QE Rockstars!!!

I have already said many, many times that my students did amazing learning how to play the ukuleles this fall. They have made so much progress throughout the year. When we first started lessons we did many reps of playing chords over and over and over again. I will admit that during the first couple of weeks I was questioning why I thought learning to play as a class was a good idea. However, slowly I started to see improvement in myself and my students.

We started to learn the chorus of “Let it Be” by the Beatles and the students were doing good, but I could see that they were starting to get a little bored. I bought myself a Kala ukulele and got access to the Kala app with it. At first, I was using the free functions within the app, but quickly realized that all the good stuff was hidden in the “need to buy” part of the app. I decided to pay for a monthly subscription to see if it was going to be a tool that was useful in the classroom and for myself. Well, it has been worth every penny! My students became so much more engaged when we started using the app. We have been able to project the videos on the whiteboard and follow along to so many songs. Here is a little video of how my students sound playing a couple of songs this week.

When we first started to learn “Satisfaction”, we were not doing the strumming pattern and had to slow the tempo way down on the app. Now, we play the song at full tempo with the strumming pattern! I wish I would have had thought to record them playing these songs for the first time, but alas, I didn’t have that much forethought.

Overall, I have met the goals that I set out for myself. I have learned around 8 chords (some I don’t like) and feel like I have mastered two strumming patterns. I am so glad that I decided to do this project with my students. We were able to set aside time each day to play our ukuleles, which was very helpful when time outside of work became very limited. The one struggle that I faced with my students is trying to motivate anyone that didn’t like the ukulele lessons. We still are trying to get a few of the students to fully buy in, but one thing that has helped is allowing the students to pick a song that they would like to learn. I feel like I keep repeating myself, but I have absolutely loved working on the major learning project!

I’ve Had the Time of my Life…

I am so happy that my teaching partner was open to teaching my students and me how to play the ukulele. It has been so much fun! I have loved watching my students become more comfortable each day and the joy they feel when they have mastered a new chord, new song and new strumming pattern. It has been great working through the learning process with them. Last week we were learning how to play “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, which has a new chord in it, and I was having difficulty with it. One of my students said to me “Just keep practicing Ms. B, you’ll get it!” Not only have the students been encouraging me, but they also have encouraged each other, which is the best part of this whole process. I am amazed at how much we have learned in such a small time and look forward to keeping it up in 2020!

I’m not sure how many chords we learned, but it was quite a few. We also learned how to do two different strumming patterns in some songs. On my own this week, I also learned a song (Cecelia by Simon and Garfunkle) that required me to play two different chords within the strumming pattern. There were definitely times that my brain couldn’t keep up with all of the things that my hands had to do, but I am very proud of my success. I have included a video that has a montage of some of the songs that I learned this term.

I forgot to record audio of my students playing some of the songs, so I will add that in tomorrow!

That’s All Folks….

Daina and I partnered together for our Summary of Learning. We had many ideas of how we shared what we learned, but in the end we decided to make our own version of a Kid Snippet video. Our Teacher Snippet stars Daina as “The Intern” and myself as “The Veteran Teacher”. I downloaded an app on my phone that allowed us to change our voices into kids voices, and then made a video of us lip syncing the words (some of it may look like a really bad Kung Fu movie). We had a ton of fun making the video and both agree that our “changed” voices are a combination of kids and valley girls. I hope everyone enjoys the video!