Thursday, March 10, 2016

All Kinds of Instruments

In music class we have been learning about different types of instruments, what they sound like and how they produce their sounds.  We have studied the percussion family (instruments that are shaken or tapped to produce their sounds) and played many different percussion instruments - drums, tambourines, bells, shakers, maracas, triangles, and more.  We met the various wind instruments, both loud (the brass family) and softer (the woodwind family) and took our turns playing recorders, whistles, and harmonicas.  The string family was very popular, and I brought in a ukulele, violin and cello, and on one lucky day, a double bass (!)  We were able to discover that the smaller instruments will produce higher sounds, and the larger ones, lower or deeper sounds.  They put their hands on the wood and could feel the vibrations made as the cello or double bass produced the lowest notes.  I have to say, the double bass was a big hit, and I apologize in advance to those of you who may have to buy a bigger car a few years down the road, to transport your child and the bass!
The children always amaze me with their focused listening skills - as we listened to Benjamin Britten’s Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra, we picked out the sounds of the different types of instruments, and by the end they were able to distinguish between the strings, flutes, brass, and percussion.  ~Ms. Susanne

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Becoming an Activist

 Today was a great day!  Today we took our Quinpool Campus Children to meet Mayor Savage at City Hall.  This trip was coordinated a couple of weeks ago when one of our children decided to write a letter to the Mayor to express his frustration about stepping in Dog Poop every time he goes to our neighbourhood playground.  The playground we take our children to is NOT a dog park specifically and is a shared park.  There is a defined children's play area, a ball park and field.  Frequently one of our children steps or falls into dog poop while running and playing in the children's play area of the park.  This one day though it was too much for my little friend who had to leave his winter boots outside our door until pick up.  After talking with his parents over dinner he decided he could write a letter.  My friend brought his letter to school and asked me if all the children could sign it and mail it off to the mayor.  I read the letter and decided we needed to take it in person.  So I called the Mayor's office and they were very happy to arrange a time with us to bring the letter in person to the Mayor.
Mayor Savage reading Finn's Letter with him
Do you know that we live in a great city?  That we have a fantastic Mayor?  I have met Mayor Savage many times at various functions in our great city and I am always amazed by his kindness and generous nature.  He never seems to be in a rush and he genuinely wants to chat with you and hear what you have to say and that's exactly what happened today.  Mayor Savage greeted all our children with a handshake and asked their names and as things go, our children also supplied names of brothers and sisters cause well, the mayor may need to know that one day right?  Then he read Finn's letter and joked with the children but also took a serious turn to talk about how frustrating it is to play in such yucky conditions and asked for some ideas on what could be done.
 After our chatted about the letter the Mayor gifted us with two beautiful books that he signed.  We received the book Up Home by Shaunty Grant and Gracie The Public Gardens Duck by author Judith Meyrick.  We look forward to reading those and we made sure to thank the mayor for the beautiful new  books.  
Just when I thought we were done the Mayor took us all in the Chambers.  The children were invited to sit in Councillors' seats and use the red buzzer button to speak.  We played a game and our friend Finn called the meeting to an end when we were done.
Our children are still talking about this trip and there was so much excitement on the way back to Maple Tree about all they saw and their conversation with the Mayor himself.  Thank you Mayor Savage!  Thank you  for making this visit so memorable and fun!

Councillor Seats in Chamber
Potential City Councillors one day!