Last year, I introduced the ukulele to my music classes by purchasing a classroom set. I was a band director for 12 years and the ukulele was the obvious choice for getting an instrument in the hands of every child, because musicians and science knows that playing instruments improves brain function. After nine months of taping and re-taping the cardboard boxes, I knew to preserve the instruments better, I would need to get hard cases for them. Several of the ukuleles were already breaking. So, how was I to get new ukuleles and cases when my budget wasn’t enough? Paint the ukuleles and then have a fundraising drawing for all 25 of them! A good friend of mine suggested that I go to the Texas National Bank in Mercedes to seek help in promoting my project. Edna Martinez and Esther Medrano have been so kind in displaying the ukuleles at the Bank on Texas Avenue and selling the fundraising tickets for me. As it has turned out, the Chamber of Commerce in Mercedes has also come along side of me in this effort. At the Chamber’s community event on Wednesday, December 18th called, “Country Christmas,” we will announce the drawing winners after my Travis Choir sings. I hope to raise enough money to purchase hard cases for my classroom set of ukuleles.
The Legend of the Cowboy Constellation Project
In the past few years I have heard several lectures and read articles about how we as teachers need to teach our students how to be creative because we live in an increasingly creative market. We really don’t know what’s going to be invented next. I wrote the Christmas poem, “The Legend of the Cowboy Constellation “ to involve all of my 4th and 5th grade students in a creative hands on project. The students and I had a lot of fun creating the story board and practicing the narration. As the project grew, sometimes students would throw away their drawing, and I would find it crumpled up. With a few additions to their picture, the drawing would be perfect for the story board. I used this example to teach the children that sometimes they think their work isn’t good enough, but in the context of the whole picture, it fits in perfectly. Everyone can contribute something, no matter how small.