Curriculum Matters: October 13, 2013
We celebrated Andrea Riddle Day on Friday, October 6th. It was an afternoon filled
The children have been singing, chanting, playing instruments and moving. We sang
songs related to fall. One of our favorites was “The Month of October”.
I introduced the use of different instrumentation. We explored the different sounds
of instruments and learned how to use the non-pitched instruments as an accompaniment
for our songs. We played triangles, finger cymbals, drums, rhythm sticks, and claves.
We moved rhythmically to folkdance. Through movement, the children experienced
joy, freedom, rhythm, and a unity with music. We practiced walking, leaping, twisting,
hopping, and skipping.
Stories and books offered us a great opportunity to integrate storytelling with
creative body movements, singing, and instruments playing. These included “Hop
Jump”, by Ellen Stoll Walsh and “Charlie Parker Played Be Bop” by Chris Raschka.
Our instrumental music rehearsals and lessons are in full swing!
Beginning instrumentalists from visit Ithaca College School of Music every week
for lessons with Junior student teachers.
Our 2nd-year players collaborate in Junior Band, where their musical vocabulary
grows each Monday morning.
Our more experienced players join the Concert Band two mornings a week and are invited
to jam with the vivacious Big Band as well.
Percussion Ensemble creates with and without written music, and Middle School’s
Chamber Players explore a wide variety of small group repertoire.
In addition to their ensemble work, the approximately 100 instrumental musicians
at EACMSI are given in-school lessons in the brand new Andrea B. Riddle Center
for Music, Movement, and Art. This new environment is inspiring the children to
further embrace their musical community and to make music every day.
Mi nombre es Peter. Yo tengo 8 años.
Yo soy un niño.
Me gusta el invierno. Me gusta esquiar.”
Mi nombre es Jane. Yo tengo 7 años.
Yo soy un niña.
Me gusta la Primavera. Me gusta caminar.”
Peter and Jane are characters inspired by a book collection from the 1960’s. Peter
and Jane were presented to EAC children as siblings from an American family that
moved to Spain. While in Madrid, they are learning Spanish at a Montessori school.
EAC children immediately felt connected to Peter and Jane, and through Peter and
Jane’s experiences, they are able to understand that anyone can learn a new language.
Spanish lessons are based in the use of idioms and common expressions incorporating
Montessori materials and techniques. Children engage in hands-on activities with
a focus on conversation and vocabulary enrichment. Spanish lessons include movement,
songs, illustrations and other activities to complement the learning process. Children
practice speaking, listening and reading as they are introduced to different life
situations. After Children learn to introduce themselves and continue with descriptions
about their environment, things they like, etc. For any classroom activity, children
have the opportunity to understand and internalize the subjects and concepts presented
to them in Spanish.
The Extended Day children are learning basic vocabulary as well as numbers from
0 to 10. Children are making connections between words and numbers applied to their
The Junior Level children are speaking in Spanish loudly and clearly! They already
know how to introduce themselves, and provide information such as their names, their
age, the season they like, and what they like to do.
Children are enjoying learning Spanish and see it as an opportunity to express themselves
in another language.
This year the focus is to inspire students and give them the experience that learning
and speaking Spanish is fun. We are developing vocabulary, exploring sentence structure
and will soon be using these in communication.
The first week of Upper Level Spanish started with games and team building activities
to review vocabulary and last year’s material. One favorite game includes using
a sticky ball to help make the vocabulary “stick”. Movement is essential to the
learning process and creates context and purpose.
Upper level students are labeling items in the classrooms and, with parents’ permission,
are starting to label items in their bedrooms as well. (They will be bringing home
“sticky notes” for easy removal!). Labeling not only facilitates learning useful
vocabulary “on the go”, but is also a daily reminder of language in their environment
– both in school and at home.
Motivation is one of the key factors for successful language learning.
Middle School Spanish started with an inspiring video of a young high school student
speaking multiple languages and explaining the process of how he manages to do it.
We talked about many misconceptions regarding studying language and how these can
obstruct learning. Together we are creating an atmosphere of positive challenge.
“Language Hacking” has been introduced as an interesting tool for looking at learning
Spanish in a new way. We explore how to recognize patterns and how to use these
findings for effective communication.
Online tools are being introduced to enhance comprehension, speaking, reading and
writing skills. These include: SRS, (Spaced Recognition Software); a tool for acquiring
and retaining vocabulary, (memrise.com); websites that assist in reading texts in
Spanish with a built-in dictionary, (lingro.com); educational “telenovelas” (soap
operas) for contemporary context and fun; Spanish music of diverse styles; Spanish
news websites, etc.
There are also classroom games and activities to help the practice of grammar concepts
Assignments are varied and include audio to help with pronunciation and recognizing
different accents exposing students to the “normal” speed of native speakers.
Students are taking an active role in their studies and are enthusiastic about expressing
themselves in Spanish.
Doing art creates strong connections between the eye, the hand and the brain. When
the flow is good, the artist is fully engrossed and all else falls away. Art provides
a home for the imagination and an opportunity for problem-solving.
Upper Level students started the year working in groups creating mobiles based on
folktales. Cooperation and engineering skills were needed in addition to imagination,
drawing and painting. These sculptures will soon be on display in the new exhibit
Weekly art lessons have begun. In Upper Level, we are exploring still life painting
with the first year students; scratchboard drawings of underwater scenes with the
second year students and sculpting in soapstone with the third year students. The
students will discover the use of line and color. They will think about contrast,
balance and harmony.
Middle School students are learning the craft of stained glass. They will build
the third tower window this year. It is exciting for everyone.