HS – Feb – Paul

March 19, 2012

A couple weeks ago I was looking at my syllabus and realized that I was actually on track this semester. Then it hit me: we haven‘t had any snow days yet this year! Although I miss the intermittent breaks that they provide, it‘s been great to have some consistency in classes. During Critical Comedy class we have just wrapped up a unit on race in America. We used standup-comedy to look at personal and structural racism, economic inequality, affirmative action, racial profiling, and the criminal justice system. Though most of our focus was on black and white relations, we also touched on issues surrounding Arabs, Latinos, and even Indians.

In American Popular Music we have entered into the second of four units. The first unit was on music from 1900-1945 and covered minstrelsy, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, blues, and jazz. Now we are looking at the transition from big band jazz and jump blues to Rock-n-Roll. The students are working on their papers for the first unit, and also working on creating a 1950s style radio show, complete with ads, intro, and outros based on the legendary early rock shows of Dewey Phillips and Alan Freed.

American Language and Culture is progressing well. The students have adjusted to studying new English words every week. 6

Finally, I am very happy with the progress of my music students in Melody and Harmony. New students are playing their first songs ever, and more experienced musicians are expanding their knowledge of songs, scales, chords, and general music theory. So far, we‘ve learned Amazing Grace, Auld Lang Syne, and Oh Susanna, with many more to come.

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