1. How does discipline and behavior define a musician and his performance?

  2. What essential techniques are needed to achieve mastery in..?

  3. What are the elements of music that enhance a performance (dynamics, tempo, etc)

  4. How do we practice and prepare for a concert?

  5. How does concert etiquette affect a performance?

  6. What are the skills needed to achieve mastery in....piece?

  7. How does music help us grow as community?

  8. How does positive feedback and assessment help us grow as musicians?

  9. How does knowledge of historical background enhance our music experience?

  10. What are the skills needed before learning a piece of music? 

For more detailed post on essential questions and how to choose effective essential questions for your classroom, please read post 

 Providing Positive Feedback To Change Behavioral Habits In Your Classroom

Are you working in a classroom that needs discipline intervention? 
Do you have certain students who need to improve their work?
Are you thinking about different ways to improve your own child's behavior? 
One strategy you can use in your classroom is providing consistent positive reinforcement. This approach will help you both with developing discipline as well as improving students' performance. You would be using positive reinforcement to change the negative aspects in your classroom. It will  help you develop better relationship with the students as you would be guiding them to a better performance instead of forcing them to it. 
While using this strategy you would be assessing students each time they do an activity. Here is a step by step approach to it: 

 1. Start by getting into the habit of giving students positive feedback very consistently at the end of each activity and at the beginning and end of each class.
It is always a good idea to start the class with a summary of what happened in the previous class as well as what the students will be working on. 
Examples may sound like this : 
  • Last week we had a great class. We learned new song which we will continue today. However, I noticed that some of you were not quiet at the very end of class. This time I am going to be watching to congratulate the three quietest students at the end.
  • Yesterday we practiced Twinkle and we worked on our second finger being in tune. Now I am going to be watching these second fingers and pointing out the students who are doing well with it.

2. Catch a behavior that you want and then acknowledge it. 

Examples of phrases you may use:
I noticed that...was doing a good job playing attention to the conductor

I am congratulating...for...

I noticed that...was quiet for the whole class
Before we begin class today I'd like to congratulate ... for getting here on time and being in rest position right away.

3. Focus on the positive. 
When you begin you must focus on positive aspects of the students. It is very natural for teachers to pay attention to the higher performing students first. However, what you need to do instead is focus on the ones who are not doing so well. You would need to re-direct their attention to the positive things they are doing in your classroom. The positive feedback may be as simple as "John, I noticed you were not late today" "John, I noticed that you were distracting the class but then you were quiet at the end."

4. Never let students know who you would acknowledge and why.
This strategy works only if the students are. The teachers should never give them a clue on the feedback that would be provided to them. 

5. Don't pick favorites. 
Make sure each child gets a chance to be acknowledged.

6. Be consistent giving the kids feedback in the same way over many lessons.
With developing any habit, consistency is the key. You need to be consistent using the same strategies over the course of many lessons in order for the strategy to work. If used just once or sporadically it would not have an effect. 

7. Don't give up! This strategy is powerful but it takes longer!
You may be working with students with behavioral problems. It may seem that this strategy is too "weak" for them to change.  If you don't see success in the first two or three classes, keep going! Keep in mind that you may be working with students who are having difficulties with their family. These students will  feel uncomfortable at first as they are not used to any support from adults. However, these are also the students who you can help the most!

8. Notice how the classroom culture changes!

Welcome to the 48th Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors!
We are pleased to be welcoming two fabulous co-hosts this week: Kimbra, the blogger behind The Barefoot Librarian and Tiffiny from the blog, Spark and Pook.  Big welcome to Kimbra and Tiffiny!

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *Please Read*

1. We ask that you kindly follow your hosts. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we’ve added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick “follow” or “like” that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks!:-)
2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don’t link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one. Please link unique posts each time ~ no repeats please. *
Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*
3. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you!
4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you’re linking up. If you’d prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links!
5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop? If you’ve joined us before, you are welcome to join us again! Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!

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What To Do After Halloween And Other Holidays

Halloween is a funny holiday. It is very important for so many children. Yet, to me this particular holiday does not hold much historical or national significance in comparison to other holidays we celebrate...but there is lots of sugar and fun involved!

 Kids get excited, have lots of candy, and inevitably get into a sugar "low" right after Halloween

Read these tips to help your child recover after the excitement of Halloween

Balance Your Child's Diet!
Your child's diet will affect their energy level, performance at school, and ability to do their homework. Interestingly, research now shows that sugar in small quantities is not harmful for children. A piece of candy after a healthy meal will not harm your child. The problem? The candy comes in much bigger proportions around Halloween. After the candy rush of Halloween, focus on salads, fruit, and healthier meals! Balance their diet to keep their bodies healthy and their minds sharp!

Your child has collected too much candy after Haloween. They would eat nothing else!
I have lots of parents who come for lessons after the week of HAlloween reporting that they have enough candy at the house for nearly a year. This can be dangerous.
Having lots of leftover candy can be a good way to sneak in some discipline and studies into your child's routine. You can use what they are motivated by to help them build routines.

Set rules on how much candy they can have and what they need to do in order to get it! For example, they can have have a piece of candy on a weekend after lunch and if they have helped with the dishes. They can have a candy every time they have done 30min of instrument practice, math HW, etc.
It is also great to use the leftover candy for after-Halloween educational games. For ideas see post Treasure Games

Your child starts acting out at school!
This may be the time you experience an an Unexpected Phone Call Home from your teacher. You may have a perfectly well behaved child. And during this time of year they may start acting up.

Realize that everybody is tired. This is difficult time in the school year. At that time students start getting tired and the school work demands increase. Both teachers and students start feeling overwhelmed at that time. Simply realizing that and being able to let go a bit will take care of a lot of stress. Don't jump into quick conclusion both about your child or your child's teacher. Instead, take a step back and carefully think about the situation. If you need support handling a phone call home, see this post.

Your child is too tired all the time!
Imagine a sugar rush and then dropping your energy level. This is what your child may be experiencing   after Halloween. Whether permitting, get your child outside. Get them moving. Allow anough rest even if things at school are busy. Watch your child's nutrition after Halloween. Balancing the candy with greens and healthy food is always a good idea to get their little bodies back on track.

Remember, balance is the best way to parent! Balance fun with serious, tasty with healthy!
For First Year Teachers...
Get Deeper Into Learning about Art this Halloween

In many of the posts in this blog, I like to reinforce that when children are having fun, this is the best opportunity to learn! Fall and the anticipation of Halloween is a great opportunity to deepen your child's learning on many different levels. Decorating, crafts, costume preparations, these are all opportunities to spend time with your child and to think about taking their education one step further at whatever stage in life they might be. See this best selections of wonderful articles about making Jack-O-Lantern, pumpkin carving, and Halloween to get a bit more art education with your child. To me as a teacher, Fall is wonderful time of the year as the ideas about motivating a child are endless.

Take Halloween art education one step further with these ideas:

I simply love this post and I feel all parents should read it. Fall is a great time to not only decorate but also learn some of the basic principles in art. Creating Jack-O-lantern is a great way of doing that.

Fall season is a good time to reinforce reading and language comprehension. I love this simple Halloween activity about making a Jack-O-Lantern bookmark. After making it, see if you can start a game or a friendly family contest with how much your child can read. For example they can track how quickly the Jack-O-Lantern bookmark can move from the beginning to the end of the book they are reading. They can have a little treat once the new bookmark goes through a certain number of pages, etc. 

Learning about the history of Halloween is always a good idea no matter what other activity you want to do with your child. Even, if you are not celebrating Halloween, that could be a starting point of discussion with your child- explain how it all started and share your reasoning about your family beliefs. This site also provides lots of other art ideas related to Halloween you may decide to use. 

What do you do with your child around that time of the year? 
Pumpkin bread is almost in the oven!!! 
Oh, I just need a few minutes to get it ready! 
What do I do with my kids while preparing it?

The holidays can provide a wonderful educational opportunity for children. As a teacher I see how enthusiastic students get right before a holiday. They also get very engaged when the educational activity is connected to the holiday coming up. This could be a powerful tool for learning! Parents and teachers can use the holidays to not only engage in fun activities but to also fit extra learning into the daily routine. This can be especially effective with the reluctant learners as well as studying more difficult subjects. 

As this is a music site...let's begin the Halloween preparation by introducing a music educational and literacy material! While busy getting candy, costume shopping, pumpkin carving, and planning parties, let's use Halloween to also fit some EDUCATION into our child's lives.

Here is just one idea to make the best of Halloween!

While baking your favorite Fall recipes, have your little one entertained and educated with Dem Bones!

What is it: 
Dem Bones and more sing-along stories is an educational DVD with a few little sing-along stories! The animation is quite cute, the ghosts are inviting and funny, and the songs are easy to follow. 

Some of the things your child will be learning:
Music - they will listen and sing along. The DVD is very easy to follow and your child will enjoy singing along with it. 
Anatomy - the first story in the DVD shows the "bone characters" who sing and explain to the kids about the different bones and joints in the body.  Then the DVD takes your child to the  "Dinosaur Bones",  describing the pre-historic bones as well as the history of fossils.
Integrated curriculum- your child will be learning by integrating different subjects with music. We have written many posts stressing the importance of music for young children to retain information. 

Can I get is as a book:
Yes, depending on your child's needs and your learning goals you can get the same Dem Bones sing-along stories as a book. I like having sing-along materials in a DVD format because that gives the child the opportunity to hear the music and see visuals. It also may take the pressure away from a parent who wants to teach their child but does not feel comfortable singing along with them. However, doing a combination between reading to/with your child and watching the DVD would be ideal. 

Now...for the best way to enjoy Fall learning with your child...

Why not connect Fall baking and learning?

Enjoying a treat after learning together can be a great way to spend time and develop relationship with your child. You can also use the time to do it as you are waiting for the treat to bake!

 My top 10 picks of Fall and Halloween baking recipe gems!

Sweet Potato Banana Nut Bread from this site

 Nutella Swirl Bread from A Pinch of Glitter 

Pumpkin Magic Bars from www.bakersroyale.com

Pumpkin Bread from MusicTeaching&Parenting

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from Give Peas a Chance

Whole Wheat Pumplin Maple Chunk Cookies from The Sweet Tooth Life

Soft Chewy Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips from Shaken Together

Lightened Up Crumbly Pumpkin Bread from Damn Delicious

Happy Fall Everyone!
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