The beat of a different drummer

Beat intrigues me. Most babies I know love to bounce up and down to the beat of a song or chant. How can something be so inherent at such a young age? It's so much a part of them. Yet, when you think about it, beat it something they have always known. The steady beating of their mother's heart and breathing must have played like a soothing symphony to them in the womb. We are each gifted with our own sense of beat. As we grow, it continues to be an integral part of who we are and will become. Think about it. We walk to our own beat, talk to our own beat, even write our name to our own beat. To show this, I challenged my parents, today, to sign their name out of rhythm. You can't cheat by just slowing down the rhythm. It has to be different than your usual pattern. I am sure it will, not only feel odd, but won't look quite right either. Since beat is so important, we spend a lot of time playing steady beat games and moving in Kindermusik. You can work on it at home too. Grab those pots and pans for an impromptu jam fest in the kitchen or dance around the house to your favorite tune. After all, practice makes perfect.

Black and White

I've been a fan of rock & roll history for many years now, and I sometimes like to think I know everything, that's right, everything about popular music from the past 50 years or so. Well, I also enjoy finding new information ... it keeps me humble.

I knew Three Dog Night performed songs written by Harry Nilsson, Paul Williams, Hoyt Axton, Randy Newman, and other contemporary tunesmiths, but I never really looked into the origins of the song "Black and White". While digging through the music collection here at Donnell, I came across this picture book published by the Ward Ritchie Press from L.A. in 1966. David Arkin's lyrics and Earl Robinson's music were originally published as a song in 1956, a tune that celebrated desegregation specifically and the Civil Rights Movement in general. Arkin decided to illustrate the song himself ten years later with simple black and white pencil drawings and, at the end of the story, sparse splashes of color.

The version of "Black and White" we are most familiar with was made popular first by British reggae band Greyhound in 1971, and then more famously by Three Dog Night in 1972. You have to admit, when it comes on the radio, this joyous song is pretty hard not to sing along with. But Arkin's original lyrics are powerful and uplifting, telling the story of (as the subtitle states) "the freedom to go to school together". This is a rare, wonderful gem. Come on by the Donnell Central Children's Room and give it a gander. I'll listen for your voices singing along with the book.

Here little duckie!

I know I haven't exactly been prolific in my posts lately. As summer break has approached, it seems as though someone has turned all of my ducks out, and they are running everywhere! I keep trying to remind myself that they really don't have to stay in line as long as all the ducks are present and accounted for. Have you ever really tried to count a flock of ducklings? Hopefully, I will have them gathered back up by the time we begin our June summer camps. I really hope you will plan to join us!

Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper

Saddle up for a rip-roarin' mystery in this book. I read it with my daughters the other day, and they loved it! It is geared more for preschool or school age children. It has some interesting scientific facts on the last page about ants, ladybugs, and aphids. Afterward, we actually found all three of these insects on one of my plants just like the book talked about.

Are they ready?

I found an interesting resource today. It is the Smithsonian Education website. On it, you can identify your state's standards for education. It was quite enlightening to read what is expected from each grade level and in each subject area. Or maybe it's scary. I'm not sure yet. Ask me later.

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing you all the joys that God's most precious little angels bring!

Stay "N" Play

Just wanted to invite you out to Babies "R" Us in Brandon on Saturday, June 9. I will be part of the Stay, Play and Learn Event that will be there from 10 Am - 2 PM. Join the fun with free Kindermusik classes, valuable product samples, and in-store coupons. To reserve a spot to participate, contact Babies "R" Us directly.


Here's a couple of photos from one of my Our Time classes. We were pretending that the blanket was the ocean, and we needed to keep the balls floating on the big, blue waves. Believe it or not, they all worked together to accomplish that task, rather than taking the balls off to play with. I was so proud of them for having such self control. This activity can easily be reproduced at home with friends or family. It's so great for hand/eye coordination, following directions, and social development, not to mention it's just plain FUN!

Rock-a-Bye Baby

I was looking tonight at the history of some of my favorite nursery rhymes. We have laughed in class at how funny some of them are when you really think about the words. However, I found out that Rock-a-bye Baby, for example, is believed to have been written by a Pilgrim boy. He was intrigued by the American Indian mothers who rocked their babies by hanging their birch bark cradles in a tree. They could then work, while the wind did the rest.

It's amazing what you can "pick" up!

My mother sent this photo to me. She took it when we were geocaching recently. If you don't know, geocaching is where you use a GPS system to find hidden containers. These containers contain various treasures large and small. If you take a treasure, then you must leave a different treasure in the box. Anyway, when I saw this picture, I was immediately taken back to a good ol' third grade saying. You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose. But you can not pick your friends nose! Hope it made you smile as much as it did me!

Book of the month

Someone suggested that I post some of the books I recommend in class on the blog. After all, who has a pen and paper handy while we're movin' and groovin' in Kindermusik class! :-) So this month's recommended book is "Discovering Your Child's DQ Factor" by Greg Cynaumon. This book talks about misbehavior and breaks it down by motivation or personality type. There are tests in each chapter to determine your child's particular personality. The author then discusses what forms of discipline work best for that personality type. This book has helped me as a teacher and a parent. It was so enlightening for me to better understand the motivation behind a child's misbehavior.

Too good for drugs

I read an email today that concerned me very much. It was about a new form of Methamphetamine that is being produced. It is being flavored and packaged to possibly entice children. You may already be talking to your children about drugs, but with this new type of meth, children would easily think it was candy and ingest it. You can read more about this important safety issue at this website or you can google "candy meth" and find several news articles.