Find different articles in this post, directed toward parents, general classroom and music classroom Easter game ideas!

Easter festivities can be a wonderful opportunity for parents and teachers to fit more learning into the every day activities. Children are very much involved in Holidays and family traditions. Using that as an educational tool can help them greatly with motivation to learn.
Find different articles in this post, directed toward parents, general classroom and music classroom Easter game ideas!

As a teacher, I love using Easter eggs to develop educational activities for my younger students. You can do so much with them! I often use the plastic eggs they sell at all stores around that time of year. They are unexpensive, available everywhere around Easter, and full of possibilities. Depending on the goal I wish for, the eggs can be filed with different challenges, different prizes, or they can be the base of creating a game.

Easter Educational Fun at Home
I wrote an article where you can find some games you can play to nurture love for learning and practice skills in a fun way. Please take a look below.

Music Easter Ideas
As a music teacher I simply love using Easter games around that time of the year. These are always very effective for my students up through 6th grade. However, an older student can also appreciate some fun when learning. It is also a time of the year when students need a change of pace in order to stay motivated. See activities for classroom use or home practice below.

Easter Assessment Games in Regular Classrooms
Creating a game with exit ticket or an assignment where the challenge is put inside an Easter egg is jus an Eggsellent idea for elementary students. This is very simple to do and can fit any subject. The students can have an egg hunt in the classroom with different challenges inside the egg. Or they could simply receive an egg, if they complete the challenge, they get to keep it. 

Have fun! Happy Easter!

Let me introduce myself!   My name is Maria.  I am currently living and teaching in New Mexico!
This is my second year participating in the ultimate blog party! This party has more significance for me because this is around the time last year I had decided to start a blog and work more on it. 
I love connecting with other bloggers, this is such a great opportunity to learn about each other and connect with each other! 

I started blogging about an year ago! When not writing my thoughts down, I am quite involved in teaching. I maintain a Suzuki violin studio, where I work with children and their parents. I coordinate a program at the University of New Mexico helping younger teachers.  I am also the orchestra director at a public school, where I teach in a mixed socio-economic setting. I am passionate about my work. I spend a lot of time thinking about children and how to better help them.

The purpose of this blog is to provide parents with ideas and advice. Many of the articles are about music education in particular. However, many of them are about developing character, discipline, and work consistency. The ideas can be easily transferred to any area of children's lives. I am always willing to give parents advice and share experience. Common themes in the articles are engaging children, learning through games, positive discipline, engaging students to increase enthusiasm. I also have a page where you can ask a question if you have a concern with school, music instruction, or simply want to share and need a second opinion.

I absolutely love what I do! After preparing for over 20 different lessons a week, I feel it is necessary to write down my ideas and what has worked for me and my students. And blogging is a much more enjoyable way of doing it!

It is my sincere hope to help parents both in their journey through music lessons and with parenting in general! It is my belief that teaching is about making a connection. I hope that I can make a connection with many of you! I believe in educating the whole child! I think that any subject can lead to students empowerment with the right instruction! I work with parents to help the child achieve their best!

That having said, let me take you through the my blog and the different blog topics you may find.

I write a lot about parent-teacher communication. These relationships could be difficult and they are always very emotional. I believe that I can help parents and younger teachers have an easier time with these.

I am hosting the Kid Lit Blog party every first Wednesday of each month. I would love for you to stop by, take a look and link up your wonderful posts!

Cooking is alwasy been my passion! Why on this blog? A lot of my friends have been asking me for my recies. At the same time I have been wanting to create more of a family-oriented site with different topics. So..check out and try one of the recipes! Tell me what you think!

When educating a child, we can all use extra advice. This blog provides many tips on educating, disciplining, and guiding children to a positive behavior. This is one of the posts on this topic!

Besides specific posts about music and practicing, I also have posts that guide parents into exploring music with their children, books appropriate for younger students, musical activities that aid all learning.

Did you stop by today? Then please say hello!!!

Do you have a scpecific feedabck or advice about ths blog? Please do not hesittate to share it in the comments~
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What is Rhythm? Rhythm is a beat or a pulse. Think heart beat. Think repetition of a sound. Rhythm is everywhere in the thrum of the washing machine, drops of rain, hands clapping. Rhythm is made up of sounds and silences. When put together to form a repeatable pattern, you have rhythm. †Rhythm is a central feature of language and speech. In language, rhythm is created when we place emphasis or stress on certain words. Feel the underlying beat of the first lines of this famous rhyme:rhythm
As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives. The accent of the words creates a steady beat, or rhythm.
†Why do We Need Rhythm? Rhythm is fundamental to the human experience.

parents read
Look at the books on your child's shelf. Chances are you have many rhyming books. Rhyming books are catchy, fun to read, and keep your child's attention. You might not be aware, though, of other incredible benefits swimming below the surface of these innocent little ditty's on a colorful page.

  †What is Rhyme? We all know rhyme when we see it. It's where the patterns of words contain similar sounds. Sam/Ham/Am for instance. (And if you have a child, you can
rhyming wordsname that book in 10 seconds or less.)

  †Why Do We Need Rhyme?
  • It is easier to learn something when it rhymes. We remember rhymes. Rhyme is an effective mnemonic device and can "tag" information, not only making it easy to learn, but also easy to later recall. And rhyming is fun. It's playful.
  • Rhyme helps with reading. There is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability. Rhythm helps the child recognize patterns, a fundamental reading skill. It also helps with spelling as there is the ability to infer that two like-sounding words are often spelled similarly. Good rhymers make good readers.
  • Rhyme is calming. Rhyming lines are predictable. There is a soothing quality to rhyme.
  • Rhyme helps brain development. Young children's brains need a blend of repetition and the occurrence of surprise. Rhyme has both.
  • Rhythm, like rhyme, enhances learning. It helps improve our attention skills. Rhythm helps memory (Brower, 1993; Payne & Holzman, 1986; Patel, et al., 1998). Rhythm is predictable, structured, and organized--and our brain likes it!
  • Rhythm is essential for the socialization of infants. It is integral to the coordination of motor activity and locomotion (Iverson & Thelen, 1999).
  • We are hard-wired from birth for rhythm.† In 2009, researchers from Hungary and the Netherlands reported that, by measuring their brain waves when listening to rhythms, day-old infants are able to detect differences between them.
  • Rhythm is a de-stresser.†The rhythmical activity of drumming reversed multiple components of the human stress response believed responsible in the development of common diseases (Bittman, Medical Science Monitor, 2005).
  • Rhythm is a basic element in the construction of more complex human behaviors, such as music and language (Iverson & Thelen, 1999; Patel, et al., 1998).
  • Rhythm is an element of music. "Music making offers extensive exercise for brain cells and their synapses (connections). It would be difficult to find another activity that engages so many of the brain's systems."(Weinberger, N., 1998)
  • Our motor systems naturally entrain, or match, to a rhythmic beat. When a musical input enters our central nervous system, some of it heads straight to motor nerves in our spinal cord. This allows our muscles to move to the rhythm without our having to think about it or "try". It's how we dance to music, tap our foot to a rhythm, and walk in time to a beat. Many young children "rock" to the beat or show it physically in some way before the age of one.
Bring Rhythm Alive Through the Books on Your Shelf Now that you know the massive benefits that rhyme and rhythm provide, youíll want to run to your bookshelf and find the books that can easily promote this. Chicka Chicka Boom BoomThe Chicka Chicka books are great for bringing out the benefits of rhythm. In Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, children learn the alphabet and in Chicka Chicka 1 2 3, they learn numbers (and, of course, a LOT more as you just learned!) The opening page gives a good example of rhyme and rhythm: A told B, And B told C, I'll meet you at the top Of the coconut tree. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of a rhyming book like this:
  • Read the book often and with engagement. Young children love repetition. Engage them with the large cutout shapes and colors on the page. If they are old enough, encourage them to say some of the words, especially at the end of lines where words rhyme. Remember, memorable!
  • Tap the rhythm as you read. On your leg, on their back, on the book. Or clap the rhythm. It might be helpful for you to see the beat visually. Songs and rhymes can be divided into "measures". Measures help group beats into patterns. †Each measure has a specific number of beats ó most commonly, four beats. Just think "1, 2, 3, 4," and then begin again with "1" in each subsequent measure.
rhythm bar line  
  • Bring out an "instrument." This could be an instrument you've made or purchased. It could be a found object at home. A pan and a wooden spoon make a great drum. Beat out the underlying pulse†pot pan instrumentor heart beat of each phrase as you read. (Or by now, you may know the whole book by heart!) Encourage your child to play with you and no worries if they are not 'on' the beat. Plenty of time for that as they grow.
  • Most of all, HAVE FUN with rhythm!

Share With Us What books do you have at home that lend
themselves to rhythmical activity? Please share your rhythmic
stories and ideas here with others.

AnnieMTCrop-1Annie Keeling, MFA, founder of the Parenting Groove blog, is an educator, writer, music teacher, and parent. She teaches elementary children's group music education classes as well as parent/child early education Music Together classes. The families involved have been a springboard for material involving parenting, music, and education (especially ideas around building respectful behavior of all family members.) Raised by a family therapist who created the 3R's Learning Center for Behavior Education, Annie incorporates many of his teachings in her writing. She has a BS in Dance Therapy and Dance Education from UW-Madison, a Masters in Dance from UCLA, and a Masters in Creative Writing from Goddard College.

Status update:
This past week has been lighter in terms of everything I had to do. Yet, I felt really tired every single day. The time change made me stay up late, the Spring weather made me not want to do much work, ad as a result I had a difficult week staying on task. At the same time I have started a new eating plan which made it a bit more difficult for me to plan for and cook healthy daily. So, what happens when you get back home rather late, you are starving, want something healthy but if possible FAST. In addition, you may even have some rice left over from the nght before or from Asian reastaurant take out. Hmmmm. You may try this!

This is an easy and inexpensive dish that you can easily make on a busy night and use either as a side or as a main vegan/vegetarian dish. It takes only 4-5 minutes to prepare and the same amount of time to cook. It is tasty, delicious, healthy and quick. This is all I need! Try it one evening and see what you think.

So... easy + vegan + healthy + inexpensive = a recipe you must have in your recipe book and cooking repertoire!!!

9 oz (255 gm) or one package snow peas
2 tablespoons canola oil (or preferred oil)
1/2 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt to taste or 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

To prepare wash the snow peas and remove the fibers from them. If you are not sure how to remove the fibers, you can look at this video (the video is about snap peas but it works the same way). I have made this dish a few times now. As you might see in the first picture I had rushed and forgot to remove the fibers. hubby was quite critical as his mother used to make a similar dish growing up in a Chinese-American family:) and as a result I ate the snow peas alone. By the second time I did not forget. Everybody happy!

Heat up a pan to medium heat. Add the two tablespoons of canola oil until hot. Reduce the heats slightly. Add the garlic and immediately after add the show peas. Sir in the ginger last. Let cook for 4 min only. Leave an extra minute if you want the snow peas to be softer. But be careful not to overcook.  Add salt or soy sauce to taste.  Serve over rice to enjoy!

Blooming Flowers in Las Cruces, New Mexico
A Hike to Remember

What are your plans in the Spring?
Are you getting at the level to compose or arrange your own music?

Composition could be a wonderful way of developing your child's creativity as well as strengtening note reading skills! Please find these helpful free downloads to help your child exploring notes and typing musical notation.

Beginning Composition

Composition is a great way to develop a better understanding of note reading. This tool will make it easy and fun for your child to explore composing and musical notation. The students get to learn how music is made, and then compose their own music. This game is better for younger children at the elementary level. It can also be used by elementary music school teachers. For more experienced students you can use the tools below.

Getting Your Experienced Musician To A Different Level

MuseScore can be used with students who have had musical training. It is a great free tool to explore composition or simply to practice writing notes. It is a great way to get students to start exploring notation and using technology. More advanced students can use it for arranging songs, creating their own arrangements, etc.
Do you want to grow your orchestra or music program just a big bigger? Are you wondering how to get these few extra students to balance out the numbers in your music program?

In the previous post we talked about recruiting students for your band or orchestra program and especially what not to do when you go to the elementary schools to recruit. Here are some pointers that you can use when you want to get these couple of extra students into your music program without taking trips to other schools. These tricks you can use if you want to recruit more students from the school once the school year has started as opposed to recruiting from the feeder programs.

1. Tell your own students.
The best recruiting for my music program has been when I have had my own students engaged. I talk to them about the importance of having a balanced ensemble, that it is more fun to play with more people, etc. At the end of the discussion, I tell them specifically what I need them to do. For example, there might be a couple of potential viola players that they would find among their friends.

2. Doughnut day...yes!!! That's right!
During the week of registration for the next school year I have hosted a doughut day for my music program. I have each of my students come to the music room during lunch and bring a friend. They get to show their friend the musical instruments and they both get a doughnut on the way out.

3. Have concerts and assemblies during the school day!
Concerts after school are not enough to reach the school community. Your music program will need to have presence during the school day for all students at the school to find out about your program and what music has to offer. Having your music program be a part of school essemblies and events is always a great way to do that. Scheduling concerts and presentations as assemblies during the school day would also help. Some examples might be having your kids performing the Star-Spangled Banner at the school graduation ceremony, inviting local groups to perform at the school, concerts with a different theme that reach the school community. For example, we have done a series of anti-bullying concerts that were quite successful. We have also invited a group form the local youth symphony to present to the whole school.

You will need to schedule these in advance. Depending on the school, this could be time consuming and it takes some planning. But you can raise a lot of awareness about your program and have the other kids in the school want to join your music program.

See if you can schedule one at the beginning of the year and one right when registration for your school  happens in the Spring. This is where you will get the most result.

4. Invite other classes to your classroom!
Inviting other classes for a short music presentation during the school day can be a great way to bridge the gap between your music program and the regular ed teachers. This could take time difficult as some core studies teachers are protective of their time. Yet, as you get to know the teachers at your school you would find out if some of them have easier days on Fridays, if others are in between units after testing, etc. Think about it as a way to "take the load off" another teacher and invite their students to your classroom for a presentation. Again, this will help your program get noticed by the larger school community.

Is there something that I have missed? Then please include it in the comments!

Wishing you a growing and thriving program!

Make Sure You Also Check
WHAT NOT TO DO When Recruiting Students For Band and Orchestra Programs