Archive for June, 2006

Another day of fun in the sun on Davis Street!

Gathering Time

We began our class singing “Ahoy” to each member and practicing our salutes.  We’re getting better each week!  Then we talked about different kinds of boats – sailboats and rowboats. 

We listened to the sounds that water makes while lapping at the sides of the boats – schlup, schlup.  And we learned how to move our arms with the oars – to make those boats move through the water.  “Row, row, a-fishing we’ll go, how many big fish will be caught?” became our chant.  Some of us rowed by ourselves, some with moms, one with his dad. 

Then we switched to sailboats, singing “Come Sailing with Me”.  We ran into some big waves that tossed us all out into the water and we sang “Come Splashing with Me” instead!  It was a beautiful day to be out on the water!

We came back to the shore, landing in Dublin and hearing about “sweet Molly Malone” and singing “Cockles and Mussels, a-live, a-live oh!”  The clackers and jingle bells were a bit hit with the children, especially our youngest ones.  It’s hard to decide which one you want to hold, so why not try both?  🙂

Decisions! Decisions!

Then we had a visit with a crab and counted how many legs he had: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10! Ten legs!  And we learned a new song – “The Crab” – that sounded different from all the other songs we’ve sung.  Hearing new and different modalities of music is helpful to develop our listening skills.

Our next activity was the most exciting event for the entire class!  Miss Merri brought out a super-big blue sheet that, with the help of some of her excellent student assistants, was spread out over the entire floor.  We practiced making waves go up and then down, up and then down.  Then, with the music from “Over the Waves”, we brought the ocean right there into the house on Davis Street! 

And, suddenly, there was a beachball!  Right there!!  Floating on the water!! 

Then every child got to toss another ball “into the water” and we laughed and watched the balls dance over the water and skip over the sea!  Squeals, giggles, and laughter was the music of language there at that moment.  We had so much fun that we had to do it all over again!

After that, some of the children wanted to “dance over the water” themselves as well as “roll over the water” and “fly over the water”.  So our ocean was enjoyed immensely!

Sitting on our beachball blanket, we enjoyed “Beach Day” at storytime, watching the children in the story doing some of our own activities as well as some others that we have practiced, including building sandcastles and digging in the sand.  Pictures of picnics there on the sand reminded us of our own snacktime and we moved into the kitchen to enjoy our own “fish”.

Fish sandwiches filled with orange marmalade, strawberry jam, or grape jam, or, for a change, cream cheeses flavored with strawberries, blueberries, or brown sugar and cinnamon were a very *big* hit with both children *and* parents!  Raisins were added for “fishy” eyeballs.  YUM!  We slaked our thirst with fruit punch and then adjourned back over to our blanket to make our own “Creatures at the Ocean” visors. 

Our first decision was picking out just the right visor in just the right color.  Then there was much examination and oohing and aahing over all the creatures in our bucket – lobsters, crabs, angelfish, starfish, octupi, whales, and more!

So many creatures and only so much space!

After minutes of laughter, peeling of paper, figuring out just where to put our creatures, masterworks of creative design were modeled with much pride!

What a smile!See my visor?  Can you tell how proud I am of my visor?

Even our newest classmate joined right in and discovered how much fun we have at the beach!  See his visor, too?    Isn't it terrific?!  Do we have style or what?!

It’s been a lot of fun and joy to watch how our youngest classmates have become more involved in the class structure.  The first week was spent roaming the room, seemingly uninterested in what was going on unless it involved beachballs or shakers.  The second week they were became more interested, although they watched more from the fringes of the circle.  This week became the week they joined in with full participation, sitting right in the middle of the circle at gathering time, bouncing up and down with “ooh-ooh-ooh’s” to indicate they wanted more singing and music.  “Don’t stop!”  they seemed to say.  And during craft time, even our youngest made a masterpiece of ocean fun for her visor!

Hard at work!

We followed this by shaking our seashell castanets to “Mary Ann” while wearing our visors and then danced to our “Sailors Jig” to finish our classtime.  As we sang “Goodbye Now, Mates” and waved to each other, it was obvious to see that today was a good day at the beach!

See ya next week!

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One of the best things about summertime, in my opinion, is fresh, home-grown tomatoes for bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches.  And the really neat thing is that even if you don’t have garden space or even a corner of a patio for bucket-tomatoes, there are other options available other than your local grocery store. 

Scrumptious, home-grown tomatoes!

With Community Supported Agriculture, there are local gardens and farms in your area that you can support with your purchases and enjoy the “fruits” of their hard work.  A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce.  By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become “members” (or “shareholders,” or “subscribers”) of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.

A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 1000. By this time in the growing season, many CSA’s are already committed to private members; however, many do sell surplus produce in area farmers markets, such as Gaia Gardens, located in Decatur, does at the Morningside Organic Farmers Market each Saturday morning from 8AM to 11:30AM, located across from Alon’s Bakery on North Highland Avenue, featuring cut flowers, vegetables, and herbs.  You can read more about Gaia here:


 Each Wednesday from 4PM to 7PM from May through December, the Decatur Square Farmers Market is open for business, offering locally grown fresh organic produce, flowers and other food products such as hand-made soaps. It is a market that supports local farmers by offering them an intown location to sell their products.  It is located in the Bank of America parking lot in downtown Decatur at 163 Clairemont Ave, Decatur, GA 30030.  Read more at: www.decaturfarmersmarket.com

Decatur Organic Farmers Market

For our families located east of Atlanta, near Conyers and Covington, the Square Market Outdoor Market is located at the historic town square in Covington, Georgia. It is a privately owned open-air market open to local family farmers, artisans, and cottage industries that produce local, hand-crafted food and other products. It favors small family farmers who offer seasonal produce that is “field-grown” with minimal inputs that foster land stewardship and sustainable farming practices. it also favors artists who employ local materials and mediums and handcrafted foods that celebrate our local foods and culture. The market’s season began May 7th and continues through the last Saturday in October from 8AM until noon rain or shine. For additional information, check out http://squaremarket.org/

Interested in learning more about Community Supported Agriculture?  Check out their website: http://www.localharvest.org/csa.jsp for additional farms and markets in your own area.

And find some of those luscious, mouth-watering, home-grown tomatoes, and break out the mayonnaise and bread for a scrumpdiddlyumptious sandwich!  YUM!

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I never thought that I'd become one of those ……………… hmmmm, shall we say, unusual people that peruses blogs like they were newspapers.  But actually I think that blog reading has become for me, in some ways, more enjoyable than turning the pages of my own local newspaper.  Since the Atlanta Journal met its untimely end and we now have only the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I have found myself often picking up some of the local rags just to see the quirky, individualistic things that can only be found inside a small independent paper.   And now I'm finding that blogs give me the same satisfaction.

I recently saw this video clip on the blog of another Kindermusik educator and had to share it with everyone on this side of the continent. (She's from British Columbia.)  So, make sure your speaker are turned up, hit the play button, and enjoy!

If your child is nearby, it's easy to seize the learning moment by pointing out the movements of the skeleton, such as the mouth opening and closing and relating it to your child's mouth.  Or, possibly, when the skeleton lays his head down on his arm, show your child how he can do the same thing.  Relate what your child sees to what he can feel in his own body – skull inside his head, his jaw, even his ribs – good tickling time!  Share that we all have skeletons inside; we just can't see ours covered up with our skin! 

Fun song to sing afterwards: a slightly different version of "Head,  Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"

Skull, jaw, and ribs and knees, ribs and knees;

Skull, jaw and ribs and knees, ribs and knees;

Cheekbones, wrist, and elbow, too;

Skull, jaw and ribs and knees, ribs and knees!

 Video via the Little Brown Music Studio – Thanks, Darcie!

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I wear many different musical hats, speaking in terms of positions that I hold, like Kindermusik educator, piano teacher, choir accompanist, adult choir member, flute teacher, orchestra member, children’s choir coordinator/director, and VBS music rotation leader.  This week I’ve been wearing my VBS hat – teaching the music classes at our local church, Zion Baptist Church, in Covington, Georgia.

 Our theme was Arctic Edge – where Adventure Meets Courage.  The songs were written by Jeff Slaughter with Lifeway and, if I ever have the opportunity to meet Mr. Slaughter and shake his hand, believe me, I will do it!  There was not one song that the kids didn’t absolutely love!  Here’s a link to the Lifeway website with the audios of all the songs, in case you’re interested:


Each morning, we began our day meeting in the church’s sanctuary for a worship rally, singing first our theme song: “Arctic Edge”, followed by pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible.  Next we recited our motto: “Be Strong, Be Courageous, Follow Jesus”.  Then we would sing “The ABC Peak” after reading Joshua 1:9 from the Bible.  Our last song was a beautiful, prayerful song entitled “Follow” that literally brought tears to your eyes in its beauty and simplicity with the added signing. 

Every day we also saw a video story that left us wondering what was going to happen next!  Talk about cliffhangers!  Thankfully, Dad was rescued from the miner’s cabin up in the Alaskan wilderness and airlifted to the hospital! Ouch – a broken leg! 

And the last exciting event each morning was finding out whose offering bucket weighed more – the boys or the girls!  Four out of five days, the girls won.  But on Friday, the boys came through in a very big way – the bucket was so heavy, that Mr. Wayne, our minister of music, almost couldn’t hang it on the scale!  Way to go, guys!

After the worship rally, classes were dismissed by grade level to go to their respective rooms.  At this point, I would go to the Music Suite to prepare for my classes that started at 10AM and went straight through until 12 Noon.  It’s a good thing that I had the choir room to work in, as I had anywhere from 165 – 170+ kids each day come through my rotation.  The largest group was the 3rd-4th grades combination with over 70 kids one day alone.  We almost didn’t have enough chairs! 

3rd & 4th Grades Classes - 73 kids strong!

I had the absolute best time ever, teaching the songs, the signing, and the choreography to all the kids and the teachers.  We even had some “Air Guitar” contests on Friday to see who could do the best impersonation of a rock star as well as an opportunity for the teachers to show off what they had learned in music class as well!

At the end of the day, the kids taught me something as well – how to “do the Moo”!  And here’s the visual proof:

Everybody do the Moo!

It was a wonderful week of fun and I felt some disappointment at seeing it end so soon, although my body has been telling me all week “You’re not as young as you think you are!”  Thankfully, a very nice young man in the 5th grade class informed me today that he thought I was 36!  I grinned and thanked him ever so much! 

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It is truly amazing to observe and learn how much a child's mind can absorb during music, movement, and play.  Last week, in our Creatures at the Ocean class, the children were easily persuaded to listen, participate, and learn, even though it was our first class. (Well, except for our two youngest, whom at 18 months can not really be expected to sit still even the slightest bit.  Their bodies *have* to contantly move! They are busy little people!)

 Anyway, this week, at 3:45, small bodies came hurtling down the hallway from the front door, jumping onto my Kindermusik blanket, singing, and wanting to know "when do we start?"  Within minutes, it was *very* obvious that families had plugged in their At Home CD's this past week and listened to our songs.  🙂 

One of the hazards of living in the metro Atlanta area with a young child is that you had better have a CD player in the car, stocked with enjoyable, singable CD's, or you risk losing your mind while stuck in traffic on I-75 or I-285, trying to cope with the paving crews that insist on working during rush hour, all the while pacifying a bored child who can't *wait* to get out of the carseat.  (Yes, I know that rush hour here in Atlanta is now almost 20 hours long!) Optional alternative is a portable DVD player which according to a friend of mine is worth its weight in gold, traveling with teenagers 8 hours to Myrtle Beach!

Thankfully, Creatures at the Ocean offers a variety of pleasurable, singable songs, stories, and poems to please even the crankiest child.  One of the moms told me that they had a long road trip last weekend and enjoyed the CD all the way there *and* back! Even the trip to Grandma's can be made more bearable, even enjoyable while singing "Sand in My Sandals" or "Sandcastle, Sandcastle". 

We also had a *wonderful* time "wiggling our toes" in the sand out on the front porch and finishing our "Fish-y" windsocks. 

 Windsock in MotionFish Windsock

Then we "flew" our windsocks to "Blow My Kite" and danced around the room. We got to play with the seagulls and Folksmanis Puppet Co. would be pleased to know how big a hit their seagull puppet was in our class.  <grin>


Snacktime was a veritable smorgasbord of choices: "beach blankets" (graham crackers with peanut butter) or colored "Goldfish" crackers, served with apple juice or white grape-apple juice drink boxes.  Some of us had a hard time choosing and, instead, took some of each.  🙂

After we finished our snack time, we came back for some more dancing fun with "Mary Ann" and, due to the high energy level in the room, opted not to do the "Sailor's Jig".  Instead, we rocked again to "Come Sailing with Me", then sang our Good-bye song to each and every child.  All smiles today and cries of "Can I take my fish home?"  (translated: the windsock)

All in all, another enjoyable day ……. at the beach!

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How many of you remember 78 RPM records?

I didn't think I'd see many hands in the air!  (Mine and Daneille's, I suspect.  Possibly one or two more.)

Well, my dh, David, sent me an interesting article that just points out that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  🙂

 Man's inventiveness is only surpassed by his ego. 

 And, yes, I remember when cassette tapes and 8-tracks were bally-hooed as the downfall of the LP!  What, you say?  What's an 8-track?

Go ask your mother!



From  Composer's Datebook for June 20, 2006 – www.publicradio.org

Mendelssohn and Rodgers make recorded history
Today in 1948, about 50 members of the press were invited to New
 York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for a demonstration of a new kind of
 phonograph record.
A Columbia Records employee named Edward Wallerstein stood between a big stack of heavy, shellac 78-rpm albums, the standard for recorded music in those days, and a noticeably slimmer stack of vinyl discs, a new format which Wallerstein had dubbed "LPs" — "long playing" records that spun at 33 & 1/3 revolutions per minute.
Before 1948, if you wanted to buy a recording of a complete symphony
or concerto, it meant the purchase of up to a dozen separate 78s, each
playing only 4 minutes a side. In developing their new LP-record,
Columbia's goal was to fit complete classical works onto a singledisc.
"I timed I don't know how many works in the classical repertory,"
 recalled Wallerstein, "and came up with a figure of seventeen minutes
 to a side. This would enable about 90% of all classical music to be
 put on two sides of one record."
Columbia's first LP release was a recording of the Mendelssohn Violin
 Concerto, with Nathan Milstein the soloist and the New York
 Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter.
The following year, Columbia struck pay dirt when it released the
 original cast album of a brand-new Broadway musical by Richard
 Rodgers. The 1949 Columbia LP of Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza singing
 the hits tunes from "South Pacific" became a best-seller, and by 1951
 the LP-record had won: No one was making 78s anymore.

 Play today's show:


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Last week I received a link to a page that I know the entire family will enjoy.  For those musicians out there, sit back and be truly amazed.  As best as I can tell, the intervals,  melodies, and rhythms are being played on the various instruments accurately.  And the computer gurus out there will probably just shrug their shoulders and say,"What's all the fuss about?  It's just some code."   To which I say: "Ha!"  Be sure to check out all the others on the right-hand side of the page. Too, too cool!

Enjoy the music!


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We had our first Adventures class this afternoon in Decatur.  It was quite an internationally flavored group – Canadian, Australian, two from Brasil, and then the everyday American variety!  We only had one absentee due to dad’s work in NYC, but I’ve been assured that they will be here next week.  Don’t want to miss out on any of the fun!

We started with learning to say “Ahoy There, Mates” like true sailors and then we sang and danced to “Sand in My Sandals” while playing our seashell castanets.  “Five Little Seashells” helped us learn to count backwards.  Scarves floating to “Blow the Wind” were fun and each child got to set the pattern for how we moved next.  Rolling beachballs to each other was really, really exciting with balls everywhere in the floor.  One particular child enjoyed the beachballs so much that it became his best friend for the rest of class.  🙂

Gathering TimeWhat is this thing called anyway?!Kindermusik friends

 Our storytime, “I Like the Beach”, was a huge success and enjoyed from the Fishbowl beach blanket.  All the children and moms joined in to make it a special, special experience: “I like the beach!” Then, for snacktime, the octopops were apparently a big hit with requests for extras.  All those gummy worms must taste better than they look!

YUM!  Octopops are the *BEST*!Cool and tasty!Hmmmm, what *are* these things anyway?Schhluurrrrrrppppp!

Even our youngest ones enjoyed the fun!Babies like popsicles, too!How many legs are there anyway?

Following snacktime, we danced calypso to “Mary Ann” and ended with a circle dance to the “Sailor’s Jig”.  Then our Goodbye Song brought us to the close of our class.  I know that I had a marvelous time and I think the feeling was shared by all.  I know that “Creatures at the Ocean” will be a favorite to be shared over and over again!

See ya next week at the beach! 


~~~”I skipped over the ocean, I danced over the sea, All the birds in the sky couldn’t catch me!”~~~

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“June is bustin’ out all oh-ver……..”

 I know, I know, I’m full of Rodgers and Hammerstein tonight, but I’m just so excited about our Adventures camp next week – Creatures at the Ocean – in Decatur! 

 CATO logo 

Everyone registered that I’ve spoken with is the same way – we’re all looking forward to spending time “at the beach” on Davis Street.  We will be singing “Sand in My Sandals”, dancing with our seashell castanets, visiting with seagulls and hermit crabs as well as digging into the sand, hunting for buried treasure! 

Anyone interested in learning sailor songs, flying kites, and eating fish-shaped PB & J sandwiches and octopops is welcome to join us.  There are three slots still available. We’re going to have a fun-tastic time! Come join us!

CATO AH mats

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Village Mom and Baby with Grandfriend 

 Some people are surprised to hear that Kindermusik has classes for newborns all the way to age 7.  “What can a newborn or toddler possibly learn from a music class?” is a frequently asked question. (FAQ) 

The following statement, jointly issued by The National Association for Music Education (MENC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the US Department of Education, helps explain just how important music education for even the youngest musicians can be….

The Value of Music for the Very Young.
The idea that very early education provides great long-term benefits has been rendered incontestable by studies in cognition and early learning. Research in developmental psychology and commonsense observation underscore both the importance and the wisdom of making music an integral and overt part of the earliest education of young children:

(1) We know that music is among the first and most important modes of communication experienced by infants. The youngest children lack the gift of speech, but they are deeply responsive to the emotional ethos created by music. The lullabies sung by parents help children to accomplish the fundamental developmental task of learning-to trust their environment as a secure one. Songs communicate adult love and the experiences of joy and delight; they teach children that the world is a pleasurable and exciting place to be. Music is essential to the depth and strength of this early foundation for learning and for connecting to life itself.

(2) As young children grow and develop, music continues as a basic medium not only of communication, but of self-expression as well. Through music, children expand their cognitive universe as they first experience-and later learn to produce-sounds organized to carry musical meaning within their culture. Music expands memory and assists in developing crucial language skills. Music exerts a multiplier effect on reasoning skills, especially on spatial reasoning-an effect that has been demonstrated experimentally. Music also reinforces such logical and perceptual ideas as beginning and ending, cause and effect, sequence and balance, harmony and dissonance, as well as arithmetic concepts such as number, enumeration, and timing. In addition, as centuries of tradition and modern vehicles such as Sesame Street have taught us all, music in the lives of young children is a highly effective means of delivering vital information about the world itself, as when it is used to teach such basic content as counting, colors, relationships among ideas, social skills, and the wonders of the natural world. Music is also a powerful tool for communicating the full spectrum of human emotion in ways appropriate to children’s experience. Children who may not be able to express verbally their happiness, anger, or sadness can find in music the right outlet and mode for what they cannot yet identify or express clearly using the tools of language.

(3) As preschool children not only listen to and respond to music, but also learn to make music by singing and playing instruments together, they create important contexts for the early learning of vital life skills such as cooperation, collaboration, and group effort.

(4) Guided music experiences also begin to teach young children to make judgments about what constitutes “good” music, thereby developing in them the rudiments of an aesthetic sense.

(5) Music contributes strongly to “school readiness,” a foundational education aim of the American people for all our children, as expressed in our National Education Goals. Music experiences can help children prepare to learn to become literate as it helps them become more aware of and focused on the phonemes that make up the language or languages they will need to excel in school. When children develop musical skill and understanding, they are developing basic cognitive, social, and motor skills necessary for success throughout the educational process. They are preparing skills that will apply to language, to literacy, and to life itself.

…[U]nless the positive learning engendered by music in the earliest years is nurtured by those in the best position to provide it, i.e., parents, music teachers, and professional caregivers, the educational power of music and its potential for sound development can be diminished and diluted.

– excerpted from a report from the Early Childhood Music Summit, June 2000

Many thanks to Theresa Case of Musical Impressions for sharing this on her blog.

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