NEW MATB Partner Schools 2009-2010
We are always thankful for the new schools that become partners with MATB. We thank the following schools for meeting our grant criteria and putting MATB into their core curriculum:
PS 8- (MANHATTAN) Luis Belliard School
PS 369 - (BRONX) Young Leaders Elementary
PS 10 - Magnet School of Math, Science & Design PS 377 - The Alejandrina B. De Gautier School Brooklyn Scholars Charter-Heritage Academy PS 109
Arise Academy Charter School
Success Preparatory Academy
Langston Hughes Academy Charter School
Stuart R. Paddock Elementary School
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
SCORING ON BEHAVIOR:
JerryKuzniewski of PS 120Q uses a color-coded card system like soccer, where if youget on the yellow card it is a warning, and the red card is punishment, but ifyou get on the purple card you get a reward.
> Daris Isayeva of PS 85Q did an interestingrhythm and listening warm-up. She played two drums with a high and low pitch. The kids were sitting first and had to clap the high drum pattern and pattheir knees for low drum patterns. After doing this for a while she hadthem stand and substitute marching for the low drum patterns. This wasfun for them. Next they had to turn around so their backs were to her andshe did the same thing and they had to interpret the clapping and marching rhythmsby ear based on the pitch of the drums.
> Valerie Stancil of PS 8M paired up her kids andgave two rhythm cards to each pair and had them test each other on the cards. She demonstrated with a child what she wanted to see including themcounting off for their partner and checking for clapping mistakes.
> Arthur White of PS 175M flipped through rhythmcards to some old school hip hop and the kids rocked it.
> Rubi Miyachi of PS 157X handed out percussioninstruments to the first row of students on the rug and wrote 4 systems ofrhythms, four measures each. Each child in the row plays their system,each playing different percussion instruments. As the row completes the systemthey pass their instrument to the child behind them in the next row. The rhythmsRubi used were from sections of the longer Ode to Joy, which conveniently wasthe song of the day. This took about 10 minutes and the kids had lots offun.
>Iris Cheng at PS 1X did an exercise of call andresponse where she played a djembe drum. When she struck different parts of thedrum they were to either clap hands or stomp feet. They had a good timewith this and eventually different kids came up to be the leader on the drumswhile the class responded with their bodies. She then taught them theterms "call and response" and wrote it on the board. Iris alsohad the word "jazz" written on the board and talked about the song ofthe day “When the Saints go Marching In” representing jazz.
GETTING CREATIVE WITH BOOK THREE: Gerry Gianutsos PS 78Q worked on a unique rendition of "The CatCame Back" that is a combination of that song and "Hit the RoadJack/Cat." He wrote additional lyrics so that there was a narratorsinging the Cat Came Back lyrics and then he's added verses for the Cat tosing. The Farmer sang the "Hit the road Cat" sections. Gerryultimately made this a big performance featuring the Ks, 1s and 2s.
TEACHING PITCH NAMES WITH KEYBOARD ROWS
Elana Steil Obstfeld’s keyboard setup at PS 278M is very clever.There are four rows of pianos. Two rows are titled “bass clef pianos” and theother two were called the” treble clef pianos.” Each of the four rowswere designated a pitch. There was a row “A in the bass clef piano” a row“B in the bass clef piano,” a row “C in the treble clef piano,” and a row “D inthe treble clef piano.” Each note, in addition to be written, wasannotated on the staff lines of their respective clefs. Finally each respectiverow was separated by color. When Elena would assign students to a keyboard shewould say something like Xavier, “go to purple treble clef D.”
ADJUSTING TEACHING STYLES FOR KINDERGARTEN
Instead of vocally disciplining, Elana Steil Obstfeld uses physical demonstrations for the kindergartners. She demonstrated being quiet by putting her index to herclosed lips and pointing to her ear when she wanted the students to be attentive. She explained, “the (K) students don’t have too much control overtheir body.” During a “Whistle WhileYou Work” lesson, Elana took extra care to sound out the pronunciation of “whistle”with the students and explained the idea of silent letters in words. She then read the Grimm Brothers version of Snow White to the children after going over the song.
STOPPING TO FIX COMMON MISTAKES
Meghan Phadke of PS 111Mstopped one of her class’ practice to work on the timing of their eighth noteswhile at the keyboard. Many students were playing them like quarters.
GOOD FINGERING IDEAS
Robin Casey Midtown West has the left hand dubbed lemon left and right hand as raspberryright. She emphasized the children playingwith all of their fingers stating, “You might find it easier to keep one finger in charge ofeach note.”
VELCRO BOARDS AND LETTER NAMES Robin Casey uses the Velcroboard frequently in lessons as a way for students to express their knowledge. In her lesson with kindergarten students, she asked a student to place the treble clef properly on the Velcro staff. Then she would make a correlation between the treble clef’s positioning and the 4thnote in the 1st measure of Ode To Joy-which is a G. She would say that the “G clef G” fell on the same line that the treble curled its tail around. Robin makes pet names for notes based on their clef. For the treble clef they her names are: Middle C, Dizzy D, Easy E, First Space F, and GClef G. For the bass clef they are: Middle C, Baby B, Apple A, and Grassy G.
STUDENT COMPARISONS AND COMPETITION
At Midtown West School, Robin Casey had a student sulk and say “He’s better than me.” Robin quickly addressed this saying “I don’t like people saying someone is better than someone else in my lessons. We are all learning the same things, and are constantly getting better.”
MEDITATION, MUSIC AND THE BRAIN
Star Sanderson of Amber Charter School was teaching Largo to a 1st grade class. She had herkids calm down from stress they were under to perform in the school by havingthem lay down and meditate with eyes closed, visualizing a story she told abouta child travelling through a forest to find it's puppy. She used theLargo recording to add drama in her storytelling. You could hear somesnores of children but most were awake and trying to keep their eyes shut. Star's voice is very soothing by nature and she did a good jobtransporting them to her scene. When the recording ended she had themslowly stretch out of their state and she asked what images they saw in theirmind and how they felt. One little boy said " I felt like I was witha girl" to the “oohs” and giggles of his classmates and the classroom teacher that was there as well. Star then handed out paper and markers for the kids to draw the images they remembered envisioning.
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
>Julia Skinner of PS 307K was teaching Happy Birthday lesson, with 2nd graders, started with her reading "Happy Birthday Moon". The kids loved it and giggled as if they were in Kindergarten again.
>Martha Nelson of PS 63Q pulled out the book "Big Mama" from our book list for an Akiwowo lesson and read it to her 1st grade class.
Rick Robinson of PS 299K gives every child his or her personal music assignmentchart with every piece from book one of MATB, and as the child adequatelyperforms each piece, he or she gets graded from 1 – 4. The kids see theiraccomplishment and are a little more goal oriented.
LOSING TEETH IS NATURAL
Mike Clifford of PS 274 K started his lessons talking about 3 beats and he had the kids listen to music like Aretha Franklin’s "Natural Woman" and some other pieces in ¾ and had them do the knees-clap-clap routine. After singing it a few times heasked who had lost teeth and then let the kids have a few minutes to conference with each other over the number of teeth they'd lost and I thought this was adorable. They got to examine each other's missing teeth. At the end of class he did what I'd seen him do previously where he gets on his drumset and plays different tempo grooves and had the kids do freeze dance.
MOVEMENT WITH MICHAEL JACKSON
Eric Feder of Brooklyn ScholarsCharter met his classes outside in the hallway and waited for complete silencebefore letting them in. He turned on Michael Jackson's "Rock withYou" and played it loud as the kids entered. He had them marcharound the perimeter of the room while the music played stopping occasionallyto do dance steps and double claps, which the kids loved. As the songended he took coats from them and had them sit in rows seamlessly to the music. When all were seated he congratulated them for following his movementsand discussed the fact that each moment in the class so far represented various"transitions." Marching transitioned into dancing, then clapping, then marching etc. He recounted each directive he gave in terms of transition and he told them he expected everyone to maintain focus during transitions.
Next he played the party jam "I Got the Power,and had the class follow his intricate clapping patterns with hand and kneeclapping. It was all high energy and very engaging. He then had them settle down tocontinue working on playing Akiwowo. The principal later bragged thatEric had done very extensive lessons on the Akiwowo piece in previous weeks andhad the kids research different masks from Nigeria, along with playing other Nigerian music and discussing geography.
COMEDIC MUSIC TEACHING:
Evan Alboum of PS 246 X begins his lessons playing piano while his kids sing the music roomanthem that he penned. It's adorable and very dramatic. He alsodoes solfege and vocal warm ups on funny sounds that the kids love. Hesometimes follows this up with movement in a Simon Says kind of game where hestarts calling his hand his foot and tells them to wiggle it. The Ks loved this especially.
INTEGRATING MUSIC WITH THE GENERAL CURRICULUM
At PS 157X, Rubi Miyachi had a K class tip-toe in and then freeze periodically until everyone found their spot quietly. She started teaching a song about spelling called "I can't spell hippopotamus". It's a cute song and she did it because her principalrequested that she try to integrate some of the monthly themes in each grade inher lessons. The Ks were working on spelling challenging words.
PLAY, PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT
Osvaldo Morel of PS 212X pulled outhis trumpet and played “When the Saints” for his kids and had themwalk/march/dance around in a circle. They loved this!
Funny Kid Comments
>Lisala visited a class at PS 377K and some of theloudest boys were trying to guess who she was and they looked at the music forclues. One said " I know, she must be Kuma San"
>At PS192M Kathy Clyne had her students fingering on keyboard cards and curving theirfingers like spiders. One Kindergarten boy turned around towards Lisalawith a mischievous grin and said "my spider is broken, I think he has togo to the hospital" as he limply held his hand up for her to see.
- Newsletter No. 19 – May 2009
- Newsletter No. 20 - May 2010
- Newsletter No. 18 – Fall 2008
- Newsletter No. 17 – March 2007
- Newsletter No. 16 – June 2006
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- Newsletter No. 14 - November 2004
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- Newsletter No. 12 - December 2003
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- Newsletter No. 1 - March 2001