I vividly recall taking out the record album for Disney’s Haunted Mansion and playing it repeatedly for the whole month of October when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that record got thrown away long ago when I moved away from home. So, when I went to the link Disney recently shared for its Halloween music playlist, I was excited to see a track from the Haunted Mansion album, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The first five notes brought me back to chilly autumn nights spent imagining the amazing costume I would wear for trick-or-treating that year (conveniently forgetting each year that it was always so cold in New Jersey that I might as well just wear pajamas under my winter coat).
This playlist is available on 11 different music platforms, including YouTube. It includes classic and contemporary songs. There’s a wide variety to appeal to different age groups, and some are less spooky than others.
What can you use this for?
Wait time while students are joining class
Background music while students are doing independent work
Two Bit Circus is a foundation that describes its mission as follows: “We serve children in all economic situations by creating learning experiences to: inspire entrepreneurship, encourage young inventors, and instill environmental stewardship.” The organization has aimed to achieve these goals through activities such as summer camps, STEAM Carnivals, and workshops. Although many of these programs have had to come to a screaming stop during the last few months due to the pandemic, Two Bit Circus has not faltered in its delivery of quality content. Instead, it has shifted to offering streaming classes during the week on topics that range from creating music to building balloon racers. You can find the archive, already full of informational project videos they have streamed since March, here. Note that Caine Monroy (yes – the charming young man from Caine’s Arcade) makes a special appearance in some of them. He is a member of the foundation’s Junior Advisory Board. In fact, according to the streaming schedule on the home page, Caine will be hosting another live session this Thursday, May 21st.
It’s clear that Two Bit Circus is making a strong effort to offer distance learning projects that are fun, educational, and mostly reliant on household supplies. Some other resources you will currently find on their website home page are their STEAM Carnival Playbooks (currently free downloads thanks to Vans), a Bricks Playbook for Parents, and “Power Lab,” a “Print-At-Home Escape/Story Room Experience.” In addition, parents who are suddenly finding themselves to be educators may learn some helpful advice from the “Teachers for Teachers” series that you can find here.
While the official school year may be winding down for some, the unpredictability of the next few months will probably still leave some gaps in children’s schedules. With these resources from Two Bit Circus you can make that time fly!
I have been uplifted by the many videos that have been shared on social media lately showing how people are making their own joy with others despite our physical distances. I wanted to share a few today.
This first one was brought to my attention in a blog post by @LarryFerlazzo:
For a dose of absolutely adorable cuteness, you should listen to “Virus in a Tree.”
My daughters (Fenn 4, Bess 6) made a virus related song today. It’s called ‘Virus in The Tree’. It’s written from the perspective of the virus. They’re trying their best to process it all. 🌳 pic.twitter.com/27RuYeWkOo
And finally, for those of us looking for some humor, watch this clever and talented family perform the pandemic version of “One Day More” from Les Miserables. (Thanks to @jtrayers for sharing this on FB.)
It’s the season of graduations, and Jason Mraz just released the perfect song to accompany every single one of them. I played it yesterday as my 4th graders were working on mandalas, and they left the classroom singing the chorus in unison on the way to lunch.
The song, “Have it All,” is one of those catchy tunes that you don’t have to be a music producer to predict will be an instant hit. It will lift your heart even more when you watch the video. Students from Binford Middle School in Richmond, VA, (where Mraz has mentored since last year) appear in segments of this uplifting short film. The custodian gets a starring role, too!
Jason Mraz is a master of lyrics, and your students may enjoy analyzing such lines as, “May you be as fascinating as the slap bracelet.” My favorite is the one I used to title this blog post.
And I absolutely adore the snow shovel art done by Cindy Chinn. You can see more images in this article, and you can visit her Etsy store here. Thanks to Cindy for giving me permission to include this picture/ (If you like her snow shovel art, you should also check out her pencil carvings!)
Today’s Frivolous Friday post is in honor of my colleague, Angela Leonhardt, who is a music educator extraordinaire. She just made it to the finals for our district’s Teacher of the Year. That honor and many more are well-deserved by this wonderful teacher, who enriches our community with her dedication. If I had any music composition skills, I would play her a magnificent fanfare with this A.I. Duet experiment from Google. Unfortunately, even A.I. can’t mask my ineptitude, but I’m sure that someone with Angela’s talent can find a way to make beautiful music with this fun tool.
H/T to Mental Floss for sharing A.I. Duet with its readers.