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Showing posts from August, 2014

Middle School first lesson of the year

Stuff I need to cover:

how to put away instruments and clean up after classwhat to do when you first come in the room (desk work)Amani Utupe introduceThis is Halloween introduceour school song, go over and review (brainstorm how to make their verse rock with only seven kids)Peace Peace (partner song for Silent Night) introducequestionnaire for the beginning of school  How to begin?
I think the kids need to start with an activity that is going to scare the hell out of them but leave them with a sense of accomplishment. I also think fun should be involved. Hmm. What to do? 
(5 minutes) I'm going with Amani Utupe. I don't have boomwhackers, but clapping and doing call and response to get pronunciation and mood is all I need at first. 



I'll hit the ground running. Sing. NO introductions, welcomes or anything else. Let's have some mystery here. That and I've known these kids since Kindergarten. Let's shut up and have a little body percussion call and response!

It ne…

Beginning of the Year Gameplan

Okay, we just had our Integrated Arts/Administration meeting to begin the year, and many changes are afoot. Last year we got a new headmistress. Since my tenure, our school has had a variety of policies regarding religious songs, Halloween, soloists, popular music, and class size. It's enough to make the days before school fraught with sleepless nights and bound up bowels!

Now, finally, I have some concrete information to move forward into 2014-2015 school year. Here's what's new.


We're having a Halloween festival the day after UN Day (my first major performance of the year) on October 24. Middle Schoolers are expected to have a more rigorous academic program. If you are going to be assigning homework however, you need to set that expectation AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR so that parents can be ready for it. Decide now!We have a new pre-school classroom. It's okay for me to commemorate the 1914 Christmas Truce by teaching children "Silent Night" in German …

Crisis of Children Crossing US Borders

A letter to the editor of the Conservative paper, The Weekly Standard. 

Dear Mr. Kristol,

Not so long ago, a country in the Americas made its people suffer conditions so dreadful, thousands fled north. Most to successfully cross the border were under the age of 25. (I've read hundreds of fugitive slave ads. I know.) What were American slaves escaping? Were they enticed to emigrate by the thought of superior Canadian politeness, unlimited maple syrup and all those free meals on the Underground Railroad?
NO!
I really don't think the problem was that our slaves were flooding Canada. I think the problem was that they were slaves.
Now, in 2014, conditions in Central America are so desperate, that parents are parting with their children. Somehow, sending their kids off with human traffickers is preferable to the conditions of home. (And please don't tell me that it's a mass misinformation campaign. Perhaps some people are conned, but certainly not all. We cannot deny there is …