Posts tagged ‘music’

SWINGING WITH THE PLANETS

Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That (Volume 1)

Written and Illustrated by Bonnie Ferrante

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A different and innovative approach to introduce the planets of our solar system to children. Wish I had this book when I was teaching the solar system to third grade students. This author combines beautiful photos of the planets with multicultural drawings of children. Instead of simply presenting information, readers are provided with a story about the mythological background behind the name of each planet. The author distinguishes between the inner and outer planets and explains the features which make them different. Each planet is assigned different notes and a musical song that can be sung to the tune of “Alouette.” Drawings indicate a unique movement associated with each planet like hugging yourself, flapping arms like wings or spinning around. Children can feel themselves moving in space as the planets do. The information is up to date; Pluto is no longer classified a planet. Some children remember better with a word rhyme so Ms. Ferrante suggests the sentence, My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles as a mnemonic to remember the planetary names. At the end of the book, a glossary redefines and elaborates on all scientific terminology mentioned in the text.

Such a wealth of knowledge packed into 35 pages. Younger children will enjoy looking at the photos and performing the gestures. Older students will expand their knowledge base of the solar system.

A child will be able to use this book over and over again for a number of years. Recommended for children ages five and up. Also a great family or classroom group activity!

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MUSIC AND MAYHEM

Book 1: Heroes in a World Reborn (The Mind Trips of S.C.A.M)

Written by Nathan Ritter

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First in a series of adventure books for preteens and teens. The author adds an unusual twist by combining music with the story.

The main characters are two seventh grade friends named Rob and Max. Tale begins when Max and Rob enter Max’s uncle’s garage to feed the fish while he is away. At first, it appears to be a pile of junk, but when the boys look closer, they discover two strange looking helmets, an old record player, and some records from the eighties. Curious as to how it works, they randomly select a 1983 record from an artist named Asia and place it on the turntable.

Suddenly, they are transported through a tunnel to a beautiful land which later turns very ugly. An old creature named Falgorg informs them that it is their duty to erase the Black Horizon, defeat the Black-Smeared One, and save their world from extinction. How will two boys accomplish this task? They are soon dressed in swords and shields; their battle will take them through many lands. The boys will meet The Phoenix, who bestows on them golden medallions. Rob and Max slog their way through fire and darkness and are imprisoned by The Rock Beast, but meet a fellow prisoner who inspires them with her special gifts. The two friends are determined to defeat the evil that The Black-Smeared One has imposed upon her world. Will they be strong enough? Do the boys escape and return to the garage? Because this is Book One, the reader can assume there will be lots more of musical adventures.

This is such a creative way to encourage young students to read and develop an appreciation of music at the same time. I think that most readers age ten and older will be able to handle the text, and the tale appeals to young teen audiences both male and female.

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LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING

                                                      HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Kindle Fire Apps For Kids: 22 Kick-Ass Apps Parents Should Buy and Why

Written by Elaine Donato

KindleFireAppsWhile I am not crazy about the name chosen for the subtitle, this short guide is an informative and useful one for parents trying to navigate the world of apps for their children.

Donato begins by talking about recommended ages and the benefits of iPad use for children. She reminds parents that it is important to set and enforce limitations and know that apps are a supplement not a substitution to a child’s education. Subsequent chapters highlight games for kids like Curious George’s Town and Toca Hair Salon. Donato moves on to preview traditional story book apps like Little Red Riding Hood as well as those that explore geography and science such as Barefoot World Atlas and Bobo Explores Light. In her chapter on art, writing, and music the author includes apps for comics, playing piano and creating your own book. Then there are educational apps for learning the alphabet, phonics, counting, and common object recognition.

Donato urges all parents to test the waters with these apps and share the experience with their children. These apps provide an excellent opportunity for both generations to grow and learn together.

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