Quaver helps launch Back-to-School with a Bang
By Kristin Clark Taylor
K-5 music teacher Betsy Jones has everything she needs to begin the school year … including Quaver himself!
In the Palm of her Hand.
Betsy Jones holds music in the depth of her heart. She also holds Quaver in the palm of her hand. Literally.
Okay, figuratively, then.
Take another peek at the pic at the top of this story and you’ll see it for yourself: Quaver himself is comfortably perched — and perfectly poised — on Betsy’s outstretched palm.
Together, this dynamic duo will reach, teach, and yes, even comfort the students at Annie Belle Clark Elementary in Tifton, GA, as they begin this challenging new school year. (Tift County was the very first school district in the nation to adopt QuaverMusic.) And though her classroom feels much different this year, Betsy is equipped with exactly what she needs to make sure music is still meaningful, still accessible, and yes, still fun for her students. This will obviously require flexibility and adaptability on her part, but no worries there: Teaching music is what Betsy does best.
Prior to the pandemic, the devoted K-5 music teacher had been teaching double-capacity classes — but new social distancing rules now require her to teach smaller single classes. The lemonade-out-of-lemons educator sees single classes as a “privilege” — and she is thankful to have Quaver in her classroom (and in her hand) to help get the job done!
The Masked Musicians
Jones describes how her incredible, mask-wearing musicians are using Quaver to help them on this new quest: “They’re keeping the ‘Steady Beat’ while singing and playing ‘You-Nique!’”
Jones says the smaller class size has been a blessing in so many ways: Now that she must space the drums further apart to achieve proper social distancing, “each student has now been given the opportunity to play a drum solo, which we had not been able to do previously.”
The solos and the smaller circles have allowed Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to soar in her classroom. Says Jones: “You can just see their creativity and confidence blossoming!”
Jones is joyful to have Quaver in the classroom: “My students love Quaver and they love to drum, so I am trying to give them as many drumming opportunities these first few weeks of school as possible!”
And when it comes to keeping the entire process healthy and germ-free, this can-do teacher already has it figured out: “I am able to sanitize the drum sticks easily in between each use!”
A ‘You-Nique’ Year, Indeed!
Jones’ “You-Nique” bulletin board creates a powerful platform for group discussion.
Just about every music teacher in America knows — and loves! — the super-popular Quaver song “You-Nique.” It’s taken the world by storm.
Betsy’s back-to-school bulletin board proves that it’s her favorite song, too.
“I see my student’s eyes light up every time they see the bulletin board,” she says. And the theme of the board – ‘It’s going to be a ‘You-Nique’ Year in Mrs. Jones’ Music Class!’ – hits the nail right on the head, because this will definitely be our most ‘You-Nique’ year yet!”
Jones says she’s also been using the board as a way to initiate important group discussion — which puts SEL at the forefront yet again.
“We look at the board and I ask each of my students, ‘What ‘You-Nique’ thing happened to you while you were learning from home?”
“Everyone has an experience to share, of course. And being able to share it with the group is a great way for them to express their emotions,” she says.
Her voice holds a smile when she remembers how one of her younger students answered the question.
“She raised her hand and said, ‘My cousin came over to visit and my grandma made her take a bath and then sprayed her with Lysol!’”
When Jones asked if the grandmother sprayed her, too, the student answered, “Oh yes, she sprays me all the time!”
“We all laughed. It brought us joy,” Jones said. “Without that discussion – and without my ‘You-Nique’ bulletin board – it wouldn’t have happened. Having Quaver in my classroom just makes teaching during these difficult times so much easier,” she says, emotion filling her voice.
So for Jones, the joy of having Quaver shows up in different places and in different forms: It is moving in her classroom.
It is stirring in her heart.
And yes, it is sitting in the palm of her hand.
Looking for more tips on how to adapt lessons for social distancing?
Check out these ideas for adapting your lessons from the Quaver team!
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Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.