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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 for a sing-along. (Parents will sing in English)
  • Upper Elementary will be having a performing arts block that is separate from their music classes every week. (Hurray)
Winter Concert
In my experience, I've found that simple is better and usually more impressive. I've designed a Winter Concert program that is simple, fun, and student-centered. Since I'm doing Silent Night, I'm making sure we have some good Hannukah, Chinese New Year, and Kwanza songs to balance that out. 

I LOVE Halloween and am psyched to be able to do spooky songs in abundance this year. I have to be careful not to go overboard. Only six weeks after the Halloween thing is our Winter Concert. I'm going to do "This is Halloween" with an easy piano reduction that I wrote and Orff instruments and sound effect parts designed by the kids. The lyrics are so awesome for this song that I'm going to begin the year emphasizing expressive singing with my older students, the students who will be heading-up the Halloween event.

UN Day
Every Montessori school celebrates UN Day (October 24), the day the United Nations was established. Maria Montessori was instrumental to the founding of this organization of peace, and every Montessori school dedicates itself to furthering her peacemaking efforts. We sing around the flagpole.

In January the art teacher is going to begin formulating what will be the art show in the spring. I will begin working on that year's informances. Last year I made my fifth attempt to have them and it finally worked! Now I can trust my administrator to support the informances, so I'm doing them. Hurray!


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