With 11.7 million YouTube views, you must see this performance by Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele virtuoso known for his complex finger work. Be sure to watch the last minute where Jake plays a pretty incredible sequence.
My husband gave found Jake on YouTube and my kids loved watching him play, especially my son who plays the guitar. My son then had his guitar teacher, a graduate student from the New England Conservatory, watch the video. His teacher had not heard of Jake but he was also impressed. He told us that Jake used Flamenco guitar techniques on the ukelele so, of course, my son wanted to try it himself.
The second video is instructional. Jake breaks down his fingering techniques. Though he’s very clear on how to do it and makes it look easy, it looks pretty difficult to emulate. Still, my son was inspired by Jake’s accessibility as a performer and watching him play makes my son play his guitar more. If Jake ever comes to Boston — he’s on tour now — we’d make a great effort to catch him.
What do you think of Jake? Did you ever imagine the ukelele could sound like that?
When my son was in preschool, I created this free Kindergarten readiness book for him. I printed it out, bound it into a 3 ring paper folder, and made a copy for each child in his class and the teachers had the kids work on it for a few months before preschool ended.
It is both a keepsake book plus, having gone through the ropes with his two older sisters, a Kindergarten readiness book to capture all the academic concepts I thought he needed for Kindergarten:
For the last day of April and National Poetry Month, I am so excited to welcome my guest author, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of poetry picture book Forest Has a Song. She has inspired me, a poetry-phobe to explore poetry with her gentle coaxing so I asked her to please write a post on teaching poetry at home with kids.
In concluding my month celebrating National Poetry Month, I hope that all of us feel more comfortable with poetry and will enjoy it the rest of the year with our kids. What poetry books are your favorites? Please share!
Teaching Poetry at Home to Your Children
Laughing and pointing, all five of us sat and watched as Cali and Sage, our two Border Collie mixes, wrestled on the rug. Charmed again by the antics of animals, nine-year-old Henry commented, “You know…if we didn’t have pets, we would be different people.” Henry was right. And his exact words have stayed in my mind for the past two years; they were a spoken poem. Read more…
I’m not sure why, but our school had a screen free day last month. These screen free challenges are particularly difficult for my kids, hooked as they are to their iPhones, iPod Touch, computer, TV and Wii. Did I miss any? Does the Color Nook and Kindle count too?
Successful Screen Free Day Last Month
I was shocked when my little boy, 2nd grade, burst out of school with a plan to stay screen free. He cooked it up with his 3rd grade best friend Sam. They were going to:
Jump on Sam’s trampoline
Go inside and eat a snack
Play Clue and other board games
Go back outside and jump on the trampoline some more
It was imperative that he go to his friend’s house so his request was happily granted. Three hours later, he came home and announced that 1) We need to buy Clue (I had thrown our board game away ages ago), and 2) Going screen free for the day was not as hard as he had thought. Read more…
This month the Poppins Book Nook is about Wizards. I looked up the definition to make sure that my book choice was appropriate.
Wizards, Sorcerers and Magicians, Oh My!
1. One who practices magic; a sorcerer or magician.
2. A skilled or clever person: a wizard at math.
3. Archaic A sage.
Wizards (or Magicians) in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles
Ah, a magician is part of the definition. Phew! My son and I have been reading Rick Riordan’s books since the fall. We finally finished the last one this week. It was the third and final book of The Kane Chronicles, The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book Three).
PickyKidPix‘s 3rd grade dream came true recently. Her third grade poetry unit produced this poem which articulated her dreams that were unbeknownst to us, her parents. It’s funny how all her dreams are contained in this poem about herself.
In the past two years, PickyKidPix went from the first travel soccer team, to the third team, and back up to the second team. There was some drama when she missed the cut for a new club team in our town. As parent, it’s so painful to watch your child’s heart break.
I’m proud of her though. For her resilience. For her determination. And for never giving up. She made another Club Soccer team and has been practicing hard all year trying to get better. She wants to make the top team! Will she? It almost doesn’t matter. Life lessons being learned here.
My husband gave me this funny video but it’s actually a serious study on the source of morality: nurture or nature? The video is taken from a TED talk by Frans de Waal, primatologist and author of several popular books. His talk is called Moral behavior in Animals.
In this experiment, two Capuchin monkeys are presented with an unfairness scenario. As de Waal notes, cucumbers are acceptable food for the monkeys, but they prefer grapes. De Waal claims that monkeys like food in proportion to its price at the supermarket — he’s a funny guy and worth watching if you have 18 minutes. Read more…
Oh how I’ve procrastinated this list. I think I’ve been “working” on it for more than a year. I feel somewhat fraudulent posting on best poetry books for kids because I’m no expert. National Poetry Month is forcing me to face my own fear of poetry to finally complete this list.
Poetry for April has permeated our house. My kids are all doing poetry units at school. No coincidence, I think.
The other week, PickyKidPix had to go to the library to research poems of oppression for her school poetry project. (Strange topic, right? Her friend Devin has “rain” as a poetry topic). We asked the librarian where the poetry books were. I had no idea there was a HUGE section of poetry books for kids in the Non-Fiction section!
It was eye-opening to realize the poetry books are NOT organized by topic. I’m no expert on the Dewey Decimal system but I’m not sure this is the best way to organize poetry books for kids. We pored over four bookcases of poetry books looking for people of color which is a little like searching for that proverbial needle. Nevertheless, we found this small pile.
After digging for poetry books, I realize that sometimes it’s nice to have a list served up to you. I hope this list serves you well!
Please share your favorite poetry books for kids. Together we can build this list. Thanks so much! Read more…
April as National Poetry Month has hit our elementary school. Both my kids have been hard at work composing poems at school. My son’s 2nd grade poetry unit did not requiring rhyming and it was modeled after color poems by Mary O’Neill. Poetry gets more challenging in 5th grade as I discovered in our recent Parent Teacher conference.
The 5th grade Parent Teacher conferences have expanded to include the student. PickyKidPix showed me her poem during our Parent/Teacher/Student conference this past week. She did a beautiful job rhyming and illustrating her poem.
5th grade poems have to rhyme! I did not realize that. The first line gave her a bit of trouble so I wanted to see if anyone could help her out.
Hi! I'm Mia Wenjen. I blog excessively about children's books. I am also the co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day on Jan 27th.
I'd love to chat with you. Let's connect! PragmaticMomBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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