We tried something new this year. Actually two somethings. First we danced to a song choreographed by John Jacobson. The little ones really loved it–the bigger ones, not so much, but they did it. Sixth Grade students are always so worried about how they will be perceived by the High Schoolers. The second thing that we tried was making a giant flag. I had my fingers crossed. It made me more than a little nervous as I spent a lot of time mapping it out, assigning shirt colors, and explaining it. We always go to the high school in October for the Battle of the Buildiings (a fund-raising event by the student council to benefit Camp About Face). This year I took pictures of every row, every section, and mapped the students’ seating positions. Then I color coded the map and told the teachers what colors for every student. It worked out pretty well. I didn’t get a photo of us singing (standing, with the 50 stars all held up) as I was busy directing. Someday I hope to see a video of it!
We sang four songs: “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” (our standard), “Eleven Eleven” (featuring our 1st grade–if I can get the audio recordings merged into the video, I’ll add it), “Our Red, White, and Blue” (one of the prettiest songs ever), and “This Is My Country” (not the traditional one but a new version by Music Express). Here are two of the videos:
After a rough start, my classes are finally on a roll–and I am not! That means the wheelchair has been returned, so I’m moving a little quicker. I can stand up now a bit too which means I can get my posters up. My walls are now almost finished. The only thing I have left is my Word Wall. I’ll have to do that in sections because I fill a whole side of the room with music terminology.
Even with a broken ankle, I was able to make some new stuff this year. Last Spring I had help moving the big TV on top of a large cart. This left some blank space on the back of the Clavinova to fill. I decided to make a bulletin board out of Styrofoam insulation. I cut the pieces and covered them with orange material. I had enough to make a second one above my instrument storage area. I also have enough to make another one above my computer but ran out of material. At the end of school last year, I made some Beat Blocks out of large lego blocks. The kids wanted to play with them, so I know they’ll really come in handy. After seeing many Pinterest posts, I decided to make my own version of the saying, “Music is a Language the Whole World Speaks.” I used DJ Inkers great CD to make the letter-size prints. I have a bunch of graphics from DJ Inkers, but I think it was through pcCrafters. My other boards were heavily influenced by Cara of Miscellaneous Me. I love her downloads! The last big change was to my bucket seats. Last year I had them upside down. This year I purchased lids which means the class can’t easily stack them now. We have enough room to slide them back that it shouldn’t matter. The plastic ruffle from last year didn’t make it through a whole year, and the noise and dirt really annoyed me so I decided to make cloth ruffles. I use four colors to help divide the class quickly into parts for singing or playing instruments.
It’s a new school year, so I took some pictures of my music room. I make a point to do that at the beginning of the year because once we start working on music programs, there are piles of costumes, props, and general clutter. I love my room. After being on a cart for over 7 years and traveling to different schools for years before that, it’s wonderful to have one beautiful room in a beautiful school.
I attended the Vincennes Rendezvous in May and loved it, although it was very hot that day. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Spirit of Vincennes: The Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous is an annual reenactment held on Memorial Day weekend at the French Commons, adjacent to the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes. It is also hosted by the Northwest Territory Alliance (NWTA), and the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. The event was started in the 1970s, and is intended to introduce visitors to life along the frontier in late 18th and early 19th century Vincennes, particularly during the American Revolution. According to the it’s webpage, the rendezvous may attract 400 to 500 reenactors and 35,000 visitors.
I cannot believe that I had never gone to it before as I love that kind of stuff. These are a few of the hundreds of pictures that I took. It might take a while loading. The tune played is a fife and drum song called “Standing With Roy.”
Back in May I read somewhere in the news that Spring Mill State Park, a wonderful historical park in Indiana, was going to have a Civil War Festival. It was over Memorial Day, and the Civil War reenactors were going to be camping as Yankee and Rebel soldiers. Some local performers were going to do Civil War period dances as well. It sounded like a great photo opportunity for me. I hadn’t been to Spring Mill in a while, so I decided to stop by while on a trip back to my hometown, Shoals. I managed to get quite a few great shots because it had just rained, and everything looked fresh and green. The workers at the park do a great job maintaining it–it looked just as good as I remembered it and better. They had added another building and a garden and had updated the restrooms. I especially enjoyed all the people who were dressed in authentic clothes. The musicians were wonderful! The actors were very generous and very informative, and I snapped away happily. If you would like to see the photos, click the thumbnails below.
I was able to see my daughter last weekend in Virginia. She attends the Virginia Military Institute, and it was Parent’s Weekend, which perfectly coordinated with my Fall Break! It was also her birthday last weekend, so the forces of nature were for once, alligned in my favor. It was also the height of autumnal splendor too, so I had a lovely trip, snapping happily away with my camera. The only negative in the whole weekend was that VMI lost the football game in the last three minutes, but I guess I can overlook that as I’m more into the crowd experience than the actual game.
It was a breath-takenly beautiful day on Saturday, and I got up early to go to the Open House at the Barracks. Carrie lives in a very stark condition there with four roommates. She must keep her uniform and book supplies neatly arranged. They roll their “hay” every single day and stack their bed frames against the wall. It serves the double purpose of giving them more room and keeping them from lounging around. The kids have stereos and computers but no televsions or refridgerators like normal college rooms. It’s quite a jog to the restrooms, and they must go outside to reach it. I’m not sure I would ever make it safely on a cold morning. Since females are in the minority at VMI, they have to get fully dressed too or be in their long robes.
After visiting the barracks, I watched the military parade. Carrie doesn’t have to be in them any more because she is a fifth year student and a cheerleader. She had to go to practice before the game. I loved watching the parade as it reminded me of the first time I visited her as a “rat”–the term they call freshmen before the breakout period when they can officially be called fourth classmen. She was so thin then, and they had chopped her hair all off. I’m glad she is tough and was able to get through the past four years.
The football game was fun. The students have to attend and they march down to the field in formation. The rats must yell or they will in turn get yelled at. If the VMI team scores a touchdown, all the rats have to run to the sidelines (all 400 of them) and do as many pushups as the current score–each and every time. It can be quite a lot of pushups as this is cumulative. Carrie and the cheerleaders do the pushups as well. Maybe that’s why I don’t worry so much when they throw her up into the air really high. She is on the frontpage of the VMI website this week. If you would like to see her picture, visit the VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE website.