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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!
Students at Fries Elementary in Wilmington, CA
Students at Fries Elementary in Wilmington, CA

Dear Music Friends,, 

This has been an incredibly busy launch to the school year with record enrollment and new programs popping up around the U.S. We here at GITC are so grateful for your support of this work. In the past week, I have been working tirelessly in our programs taking place throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the U.S. covering over 700 square miles. Thanks in part to your support and also with grants from the California Arts Council and LAUSD itself, we are serving in some of the mose economically challenged communities, making sure every young student in a GITC classroom gets to learn to play ukulele, sing and write their own songs for learning.

At the same time, your charitable gifts are helping us serve in schools all over the country, from rural North Carolina to urban Brooklyn, from island community Whidbey Island in Washington State, to Lemon Grove, CA where many refugees from African countries have found a safe, new home. Music can unite us all in the human spirit, instilling hope and cultivating tools for learning, but only when friends like you help us make this possible.

In L.A. this year, GITC teaching artists are working with classroom g teachers in 24 classrooms to support their development as songleaders for learning. This is going on downtown LA near Skid Row, and in Watts, in schools from North Hollywood to Canoga Park and parts east, and more. The student progress that is made possible when a classroom teacher receives 9 sequential coaching visits from a trained GITC music teacher is exponential. Each time our artists and teachers work together to help students have a positive, productive hands-on experience, children are learning. The kids love participating in literacy lessons set to music and fueled by the power of song! Given the chance to strum and sing, every single student participates whole-heartedly. Their understandings are growing, the grades are improving, the classrooms are singing.

Thank you for standing with GITC for our young students and for the future on making music in this country. We look forward to sharing an amazing school year with you!

With endless gratitude,

Jess

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Patrice & Janelle
Patrice & Janelle

Hello Friend,

Thank you for your support of students in need by giving to our programs. Through your continued generosity, we have been able to increase our impact in classrooms in the U.S. serving children from every walk of life. To highlight some of your impact, we would like to share GITC classroom teachers Janelle Rusch and Patrice Maller story of musical partnership. Your charitable giving to our organization gets teachers like these two started making music in their classrooms and this story gives you a glimpse of how teachers can embrace the work when they have been with the program long enough to develop strong music leadership skills and confidence.

Silver Gate Elementary School teachers Janelle Rusch and Patrice Maller laugh as they strum their ukuleles in Rusch’s colorfully decorated kindergarten classroom. Both Janelle and Patrice are GITC teachers who have a unique program in which their classrooms buddy up and learn and play together. They have been partnering for 2 ½ years and have learned a lot along the way.           

Patrice, an experienced teacher with 28 years of experience, 21 of them at Silver Gate Elementary, was the first to hear about Guitars in the Classroom. A neighbor and fellow teacher told her about the organization and she was immediately interested. 5 years ago she connected with the organization and took a summer intensive course. She has been using music in the classroom ever since and has even raised enough money to purchase a full set of ukuleles for her classroom.

After Patrice started integrating the GITC method, Janelle overheard her talking about it and this re-awakened her own desire to get back into music so she reached out to Patrice. Janelle has a background in early childhood development and with her 7 years at Silver Gate teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade, she saw this as a great opportunity to connect with her young students in a new way.

They decided to embark on a journey together by implementing a buddy program between their K/1 and 3rd grade classes. For 30 minutes a week, Janelle’s class of younger students visits Patrice’s older class to strum and sing songs together on the ukulele. Each student has a buddy whom they sit with every week while the older kids teach and guide the younger children. 

Patrice and Janelle designed this partnership in a way to best benefit the students. First, Janelle makes a list of her students, describing their personalities so Patrice can pair them well. Patrice shares about this technique, “The buddy program is a little bit unique, and to set it up Janelle does a great job of saying to me okay here’s my list of kids … this child is very friendly and outgoing, this one is shy. I can look at her list with those descriptors and look at kids in my group and figure out who might be the best buddy for that person.” 

In addition to partnering them well, Patrice and Janelle both work with their individual classes outside of the scheduled 30 minute time periods. By preparing the older students to instruct, and by giving the younger students an introduction to playing, their time together goes more smoothly. During their shared time, the older buddies play different roles, calling out instructions, clapping, and singing along to the music.

Janelle and Patrice both have seen the great impact bringing music in the classroom can have on students. Patrice emphasizes that music is just another key way to reach kids. Like any other subject or learning tool, music will affect and influence students in new and unique ways. An over-emphasis on the science and math curriculum can unintentionally overshadow the great power that music and art can have to further cross-curricular learning. In addition to boosting academic success and creating a vibrant classroom learning environment, the integration of music also gives students an opportunity to discover a new hobby or passion. Many of the students in both Janelle’s and Patrice’s classes have gone home asking for ukuleles or guitars, hoping to continue learning the craft on their own time.

Janelle also points out the great effect music can have on the disposition or engagement of students. Calmness and focus can be brought to those who are restless or agitated, and it brings excitement to those tend to be disengaged. Janelle shares that music integration is effective, “especially with kids who might have behavioral issues or special needs. All of the sudden this calm comes over them and they get that one on one instruction that they don’t always get from me on a regular day.” Through their partnership, music is able to help those who might otherwise have trouble focusing and engaging.

In addition to the power of the music, the two teachers have seen the great benefits of the buddy system. The mentorship gives the older students a new found responsibility. “Anybody who shows someone else how to do something feels really good about themselves and it gives them a motivation, I think, to try a little harder. It motivates my kids to pay attention to what they’re doing and really think about it because they know they’re going to be going into another person’s classroom and playing for them,” Patrice says. This motivation creates more focus in the classroom. And their progress can clearly be seen, “I’ll look out and say ‘Hello out there, is anybody listening?’ and I think they’re not watching me. And then I watch them with her students showing them the finger position and how hard to press and how to make a chord properly and I realize how much they’ve learned. They’re involved, so they’re so much more interested because they’re the ones doing something,” Patrice shares.

Not only do the older buddies grow as mentors, but the younger buddies get individual attention and instruction that would be impossible for Janelle to do alone. Janelle says, “The older students have already had a little bit of an introduction as to how to hold it, what finger to put down and those kind of things that really helps my younger kids. Because for me to teach a whole class of younger kids … that’s much more of a challenge just because of where they are in their development. For us to meet up and them to have that knowledge … it’s wonderful and we’re very grateful.”

In addition to the causing an increase in understanding and attention, these partnerships create bonds that go beyond the classroom. Students say hi to one another on and off campus and are creating relationships that supersede age and class. They’re developing social skills through the buddy system. In this way, their buddy program is nurturing the school community. Now in its third year, students in 5th grade were once 3rd grade coaches. The students they helped to get started two years ago are now those big kids helping a new batch of first graders learn to play! Continuity is a natural result of the stability of this creative partnership between Janelle and Patrice.

The buddy system also provides a sense of support and accountability for Patrice and Janelle. Both of them emphasized the challenge of having enough time to prepare for a lesson that involves music. Having each other creates a commitment that keeps them accountable. Planning and working together helps them ensure they actually do it, makes the process a bit easier, and gives them someone to share the fun with!

Patrice encourages teachers interested in starting with GITC or implementing a buddy program, “Start and don’t worry about the details.” Both Janelle and Patrice agree things don’t always go smoothly in the beginning, but over time the joy and growth you see in the kids makes it all worth it.

We hope you've enjoyed reading this story of how training two willing teachers led to a transformative movement within an elementary school. Your support allows us to continue to infuse schools and classrooms with musical learning.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have allowed GITC's compassionate faculty members to accomplish. Together, we are making a remarkable difference for kids. We hope you will continue to give your support to these efforts so more children can learn, grow and thrive through creative self expression and music in 2017!

With you in service,

Jessica Baron

Janelle Rusch
Janelle Rusch
Patrice Maller
Patrice Maller
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Charlie explores the strings!
Charlie explores the strings!

If you have ever held then let go of the hand of a child entering kindergarten for the first time, you may be familiar with the natural hopes and concerns felt by both the parent and the child on the first day.

We wonder if our child will make a friend. Will the teacher be kind? Is he or she really ready to go from a less formal life of "free play" to one with expectations for "good behavior" and learning at each turn? Will a challenge be welcome or feared- or both!?

Children who attend preschool may have an easier time adjusting to school- but so many don't have this opportunity.  Even with tax credits or discounts, the cost of preschool can be out of reach. In addition, just because a child does attend preschool does not mean he or she is ready for more structure.

In those first days of school, we hope that our child will have a good experience. When being asked by a teacher to do something unfamiliar or unwelcome, we hope our child will rise to the challenge. When it's time to put toys, books or tools away, we hope our child will manage that task smoothly. When competing for a toy or for the teacher's attention or seeking friendship from an uninterested peer, we hope our child's heart will be safe and strong. We cannot be there to help.

But music can.

Singing can bring each child into the group, capture everyone's attention and hold it fast. And each song that carries a message teaches something important. A song for names, a song for learning sounds, a song for cleaning up, a song for waiting for your turn, a song for expressing feelings in words, a song for numbers, a song for ending the day...these songs can ease the stress of school, help children feel a part of the classroom community, and each song like a little package of good ideas can bring their learning back to them.

This is the work of GITC in Tk and kindergarten classrooms! Throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District this spring, we have launched our first artist residencies with your invaluable assistance! From the far Northwest Valley to Eas L.A., your love is being felt.

You are helping Tk and K teachers bring the magic and discoverey of childhood and the love of home into their classrooms through music. Even in this institutional environment, the teachers are learning ways to keep joy in the moment and creativity in the process of learning. Together with our first GITC Teaching Artists in LA, together we are helping each child find a musical pathway to success, to learning, to growth.

Meet Charlie. Last week I had the profound pleasure of observing him explore and discover his ukulele during music time. The class was learning the sounds in the word "cat." It wasn't enough for Charlie to strum and sing, although that would have been enough for him to achieve. He wanted to understand where and how the strings attached to the uke from the bottom to the top. Over and over he traced their path, touching the bridge at the bottom and the tuners at the top- an engineer in the making. When he formed an understanding, unaware he was being observed, a smile broke out across his face and he began strummming! My eyes filled with tears. This is why I have done this work for almost 30 years. Charlie then eagerly embraced the challenge of matching his teacher's steady beat, an activity that forges new neural pathways to form across the brain. Please enjoy the video we posted of him on facebook and you will see for yourself the learning you are empowering teachers to facilitate.

Charlie is a Tk student in East L.A. Four and five year olds who are not ready for the rules and rigors of kindergarten need this kind of playful discovery they may find in a grade that some districts have created, Transitional Kindergarten, known as Tk. Students between 48 and 60 months can qualify for this class instead of full-on kindergarten.

Tk seems like a sensible and wonderful idea, right?  Well, it IS.  But the grade is so new that many teachers- and especially principals- are only beginning to understand what should be taking place in Tk.

Tk is NOT "kindergarten but slower." It has very specific developmental markers and milestones in which students are not expected to be able to read and write yet- but they are laying the foundations through sounds, phonemes, games, and yes, thanks to you and GITC, special songs.

Tk students are ready to listen to, isolate, identify, pronounce, blend and play with sounds, forming words and phrases that they will eventually learn to read and write. But not before they learn to hear, say and understand them. In our trainings, we give the Tk and K teachers songs specially written for this purspose. They are so easy to strum and sing. Then we set them up with sets of Makala Waterman ukuleles or Diamond Head ukuleles to play!

Adding the component of strumming accomplishes a great deal within each child. They all experience tactile stimulation, develop a deep sense of rhythm and pitch, practice fine motor skills and self control, learn to listen to directions and to each other and regulate their playing to match the group. They hear, match and play a steady beat all together (quite a feat!), then they divide that beat into two and strum up and down! 

This focused playing lights up the whole brain with two handed playing while the children sing songs that introduce, and impart mastery of the sounds, words and phrases while giving meaning, purpose and focus to their experiences throughout the day. After each song, the children- and their teachers- feel calmed and uplifted, ready to go on to whatever comes next. At the end of the day, that incliudes dancing to the door.

We are so grateful to you for what you are permitting us to provide to young students. Please keep that love and support coming. We have tens of thousands of classrooms to reach and need your help to get to each and every one. Please remember us as your tax refunds come in and if you'd like to adopt a special classroom, please visit our new microproject where this will possible in the days and months ahead!

With gratitude for your care,

Jess

Jessica Baron, GITC Founder and Executive Director

Charlie's class makes a ukulele daisy
Charlie's class makes a ukulele daisy
Charlie's class plays Please Pass the Uke!
Charlie's class plays Please Pass the Uke!

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Music Teachers in Training in Colorado
Music Teachers in Training in Colorado

Dear Friend,

Here we are in February and it's time to catch you up on the latest developments with Guitars in the Classroom! Thank you for caring and for taking a couple minutes to read about the progress your contributions have been making possible. We have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Anaheim California and the convention center there where makers of musical product from around the globe gather once a year to show their creations. Guitars in the classroom is blessed to receive support from the NAMM Foundation which serves as the charitable wing of the trade association that puts on the show. It is an exciting time of year where our board meets, plans for the year ahead and we have an opportunity to meet with and thank the musical instrument and accessory sponsors who helped us supply the schools. We are including a link to the NAMM foundation website for you so you can learn about all the wonderful work they are doing to support music education and musical learning around the world.

GITC is midway through the school year with new programs and classes running this month in Colorado, Mississippi and Washington State thanks to your support. We are excited to be continuing our established trainings all around California and far away in West Virginia and New York! If you are interested in finding out about a program in a particular location, please reach out to our Executive Director at Jess@guitarsintheclassroom.org.  

We are excited to announce that we have been blessed by a large donation of guitars from C.F. Martin & Company and ukuleles from Kala Brand Music Company. These gifts are helping us further equip classrooms in Title 1 high poverty schools. Partnerships with such caring companies make a world of difference to how many students our free trainings can reach and we are grateful.

The big news is that after much experimentation and pilot programming, this year we are officially coming forward with a three-pronged approach to making a difference for children. In addition to giving free classes to general classroom teachers after school, we are now officially training music teachers, in fact we are teaching the music education faculties for school districts. This way, music teachers can include guitars and ukuleles in their TK-5 general music programs. Some are also choosing to learn to be music trainers for their general classroom colleagues, too. This makes wonderful new relationships between music and general educators and infuses schools with a complete musical culture, touching everyone. A rising tide raises all sails and a rising song lifts all spirits.

This winter, GITC faculty members have trained music educators in Loveland, Colorado in the Thompson School District. In addition, I have begun training music educators in San Diego Unified School District as well as the music teachers in the Oxnard, CA public schools. In March, a noted LAUSD music educator and I are looking forward to sharing our work with 70 music teachers attending the OAKE Conference in Philadelphia!

Your kind support of our work is making all of this progress possible! Thank you for keeping the faith and helping us move forward so more children can learn through the power of song.

In addition to training music teachers and general classroom educators, we have also officially added a component of teaching artist residencies to our work. This new offering gives the general classroom teacher short term support and coaching with students in their own classroom when they first learn to employ music as a teaching and learning strategy. Artist residencies are still new for us and are in full swing in our Learning through the Arts classrooms and in our Momentum Academies (Juvenile Court and Community Schools) in San Diego County. We are also beginning 12 artist residencies in March on a grant from the Los Angeles Unified School District. There, our teaching artists will be visiting high needs transitional kindergarten classrooms to coach teachers who have already taken 6 hours of training with GITC in teaching literacy through music. We are grateful to the LAUSD Arts Branch for this exciting support.

These organizational improvements are being accompanied by improvements in our teaching materials. We begin working on a series of instructional videos for our whole community this month. The videos will make it easier for everyone to learn the techniques that make our approach so accessible for all kinds and ages of students. They give us another way to keep trainings free to teachers so anyone can participate and will make GITC's work more widely available to teachers in communities far from our program locations. We are grateful to the NAMM Foundation for their significant support of this big endeavor.

While GITC makes every effort to strengthen our offerings and maintain full accessibility to teachers and students, music making continues on in GITC classrooms around the country as usual with our Strum & Sing classes for teachers. These dedicated educators are doing an amazing job of leading the way, inspiring their students, and addressing lesson content and musical learning independently!

We are including a link, below, to some tiny videos from GITC teacher training and classroom activities for you to enjoy this time. The videos come from Colorado and California. Classroom footage is in our flagship elementary school in North Hollywood, California where most of the faculty is strumming and singing with students. We are so grateful to these teachers for allowing us to share their song leadership for learning with you and to principal Christopher Clarke 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ONo469yqk4

Thank you for helping GITC to infuse TK-5 learning with music! We ask that you stay with us, help us keep moving this big vision and mission forward so that children everywhere can receive musical learning opportunities on a daily basis at school. Now more than ever, our efforts to serve our most vulnerable students in our public schools will make a crucial difference for them now and into the future. Together, and only together can we accomplish these exciting goals!

In service and gratitude, wishing you peace,

Jess

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Becca and Jess
Becca and Jess

Hello Friend,

Thank you for your support of students in need by giving to our programs. Through your continued generosity, we have been able to increase our impact in classrooms in the U.S. serving children from every walk of life. To highlight some of your impact, we would like to share GITC classroom teacher Becca Zauderer’s story of service.

Becca is a new teacher, in only her third year in the classroom. The summer after she graduated from University of California, San Diego, she trained in music integration with Guitars in the Classroom in a 1 week intensive class. She was a quick study with our simplified playing method and in the fall, she took her ukulele and guitar to Korea where she used music to teach English to young Korean students.She was encouraged by the students' success and sent videos of them back to us at GITC to share her excitement. 

When Becca returned from her year teaching abroad, she accepted a position at Cherokee Point Elementary. Located in City Heights, San Diego, a community that has become home to many political and economic refugees, Cherokee Point has been designated a trauma informed school. Every child has been through a traumatic event. Teachers are trained in restorative practices that nurture the children's emotional and physical recovery. Classrooms become safe places that teach children constructive ways to express themselves, build trusting relationships with their peers and teachers. For the past two years, Becca Zauderer has made singing and making music an integral part of that process.

This year, Cherokee Point was given the opportunity by the San Diego Unified School District to participate in a revolutionary initiative to address the needs of impoverished students through the arts, integrated into academic study. Becca advocated passionately with her principal and fellow faculty members to bring our work to the school. After some very careful deliberation, 7 more teachers made the commitment to train with us. GITC teaching artist, Jody Mulgrew is already co-teaching with kindergarten and first grade teachers there.

Without your support, these students would not have access to music education. Your gifts have helped us put training, educational materials, supplies and ukuleles these classrooms.

Then, just last month, Becca and her Cherokee Point second and third grade class had the privilege of welcoming more than 30 principals from Hawaii tp their room to observe the role of music in boosting student literacy. The children welcomed these esteemed visitors by them singing “Aloha Oe” as they entered the classroom. The song brought smiles and a few happy tears to the visitors and helped the students see their own ability to become friendship ambassadors through music.

You can read more about Becca’s advocacy and her adventure using GITC methods to teach in Korea, by reading our blog: http://www.guitarsintheclassroom.org/2016/09/meet-rebecca-zauderer-gitc-classroom-teacher/ 

We hope you've enjoyed reading this singular story of how training one willing teacher led to a transformative movement within an elementary school. Your support allows us to continue to infuse schools and classrooms with musical learning.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have allowed GITC's compassionate faculty members to accomplish. Together, we are making a remarkable difference for kids. We hope you will stay with us during the holidays and that you will continue to give your support to these efforts so more children can learn, grow and thrive through creative self expression and music in 2017!

With you in service,

Jessica Baron

Hawaiian Principals visit Cherokee Point
Hawaiian Principals visit Cherokee Point
Students in San Diego County
Students in San Diego County

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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
$35,235 raised of $42,000 goal
 
535 donations
$6,765 to go
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