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Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!

by Guitars in the Classroom
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Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!
Infuse Learning with Music in PreK-8 Classrooms!

Dear Friends,

Every child in a GITC program whose life opens up to music gets a key to creating their own happiness, even and especially in times of great uncertainty and stress. As teachers, students and families struggle to cope with the technological aspects of virtual learning, music has a way of making that effort more worthwhile. 

Thanks to you, we are continuing to infuse learning with music in preK - 8 classes as they resume this fall.  Your donations are helping us grow our capacity to serve more students in need and train teachers from all around the U.S. online as the pandemic continues. Because of your support we have launched new GITC professional development classes online in an effort to meet the growing demand from teachers who want to learn to play simple guitar and ukulele, sing, and lead students in song, inspiring everyone. In fact, enrollment in our courses has doubled since school closures were mandated last March! Your support is allowing us to continue the positive impact we are making for teachers and students.Thank you for helping to make this possible!  

The impact on teachers from the work you are supporting cannot be overstated. We are immensely grateful to you! T-K/kindergarten teacher, Patti Steele said, “Online learning is so hard at this age, but music is a way to reach them all and level the playing field. Some of the parents didn’t speak English, some had to go to work, but this was some common ground. I think the ukulele is what saved me, and the kids, too. It was a common denominator and it was the highlight of my Zoom classes.”  

Your support of our work has empowered teachers to build more creative online learning environments and classroom communities filled with authenticity, trust, care and interdependence. These important qualities are helping teachers carry their students through COVID-19. We encourage you to visit our website at www.guitarsintheclassroom.org and click on the blog page to read more about Patti Steele and other dedicated classroom teachers who are making a difference with music in their online classes. We thank you for your blessings and gifts to do this work. 

We deeply appreciate your generosity and care for children. With your ongoing participation, we will continue to make a huge impact this school year, together. We look forward to creating more opportunities for you to be able to improve children's ability to learn enthusiastically and to make music at school.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Gail

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Dear Friends,

Making music for ourselves is a form of self expression, and a way to connect with others, and every child deserves the chance to participate. Every child in a GITC program whose life opens up to music gets a key to creating their own happiness.

Your donations have helped us grow our capacity to serve more students in need and train teachers from all around the U.S. online during the pandemic!  Because of your support we have been able to get ukuleles into small hands by providing safe porch instrument provisions for kids in our highly engaged classrooms. We call these Safe Porch Pick-Ups. Thank you for helping to make this possible! This is allowing us to continue the positive impact we are making for teachers and students through our new online programs. It was even covered by our friends at CBS 8 - San Diego News Morning Extra, who recently featured Ms. Gingerlily and, representing their classmates, two of her 2nd grade students who wrote new verses to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy".  They talked about healing and staying positive by playing music while sheltering at home.

Also, the impact on teachers from the work you are supporting cannot be overstated. We are immensely grateful to you. Teachers have openly shared that this work has helped them to overcome the initial fears many felt as first time adult music makers. Through their participation they feel they have developed greater grit and are now experiencing success, and this is having a profound effect on their students! Your support of our work has empowered them to build more creative online learning environments and classroom communities filled with authenticity, trust, care and interdependence. These important qualities are helping teachers carry their students through COVID-19. We thank you for your blessings and gifts to do this work. 

Your ongoing support is so important to help us continue to make an impact. Please consider contributing to our Keep Music Alive Online GlobalGiving Project.  Thank you! https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/keep-music-alive-online/

 We deeply appreciate your generosity and care for children. With your ongoing participation, we will continue to make a huge impact this school year, together. We look forward to creating more opportunities for you to be able to improve children's ability to learn enthusiastically and to make music at school.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Jess

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GITC Teaching Artist Residency Mr. G and Ms. Shiri
GITC Teaching Artist Residency Mr. G and Ms. Shiri

Dear Friends,

We received a wonderful note in December from Mr. B., the enthusiastic principal of Morningside Elementary School in San Fernando, CA. We will share that note below, but first a little background. This Los Angeles Unified School is one of the oldest in the district. It has 620 students in grades K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 24 to 1. According to state test scores, 31% of students are at least proficient in math and 32% in reading. 96% of the students are Hispanic and just one in six are classified as an English Learners. The school has a high percentage of students living at or below the poverty line. The academic success of this school speaks well of the students, their families and the teachers. 

I met Mr. B this fall when he stepped in to lead the school. He has an optimistic spirit, loves music, and is all about bringing creativity to his students and faculty. Despite the challenges that people experience each day in low income schools, everyone I met was smiling and generating hope and love in their work. The spirit of grit, optimism and dedication is alive and well there and they have the right guy in charge!

Mr. B jumped into GITC with both feet! The day I turned up with ukuleles, he was opening the garage and personally lugging the boxes up to the office. When teachers gathered for a faculty meeting the next week, he asked who wanted to learn to play, sing, compose lyrics for learning and teach through the power of song and 20 hands went up!

Thanks to his advocacy, we launched the after school training class with our faculty trainer, Miss Kristen and this led to our being able to designate funding for teaching artist residencies paid for by the California Arts Council this year. For 10 weeks, Ms. Shiri was able to work one on one with highly engaged classroom teachers to impart the GITC approach and music education activities so they can carry on independently this year. All of this happened between October and today! Now in February, we will be offering a new level of training and Morningside Elementary has become a GITC Flagship school- one that sets an example for possibilities and success. We are so grateful to everyone there who is participating, especially Ms. Maria.

Ms. Maria teaches transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, and she had voluntarily been attending GITC PDs and our Teacher Retreat for 3 years on her own! In our book she is an unsung hero and deserves a great song. Her actions speak to the power of one individual to change the world. Her passion led to all of her colleagues and students in the region having a chance to bring music to learning every day.

This is the note I received from Mr. B. sharing about his visit to a GITC residency classroom recently.

“I went to Mr. G.’s class today because it was the last day with Ms. Shiri for GITC. They invited parents to come in at 10:40 AM. The room was filled with parents, smiles, and engaged students. All of it was happening in the name of developing, honoring, and respecting a love for music and music education.

Goosebumps, clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose. I was floored. Just beautiful. 

Thank you for creating what you have created and giving us the opportunity to benefit and share in your creation.

We are fortunate indeed.

He also shared these photos with permission from everyone in them.

This is the magic your charity is unfolding around the country. Where there is a school in need, a supportive leader and enthusiastic teachers ready to embrace music as a teaching approach and learning modality, we want to serve. Because of YOU, we can.

Thank you for your gifts, your care and the value you place on the Arts as a vital part of every student’s education. We applaud and celebrate you!

With gratitude,

Jess

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Felicia Fis Sharing Music with GITC Teachers
Felicia Fis Sharing Music with GITC Teachers

Dear Supporter,

Sometimes we send you an overall progress report, but today we want to introduce you to someone who is making a difference through GITC, Felicia Fis. Not only is Felicia supporting her students to grow and achieve personal insight and success everyday, but she is joining us to train her fellow educators. What we are learning from Felicia will be traveling through all the GITC programs this year. What is called Social Emotional Learning or SEL for short has become more and more important in all classrooms in the past year. As always, GITC is responding to the request from educators to give them training in this area so they can be as helpful and effective as possible teaching all kinds of learners.

Felicia Fis is a beacon of kindness, compassion and creativity in her work with Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom and as a school psychologist in San Diego Unified. This summer, Felicia presented a deeply moving and effective workshop to participants in our teacher retreat in Julian, called "Taking in the Good." Wherever she is-  with children, colleagues or GITC community members- her knowledge, her beautiful spirit, her voice and her comfort on guitar are pure inspiration!"

Felicia is now helping other GITC teachers and specialists understand how music can become a force for teaching calm and self-regulation in all classrooms. Specific behavioral strategies were once primarily in the domain of special education, but now all classrooms are embracing students with a variety of educational and social emotional challenges as part of a more inclusive approach. That means general classroom teachers want to learn exactly what Felicia teaches. 

“There are so many opportunities for students to feel overwhelmed in an inclusive classroom,” remarks Jess Baron, GITC Executive Director. “Waiting, going through transitions between activities, coping with overwhelming sound and visual stimuli, mediating conflicts with peers- any of these experiences can trigger students to become overwhelmed, frustrated, or even angry. Learning to work through those feelings in a classroom setting is a big job. And making music with students provides a very positive, natural medium for developing a wide range of self-regulation self-soothing strategies.“

Felicia agrees. She believes that every student has the potential to participate successfully in music. “One misconception about children with disabilities and social-emotional issues is that they don’t like sensory experiences -- when the truth is, they seek them out,” she explains. “If they are playing instruments and making the sounds, it is not dis-regulating. Instead, it regulates them because it’s tactile, visual, and auditory all at the same time.” 

As a school psychologist at Valencia Park and Paradise Hills elementary schools, Felicia works with many kids with physical challenges, social-emotional issues, and behavioral issues. Her room is full of instruments, and she has seen first-hand the incredible impact that playing them has on her students. 

“One student had significant behavioral challenges but he wanted to play guitar. Being able to come to my room and play guitar became a huge incentive for good behavior, and it had a ripple effect. Other kids started asking to play,” explains Felicia. 

In June, she attended GITC’s 2-day conference in AMAISE (Adapted Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education), an experience she found to be both empowering and inspiring. The conference included hands-on adapted instrument training on drums, ukulele, guitar, and Beamz interactive music system, as well as instruction on how to write lyrics for learning and social-emotional development. “The songwriting piece is amazing,” Felicia explains. “Students with special needs feel SO proud when they write a song. They have utilized their strengths, their creativity and their expressive language to create something valuable. You can see immediately that their confidence has been boosted.” 

Felicia describes her work with GITC as “satisfying and fulfilling.” She hopes that more teachers will join the movement and they are -- because she’s recruiting them in droves! She is also witnessing students who didn’t want to go to school now feeling excited to attend because music is a part of their day. 

“Music and art are important. They open parts of people’s brains that other things don’t,” she says. “I’m always trying to figure out new ways to bridge music and learning.”

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Judy Ann Johnson
Judy Ann Johnson
Dear Friend of GITC,
I hope this report finds you enjoying the first days of summer. Usually we send you a broad look at what has been happening with programs. But today, I want to share about something special that your gifts made possible, something that helped a veteran teacher make one of her final wishes in the world into a reality.
Judy Ann Johnson was a light in the lives of her famly, friends and her students. She taught in our home district, San Diego Unified, for 20 years. She was a dedicated first grade teacher at a school with her last name, Johnson Elementary. Johnson is one of those special small campuses that feels like home. The office staff is friendly, there is almost no place to turn around, and the walls are covered with murals. It was a perfect place for Judy who adored the arts. She was a skillful painter, singer and she played the guitar!

Judy joined GITC in the summer of 2018 and through her short time with us, she brought our work to her school. She applied to SD Unified's fledgling VAPA Foundation for a classroom grant to purchase ukuleles for the students to play and was awarded that grant for $500 at the beginning of 2018-2019.

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Through one of our wonderful sponsor partnering companies, Saga Musical Instruments, Judy ordered 24 soprano ukuleles for her classroom. Our Tuning Archangel, Rodney Howard got them ready and we personally delivered them to the school to make sure everything arrived timely. But Judy was not there. No one seemed to know what was going on. She had been out sick for several days.
Judy wrote to me from her hospital bed, explaining what was going on. She had received a very vexing diagnosis - Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and large pulmonary embolisms in her lungs. Most people would not be thinking about work when they get this kind of bad news. But Judy was worried that, because of her health crisis, her kiddos would not learn to play, despite being ready to strum, sitting in a big box in their classroom.
"I'm not sure who will be taking over my room, but I made a promise to those kids to learn the ukulele and if you can help me out, well wonderful," she explained. "Marissa Ramirez is the other first grade teacher who is my partner in crime.   I have my own little uke and guitar here that cheer me up. I am so grateful for everyone's kindness." 

We promised Judy that we would find a way to fund two weekly first grade teaching artist residencies in order that her promise to the children be fulfilled and her dream realized.
Thankfully, this came to pass because of you and helped us raise just enough funding to send GITC Teaching Artist. Jefferson Jay to bring joy and learning to Judy's and Melissa's kids. Jefferson is one of the most convivial people you'd ever want to meet and he was up for the assignment. 

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GITC is grateful to you! From January through April, teachers and students in both first grades learned how to strum, sing, and write their own songs for learning. Each child has music to help them tackle the tough moments in life, to bring them closer to each other, and to express how they feel.

Very sadly, we lost Judy this spring. She in the angel band now. But her love will live on in every student who learned to play because she made up her mind to give music to them- no matter what...and because you cared.
Those ukes will keep on being played at Johnson Elementary and we hope to do more next fall in both first AND second grades! The program will carry Judy's name.  And each time a new first grader or second grader comes into their classroom at the beginning of the year and sees those ukuleles on the wall next to Judy's picture, they will know that someone very kind had them in mind.
Thank you for bringing the magic. We hope you will stay with us and keep the goodness going.
With gratitude,
Jess

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Organization Information

Guitars in the Classroom

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GITCmusic
Project Leader:
Jessica Baron
San Diego, CA United States
$35,300 raised of $42,000 goal
 
540 donations
$6,700 to go
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