A message from our music staff:

Mr. Berger and Ms. Dudlak are glad you're here! Check back often for updates and info about our Westgate music program. Mr. Berger can be reached via email at gberger@sd25.org, and Ms. Dudlak can be reached at jdudlak@sd25.org. Follow Mr. Berger on Twitter! @WEMusic160

Friday, September 27, 2013

Music Activities- Week of September 23-26

Welcome to a new week here at Westgate! Listed below are some of the activities we have been doing in Music class this week. Can you feel the fun? 

5th grade: Our focus this week was listening to songs in Major and Minor keys. Students will soon be tested on their ability to hear the difference between major and minor tonality. We talked about major sounding happy, joyful, triumphant, and excited, while minor sounds sad, spooky, mysterious, or mournful. Students listened to "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" by American composer George M. Cohan (Major),  the American folk song, Erie Canal,  and a Venezuelan folk song, El Carite- in both major and minor. We are also learning to sing in canon form with Autumn Canon.

4th grade: Our focus has been canon singing, cowboy songs and playing a recorder ostinato. Students sang a three part round to the English tune, "Ah, Poor Bird", and learned a pattern to play as an ostinato with the cowboy song "Streets of Laredo"and "El Rancho Grande". Any 4th graders who haven't brought their recorders to school need to do so as soon as possible. Thanks!
Students singing a three part round (trio) to "Ah, Poor Bird". 

3rd grade: Last week, students learned a sea shanty called "John Kanaka"and played a bordun pattern on xylophones & metallophones while doing a partner dance. This week, we learned a new shanty called "Turn the Glasses Over", and played a cup passing game. I made a video to help our students learn the cup passing game. Here it is!

Students also experienced a partner song, putting "This Old Man" together with "Michael Finnegan" which created a nice harmony! A recorder order form was sent home, so please return it as soon as possible so we can place our order. Thank you! Recorder Order form

2nd grade: Our 2nd grade students are busy learning songs for their upcoming concert, which will be on October 29th at 7:00pm in the Westgate Commons. The theme is Character Counts, so all of our songs will be about helping others, being a good friend, and practicing good character.

1/2 Multi-Age and 1st grade: We have been learning all about LOUD (Forte) and soft (piano). I shared several listening examples, including "Morning" by Edvard Grieg, and students created movements that matched the music! Some were flowers blooming, while others were woodland creatures and birds. We also marched around the room to "The Parade Came Marching", and I read them the book "Suddenly!" by Colin McNaughton to practice loud and soft.

What a busy week we've had! And what beautiful weather, too! Enjoy your weekend.

Mr. Berger ./`

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

9/11 memories, Patriot Day, and Constitution Day 2013

This past Wednesday was the twelve year anniversary of the attack on our country that took place on 9/11/2001. Many people wrote posts on social media with their memories of that fateful day. I recall that I was driving in to school that Tuesday morning and I heard on the radio that a plane had hit a building in New York. I had been listening to a tape for most of the drive, so I had no idea what was going on. When I entered the school and went to the teacher's lounge, now Mrs. Harris' classroom, I was met by a large group of staff members who were watching the coverage on the tv.  Some were crying, most were in shock. How were we supposed to teach and have a normal day with all of this going on in our country? Well, we did the best we could under the grave circumstances. I remember assuring the kids that they were safe, and spending the day, and the following week singing patriotic songs in class.

We continue this tradition each year for Patriot Day, singing patriotic songs such as "This Land is Your Land", "America", "America, the Beautiful", "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue", "You're a Grand Old Flag", and the "Star-Spangled Banner". I really enjoy sharing these great songs with our students!

Tuesday, September 17th marked the 226th anniversary of our United States Constitution! To commemorate this event, we discussed some of the rights and freedoms we enjoy in America, such as freedom of speech, the right to vote, and freedom of religion. I also shared the "Preamble Song" from Schoolhouse Rock! I still remember watching this and other Schoolhouse Rock cartoons on Saturday mornings when I was a child... :-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August 26-30: Safety, Name Games & MLK Activities!

Well, we completed our first full week of school! The kids and teachers are settling into routines, following school rules, and enjoying the new school year.  Our focus in Music for the week was Name Games, covering safety checklists, and experiencing songs about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Name games are a great way to re-aquaint myself with all of the students after a long summer, and to get to know the new students as well. We usually sing a song and each child has a chance to hear and sing/say their name. Be sure to ask your child if he or she did a Name Game song last week!

Here at Westgate, safety is very important. Each student needs to know what to do in an emergency, no matter where they are in the building. We covered what students should do in a soft lockdown, hard lockdown, shelter in place, evacuation, and relocation while in Music class. The main thing I want the students to do in any situation is to remain quiet and calm, and to listen to the teacher.

As you know, Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's speech, "I Have A Dream." To help the students understand the significance of this event, we listened to and sang several songs that were either from the civil rights era, (We Shall Not Be Moved, Free At Last, Come Go With Me to That Land), or about Dr. King himself, (I Have A Dream, A Kid Like Me). We also found that he quoted the old spiritual song "Free At Last" in his speech! Attached below is a picture of students reading the song "I Have A Dream" by Teresa Jennings of Music K-8/Plank Road Publishing.

Have a great week!

Mr. Berger ./`