This Texas Teacher Touts Quaver’s Best Qualities
By Kristin Clark Taylor
Elijah Ortiz describes Quaver as a vital resource: “It makes all the difference.“
In these uncertain times, when closed classrooms and school shut-downs are more common than uncommon, sharing, caring, and collaboration are the name of the game.
The world is different now, particularly when it comes to teaching: Gaps can occur. Cracks can form. Attention levels can lower. Anxiety levels can elevate. But dedicated music teachers throughout the USA (and the world) are pushing forward, giving it their all, and finding ways to reach and teach their students, no matter what — and they’ve been turning to one resource to help them get the job done: QuaverMusic.
Elijah Ortiz, who teaches K-5th-grade music at Winship Elementary in Spring, Texas, is a teacher who cares deeply, collaborates closely, and is creating a culture of caring in his classroom, using Quaver as a resource.
A Caring Culture Celebrates All Cultures
“I like diving into different types of music and exploring different cultures with my students. I’m always looking for ways to celebrate cultural diversity,” says Ortiz.
Spring ISD, a culturally diverse school district with significant Hispanic representation, is a district known far and wide for being culturally inclusive in its curriculum. Ortiz says Quaver’s curriculum helps him celebrate cultural diversity.
“There are songs and lessons that help us celebrate diversity,” he says. “Not too long ago, we used ’Bate, Bate, Chocolate’ to help us celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” he says with enthusiasm. “That song is an all-time favorite with my students,” he says appreciatively. “They just can’t get enough of it!”
His list of all-time favs continues.
“My fourth-graders in particular really love the ‘Instrument Crane Game,’” Ortiz says, “because it lays a little track that demonstrates the instrument itself and helps them identify the different instruments by name, sight, and sound.”
Lessons that offer this kind of specific instruction about different instruments are particularly important today, since the actual playing of instruments in the classroom is no longer as readily an option. Because of the restrictions, music teachers must develop creative alternatives, he says, so flexibility and resilience are key.
In fact, ensuring this continued flexibility – this relentless drive to create new paths for reaching and teaching students during these challenging times – is what remains the top priority for Ortiz.
“In the past, I’ve used the Kodaly approach in my teaching, but with the onset of the pandemic, this has become more challenging,” Ortiz readily admits. “But Quaver’s curriculum has been extremely helpful in making it possible for me to continue with my Kodaly teaching.”
“No, we can no longer sit in a tight circle and pass things around. We can’t sit shoulder-to-shoulder … but Quaver has lessons that can help me create an environment that comes pretty close,” he says.
Quaver helps make Collaboration possible
Ortiz says Quaver has also been an important collaborative force for teachers district-wide — and in these times, information-sharing is more important than ever.
“I sit on a District-wide Professional Learning Committee with other Spring ISD teachers,” he says, “and we’re grateful to have Quaver.”
In fact, another Spring ISD teacher, Linda Sue Hundley, of Marshall Elementary School, is a music teacher who often collaborates with Ortiz. Two teachers from different schools using a single source to help unite them: Quaver.
Hundley herself was featured in a recent Quaver blog and echoes her colleague Ortiz’s sentiments, saying that that this kind of cohesion between and amongst music teachers helps these difficult days feel a little less difficult. “Quaver is the tool we all value,” she said recently.
Two teachers, one voice
Ortiz is grateful for the depth and breadth of the Quaver curriculum as well as the richness and diversity of its content. “With Quaver, there’s always something new to discover,” he says.
“And I can honestly say that in a teaching career that has spanned nine years, some of my best lessons have come from Quaver.”
The gratitude can be heard and felt in his voice:
“Quaver’s made all the difference in the world,” he says.
So from two different schools in a single district comes a collective song that sings praise for Quaver’s quest for collaboration. Two Texas teachers who are using Quaver’s curriculum to be the best teachers they possibly can be.
Ortiz sums it up nicely: “Quaver’s been a real God-send.”
And that’s just about as good as it can get.
Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.