The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reinventing Yourself---Every August

        Yahoo has a set of two-minute movies called "Second Chance."  They highlight people who have completely changed their profession or lifestyle.  One man had a heart transplant, ran his first marathon, and gave his medal to his donor's family; he is now working on running a marathon in all 50 states. A minimalist man went from a 4,000 square feet of living space, to a home that is 8 x 12 feet.  He now designs small homes for other people.

        The incredible thing about teaching is every year is a new year.  Teachers have to bend with each class, because each class is unique.  Educators reinvent themselves every August or September.

        For example, last year, I wanted to share more of myself with my students and do transitions in a fun way.  I love music; in fact, when I drive, the radio is blaring.  The Temptations.  The Supremes.  Gnarls Barkley.  Pink.  Earth, Wind and Fire.  So, I decided to use music and movement between each class.

         I chose songs that were my favorites, and typed up the lyrics and put the music on my computer.  Each student got a set of the lyrics with numbers (so we could quickly all go to the right song. Each time a new song was introduced (sung for the first time) we would sit and read the lyrics as the song played, and then play it again, so we could stand and sing.

        I began the year with a "Playlist."  I had 20 or so songs on the list, and was the DJ for the first two weeks.  I  chose the songs, and when Reading was finished, before we began Language, or went to PE  or whatever, we stood up, and sang (and danced a little). After that, a new student was a DJ every week.  Sometimes, if the DJ was out of the room when we transitioned, I would race and choose one, glad to be able to take care of my burning desire to hear Ike and Tina Turner.  Or occasionally, I would call "Teacher's Choice" and we'd sing an "extra" song at some point in the school day.  

          In the middle of the year we added a second playlist (20 or 25 more songs).  Some of the students contributed music/made suggestions.  There were times that a short poetry lesson happened spontaneously (a discussion about rhythm/line breaks/rhyme pattern/imagery) because of a song. 

          I guess the short version of this rambling story is I reinvented myself when I infused music into our daily schedule.  Teaching is never boring.  And as you strive to evolve into a better educator, you change.

           The following song is packed with world issues, it has a catchy melody, and although it might not be well-known (my nephew exposed me to it), it would be great to use in your classroom, would be a fabulous song to work out to, to bike/walk with, and so on...

        Reinvent yourself.  Make a change for the better.


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