Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The World on a (Violin) String

You learn the parts of a violin, and then you get a violin.
Sounds too good to be true?

It's the truth, alright.  Each of these young children from Durham Public Schools is about to receive his or her very own violin from KidZNotes, a not-for-profit organization promoting classical music training for children in East Durham's poorest neighorhoods. The violins and lessons--four lessons a week after school, and rehearsal on Saturdays--are all free.

KidZNotes Director Katie Wyatt (pictured here) leads the Durham initiative.  And the global connection?  This educational music movement comes from Venezuela. 

Conceived and directed by Jose Antonio Abreu (an economist, as well as a composer, and conductor),  El Sistema has touched and improved the lives of over 800,000 children living in poverty in the past thirty-five years.   Its success has been re-created all over the world.  Wyatt studied the curriculum in Venezuela as an Abreu Fellow and determined to bring it to Durham.  You can read about the program here.  

The long term plan is to replicate the East Durham project in other parts of the city and the state. (Maybe in your school district!)  You can read more about KidZNotes and the big launch here.  And keep up with KidZNotes with Katie's blog

Congratulations to KidZNotes and East Durham's budding musicians on a wonderful start.  When you start posting your concerts on YouTube, we'll post the link here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Images of Global Cities

I love these photos of global cities, and the captions explaining why each is unique in its global character, on the web site of Foreign Policy.  (That's Singapore on the left.)

 London's one of the big global stars, of course, and has been since the Roman Empire.  And Hong Kong has long been an important international center for business.  But Taipei is in the global league, too, along with Jakarta and Lagos.

Share the photos with students, and challenge them to research and report on a global metropolis.  You could make it a year-long group project, with regular updates on each city. 

Take a look into local business connections to a global city.  You may be able to find someone in your community who's lived and worked there.  Who knows?  Across the world may be closer than you think!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Social Studies Conference 2011

It's official.  The NCCSS conference is set for February 24-25, 2011, at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The theme is "Vistas, Visions, and Voices." 

Registration deadline is January 31 (but don't wait!  Get your plans in gear now!)  Deadline for proposals is November 1.  (See above!)

This is the highlight of the social studies year, if you ask me.  Don't miss it.  I'll see you there!