in…

Sandusky et al

As I write, the jury is deliberating dozens of counts of child rape and other sexual abuse against football coach, Jerry Sandusky.  I wrote extensively about sexual abuse in the article Sexual Abuse of Students.  In that article I put forth some ways to navigate the territory (gauntlet) of high-achieving musical training.

In the past days, however, I've come across some resources that I believe you will find helpful.
Let's irradicate this scourge together! Stop it now, is an organization dedicated to stopping child sexual abuse in our society.  They comment heavily on the Sandusky trial and give parents and other interested members of society, tools to help keep children safe.   Why not send yourself a reminder every other month with boomerang through gmail to check out this site and refresh your memory on mandatory reporting, signs of abuse, and how to speak up when you see something disturbing.  1in6 is an organization with information and help for boys and men who were molets…

Making a Podcast

I just finished the second of two prototypes of podcasts for our Montessori School.  The project grew from expressed needs of our faculty.  Here are some of them.
a lack of understanding of Montessori education among the general publica low-pressure way for prospective families to explore our school from the comfort of their homes or carsan inviting introduction to our schoolanother means of communicating with parentsa showcase for the students I talked with our head of admissions and asked her which characteristics of the school parents found most compelling in their decision to sign up for our school.  I decided to dedicate the first few podcasts to those subjects.  Here they are.
Students can progress at their own rate in all curriculum areas (Podcast 1, "Follow the Child")The moral, ethical, and spiritual lives of children are nurtured and encouraged (Podcast 2, "Peace Defined by Montessori)Students can have continuity through 8th grade and be part of a rich school …

The Lighter Side: For Greater Glory

Viva Christo Rei!  *****
God, I love this movie.  History: Americans have not been told that Communism, in the style of Soviet Russia, was raging in Mexico at the same time as the Soviet Union was born (1917-1929).  While The Soviet Union kept its power until almost 1990, Mexicans fought against their government and won.  They fought because part of Communism was the extermination of "the opiate of the masses," religion.  The religion of Mexico is and was, Catholicism.  Just as in Russia, priests were slaughtered and resistance was crushed.  But in Mexico the rebels organized and won their religious freedom in three bloody years.

Personal: If you've read my blog for any time you know that I am a person of faith and that my faith helps me to become a better teacher as well as better in my other roles in life.  I am unapologetic about this.  While this movie is overtly Catholic, it is fundamentally a human story that shows the power of love and courage against oppression.  C…