Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome back, Lower School!

We're off to a great start this year in the Lower School (I'll write a separate post about Middle School)! We're finishing up our third week of school and second week of music classes. I'm fortunate enough to see all my LS classes twice a week, so we're already well into things. Here's a summary of what we've done so far.


A couple of years ago, I finally purchased a Tibetan singing bowl, something I've wanted for a long time--both because there is no other sound like it in the world, and I wanted to use it as a mindfulness tool in the classroom. The kids have always loved it. I can practically see their heart rates slowing down and their focus coming back to center as they listen to it, and they enjoy raising a finger to show when each person stops hearing the incredibly long sound. This year, I've decided to start every music class with "the ringing of the bowl." This fits well with our Friends school practice of settling in, and I have a long-term plan to work on some additional mindfulness techniques and queries during this special 2-3 minutes. So far, I'm feeling much more settled MYSELF at the start of a busy class, and the kids seem more ready to focus.

During the first week we always make name sticks for various uses throughout the year:

Our first all-LS settling-in song was "This Little Light of Mine," my tradition for the start of the school year. During our first week, we learned the silly campfire classic, "There Ain't No Bugs on Me." This week, we've been learning "With My Own Two Hands" by Jack Johnson, one of my newer favorites. I've put the lyrics to both songs at the end of this post. Enjoy!

Everyone has now had their first turn with our ever-popular drums! We practiced lots of drum rolls and echoes, learning the easy rules as we went (pretty much, only play when you're supposed to play!). We also did some other fun drum circle activities, such as passing a beat around the circle, making a "rainstorm," and making up rhythms to fit with our names.

Unboxing the recorders!

Third years (and new fourth years) had the exciting task of picking their new recorder colors! This year we're using Yamaha YRS-20 recorders, my favorite after trying out several affordable models over the past few years. The recorders have just arrived and we will be learning our first three notes and several songs over the next few classes. Our fourth years have already reviewed "B-A-G," Hot Cross Buns, and Mary Had a Little Lamb. We'll be moving on to new notes, trying out my recorder iBook, and playing JoyTunes on the iPads soon!

Finally, we've started the Quaver curriculum. I'll be sending more information to parents soon, but in the meantime, check out my blog entry on Quaver and the Quaver website. So far, we've watched episode 1-Beat in River and Sky, and episode 6-Pitch in Forest and Mountain. More on that later!

Song lyrics

There Ain't No Bugs On Me

Oh, there ain't no bugs on me, on me.

There ain't no bugs on me

There may be bugs on some of you mugs

But there ain't no bugs on me.


Oh there ain't no flies on me, on me.

There ain't no flies on me.
There may be flies on some of you guys
But there ain't no flies on me.

Well, the Juney bug comes in the month of June
The lightning bug comes in May
Bed bug comes just any old time
But, they're not going to stay

Well, a bull frog sittin' on a lily pad
Looking up at the sky
The lily pad broke and the frog fell in
He got water all in his eye.

There ain't no frogs on us.
There ain't no frogs on us.
There might be frogs on some of you dogs,
But there ain't no frogs on us.

Mosquito he fly high
Mosquito he fly low
If old mosquito lands on me
He ain't a gonna fly no mo'

A peanut sittin' on a railroad track
His heart was all a flutter
Along come a choo-choo on the track
Toot! Toot! Peanut butter!

A cow walked on the railroad track,

the train was coming fast.

The train got off the railroad track

to let the cow go past!


As I went walking through the woods
Humming a tune so gaily
The wind come whistling through the trees
And froze my ukelele

Oh there ain't no lobsters on me
There, ain't no lobsters on me
There may be lobsters on some of you mobsters
But there ain't no lobsters on me.

Oh it ain't gonna rain no more no more

It ain't gonna rain no more

How in the heck can I wash my neck

When it ain't gonna rain no more?


Well little bugs have littler bugs.
Up on their backs to bite 'em
And the littler bugs have still littler bugs
And so ad infinitum.

We had a cat down on our farm
It had a ball of yarn
When those little cats were born
They all had sweaters on

We had a goat down on our farm

It ate up old tin cans

When those little goats were born

They came in Ford sedans


Some people say that fleas are brown
But I know that ain't so
'Cause Mary had a little lamb
Whose fleas were white as snow

A doctor fell into a well

and broke his collar bone.

We think that he should tend the sick

and leave the well alone.


A farmer slipped on the old barn roof
when rotten boards gave way,
And as as he fell, he shrugged and said,
'It's time to hit the hay.'

Humpty Dumpty fell right down
and landed on his head,
So, all the horses and the men
had scrambled eggs and bread.



With My Own Two Hands


I can change the world with my own two hands

Make it a better place with my own two hands

Make it a kinder place with my own two hands

With my own, with my own two hands


I can make peace on earth with my own two hands

I can clean up the earth with my own two hands

I can reach out to you with my own two hands

With my own, with my own two hands


I'm gonna make it a brighter place with my own two hands

I'm gonna make it a safer place with my own two hands

I'm gonna help the human race with my own two hands

With my own, with my own two hands


I can hold you with my own two hands

I can comfort you with my own two hands

But you've got to use, use your own two hands

Use your own, use your own two hands

With our own, with our own two hands

 

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