Memorial Day Remembered

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As a classroom teacher of 24 years, I know the importance of teaching the standards and the pressure of students performing well on test scores. Somehow, that all pales in importance when I think of my good high school friend, Larry Herrera, who lost his life at the age of 19 serving in the Vietnam War. He never had the chance to get married, have a job and family, or live a full life.

Years ago I wrote a poem about him which I read (with difficulty) every year to my students for Memorial Day. I always show them his picture and the rubbing I made of his name at the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall in Washington DC. Even in the already packed school day, I always feel it is of upmost importance to talk about him and other individuals who gave their lives so all of us could enjoy ours. Eventually, I created a melody for this poem and turned it into a song – “No Time” on my Learning About Patriotic Holidays and Symbols CD.

      No Time - Learning By Song/Barbara Speicher

Recently, one of Larry’s younger sisters, Stella, learned about the song, and through Songs for Teaching, was able to contact me. We had never met or talked with each other before. She thanked me for honoring Larry and all the other fallen soldiers through not only the song, but my teaching efforts over the years. We have formed a wonderful friendship via email, and have had a chance to share stories about Larry that have been very meaningful. We both say Larry is our hero, as are all the other individuals who gave their lives for our country and all of us.

In their honor this month of May, both of my CD’s, Learning About Patriotic Holidays and Symbols by Song and Learning American History by Song, will be available for the price of one. As responsible teachers and appreciative Americans, we owe it to these brave individuals who sacrificed so much to keep their memory alive.
Memorial Day Offer

 

This post submitted by Barbara Speicher
24-year veteran teacher, 3rd-6th
CD Company:   Learning by Song
Guest Speaker: Benefits of Curriculum-Based Songs in Teaching
Tutors children of homeless families

April is Autism Awareness Month

autismawarenessApril is Autism Awareness Month.  Tuned In To Learning offers excellent resources for parents, educators and therapists working with children who are on the Autism Spectrum. Below is an article from their website!

As defined by Autism Speaks, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

  1. instrumentsMusic therapy and autism research supports a link between musical processing strengths and autism and the use of music as a therapeutic intervention.
  2. Singing can be an in-road to promote early speech by helping children access new neurological pathways to compensate for communication deficits.
  3. Music is at its core a structured way to present information. Melodic and rhythmic patterns give students with autism a way to organize auditory information and help memorize scripts, task sequences, and academic facts.
  4. Music can help individuals with autism make social and family connections through a mutual shared interest.
  5. Music is a creative medium that can offer a motivating and safe way to explore more flexibility and spontaneity.

CLICK HERE to see Tuned In To Learning’s  excellent products on Songs for Teaching.

A special thank you to Michelle Lazar of Coast Music Therapy/Tuned In To Learning for allowing us to publish this information. 

For more resources, click the links below:

Special Education Songsautismsongs speachtherapyAction Songs

Why Shop At Songs for Teaching?

Reposting this article from last year as a friendly reminder.

We know you have many choices as a consumer, and we here at Songs for Teaching want to win your business. So here are our top 10 reasons to shop at www.SongsforTeaching.com for your children’s educational music.

Number 10. We’ve done the research! – We know that you want the best for your buck. We preview all the cds listed on our site for the following criteria:
a. The music must be of high quality.
b. The content must be educationally useful and appropriate.
c. The production value must be professional quality.

Number 9. We provide music in a variety of formats Hard Copy CDs, Mp3 downloads, Videos, Sheet Music, Lyrics etc. Many of our songs even have teaching materials as well.

Number 8. We are on the up and up with current trends in Children’s Music. As Corporate Sponsors of Children’s Music Network, a consortium of musicians, educators, producers, songwriters etc., we connect regularly with other like-minded folks who are committed to bringing quality music to children.

Number 7. Hard-to-Find Titles – We carry many items that never made it on to those “big dog” web sites. Some artists prefer to sell exclusively with Songs for Teaching! Looking for that folk song your grandmother used to sing? We probably have it!

Number 6. Lyrics, Lyrics, Lyrics – Nearly all of our products include lyrics. This is heaven for teachers who utilize lyrics as a teaching tool in the classroom. Lyrics matter and having a printable version saves teachers precious time and energy! Can’t get that from the big dogs!

Number 5. Recommendations – Not sure what to buy? Tired of searching among thousands of songs and cds on those “big dog” sites? We have recommendation pages for nearly every topic. Just click the next to the topic of your choice on our Home Page and it will list out song suggestions for that topic.

Number 4. I answer the phone! – Customer Service is my favorite part of the job. I enjoy talking to parents and educators helping them with their orders or offering personal recommendations. I like email too! If you leave me a voicemail or email, I try my hardest to get back to you as soon as I can. You aren’t getting the customer service department, you are getting me – an educator, a parent, a musician and the owner of Songs for Teaching.

Number 3. We take Purchase Orders. – Simply fax in your signed purchase order (866-769-8528) and I will take it from there! I am happy to jump through whatever hoops required to become a “Preferred Vendor” for your organization.

Number 2. Support Small Businesses – While “shop local” doesn’t quite describe us, the sentiment is similar. We feel like we have a little shingle hung on the Main Street of the World Wide Web. We know it might be the trend to shop at one of those “big dogs” but this Mom and Pop are committed to helping you!

Number 1. We are Artists too! – We have been writing and recording educational music for years and really believe in it’s power as an incredible medium for education. Our ultimate goal to get quality educational music in the hands of parents and teachers.

Humbly,

David & Alice Burba,
Songs for Teaching Owners

10 Ways to Use Music in Your Classroom

Due to several requests, we are republishing this blog post, originally published in March 2014.

Most teachers agree that using music can enhance learning. Yet, many teachers get stuck, not knowing what to play or how to use music to the fullest. Here are 10 ideas you can implement today in your classroom!

1. Transitions – music is a great tool when switching subjects of changing directions for your students. It has a way of resetting the stage so that children can mentally switch from one topic to another. Play a song to summarize what was just finished, or a song about what is coming next. Allow the children to stand up, march around the room or do hand movements to mark the transition. You will find your children fresh and engaged for the next subject. Click here for some great transition songs!

2. Energize – When children have been focusing on a subject for a time and begin to get fatigued (usually marked by restlessness, inattention, disruptive behavior), take a break from the class and call a music break. Play a activating song, best if related to the topic, to re-energize the children. Click here for some great suggestions!

3. Use Lyrics – display lyrics on a whiteboard, smart-board or on flip chart paper. Have the children find sight words, diagram the sentences or pull out academic vocabulary. Using the text while the song plays, gives relevance to the lyrics and allows the children to learn conventions, build vocabulary and enhance reading and literacy. Nearly all the music at Songs For Teaching is sold with lyrics.

4. Write Lyrics – collect a few instrumental tracks of familiar songs and as an assignment have the children write their own lyrics. This can be done individually, in small groups or with the class at large. The teacher can incorporate a current theme or target information learned from a particular lesson. It might be a great project for a poetry lesson! Here are several suggestions for instrumental tracks.

5. Power of the Pause – Pausing the music at key spots in the music can increase engagement. Pause before the end of a line and ask the children to finish the line. Then think of other words you could substitute for the actual lyric. Brainstorm other words that rhyme or words that may change the meaning! Use the pause button with any song (remember musical chairs?). For rhyming songs try Jack Hartmann’s Rap, Clap, Rhyme. Also see Marla Lewis’ Rhyme Riddles!

6. Pair with Literature – There are a number of ways to pair songs with the books the children are reading. Teachers can select songs that relate directly to the book. For example, if your class is reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins, you can incorporate this song also titled Mr. Popper’s Penguins directly about the book. Or you can find songs about a related topic such as Penguin Partyabout the different types of penguins or Puffin’s Summer Picnic to learn about animals of the Arctic. This can be a great way to address the Common Core directive to integrate science, social studies etc into reading. Or . . . flip it! Listen to a song before going to the library and have the children find related books! Click Here for more songs inspired by Children’s Literature.

7. Make Music Video – This is a great project to integrate the sciences. Children can find photos on the internet and arrange them in a slide show to convey meaning in the song. Take the song Hibernation for example. . Children can collect photos of hibernating animals and sync them to the music. How about a song about amphibians . . . or a song about the solar system. Not only do the children enjoy the science lesson, they build their technology skills as well.

8. Coordinate with Holidays – Most teachers are used to playing songs related to the big holidays, but don’t forget the other special days of the year. For example, Earth Day is coming soon. It is a great time to play music related to conservation such as Music with Mar.’s Can It, Save the Planet. It also can be a great way to integrate songs about historical figures related to that holiday. For Earth Day, you could play a song about John Muir and learn the history of the day.

9. Have a Performance! This can be something simple like a performing for the classroom, perhaps across grade levels or with reading buddies. Or it can be for a school assembly or parent night. Using instrumental tracks saves the day when an accompanists cannot be found. Click here for some suggestions for performances! Make costumes and write your own scripts. Try one of our great musicals that come fully scripted complete with vocal and instrumental tracks.

10. Just plain fun! Try some silly songs for the simple joy of it. Make the classroom environment one that nurture’s children’s creativity and natural desire for learning.