Sunday, December 15, 2013

Read for Meaning! – Comprehension strategies through music and sound with Phil Tulga

Phil Tulga visits Star Academy!

According to the December 13th KQED Mind/Shift article “Creative Ways to Bring Music to Students — Every Day!” , music is good for students.

“Music education, it seems, is just plain good for you. In addition to recent research that suggests music training improves literacy, increases brain function, and leaves a lasting mark on the adult brain, a recent study out of Finland featured in the journal Music Education Research found that, even when controlled for gender, school music lessons for four hours a week, over time, left students feeling good about all aspects of school.”

Although we do not yet have music education in place at Star Academy, it is definitely a priority to find ways to incorporate music and performing arts into the curriculum- now and in the future. Currently, some students participate in weekly strings and piano lessons as part of the after-school enrichment program with Pamela Buck. However, we would like music to be available to all students--during the school day. With this in mind, I invited Phil Tulga to share his talents in two assemblies this past Friday. I had seen Phil’s engaging assemblies many times over the past 17 years and was hoping the students would love it.

I was not disappointed.

Getting warmed up with a didgeridoo!

Students moving to the beat

Rhythm sticks-- with a little help from the audience!

Phil’s Reading for Meaning assembly highlighted three comprehension strategies: sequence, inference, and prediction-- using music. He shared “how to apply these strategies by retelling the classic Rudyard Kipling tale that explains how the elephant got its trunk—complete with African drums and rhythms, interactive questions, story mapping ideas, and think-aloud games.

After the kids learned how to apply these strategies to a traditional story, Phil transitioned to what he calls a sound story—a story made up completely of sound effects.  As the students listened intently to thunderstorms, barking dogs, and race cars, they also learned to connect their knowledge of sequence,inference, and prediction, to the sounds in their world.”  from http://philtulga.com/

Listening to a sound story- with eyes closed 

Finding more ways to incorporate music and performing arts into other content areas, for every student at Star Academy is a priority as we plan for next year. In January, I’ll be visiting John Swett Elementary in Martinez, California-- one of the schools featured in the Mind/Shift article, where Principal Adam Welcome is committed to finding creative ways to incorporate music into the school’s programs.

Do you have some ideas for music across the curriculum? What did your child love about Phil Tulga’s Reading for Meaning assembly? Leave a comment at the end of this post!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Local Author Erin Dealey Visits Star Academy!

On the Friday before our Thanksgiving break, we had a very special day- Erin Dealey, an amazing author from Placerville visited our school! This past summer, Mrs. Kloczko had entered Star Academy to win A Skype party with Erin, but we were so close that Erin decided to make it a school visit! Erin Dealey has written several books including Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox and Little Bo Peep Won't Go To Sleep.

Most recently, she published Deck the Walls, a funny story about the kid's table at a holiday dinner. In the week before Erin's visit, Mrs. Kloczko visited the classes to read Erin's newest book. Many Star Academy students purchased the books and had it signed by the author! At the assembly, students from every grade level helped act out the book. We had a great time! Check out this video with some images from the day. 

My favorite part of the day wasn't the book, or even the assembly. It was Erin's message to our students that inspires each of them to love reading... and writing. Just like we try to do at Star Academy every day!