The Ducks continued working on their different voices, this time using an amplified microphone connected to a speaker. With the ability to hear themselves, they were able to copy my voices, “this is my whisper voice,” “this is my talking voice, and “this is my singing voice.” They loved speaking into the microphone and telling a story. For singing, it was difficult to imitate me, so an idea was for them to sing a song after I said, “this is my singing voice. A, B, C, D,…” and they finished the song! A. Ducks sang “Baa Baa Black Sheep” independently when asked to sing! Fantastic concentration on the different voices and building vocal self-control.
The Wranglers were introduced to Chinese New Year today in martial arts class. One aspect of martial arts for both the young student and the older student is training to learn how to do lion dances. It is important to move like an animal to develop whole body awareness skills and ways of self-defense. Sharing my lion head figurine, they were incredibly excited about doing a dragon dance. These dances scare away bad luck, especially the Unthinkables (Social Thinking), and bring in good luck. They readily followed the leader and danced around the room to the drum beat, creativity kicking their dragon legs while making dragon faces. Great teamwork!
The Dragonflies did exceptionally well listening to the keyboard music, tip-toeing to high sounds and stomping to the low sounds. The coordinated their scarves to the two different sounds. All the students participated and exaggerated their body movements from one high to low and low to high. Many of them were curious about the keyboard and played a few notes with me. When I played the glissando,they were spinning their whole bodies with the twirling scarves! They sure have great movement responses to the music!
When T. Mustangs walked into martial arts class today, he shared that he had fallen on his hand and hurt his palm. Which lead me to teach the Mustangs the martial arts way to fall safely: a slap-out, falling on the back, tucking chin to chest, and hitting the arms by the sides, making contact with the floor with their forearms and palms. All the Mustangs learned quickly and we even stepped it up. After doing it from a sitting position, we did it from a squatting position, a bit higher off the ground. Each accomplished it without hurting themselves and protecting their heads.
We finally did what the Mustangs have been waiting for: dragon dance with music instruments. The students split into two groups choosing to be part of the dragon or playing the music. The dragon dancers learned to wait for the music and even improved some dance movements to the music. Each of the musicians took a lead to start and stop the group. It was a blast to coordinate the group effort!
The Owls have developed great dancing abilities so after we practiced the “Cha Cha Slide,” we had a free dance to Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” There were hints of jazz, hip-hop, b-boy, funk, poppin’, and free-style. So creative in movements, some students explored their body while others copied my movements. When we danced at the beginning of the year, it was a lot of running around or standing and watching. Their comfort level of self-expression and self-confidence have increased this year and I am very happy that they are finding their inner movements.
In Enrichment, the students read a story about winter and made snowflakes for the season. I wrote a song about snowflakes flying and falling and they followed my lyrics by dancing with their snowflake. One of the best moments occurred when one of the snowflakes fell on one of the teachers and all the students decided to fall their snowflakes on her, making a snowball. When I sang the snowflakes flew, the each got up and flew their snowflakes around the room again. There were some beautiful snowflake dancers.
Today, our piano accompanist was sick and so I played the keyboard while directing The Parish Choir. I was not sure what to expect of doing dual positions and some of the students were nervous about me making sure they were singing at the right time and playing the keyboard. As for another change, I had the Heros students sitting spaced out throughout the choir in the different classes to help be a strong voice and lead others to sing. The students usually sit in sections with their class.
Choir went smoothly and we learned almost a third of our song, “Best Friends,” that we will sing at the Mighty Oak Bash (MOB). (For MOB information and lyrics, click here). It really helped that the students listened to the song all week in music class and when they walked into choir, it was playing on YouTube. Though there are some tricky melodic jumps and rhythms, they caught on quickly because they had gotten familiar with the tune. In addition, some of the interval jumps were part of other songs we sang and our warm-up. After choir, some of the Heros reported to me, “Hey Hilary, I helped four people to sing.” and “I was a good role model.” I am so proud of them for being strong leaders!