Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music

by Guitars in the Classroom
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Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Strengthen TK-3 Distance Learning through Music
Students enjoying music in a GITC classroom
Students enjoying music in a GITC classroom

Throughout the pandemic and school closures, teachers, students and families have all met the challenges of living with uncertainty, stress and the technological aspects of virtual learning. Now that many TK-3 students are back in the classroom, the effects from months of distance learning are still being felt. Fortunately, classroom teachers have discovered that music has a way of making students’ efforts more worthwhile by providing an opportunity to create joy.

Ms. M has been a classroom teacher in Title I schools for the past 27 years. As a woman of color whose first language was not English, Ms. M.’s childhood experiences were similar to those of many of the second graders she teaches today. She always wanted to take music lessons but her family had no money to spare and there was no elementary arts education in her school, so music remained absent from her life until she found GITC as a veteran educator. Now, thanks to your support,  for the past two years she has been learning to play the ukulele with GITC and to lead hands-on music and the power of song for her students. 

As a language learner herself, Ms. M knows it’s important to have a growth mindset and grit, and she endeavors to instill these qualities in her students. During the pandemic she participated in a GITC co-teaching artist residency with her online classroom, obtaining ukuleles for all her students so they could play and sing together while socially distanced at home. Music became the best part of their day and a way to stay engaged and have fun. It brought joy to her students and light to her own life. Your generosity made this possible.

The last time her students had a normal school year, they were in kindergarten. Now that the children are back in the classroom, Ms. M finds music more important than ever for boosting recovery from very significant pandemic learning loss. She leads music three times a week with her students, playing ukulele and writing songs with them to further academic learning in many subjects. Recently, she was delighted to overhear her students talking together about how to plug their favorite math strategies into songwriting. They asked her if the class could make up a song about math, with each student writing a verse about the strategy of their choosing. Of course, she said, “Yes!”

Ms. M is determined to make sure that music is not out of reach for her students, as it was for her. “If they don’t have art or music, how are these kids going to shine?” she asks. "Exposure to music through GITC can create a musical connection, making it possible for my students to take it a step further as they grow." Your participation plays a vital role in creating this connection. 

With your ongoing support for our free programs, we can continue to make a life-changing difference for teachers like Ms. M and her students throughout this time of healing and possibility. Your gifts truly matter.

If you would like to keep abreast with our progress, we hope you’ll visit our website to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and join us on Facebook or Twitter to let your voice be heard!  

With heartfelt appreciation,

Gail

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Friends who play together stay together!
Friends who play together stay together!

It’s summer as you know, friends, and our days of virtual learning for children have ended. Here in San Diego, schools resumed in person instruction with a virtual option for families when our COVID-19 cases decreased and vaccines got into arms.

The results for students have been a gradual restoration of hope, glimmerings of joy, and a slow release of the traumas children experienced being kept home and away from friends, teachers and extended family members.

Here in our hometown, the San Diego Foundation teamed up with San Diego Unified School District to create a first-ever program called Level Up San Diego. Together these two powerful institutions super-funded two options to help kids emerge from the strain of remote learning. One is a half-day summer school program. The other is an enrichment program offering a range of learning opportunities from outdoor education and STEAM classes to Arts offerings.

GITC proposed launching our Summer Strummers Clubs in 7 schools in diverse neighborhoods. We hired successful GITC classroom teachers and music leaders to create highly engaging musical learning experiences in 14 clubs and we added 2 virtual sections for students who preferred to learn online. Our students are wearing masks, practicing safe social distancing, and washing their hands often. We know the pandemic is not entirely resolved. And even with these requirements, they are feeling freer, happier and more spontaneous as they connect, create and celebrate life once more with their peers and friends.

From the north to the south, and from the west to east in our district, students here are now being welcomed into safe, playful, inclusive musical classrooms, twice-weekly. Together, through music, they are developing their self-expression, creativity and collaborative skills! They are learning to sing and play traditional and multicultural songs. They are dancing, parading, making art on musical themes, playing percussion and ukulele, improvising instrumental soundtracks for stories, and composing original songs. We are so grateful to the San Diego Foundation and the San Diego Unified School District for selecting Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom to be grant recipients in order to bring music to life for kids at no charge to their families.

Please enjoy these photos from some of our classes this week! Thanks to volunteer photographer Joyce for capturing the magic, and to her husband Rodney for bringing our traveling ukulele zoo out to the clubs!

What is this crazy uke? It's a Resonator!
What is this crazy uke? It's a Resonator!
Can THIS be a ukulele too?
Can THIS be a ukulele too?
Goodness Gracious, It's a Sopranino!
Goodness Gracious, It's a Sopranino!
Rodney Shares the Magic!
Rodney Shares the Magic!

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Miss D's Upper Elementary Uke Club
Miss D's Upper Elementary Uke Club

Almost a year has passed since distance learning became the norm for TK-3 students as a result of the pandemic and school closures.  As you may know, throughout this time, teachers, students and families have all met the challenges of living with uncertainty, stress and the technological aspects of virtual learning. Fortunately, music has a way of making their efforts more worthwhile by providing an opportunity to create joy.

Thanks to your generosity, we are continuing to grow our capacity to provide GITC professional development classes online for teachers who want to learn to play simple guitar and ukulele, sing, and lead students in song, inspiring everyone. We are deeply grateful to each of you who has contributed to keep our little engine climbing the hill on nonprofit service. Because of your support, every 8 weeks we are able to welcome another 100 teachers into training to teach through the power of song with ukuleles, songs for literacy, math, science and social studies, and student songwriting. 

When she started bringing GITC to her first grade students, Miss D., a teacher at Maryland Elementary school in Vista, California found the effects of the ukulele to be life changing for her students. “I’d been looking for this thing -- something that would help me shift my students’ trajectory in life, ” she explains. “My school has the highest number of homeless students in the district. Many of my students are English language learners. My biggest hope is always to shift their trajectory with small, positive changes. Even if it’s just three degrees, it has the power to change their lives when they are adults.”  Miss D. even started after-school ukulele clubs so the students could play music together in a safe, socially-distanced setting outside. Now she is shifting school culture by inspiring teachers from every grade to bring GITC to their own students. With your support GITC is changing lives through music!

Thank you for helping to make GITC classrooms like Miss D.s musical and strong. YOUR participation is of the utmost importance. With your ongoing help, we will continue to make a huge impact together as teachers continue with online learning and, when it’s safe, move back into their classrooms.. This promises to be a time of healing and possibility when we lift 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.

If you would like to actively participate with us in cultivating more music in education, we hope you’ll visit our website, engage with us in social media, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and let your voice be heard!  

With heartfelt appreciation,

Gail

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Student receives his uke for online learning!
Student receives his uke for online learning!

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 continue to cope with the technological aspects of virtual learning, music has a way of making that effort more worthwhile. 

At the start of the pandemic, GITC transitioned from training teachers in person, in groups at schools around the county to offering our free training courses online every day of the week after school and on Saturdays. Due to the success of bringing GITC into the online classroom, the demand for our programs has doubled! Thanks to your generosity, we are able to grow our capacity to provide GITC professional development classes online for teachers who want to learn to play simple guitar and ukulele, sing, and lead students in song, inspiring everyone.

Our enrollment continues to climb. Because of your support, every 8 weeks we are able to welcome another 100 teachers into training to teach through the power of song with ukuleles, songs for literacy, math, science and social studies, and student songwriting. We are immensely grateful to you! 

Teachers tell us about the impact of the work you are supporting.  Third grade teacher Mrs. R shared, “I think [playing ukuleles online with the students] is something different and unexpected during this time when everyone is stressed about everything. I am definitely getting parents wandering over [to the computer] during class time and peeking in because it’s a different feeling than just playing background music. It’s important for me to have a personal connection with the kids. It’s my way of saying ‘I know we’re not together, but I’m still here.”

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 the pandemic. We encourage you to visit our website at www.guitarsintheclassroom.org and click on the blog page to read more about Mrs. R 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.

If you would like to actively participate with us in cultivating more music in education, we hope you’ll visit our website, engage with us in social media, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and let your voice be heard!  

With heartfelt appreciation,

Gail

Links:

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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
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