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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

'ENVIRONMENT MATTERS'



Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. 

I am sure that everyone would agree that Earth Day is really every Day!

Earth is an incredibly beautiful planet but, as is becoming more and more apparent, it is not without its issues - we only have to look at global warming, pollution, problems around recycling, etc.

Slowly but surely, we are now not only listening to the wisdom of the experts around these issues but we are also taking positive steps towards a safer, healthier Mother Earth.

As the famous quote reminds us:



Teachers and civic-minded parents are diligently
educating children
 to become more environmentally aware so that they can benefit from what we've learnt, and help redress the environmental balance.

It is important for children to understand that we do not own this planet, that we are privileged stewards who get to share it for a time, and that it is our duty to leave it in a healthier state for future generations:


 

When teaching students about environmental protection it helps to take a multi-disciplinary approach. We need to help them to acquire knowledge, yes, but we also need to help them to think critically, develop respect for the environment, and make informed decisions based on these and take responsibility.

To do this, it is imperative for children to experience the natural world around them, because, as environmental activist, Dr David Suzuki states:

'Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can't expect them to help protect and care for it.'

Wise words, and, from a very early age, there are so many opportunities to help children to explore and develop a love for nature and to learn and develop age-appropriate habits that will help to move our planet towards a more sustainable future.

This can be a simple as teaching children to:

  • Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
  • Recycle into correct bins
  • Think about packaging when making purchases
  • Turn lights off when not in use
  • Composting
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off tap while cleaning teeth and washing hair
  • Write on both sides of a sheet of paper...

Over a decade ago, I was substituting for three weeks on an Assistant Principal's Year 5/6 class.

During recess, on the first day, I was in the staffroom, when the principal informed me that it was Year 5/6's turn to lead the weekly school assembly that Friday.

When he enquired as to whether I would be able to come up with an assembly piece at such short notice, I replied, 'Not a problem - absolutely!', as my brain commenced its journey into overdrive!

As the Year 5/6 students had been learning about the environment, I began poring over the trusty curriculum documents for inspiration.

The result, the lyrics to our environmental rap song, 'Keep It Clean!'. (My friend, and now 'Partner in Rhyme', Kathryn Radloff later added music for a catchy chorus.)

The curriculum-aligned song highlights such things as the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), water and electricity conservation, composting, the importance of solar power, and individual and collective responsibility for helping take care of our planet for future generations. 

There was great excitement over the next few days, as the class prepared for the assembly performance - the girls, choreographing the rap dance routine, 3 of the boys asking permission to play their guitars (YES, PLEASE!). 

I had never seen a group of upper primary school students so motivated - their enthusiasm knew no bounds!

When Friday came around, those delightful students not only performed their little hearts out, in front of some very proud parents (not to mention their teacher), but the learning that took place spoke for itself!

I wish I'd thought to ask for a video copy of that performance, but here is a sample from a Year 2 assembly performance:


The Year 5/6 assembly performance confirmed what I had always believed, that even the most disengaged students love to sing, and that engaged children really do learn what they sing. I was hooked, and although I didn't know it at the time, what was to become my life's mission had begun.

'Keep It Clean!' was selected for inclusion in the ABC's 2010 SING! publication for schools (we were chuffed to be alongside songs from the likes of ABBA, Sir Cliff Richard, Jennifer Lopez, Sir Paul McCartney, Skyhooks, and others. :-) 

The song's timeless message is still going strong, and since the MP3 version, we've added our very popular Curriculum Karaokesong video version (here's a sample):


I'll leave you with these words from the chorus of our 'Keep It Clean!' song :

'Let's clean up our nation,
For future generations,
It all depends on what we do today, yeah.
We all have a duty,
Protecting Earth's great beauty,
Together, you and I can lead the way.'


Until next time, stay safe & well!

Nuala :-)

FYI: 
  • Preview samples of all of our currently-available MP3 song packages and Curriculum Karaoke™ read, sing & learn along videos are available in both of our stores, Teachers Pay Teachers and The Wheel.
  • Our ever-growing Curriculum Karaoke song video series is available to subscribing schools on ClickView, '... the world's leading producer of educational videos, providing curriculum-aligned content to schools.'
A Review:
'In terms of application to the classroom, and usability by teachers they rate a tick in every box.' ~ Brendan Hitchens, Teacher, Music In Action: A Magazine for Educators


A Lesson In Every Lyric












   









Thursday, 2 April 2020

LYRICAL CREATIONS



'National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry which takes place each April, was introduced in 1966 and it is organized by the Academy of American Poets... (It also) provides free educational resourcs to teachers for classroom celebrations and activities...' ~ Wikipedia
The Lyric Writers' Workroom explains the difference between song lyrics and poetry, thus: '...there's only one difference between poetry and song lyrics: Lyrics are set to music.' 

My colleague, Kathryn, and I write curriculum-aligned songs (and lesson materials) for schools. These songs started life as lyrics/poems before being transformed by Kathryn's musical genius (download a free sample, here). 

As a teacher, it had been a long-held dream of mine to combine my passion for teaching, singing and writing, to provide time-poor teachers with resources that would support and integrate classroom learning across key subject areas ~ through the powerful and effective medium of song. 

The result is a catalogue of song-based teaching resources, the lyrical content of which targets outcomes & learning sequences of curriculum documents.
 


These curriculum-aligned songs (and poems/lyrics) are perfect for:
  • Motivating and engaging students
  • Introducing new units of work
  • Kickstarting discussion
  • Summarising, reinforcing and aiding recall of important curriculum content
  • Integrating learning
  • Reinforcing school and life themes & concepts
  • Extending literacy
  • Assembly & performance pieces
  • Arts integration
  • Building unity
  • Distance learning...


One of my earlier blog posts, 'Lyrical Literacy' discusses the rhythmic nature of songs, highlighting the importance of the 3 Rs: rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, as a perfect platform for building phonemic awareness and a firm foundation for literacy. 

The same 'Lyrical Literacy' post also gives simple, practical suggestions for achieving Literacy outcomes when using poetry with students, through integrating Grammar, Writing, Talking, Listening, and Reading Comprehension. 


Below, is a list of downloadable, curriculum-aligned poems (lyric sheet PDFS) we currently have available (some of them FREE, for a limited time), and more are being added all the time:
FYI: Preview samples of all of our currently-available song packages and Curriculum Karaoke, read, sing & learn along videos are available in both of our stores, Teachers Pay Teachers and The Wheel.

I will be adding more titles to this blog post throughout this National Poetry Month, so be sure to check back from time-to-time.

Until next time, stay safe & well!

Nuala :-)


FYI: Our ever-growing Curriculum Karaoke song video series is available to subscribing schools on ClickView, '... the world's leading producer of educational videos, providing curriculum-aligned content to schools.'


A Review:
'In terms of application to the classroom, and usability by teachers they rate a tick in every box.' ~ Brendan Hitchens, Teacher, Music In Action: A Magazine for Educators

A Lesson In Every Lyric