Welcome to Ukulelear

Back in 2005 I brought a Roy Smeck ukulele to school. Kids were intrigued and wanted to try to play it themselves. The sound was pretty cool with just a few simple chords. Within a few weeks kids had bought their own Mahalo ukes and started to really enjoy playing.

Since that first ukulele group the Cal-Mum Uke club has had about forty students join-up every year. It has been a joy to teach in a school that is filled with the plinkety-plunk of the uke music.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

End of the School Year Song

Thanks J for suggesting I create an end of the year song. One day I'll have to see what kind of music I could produce if I wasn't strapped for time. My classroom is torn apart with boxes and books everywhere, but I was able to clean a spot of on my desk to record this quickly written song.

Image by rcvernors "Ghosts os Schoolyears Past" Flickr

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Falling Fast

The end of the school year is fast approaching. Not really the best
time to reflect on the year because it will be an emotional time. As
in the past, I have witnessed young ukulele players' fledgling
attempts blossom into real musical abilities. I have also watched the
day-to-day learning of math and language arts taking place. But, these
practices require much effort from teacher and student. It is really
the natural attraction we all seem to have, to greater and lesser
degrees, to and for art, that reveals a clear self motivation in
people. When I see kids working on anything without a constant
prodding by me, I know that magic is taking place - the perpetual
thinking machine - the mind - is aggregating information and making
conections without the restriction of my lens. The world opens up. If
there is said to be "an art" to anything, it implies a measure of
mystery and magic. I'm not sure I can teach that, just as a farmer
doesn't teach the wheat to grow. As in teaching, farming is the art of
keeping fertile ground where the stage is set for growth. I'll think
some more on this as I go play my uke.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Poem for the Class of 2017

Class of 2017

Our classroom at the top of the stairs
messy desks and busy minds
with questions to answer
ukuleles to play
lessons to recall in future times.

We made our history together
although the records won't tell
of the small moments
and quiet triumphs
that in our minds will dwell.

With warming of days has brought a sign
our parting is ever near
the closing of books
and saying goodbye
bringing an ending to our year.

In the spanning of eternity
this time we will call our own
however far
or ever near
to Caledonia, our home.

By Kyle Leonard
Grade 5 teacher

I was inspired by my students to try and capture the bittersweet emotion that takes place every spring in the hearts of all teachers and students at Caledonia-Mumford Elementary School.

Image by kawasu29 Flickr