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.
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. 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.
- Music therapy and autism research supports a link between musical processing strengths and autism and the use of music as a therapeutic intervention.
- Singing can be an in-road to promote early speech by helping children access new neurological pathways to compensate for communication deficits.
- 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.
- Music can help individuals with autism make social and family connections through a mutual shared interest.
- 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:
Some time ago I heard Bill Nye The Science Guy say we need more engineers, and it got me thinking about the impact of this statement in today’s world. At the same time, by coincidence, a good friend entered college to study civil engineering, a niece began her studies in microbiology and a cousin is majoring in computer science. These are three outstanding young women pursuing careers in areas dominated by men.
Considering that most of my work as an educator and singer/songwriter is directed toward elementary-age children, I decided to create a project supporting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. It is intended to use music, and specifically songs, to excite the kids into thinking about how much fun it could be to learn about these fields and, who knows, maybe think about STEM careers.
The songs became a CD and the CD is transforming into animated videos hosted by a young scientist we call Anny Dallshouse. All this is directed toward children and their families. The goal is to help create a new batch of inspired boy and (especially) girl STEMSTERS!
The challenge in producing this CD was to write songs with catchy lyrics and musical arrangements that are sophisticated and still kid friendly. Thanks in large part to a masterful arranger and producer, Jimmy Hammer, I think we succeeded.
This is truly a labor of love motivated by some exceptional young woman. So thank you girls, and everyone please enjoy our tuneful CONCOCTIONS!
Submitted by Dan Crow.
To see all of Dan Crow’s music on Songs for Teaching, CLICK HERE.
As educators, we have a responsibility to address diversity every single day in the classroom and in our homes. That said, African American History Month, celebrated every February, is a reminder to us of that responsibility. Regardless of the age we are teaching, we can always relate stories of our African American heroes and culture.
Using the Black History Radio app (geared for kids 2nd-6th grades) can also help us carry out this responsibility. This app randomly plays over 50 biographical songs about great Black Americans such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, and more. These songs address African American themes of pride, history and culture!
Play it during transitions in your classroom or as background music during classroom activities. Play it in your car or home and enjoy the great music!