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Showing posts from February, 2018

Fergie vs "The Star Spangled Banner"

In case you haven't heard, the pop star, Fergie, sung the American national anthem at an NBA game recently. Her rendition was controversial. Some say it was downright bad. What do I think?

I think this is a good time to do a 2(or 3)lesson unit on patriotic songs for older students!
What better time to teach "The Star Spangled Banner" than when students are talking about it and interested in Fergie's interpretation? What better time to discuss artistic style then at a time like this?
I believe that this song, and the level of conversation needed to discuss the artistic merits of it, require a level of sophistication that students below grade 5 are not ready for. Since I teach younger students, I'm writing this for ya'll. Let me know how it goes.

Prep Essential Questions: What makes good music? What are the components of patriotic music? What makes good singing? How does music affect the audience? The singer?
Philosophical Questions Should every American school c…

Responsive Classroom: Modeling

What is Responsive Classroom?Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. --Responsive Classroom Website

Hundreds of districts have adopted this approach. It teaches skills, is positive rather than punitive, and builds community and a safe learning environment. I mentioned it in the Dialing it Back post and was first introduced to it when I worked in the Worcester Public Schools. The mindset of Responsive Classroom is completely compatible with Collaborative Problem Solving and the idea that: "Kids to well if they can."

Applying Responsive Classroom to Music The Book We Are UsingIn addition to full days before school begins and before major vacation breaks, our district has one half-day per month devoted to professional development (PD). Rather than have specialist teachers sit through literacy training or a new math competency training, my principal a…

B Conversations, dealing with the toughest kids

Teacher Mindset Have you ever said or thought these statements?
"This behavior is because they don't have a father." "Well, she does have ADHD. What do you expect?" "Well of course they can't concentrate, they're homeless." "The kid's got a psychiatric diagnosis. This behavior is never going to get better." "He just doesn't want to do it."
I have to confess, I've both said and thought these things. I'm working to get rid of this mindset. It's an unhelpful and cruel way to look at students. It's also morally wrong. These ideas are rooted in one notion, that some students are just not reachable and therefore not worth any effort. 
I am a person of faith who got there via a long and winding road. I believe that God led me to teaching to help me get over my shortcomings and get closer to him. In teaching, I am constantly confronted with my own shortcomings and faced with the choice to either change them…