In September I got my first ukulele- Stella
I taught myself basic chords by using several YouTube tutorials and began using Stella during kindergarten story time. I LOVE Ukulele Storytime and her videos! I also love The Martins he also has a great blog with tons of resources at Tales of an Elementary School Librarian I also joined the Librarians with Uke facebook page (do you see why this has been an awesome rabbit hole?)
In October I got Pete
I got a ton of ideas from this article.
Our school district has a foundation where teachers can apply for grants. They have a special one called Irving Schools Foundation Spark Tank where you can take your idea to a panel and have 7 minutes to present. I collaborated with my music teacher... and we were slotted a time.
What we asked for and how we presented it:
-We asked for 20 ukuleles, 20 beginner ukulele books, 20 tuners, 20 chord charts, 20 ukulele bags.
-We asked for 20 books- each book had a musical connotation to it. I worked with my Perma-Bound reps to help me find great books with this theme in mind.
- I pulled in the music teacher and 2 students and we learned how to play 2 simple chords on the ukulele. The students actually played during the presentation. (Murphy's Music did a great job of making sure that we had materials to present with!)
-Students would join in a 6 week program. During that time students would meet weekly after school and learn basic chords. They would each get a ukulele to take care of for the 6 weeks. Each ukulele would be named after the main character in the book with the musical connotation. At the end of each six weeks we would end with a small performance.
We did not get all the ukuleles the first time around, and after working with the first bunch of students, I was okay with no more than 10 ukuleles going at once... BUT.. we got the grant!
After we got the grant we started working on getting the materials and the first Uke Can Do It 6 weeks program began. The Irving Schools Foundation also asked us to perform at their meeting on March 8th.
-Students learned how to tune their ukulele and take care of it.
-Students learned how to play simple chords (but were encouraged to work on their own as well)
-Students learned how to play several songs
-Students learned about the people in their books.
This last Friday this first round of students finished with the program. We had a great small performance that both parents, family members and teachers attended. They did FANTASTIC! The students also talked about how they wanted to continue to play.
Rather than them starting the program over again we are talking about having a "jam session" day where students can come and just play. I have also had teachers and parents show interest in the program as well. We are only in the beginning stages, but I can't wait to see where it goes.
During Texas Librarian Association Conference I was able to have a poster session where I shared how I have worked with my music and art teacher in the library.
Some of my resources
-Ukulele Club for Tweens and Teens
-Howard County libraries to launch lending ukulele kits
-I also LOVE learning from Cynthia Lin Music
I have lots to still learn and have lots to still organize, but I already love seeing how excited and motivated the students have been with the ukulele. We start our next round this Thursday...and yes. there are boys joining in too. I am thankful to my husband that got me started on the musical instrument kick, a music teacher that doesn't mind trying something new, and a principal that lets me try new things in the library!
Next up.. storage for the ukes!