Little ones love literacy.
Music is magic!
In this multi-age class, Risa Beth Cohen, M.S.Ed., Creative Director of Sing into Reading, teaches about the beat. Students practice beat synchronization with their torsos, hands, and feet. Modifications can be made to this class (or any of Risa's classes) for your age group and abilities.
In this class, Risa sings two of her original songs, "Oh, Friends, We Love You," and "Hello With One Hand." These are both zipper songs that allow students to add their own ideas, giving them a sense of ownership. In "Hello with One Hand," students suggest different parts of the body. "Oh Friends, We Love You" can be sung as a name song, "Oh____, We Love You" making the song more personal and meaningful.
Songbooks and resources are provided after classes. In Risa's songbooks, the text is color-coded with red consonants and blue vowels. (If you would like to color-code your text, you can get the...
Holidays are precious times we want to remember. To help with memory consolidation, in addition to taking pictures, it is helpful to write about our experiences, and encourage our children to write as well.
Here are some of my favorite holiday writing prompts:
"It's Holiday Time" is a song written by a student. He wrote about his holiday wish list, and also the best part of the holiday.
Even preschoolers can write about the holidays. Ask them one of the writing prompts above and then tell them to write about it. Hand them crayons and paper let them get to work. Then ask them to tell you about what they wrote, and transcribe their words. Encourage your children to write about the holidays and let me know how it goes.
Wishing you all happy...
Have you ever heard a preschool teacher or occupational therapist refer to "crossing the midline," and wondered what that was?
In this blog I talk about what it is, why it is important, and how it relates to literacy.
I also sing some original songs that will help encourage this developmental benchmark.
If you wonder if your child or one you teach is having difficulty crossing the midline, please talk to your pediatritian or occupational therapist.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent/ caregiver, we all want to set our children up for a peaceful school year. Making class rules or house rules together helps everyone know what the expectaions are. And when we include our children in the making of rules, this gives them a feeling of empowerment and a greater sense of buy-in.
In Responsive Classroom trainings, I learned a great way to include children in rule-making. After collecting rule suggestions from children, encourage them to make postitive rules about what we want to see, instead of rules about what we do not want. Then rules can be sorted into three buckets: our things, each other, and ourselves. Use the language your children use to make these rules. For example, the rules in one class were, "Use lovely treatment with our things. Use lovely treatment with each other. Use lovely treatment with yourself." What was the one over-arching rule? "Use lovely treatment."
In my original song, "Be Peaceful," the rules are,...
Name Songs are important. Not only do they help children feel welcome and included, but they teach that words and letters have meaning.
In this blog I demonstrate how to use name songs for word study, modeled writing, interactive writing, and independent writing.
Here are the name songs in this blog:
P.S. This blog first aired in the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group. Huge thanks to Atul, Mar., and the gang.
Get your free booklet, "Ten Tips to Teach Your Child to Read with Music and Love" here:
Do all things with love. This is my mantra. Especially when teaching or parenting, we want to do it with love and encouragement. When we lose our patience with children, that is discouraging. Facing discouragement puts someone in a state of dysregulation - which is not a state receptive to learning. Instead, if we want our children to be open to learning, we need to encourage them.
Parents in my membership receive a "Rosy Moment Visualization." In this guided meditation, I walk parents and guardians through a special memory of their child. Once this memory is solidified, you can breathe into it at times when you feel you are losing your patience. It is a tool I use to bring me back to encouragement and love.
How do you keep your patience and remain loving when you feel upset? What are your favorite ways to do all things with love? Let...
If you know me, you know that I am the Creative Director of Sing into Reading, and I teach literacy through music. You probably also know that I write songs.
Did you know that I write stories. too? You might not know because, until this week, I had never submitted a story for publishing. I have been writing stories for young readers since 2001, when I took "Children's Literature" at Bank Street College. And, I want to share them with the world, so I am (finally) submitting! I made two submissions earlier this week (to a contest and an award) and today I will submit to #50PreciousWords.
50PreciousWords is a writing contest run by Vivan Kirkfield. Vivan is a wonderfully talented author for young readers. Check out her books!
Here is my submission for #50PreciousWords:
THE LIGHT SWITCH
“Mommy, why does the light switch say, ‘No?’”
“The light switch doesn’t say, ‘No.’”
“Yes, it does.”
Zipper songs are fantastic tools for teaching literacy. A zipper song is a "fill-in-the-blank song." I ask the children to fill in the blank, and zip their ideas right into the song. For example, my song, "Holidays are For Family" is a zipper song, since I can ask the students their favorite holidays and then sing about them.
In this blog, I talk about how to use zipper songs to teach literacy. Zipper songs can be used for modeled reading, shared reading, modeled writing, interactive writing, independent reading, and independent writing. The suggestions students make for zipper songs can easily be a springboard into word study and phonics work.
What is your favorite zipper song?
Today I presented "Montessori Songs" at the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group, a group of early childhood educators from around the world. They has asked me to present "Montessori Songs."
I wanted to share the presentation with you!
Learn songs that help a child develop a sense of self, and their place in the world. These songs are perfect for a Montessori classroom, or any preschool setting.
Child Writers are Courageous
Writers have to be courageous. I model this for students by embracing the process myself. I write and revise songs and stories in front of my students and their parents - in real time - so they can see the process. Just as we model reading and writing, we also model bravery. Indeed, the very writing of this blog puts my ideals on the line and is an act of bravery, a model for my students.
For ten years, I taught Music and Literacy at a school. At the end of each school year, the kindergartners performed songs on stage in a performance called "Spring Sing." Every year, before we went on stage, a couple of students would say they were scared. I told them, "When you are scared, you have to be brave. Being brave is doing what you know you need to do, even if it's scary."
The goal of perfection is a dangerous one that breeds inaction and fear. Perfectionism results in fear because we know that perfection is unattainable. Letting go of perfectionism and...