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    2011-2012 Term 3 Circle Time Plans

    March 25, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    Wow! The last term of the year! It’s quite amazing, actually. I was going to add a new read-aloud or two to Circle Time this term, but I realized that most of what I purchased earlier in the year will take us through at least half of the term, so I decided to just let our time get gradually shorter, as if I planned to taper off all along! Since we have lots going on in May and June, it’ll probably be best to have a shorter Circle Time at that point, anyhow.

    I also think I’m skipping exams at the end of this term! I love exams, but June is so packed already, and there is a visit from Si’s aunt and grandma, both of whom I haven’t seen since A.-Age-Seven was about ten months old, to consider. Perhaps we’ll just have a simple recital and call it a year.

    I haven’t totally decided, but that is the way I’m leaning.

    Here are the plans…

    Circle Time Weekly Schedule 2011-2012 Term 3



    Folk Songs


    Artist Prints

    Bierstadt (Landscape)

    Bierstadt (Portrait)

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  • Reply Kelly March 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    This isn’t a Circle Time question, but I’m wondering how Piano Phonics is going. I keep looking at their site but since they don’t actually show any of the lessons I can’t get myself to order one of the books. Can you describe the first lesson, and maybe a later one? I mean, what does the child see on the page? What does he do?

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      I still really like PianoPhonics. I began taking lessons at age three. I started my son last year at 8.5. He is already far ahead of where I was at his age (now 9.5). I had good teachers, so I really think there is a lot to say for PP’s effectiveness, though I also think there is a lot to be said for starting at a later age.

      Anyhow, PP assumes NO prior piano knowledge of any kind. Lesson 1 teaches the chromatic scale using a picture of the keyboard with numbers on it to indicate the proper fingering. I thought this was such a strange place to begin, but I noticed all of my three piano students quickly acquired “nimble fingers” from this exercise.

      The second lesson begins to teach the names of the keys using pictures and letters. The third lesson commences with learning to read music using only two notes: A (in the LH) and E (in the RH). Immediately he focuses on all three parts of music: playing the correct notes, with the correct rhythm, and using correct fingering. I have found that using both the notes in the book as well as the self-teaching notes found on the website have been imperative for me in teaching these students.

      A child familiar with the piano would, of course, progress more quickly. My son is currently beginning Lesson 13, all of the exercises of which are in D minor. There are not yet keys at the beginning of the pieces, but he now reads notes, including sharps and flats, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes, triads, etc. It is finally hard enough that I make a few mistakes when I play the exercise for him (not that I always do that, but if he is really struggling with rhythm, I do…)…

      I hope that helps a little! The author is very prompt via email if you have any questions. There is a chance you could get him to post a sample page or two if you asked…If you told him that was what was keeping you from purchasing, maybe that is keeping others as well, and he would do better to post a couple random pages…

  • Reply ...they call me mommy... March 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Looks GREAT! 🙂 I’ve yet to figure out how to incorporate folk songs into our learning partly because I don’t know which ones to choose and where to find ’em?! Any favorite resources that you could suggest? LOVE the paintings by your artist. I am only in Term 2 as we took a lot of time off for our new baby…oh well. 😉

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      I simply use the Ambleside assigned folk songs. At the top of the AO Folk Songs page you can click the words “Click Here for This Year’s Folksongs” to access the list. The list is linked to suggested lyrics and YouTube videos, all of which are very helpful. For me, though, I always look for a score of some type because I read music and that is the easiest way for me to teach them to my children…if you read music, my links will be helpful, and if not then you definitely want to check out the AO links! AO just began assigning one folk song per month this year–before that it was only one per term. I thought that one per month would be too much, but my children seriously LOVE it.

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