Guitars in the Classroom

Since 1998, Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) has been inspiring, training and equipping classroom teachers to integrate music making across the academic curriculum through "song-based instruction" so students of all ages have educational, musical access & opportunity at school every day. Our work prepares educators to lead music, employing it as a dynamic tool for reaching all learners, teaching all subjects, and building character, creativity and community.Programs & materials are free.
Mar 3, 2014

Going Uke Crazy at Challenger Middle School!

Challenger Middle School Ukes!
Challenger Middle School Ukes!

Dear Sponsor and Friend,

Thank you so much for helping Guitars in the Classroom bring more joy, energy and engagement to learning in grades K-8. Your gift has been helping child after child become a more musical person while enjoying learning everything from math to social studies. More and more these days, our classes are including hands-on ukuleles for the students to play. They strum to accompany the songs they are composing as a part of learning every subject.

This time, please meet the musical students at Challenger Middle School. Their teacher, Cathy Green has been teaching academics and music, both, and she loves to combine the two. When your donation helped us fund trainings that Cathy could attend, she learned to lead songwriting with her 6th-8th graders and she also learned to play and teach ukulele. At a time when life can be very confusing, her students are positive, involved, and doing well. Some of this is because Cathy's own positive spirit finds expression by bringing music into everything she does in the school.

That is one reason GITC is making a difference in education; because the teachers find a way to be authentic, creative and spontaneous in their teaching through music. This restores in their spirits the passion that originally drove them to become teachers in the first place. And it flies in the face of over-testing and fear of failure that became so rampant in many American classrooms as a result of No Child Left Behind. Singing requires breathing and breathing reduces stress. Strumming is a form of movement, and movement calms the mind. Music is in this way, a kind of natural medicine. Strumming a beautiful chord and singing together begins to change everything.

Thank you for helping GITC make the music possible in the schools. Together, let's make sure more teachers learn to lead so more children have this chance to learn, live and feel better everyday.

With gratitude for all you do,

Jess

Links:

Mar 3, 2014

Music for Preschools in Mississippi and Alabama!

Together we can make a difference!
Together we can make a difference!

Hello, Friend,I am so excited to tell you the latest news. Since you have been helping out GITC, we have been able to really move forward on our work with young children. The gift you gave was part of a massive push to get more music into early childhood and primary grade classrooms.

We recently got some help from a special friend, pianist and guitarist George Winston. He gave our efforts an added boost with a concert on February 12th in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. People came from all over the two states where we are serving to hear George and learn about GITC and the demand for more trainings skyrocketed in a night. More schools signed on, and now we want more than ever to be able to supply everyone with trainings and instruments.

Next week, classes begin for teachers and their children at Leona B. Warren HeadStart, in Mobile, Alabama!  And in another week, we start up at Taconi Head Start in Ocean Springs. We are working on getting something going in Hattiesburg, too.

And up in Worcester, Massachusetts the early childhood educators are rocking and playing slide guitar with trainer Jon Short, writing all kinds of songs for learning. In Lansing, Michigan, they are learning to play guitar and ukulele with trainer Ben Hassenger. In Victorville, they are studying with Marion Davison. And the beat goes on and on.

Thank you for helping us make an enormous difference for children during their most impressionable years when music can help them learn everything with greater ease and joy and set them on a positive path in school. Your love is making up for what so many public schools cannot afford to provide, and would not be able to implement on their own. Innovation takes advocates and you are right here with us, trumpeting the cause of music for learning every day.

With gratitude in my heart for your kindness and solidarity,

Jess

preschool music in MS Head Start
preschool music in MS Head Start

Links:

Dec 30, 2013

Thank You for Turning Math into Music!

Patty Bertram and Third Graders Do Math
Patty Bertram and Third Graders Do Math

Dear Friend of Learning and Making Music,

Thank you so very much for making our fall programs successful! It was YOUR generosity empowering our trainers to bring essential tools for leading lessons through song to children in every region of the country and in Ontario, Canada. Your faith in an innovative approach, your passion putting energy into the arts, your decision to emphasize creativity in the classroom... your values are creating social change by changing the way teachers engage students.

This fall, many young students were shown how to turn complex mathematical operations into fun and easy-to-remember steps when their teachers coached them to apply math concepts to writing song lyrics.The students worked as a class and in small groups to pour their math problems into song lyrics

Imagine being a first grader trying to tell time and getting stuck on the "afters" and "befores". Or a second grader attempting to substract 2 digit numbers for the first time. Put yourself back in third grade, memorizing mutliplication tables and trying to solve for equivalent fractions.Just as you are tiring of trying, your teacher pulls out a guitar and says, let's see what we can do to help ourselves learn this lesson to the tune of "On Top of Old Smokey." Now THAT is funny. Especially since children already know "On Top of Spaghetti."

Maybe you were a fourth grader who had trouble lining up columns and carrying over, then bringing down the remainder during long division. Enough wrong answers in a stern and unforgiving classroom of right/wrong answers and almighty test scores and any child can become math-phobic. Relieving anxiety around learning and increasing joy are just 2 reasons why we need more music making in math classes. Making music gets kids breathing and it lowers their anxiety level (which teachers call the "affective filter").

Writing math lyrics for learning embeds equations, operations and outcomes in melody and rhythm so the students remember them by remembering the song.

Here specifically is how, thanks to you, GITC has been making math easier to learn this fall.

Remember the old song, "You Get a Line and I'll Get a Pole" ? This is one of the "starter songs" we help teachers learn to play, sing and lead because it is catchy, fun, simple to play and in the public domain. The teachers this song in their GITC training class, then they can listen to it online, download the free song chart and be ready to share it in class right away. Once the students have learned the song, it's time to write new lyrics for learning.

Here is a fun old video of Ref Foley and his band performing the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLwG6whHhq4

Now, below, are some lyrics written by the students in a third grade class at Sandburg Elementary, in San Diego. Teacher Patty Bertram wrote this with the students and it was their very first classroom GITC composition. Her idea to have each student add his or her name at the end of each line. This had the magic effect of instilling pride in the children as they sung their own invented equivalent fraction lines.

The impact was phenomenal. Not only did the song reinforce the process of simplification, it helped students memorize certain fractions and practice doing the essential math without doing a boring worksheet or undergoing the old "drill and kill" routine that makes kids turn off to learning.

Patty's students had a wonderful time singing together- and they also did brilliantly on their math test. In fact, thanks to making music, her class finished their math curriculum one chapter ahead of the other 3rd grades that did not integrate music last year. You can hear her talk about it on our video, linked to this report.

Here is her song. You can play with with the G, G7, C and D7 chords if you like. The chart is at our website.

                                      Simplifying Fractions

                         (to the tune of "You Get a Line and I'll Get a Pole"

Chorus:   Simplifying fractions is our game, simplifying  fractions is our game,                                                    

              We di-vide the  top and bottom by one number, then we’ve got ‘em!

              Simplify a fraction & say your name! (Teacher points to student and she says her name)

              ‘Cuz simplifying fractions is our game!  (Teacher points to student & he says his name)

1.      Divide by two! (spoken)

         Two over four equals one over two, I’m Madi!

          Two over four equals one over two, I’m Sam!

          Two over four equals one over two!

          Two fourths equals one half, it’s true!

          I can simpli-fy and so can you! 

 

2. Divide by five! (spoken)

     Five out of ten equals one out of two, I’m Jane!

     Five out of ten equals one out of two

     Five tenths equals one half, it’s true

     I can simplify and so can you!

So... how much exactly have you helped children? Your gifts have empowered us to train over 200 new teachers since July to teach math through music.

You have made it possible for us to donate or loan instruments to teachers and students in 130 schools.

You have given 19,000 students a way to learn things this fall that are hard to understand by other means.

And you have made it possible for me to explain the value of music in learning to people who had never considered it possible.

Thank you for standing by GITC and me. Thanks for giving. Please stay with us in 2014 while we endeavor to raise funds for staffing and for impirical research on the academic impact of integrated music which continuing to provide the free trainings that return creativity to classrooms previously stiffled by overtesting. The time for making education better is now - and you are already involved!

We wish you a happy New Year filled with love, abundance, friendship, health and inspiration,

Jessica

Girls Compose Math Lyrics
Girls Compose Math Lyrics

Links:

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