Friday, August 2, 2013

The dreaded "movie day"

I posted a sub sheet that I am going to start using this year in my last entry. This got me thinking about my emergency sub ideas for the school year. Substitute teachers are just few and far between these days! Maybe this is just in my neck of the woods, but it is a sad thing. Last year, I might have had one or two actual substitute teachers when I had other school events or was sick. In most situations, I had one of my principals or another teacher/associate cover and then switch back and forth with someone who was available for 30 minutes. Because I never knew what was going to happen, I was recommended to leave movies - I know, movies! The kids live for these days, but I am not too keen on missing some class time. Still, since this is an easy idea for a last minute sub, I wanted to have something that we could tie into our concepts or start up a new idea.

I am always looking for new ideas, especially for my intermediate students (grades 3-5). Here are some of my ideas. PLEASE give me suggestions, ideas, comments :)

Primary (K-2)
Arthur's Music Jamboree - I'll admit it...I still love Arthur. This DVD has several episodes relating to music, like instruments, performances and stage fright. It's especially good for my younger students before a performance. Even Arthur makes mistakes and gets nervous, but everything turns out great!

Lomax, the Hound of Music - I love the music and work of John Feierabend! I had the opportunity to go to his workshop last year and had so much fun. While some of the episodes steered away from his vision, this DVD has hand-selected episodes that Feierabend approves of. The kids will also recognize some of the music and stories because I use a lot of his materials in class.

The Tuneables - I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but the reviews look great. There is singing, steady beat and lots of instrument introduction. However, it is pricey. For $30, you get a CD and DVD, but the DVD is only one episode. I'm really interested to purchase it and try it, but the previous DVDs are more worth the money in my opinion.

Little Amadeus - This is the other set I'm intrigued about. It is a boxed set of the first season all about Mozart as a child. It looks fun and is a great way to start talking about composers, classical music and opera. However, the reviews say that it is more "fairy-tale" like instead of historical accuracy.

Intermediate (3-5)

Fantasia 2000 - I love using Fantasia for lots of things! It's great for the kids to watch, but also to listen, create and compare with writing. I've done lots of writing activities and group discussions with Fantasia. The kids especially like The Sorcerer's Apprentice!

Classical Kids - Classical Kids has great stories about composers. My students love watching "Beethoven Lives Upstairs." The only drawback to these is that they are over thirty minutes. Therefore, I don't like using them in a pinch because I want to build on the information in it or use it as a review - not just shove it in randomly for them to watch and never mention again!

Musicals - We talk about musicals in 5th grade, but it's always nice for the kids to have a preview or small understanding of them. Again, the time length is a problem, but I always have The Music Man and Mary Poppins on hand in a pinch.

Any Grade - Phineas and Ferb & The Magic School Bus always work for both parts of the elementary. The Magic School Bus has a great episode about sound and a winter musical about recycling. Good introduction to musicals, especially during that "almost Christmas break" time. Phineas & Ferb is the same way. They do a rollercoaster musical and a summer musical. These aren't my favorites sometimes, but on emergency days, you have to do what you have to do.

Again, I am not an advocate for constantly using DVDs. I think they serve a purpose occasionally, but this post is for those last minute days or times when the substitute situation is out of your hands. Hopefully this provides some new resources. If you have any suggestions, I would definitely take them - thanks!

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