Friday, February 26, 2010

Techno Love

Today, during 6th grade music at Wallace, my cell phone rang.  I normally have it set to silent but ... I forgot ... I ran to get it because my ring tone is a recording of my students singing All Jazzed Up by Teresa Jennings.  I let them listen to it, with wide eyes, and didn't even think of answering it!  Technology is so awesome!  It can also be distracting!  Hee Hee  (Thanks to my oldest son for making me the awesome ring-tone!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recorder Karate

My 4th graders experience the thrill of participating in Recorder Karate each January and February.  This is a self-paced program created by Barb Philipak in which students must play pieces with excellence in order to achieve each belt color.   Most of my students will pass again this year.  They work diligently in order to make this happen.  When they do pass, they are awarded a translucent recorder...theirs to keep forever!    If you'd like more information, click here:  Recorder Karate

Friday, February 19, 2010

On-line Music Notation Site

I found an incredible on-line music notation site.  It's called  Note Flight  This is a transcription I made of Leo Arnaud's Bugler's Dream, the piece you hear every time you turn on the Olympics!  I look to utilize this in my classroom in the future.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Teaching in 3 schools

My life is full. My days are full. I love it's challenging.  I teach in 3 elementary schools and rarely have time to chat with staff during the day. That can be a good thing...I'm not the one "in the know" about gossip. It can also be a bad thing...some times I "miss the memo." principals and teachers really do a great job of trying to keep my informed and...I'm not the only one. There are several traveling teachers in our district. There is a vote coming up for a bond to build a new school. The vote is in May. I love what I do and I could do this for the rest of my teaching career...but...I would also love to be a part of a more efficient system. I have some great ideas for music at a single site. I like listening to the various view points and wait with great expectation to see what the outcome of the vote will be. More Information

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Virginia Reel Continued...

The Virginia Reel is an America folk dance that may have it's origins in Scottish or Irish dance.   George Washington's diaries reveal it to be one of his favorite dances.   I teach this dance to my 3rd - 6th graders each year and we dance it on Presidents day.   Although giggles and blushing overtake some students in the beginning, they soon enjoy the process of recreational dancing.  We discuss all the things folks did not have in Pres. Washington's time and compare then to now.   I would miss have electricity and indoor plumbing as well as my laptop, car and television but I think it would be fun to get together and dance a reel with friends as our primary form of entertainment.   Virginia Reel

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It's amazing what learning to juggle does for people.  The motivation to learn to do this is amazing.  I have no students who give up on this...none.  They don't all become proficient but they all enjoy the process.  Check out the video on YouTube.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Virginia Reel

I've read in history books that The Virginia Reel was George Washington's favorite dance.   As I explain the dance to my 3rd graders, there is much giggling.  Ew...touching hands!  I tell them the story of "long ago" before electricity and television and video games and MP3 players and computers when people got together to sing and dance and cook and hunt and quilt and play games.  These were their fun times. 

I draw a fishing rod and reel on the board.  I also draw an old film reel-to-reel projector which most have never seen.  I show them the difference in spelling "reel" and "real." They start to get interested as the time moves along.

We start the dance instruction with plain hand sanitizer and I tell them that I will reward them at the end of the class with fun smelling hand sanitizer...if...they have been polite.  Today was Fresh Lemon.  Incentive does wonders toward encouraging proper behavior.   They were great and they can't wait until next Monday when we will do it again!  Yay!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Garageband and Podcasts

5th and 6th graders have been working in Garage Band for the month of January and the first part of February.  Here is a link to my Podbean site that features a couple of selections: Mrs. Lukow's Podbean Site  Enjoy!

Week-ends for me...

I spend time each week-end tweaking lesson plans, entering grades and preparing for the week to come.   As a traveling teacher, I don't have much time during the day to plan.  My classes are all back to back...out goes one class and in comes the next!  I have a 15 min. break at Wallace and a 10 min. break at Juniata.  I have more time for planning at Ayr but I don't have a room so I guess I exchange one convenience for another.  :o) 

So today I will finish listening to 6th grade Bach podcasts, review plans for the week and refresh my mind and body as to how to dance the Virginia Reel.  This was George Washington's favorite says the history books.  :o)  Wed. is the Spelling Bee and I think I will be the aural announcer again.  It was one year ago that I did this while still on intravenous steroids because of my first MS exacerbation.  What a wild experience!   I have my vision back and am so grateful.  Onward.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Love My Job!

Just looking into the precious faces of my students energizes me.  We are in the midst of Recorder Karate and 4th graders are learning so much with this incredible program by Barb Philipak!  The 3rd graders are also reading music so well!  I love watching them learn.  Oh...and we started a unit on the Blues today in 5th grade.  Wow... We watched some incredible videos of Johnny Lee Hooker, B. B. King and one of the late Tony Snow.  I think they are hooked.  The Blues are amazing.  I love it and hope to pass that love onto my students.  6th wrapped up their Bach podcasts.  I think it was a little long for them.  They are ready to move and groove again.  Soon we will be dancing.  Oh...I love singing true love songs with my kinders, 1st and 2nd graders.  I tell them this is not the mushy, gushy, kissy, smoochy love, but true family and friendship love.  Kinders LOOOOOOOve "I'm a Little Teapot" which is not really a "love" song but it's still sweet.  We shared sugar cubes.  So fun.  I'm blessed to do what I do.