Thursday, September 10, 2009


I love the tykes. I really do. What I *don't* love is not yet having Internet at my flat and so having to remember cute things for longer than I normally would have to in order to blog about them. So please forgive me if this is a bit short:

They are not as little as I was remembering them. I think what has happened is that I kept thinking that they were smaller than I remembered so that they gradually shrank in my memory- making them basically giants when I actually saw them again.

All the rooms are clean, beautiful, and newly organized. The staff room has been newly painted and remodeled so that it feels like a nice place to take a break as opposed to the re purposed storage closet vibe it gave off last year.

We started by being very quiet: taping our heads, noses, bellies, and knees as quietly as we could before getting up to creep around listening to the xylophone. I have now learned that it is useful to use recognizable music for the tykes if you want them to notice when the music stops. In this case I played phrases from twinkle twinkle having the tykes freeze in place whenever the xylophone stopped playing (always at the end of phrases, I'm no dummy.) We did this very quietly a few times before playing it very loudly and stomping around.

One of the goals listed in all of the foundation stages music books that I have been reading is for the tykes to be able to differentiate between loud and quiet. Um. I think they get it already. One of those innate things?In every class when I started playing the xylophone loudly, at least a quarter of the tykes started stomping around without any instruction from me. I will say that they pay a heck of a lot more attention when they are required to be very quiet, though. Loud boisterousness lends itself to anarchy.

Linda, the new upper school music teacher, has been a great help already and suggested that I do a chant with the kids to help them differentiate between their whispering voice, talking voice, and singing voice. We then further differentiated between robot voices, monster voices, shy voices, grumpy voices, and under water voices (much hilarity there--not good to use all the time, see previous note about anarchy).

We did a quick name song, trying to get the tykes to actually sing. That is one of my goals this year- to have the tykes become confident in their own singing voices so that it doesn't end up being me simply singing at them. The teachers are all pleased that I didn't use the same name song as last year as that one got rather overdone. The response required from the tykes was just to say "hello" and wave in the correct place. Some could handle this and some couldn't. Some classes were much more accomplished and I suspect that I managed to explain it more fully in those classes.

Finally we finished up with a re-lyric-ing of twinkle twinkle that was all about sharing and bouncing a teddy bear up and down. I substituted a penguin for the teddy because, for some reason, I feel significantly less silly singing "Bounce the penguin, fun to do" as opposed to "bounce the teddy." Plus, Linda had a very cute stuffed penguin she said I could borrow.

I've been wary of using props in my tykes classes- things like finger puppets and stuffed animals and the like. But the kids responded very well to Mr. Penguin- even going so far as to demand that we sing the song again and to accuse me of providing Mr. Penguin's voice. As though he couldn't speak for himself! So now I am cautiously for using props. Or at least Mr. Penguin.

The two women who could conceivably be seen as my direct superiors are both very much for having me at school for more than one day, but it is yet to be seen whether or not we can get the Headmaster to go for it. I'm not sure how much I can push or if I should just stay out of the way. As it is I now only have a 45 minute lunch period and have 20 (!) tykes signed up for music club. Linda is attempting to reorganize her Wednesdays so that she can do music club with me, but still- we have a lot of planning to do and I don't even have a moment to put lesson plans on to the computer the way my schedule is currently set up. So hopefully they can convince the Headmaster that it really would be useful to have me around for more than one day. Fingers crossed!

The other thing I did yesterday (why was I worried that this would be a short post?) was go to my job interview for another teaching job. It is a new music school that I will tell you more about if I get the post. They were luck to get me for the interview immediately after teaching because I was so hyped up about things. I managed to talk about how I would run classes and what things I would like to try for nearly an hour. They said they were very impressed with my experience- which was both gratifying and a little mystifying- I've only had classes since February. I was very clear that I haven't taught this age group before (year one and two) but man-oh-man does it turn out that I have plans. The only real barrier that I see between me and the job is that they really would like me to work on Wednesdays during the day which I simply can't do. Eh, we'll see. If I do get the job it would only be a couple more hours a week, but it would give me an opportunity to start out work on my plans, and that would be lots of fun.

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