ELEM/GEN: The World Turned Upside Down

“Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.” This is a line from an old English Ballad that dates back to the 1640’s when the English Parliament banned portions of Christmas celebrations. Later, it was rumoured to have been played by the English at the Battle of Yorktown during their surrender. Probably, the most famous recent quoting of this line is from the musical Hamilton in the song “Yorktown” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Although historians have searched Revolutionary War records, there is no source that can confirm this tune was one of the songs that was played when the English surrendered. Whether true or rumor matters very little in 2020, as the legend lives on. Now we know that the world [is] turned upside down.

Learning and teaching continues in a way that none of us could have imagined just 6 months ago. While online learning has been in place for many years, most of us were not prepared for what we were asked to do just a few short weeks ago. I received my Master’s Degree from the University of Florida in 2016 through it’s online Music Education program. I feel lucky to have had exposure to the possibilities of online teaching and learning. However, very little of what I did actually transferred over to what I have been asked to do as an elementary music educator. The requirements from our Principals, Schools and Districts have been wide and varied. Some teachers have been asked to do very little so as not to overwhelm the parents, while others have been asked to deliver the same amount of instruction that the students would have received in the classroom by making and posting videos of themselves teaching. No matter what your school is doing, there are many wonderful resources to help you. Let’s start with a few.

The AMEA board is working to provide you with the necessary resources, professional development and lessons that might meet your needs through our website www.myamea.org. Here, you can access a database of online lessons grouped by teaching specialty: band, choir, orchestra, college and elementary/general. Each set of lessons if further categorized by topic or objectives. You can contribute to this database when you create something for your classroom. The process is very easy and user friendly and I encourage each of you to visit this site. NaFME is also offering professional development and resources on their website www.nafme.org . Some of these are even available for non-members. I encourage you to take advantage of these courses and to keep track of your professional development hours. I would also encourage you to reach out to your local Professional Learning Community. We should all strive to “meet regularly, share expertise, and work collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students” (www.edglossary.org) even during this time of school closure.

Speaking of professional development, the Fall Workshop is set for Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This workshop directly follows our Elementary AMEA Choir Festival and will feature clinician, Jeremy Howard. The sign-up for the choir festival is open and the deadline is Friday, May 8, 2020. All sign ups must be completed online using the following link; https://forms.gle/svmHBCQ731QqbDLg9. Please email Melissa McIntyre for more festival information at ameafestival@gmail.com. The 2021 AMEA Professional Development Conference is coming up as well. We are currently accepting applications for presenters and performers. We would love to strengthen our Alabama PLC by having great sessions provided by you and your colleagues. Use the link on www.myamea.org to submit your session or apply to perform. I would also like to hear from you regarding sessions you’d like to see offered. Please email me at elementaryamea@gmail.com to suggest presenters or topics you like to see. The deadline for session proposals and performing groups is June 1, 2020 <Editor’s note. EXTENDED September 1, 2020>.

In closing, I would like to encourage you to keep the faith and stay the course. We are all gifted with many different gifts and are charged to use them to the best of our abilities. I believe we are stronger when we share what we know with others whether online or in person. Thank you again, for your hard work, dedication and continued support of the Elementary/General Division of the AMEA and the children of Alabama. I can’t wait to see you soon.

Betty R Wilson, President
Elementary/General Division

Upcoming Dates:

  • NAfME In-Service Conference, Nov 4-8, 2020, Orlando, Florida. Elementary Music Festival, Friday, October 16th, 2020; Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Joint Fall Workshop sponsored by Elementary/General Division of AMEA, AOSA, and
    SHAKE, Saturday, October 17th, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama featuring clinician Jeremy Howard
  • American Orff-Schulwerk Association, National Professional Development Conference, November 11-14, 2020, Kansas City. Registration begins July 1st.
  • 2021 AMEA Professional Development Conference, January 21-23, 2021, Renaissance Hotel and Spa, Montgomery, Alabama.