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, December 18, 2015

May the FORCE be with you!

We had a great week in the Music Room! Our 3/4 and 3rd grade Chicago World's Fair was a big success, and the kids performed the songs with great energy and enthusiasm!
We also sang many winter holiday songs, such as Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Deck the Halls, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, and the Austrian carol "Still, Still, Still". I shared a few funny tunes, like "Turn off that Nose!", "Peppermint Candycane", "Snowman Where'd You Go?", and "Jingle Bell Parade".

Did you happen to see the Google Doodle on Thursday? It was all about Beethoven! I shared it with many classes, and they helped me put the 'musical puzzle pieces' together. It was Beethoven's 245th birthday!

Our winter sing-along went very well on Friday morning, and the kids (and staff) had a great time!

If you haven't seen this video from the Tonight Show, check it out! It's fun, and was a great way to share about a cappella music and John Williams (and Star Wars...) this week!

Tonight Show Star Wars A Cappella

Have a great winter break!

Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, December 14, 2015

Five more days!

Yep, only five days until Winter Break!
Last week we spent time learning songs from the wonderful Jewish tradition of Chanukah. This week we will focus more on Winter holidays, such as Christmas, Las Posadas, and Kwanzaa, while singing some old winter favorites in preparation for our all-school sing along on Friday morning!

Westgate 3rd and 3/4th grade classes will present their Chicago World's Fair on Tuesday evening, which will include a short concert of songs related to Chicago.
Have a great week!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, November 20, 2015

Music Happenings~ Thanksgiving Edition!

We've been busy in the music room lately! (Aren't we always?)

From vocal assessments to patriotic songs for Veteran's Day, from Native American songs and games to our 4th graders viewing their concert video, to a whole bunch of Thanksgiving songs and dances- it's been quite a few weeks!

I also shared two books with our primary students: "Over The River and Through The Wood, illustrated by David Catrow, and "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie" by Alison Jackson. Students had fun looking at the clever and colorful illustrations, and singing the songs along with me!

We did a few Turkey dances, including "The Turkey Twist" and the GoNoodle video "Maraca Turkey". If you haven't checked out the videos and activities on GoNoodle, you should really check it out! Many of our teachers use this site as a way to energize a sleepy class, or to calm and focus a class that is a bit too 'spirited'.

Mrs. Clark and I wish you all a wonderful, safe and super thankful Thanksgiving holiday! Gobble Gobble!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fourth Grade Concert was a big success!!

Students playing Au Clair De La Lune and Big Round BAG on recorders!
Thursday evening was filled with great singing and recorder playing as our fourth grade students performed their concert, "Autumn Night, Shining Bright" for the Westgate community. Mrs. Clark and I were so pleased with the high level of performance etiquette and musicianship that the students exhibited during the concert. It really was a time for these fine students to "shine"! 
Students sing Bye Bye Blackbird and Mrs. Clark accompanies on piano.

Special thanks to all of our parent volunteers for helping make the concert a success! 
In case you missed it, here are the songs our students performed:
A Song for the Children
Chocolate Cookie (Sarasponda)
Au Clair de la Lune
Big Round BAG
Talkin' About the Moon
Bye Bye Blackbird

Monday, November 2, 2015

A quick message for Veteran's Day- From the Westgate Office

Veterans Day is November 11th:
Students are encouraged to wear red, white, and blue

Students will be singing patriotic songs to add to the pride and spirit of this day!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A little Renaissance Music... in Music Class

This week, in continuing our discussion of Sea Shanty music, we listened to a piece called "Bransle de la Torche" by late renaissance composer Michael Praetorius. It is in a call & response style, much like our sea shanties. Mr. Berger shared a few video clips of this type of music being performed on instruments of that period, including recorders and the harpsichord.

There is a talented musician from Brazil named Eduardo Antonello who has a channel dedicated to early music, but with a modern technological twist. He also incorporated visual art into his videos, which is a great cross-curricular connection!
Listed below are a few of the videos we viewed in class.

The Sailor's Hornpipe

Bransle de la Torche

La Canarie- Praetorius (Love this one! It even has recorders!)

Have a great weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fourth Grade Concert Information

Our first concert of the year is fast approaching! Please see the attached letter for all of the details! I have also added it to the "Important Music Documents" page. 

Fourth Grade Concert Parent Letter

Contact Mr. Berger or Mrs. Clark with any questions.

See you there!!

Mr. Berger ./`

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SPPRAK comes to Westgate again!

"If you catch someone showing any kindness at all, just fill out a post-it and put it on the wall!"

Our PTA launched the annual SPPRAK program this week! Here's a quick video by our district publicity guru, Adam Harris. It was a blast leading the students in our SPPRAK Rap!

SPPRAK YouTube Video

Friday, October 16, 2015

Music This Week...

Greetings and Happy Autumn!

Here's a quick update on what we've been up to in Music class this week...

Kindergarten: We enjoyed learning "Pumpkin Stew", a song in a minor key. The kids each shared ideas for ingredients,  and Mr. Berger used the mimio to add it to the 'stew pot' on the board. A few favorites were Marshmallows, Chocolate, Carrots, and Mint! Next week we add some Orff accompaniment to our singing!

First Grade: We continued a song about Columbus Day called "Who Stowed Away?", and students had opportunity to sing solo, and play a bordun pattern on bass xylophones and metallophones. We also reviewed "Charlie Over the Water"- a sol-mi song, and added Orff as well.

Second grade: We discussed melodic direction- how pitches move by steps, skips, or repeats, and learned a River Shanty song called "Down the Ohio". We even began the dance that accompanies the song!

Third grade and 3/4 multi-age: We learned an assessment song, Telephone Time, and also learned the fun shanty, "John Kanaka", along with the partner dance that goes with it.

Fourth grade: These students continue working hard on their concert music! We added our recorder pieces and reviewed all of our other songs. Be sure those recorders are here for music class from now until the concert on Thursday, November 5th.

Fifth grade: Our Sea Chanty unit is in full swing! Students experienced different types of sea chanties, including the Short-Haul, Capstan, Long-Haul, and Forecastle. We also learned and sang "Walkin' Down the Street", a song to be used as a vocal assessment in the near future.  Below is a link to a video I shared of a capstan chanty in action. You only need to view the first minute or so to get the idea! Chanties are lot's of fun, and are part of our musical history. Enjoy!

Paddy Lay Back Capstan Chanty

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halloween Reminder Information~

From the Westgate Main Office~

Halloween Reminders!

  • All school lunch period: 12:30PM to 1:30PM.
  • Students leaving for lunch may not return to school until 1:25PM (Doors will not open until 1:30PM.)
  • At 1:30PM students returning to school may enter the building through the Main Doors (Door #1) or the Primary Doors (Door #2). Students will not be let in the building prior to 1:30PM!
  • Parents may not prepare “goodie bags” to be passed out to students at school.
  • At Westgate, Halloween costumes promoting excessive violence, sharp objects, weapons, and unnecessary gore will not be allowed at both the parade and party.
  • Halloween Parade starts at 1:45PM (A SchoolMessenger will be sent out at noon announcing cancellation of the parade or the reduction of the parade route.)
  • Kindergarten families please refer to your teacher’s letter for details and information regarding Halloween at Westgate.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Important Information from the Westgate Office

Here's the latest from the Westgate office. Please note these important upcoming dates:

NO School (for students only) Friday, October 9th 
and Monday, October 12th Columbus Day Weekend
October 20th Picture Re-Take Day

Friday, September 25, 2015

BoomWhackers and Buckets and Bundt Cakes, oh my!

Ok, no Bundt cakes here, but I got your attention, didn't I?  We do have BoomWhackers and Buckets, though!

Our students were using BoomWhacker tubes this week to play a melody to our new favorite song "Chocolate Cookie"~ a play on the Dutch folk song "Sarasponda".
They were asked to synergize as a group and play the
melody of the B section of the song. Here are a few pics of the kids in action.
Buckets- We recently had the exciting opportunity to purchase 15 new buckets for our students to carry their soprano recorders to and from the music room. Ace Hardware was selling the buckets as a fundraiser to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and when you purchased a bucket for $5.00, everything you put in it was 20% off in the store. Dr. Badynee was kind enough to purchase the buckets for us with funds from the student activity account, and Ace Hardware on       Campbell gave us a nice discount as well!  Here are a few pictures of our new 'blue' buckets! 

The Westgate music concert schedule is complete and will be posted very soon.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Patriot Day- This Friday, 9/11/15

Patriots Day- September 11th (Wear red, white, and blue today!)

As we remember the events of 9/11/01, we invite students to wear red, white and blue to school. We will be singing some patriotic music in the music classroom to honor this day.

Friday, September 4, 2015

First Full Week of School!

We did it! The first full week of school is in the books. In music class this week, we focused on name games, mixer games (to get the kids moving and greeting each other), safety guidelines for the music room, and a few patriotic tunes as well. Mrs. Clark also shared "Morning" from Peer Gynt by composer Edvard Grieg, and taught students a song that featured greetings in many different languages. 
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

News from the Westgate Main Office

Please be advised of the following information from our main office. Thank you!

Parent Night
Wednesday, September 2nd

PE, Art, Music
(10-minute information rotations, 6:00PM, 6:10PM and 6:20PM, in the classrooms)

Grades, 3, 4, 5 and PM Kindergarten information sessions in classrooms

Principal Welcome, PTA Greeting, and Introductions in Commons

Grades 1, 1/2 , 2 AM Kindergarten information sessions in classrooms

Lunch Times
1st & 2nd Grades 11:35AM-1235PM
5th Grade 12:05PM-1:05PM
3rd & 4th Grades 12:35PM- 1:35PM

November Parent-Teacher Conferences… Sign-Up Genius
We will continue using Sign Up Genius (http://www.signupgenius.com/) for both the Fall and Spring conferences. Parents will not need to rush to school on Parent Night or Open House to sign up for conferences. Please take time to review the website (you will not be able to sign up for conferences yet.) More information will be available in upcoming Westgate Weekly and on teachers’ websites. There will be provisions for parents without access to the internet to sign up for conferences. We will share more details with parents in the Fall.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Music Room Mission Statement

We rolled out our brand new Westgate Mission Statement last week! If you haven't seen it, I have posted it below.

Westgate Mission Statement

At Westgate we celebrate each other and grow as a community of lifelong learners and leaders.

In response to our Westgate Mission statement, I have written a Music Class Mission Statement, which I have been sharing with students this week.

Music Class Mission Statement:
"In the Westgate music room, we are leaders who enjoy performing, creating, listening and moving to many different styles of music. We are at our best when we practice the 7 Habits, keep an open mind, and show respect to each other and to all music equipment."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Welcome Back!!

Greetings from the Music Room! Welcome back to the 2015-2016 school year.

(Yep, that's me, Mr. Berger, standing by an enormous I Love Westgate sign. My family and I went to a beautiful resort in Gatlinburg, TN, which happened to be called the Westgate Resort!)

This year we say goodbye to our itinerant music teachers, Mrs. Scherer and Mrs. Henjum, and we welcome our new itinerant teacher, Mrs. Clark. Mrs. Scherer has accepted a position in Palatine, and Mrs. Henjum will be at Dryden with Mr. Deptula. We wish them all the best!

I will be adding further updates in the next few weeks, so be sure to check back.

Here's to a great year! 

Musically yours,

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, June 5, 2015

End of the Year Wrap-Up

Hello from the Music Room! It's hard to believe the school year is coming to an end. We've had so many great things happen here at Westgate this year, especially in music class! Here are just a few from the past few months...

Westgate Variety Show: May 1st was our annual variety show at South Middle School. We had so many great acts this year- music, dance, comedy, even a master at solving pyramid puzzles. Our awesome students did a fantastic job sharing their talents with the Westgate community!

 Third Grade Chicago Symphony Trip- Also on May 1st, we took all of our 3rd grade students on a musical and entertaining field trip to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to experience "Tchaikovsky Spectacular." Students were treated to many beautiful works by the Russian composer, and were further entertained by members of Hubbard Street 2 dance company. They were asked to think about how music can portray many different feelings and emotions.

Kindergarten Music Program- Our afternoon kindergarten classes performed a concert for their family members on Tuesday, May 19th. These super cute kids did a great job singing songs that they learned throughout the entire year! A few highlights were "Mumble Grumble", ABC/ZYX, and the ever popular "KINDERGARTEN song." We even made it into the newspaper!
A slideshow of both concerts can be found here:

Fifth Grade Concert- Synergy in Action- And, finally, our 5th grade students performed their very last concert on Tuesday, May 26th. I was so very proud of them as they sang their hearts out on songs such as "Sieze the Day", "Dare to Dream", and "Teamwork". Thanks to Dawn Dalton, we will also be highlighted in the newspaper! Congratulations to all of our 5th grade students and their families as you move on to your next adventure in life! Here is a link to the photos from the show!

Mrs. Henjum and I wish you all the best!! Please come back and visit anytime, and let us know how you're doing.
Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, April 20, 2015

Elgin Symphony Field Trip!

Our 5th grade classrooms had the pleasure of attending a concert performed by the ESO at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin on Friday, April 17th. The music was exciting and fun, and the students had a great time! If you have not had the opportunity to hear this fine orchestra play, I would highly recommend you go! The concert was interactive, funny, and playful- perfect for a beautiful Friday morning.
Here are a few pictures from the trip. Enjoy!
Outside the Hemmens Auditorium!

Walking in, excited to be here!
Our students looked so nice! 
Where the action took place. 

The ESO in action. They sounded amazing!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Concert Changes and Upcoming Field Trip

Greetings, and Happy SPRING!
The crazy weather this week certainly made for some interesting moments in the music room.

Please be advised that the 5th grade music program has been postponed from April 16th to the new date of May 26th. A letter will be sent home next week explaining the need for the switch, and is also attached here. ChangeOfDate_5thConcert2015

Next Friday, April 17th, the 5th grade students are attending the Elgin Symphony Orchestra performance of "The Thrill of The Orchestra!"at the Hemmens Cultural Center. We have been listening to and learning about the pieces we'll experience at the symphony. Check back for pictures from our exciting trip!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Final weeks with the World Music Drums and Progress Reports!

Next week will be our last week with the drums before they leave us and head off to another building. We have had a great time playing rhythm and beat games, reading rhythms, and just plain making some noise! I think the students appreciated letting off some steam after a few weeks of PARCC testing. We even had a contest to see how many times in a row a class could pass the beat from drum to drum without a mistake. The highest so far has been 321!

Congratulations to all Westgate teachers on completing progress reports to send home! You deserve a well earned sigh of relief and a pat on the back!

Have a wonderful, warm weekend!!

Mr. Berger ./`

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

News from the Main Office

March Progress Report Cards
Due to the snow days we've had thus far, we are not holding our annual spring parent-teacher conferences this year. Report cards will be sent home on Friday,March 13th. As we would do at any other time of the school year, should you have questions or concerns about your child's progress, you can contact your child's teacher at any time.

School Day March 19th and 20th
Due to the snow/cold days, students are expected to attend March 19th and 20th. Absence should be called in if students are not in school.

Spring Break 3/23 to 3/27 

World Music Drumming- Rhythms, Beats and Fun

We've been playing the World Music Drums for the past three weeks in Music class! Students are reading rhythms, playing steady beat, and games that focus on concentration and synergy. 
The drum equipment leaves us at the end of next week. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day and Socrative in the Music Classroom

Happy Valentine's Day and President's Day weekend! We've been busy in music class this week, singing songs for Valentine's Day (K, 1, 2 & 3), reading rhythms, preparing for upcoming concerts (1/2 MA and 5th grade), and doing fun assessments (4th grade).

Here's a video of a third grade class singing "Love Somebody" and doing a fun partner dance.

Love Somebody

Our 4th graders just finished a unit on Instruments of the Orchestra. I decided to use an online app called Socrative for the assessment. Students used ipads to answer questions and receive immediate feedback, and I was able to print results without grading a pile of quizzes. It's a win-win! A few classes also had the opportunity to use Socrative for a review game called Space Race, in which they worked in teams to Synergize and try to get their spaceship to the finish line first.

The students enjoyed working in groups and answering challenging questions about instruments and instrument families!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Very Proud Moment! Cody Bolithon sings at a Bulls Game.

Former Westgate student, Cody Bolithon, had the honor of singing the national anthem at a recent Bulls game. He did a great job, and certainly made Westgate very proud!

Here's the YouTube clip of his performance.

Cody B National Anthem

We here at Westgate look forward to many more musical moments from Cody! He has a bright future.

News from the Main Office

Illinois 5Essentials Survey- Parents
Please complete the Illinois 5Essentials Survey: Organizing Schools for Improvement. This survey was designed to generate a detailed picture of the inner workings of your child’s school. Please visit https://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/ to participate in the Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey. The survey must be completed by March 12, 2015, but we encourage you to complete the survey as soon as possible. Thank you.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Important News from the Westgate Main Office

Monday, January 19th No School MLK Day
Tuesday, January 20th No School Institute Day
Thursday, January 29th OPEN House
Wednesday, January 28th and Thursday, January 29th BOOK FAIR

Brrrr! Welcome Back!

Happy New Year to all of our Westgate families!

With the two days off this week, music instruction was a bit interrupted. Some classes had their usual two sessions, while others had only one or, unfortunately, none. We'll get caught up next week!

A few highlights from the week are:

5th grade: We're working on ideas for our April music concert, focusing on the Leader In Me. I asked students to generate a list of songs that we could change to fit the Leader in Me initiative. We also spent time on sixteenth note rhythms while reading the book: Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendeiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name by Tedd Arnold. The illustrations alone make this a worthwhile book to share!

Third grade: Our third grade classes are working on music for their World's Fair Curriculum Snapshot, which will be held this Thursday, January 15th. Selections include Sweet Home Chicago, Chicago (That Toddlin' Town), and Old Lady Leary.