In light of the stay-at-home directive by Gov. Wolf, our staff will continue working remotely to deliver online learning for our students. Students and families can visit our Family Portal for additional information and learning opportunities.

Blog: Freire Charter Middle School

May 22, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 22

Thank you!

It’s hard to believe we are coming into our last week of Pop out of the Box online programming. I have very much appreciated seeing your children while we are all stuck at home. Over the course of these many weeks, I have had a chance to reflect on the work I do at POP, and I realize now more than ever how very much the students move me. I have missed their antics as they learn to be little humans navigating the threshold between childhood and adulthood. I have missed chatting with them in my office, watching them learn a new skill, seeing their eyes light up when something goes from complete confusion to that “Oh, I get it” moment.

Although online learning is so different, I applaud your students for jumping in and giving it a try, for being brave enough to participate in a platform that at first seems very cold and indifferent. Each moment the TAs and I have with your children is a moment that grows us as teachers and as individuals. I believe even more now than ever that we have strengthened our community. We have a strong POP spirit!

Next week is our final Jubilee Celebration!

Click here to register.

This year’s Jubilee is an event you don’t want to miss. An event unique to any other we have produced at POP, this event is full of guest artists, messages of joy, resilliance, and hope. We have performances by student artists, guest artists, and TAs in an unprecedented package of speeches, pictures, and music.

If you have already registered your student for the Jubilee, we still need you to click the link above and reserve your spot.

You don’t want to miss this. Looking forward to celebrating with you all next week!

 

FCMS May 15, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 15

POP Out of the Box finishes Week 2!

Thank you to all of you who have been sending your students to our regular weekly programming – it is a lifeline to our TAs to see their faces each week. If you have not been attending classes or have not registered for our online programming, you are still welcome to do so! Please go here to register, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Ms. Anna.

POP out of the Box Concerts are coming up!

Register here, if you haven’t already, and once registered, visit our login page here to find the link for the performances.

Faculty Concert, Friday, May 15 at 5pm

Please join us tonight at 5pm for a virtual live concert featuring TAs from our various music centers around town. These TAs are excited to play for you, and this is a unique opportunity for your students to hear their teachers in concert.

Student Showcase Friday, May 22 at 5pm

Wondering what your fellow POP students are up to? Tune in to our student showcase next week, Friday, May 22 at 5pm and get a chance to hear some of your friends perform pieces they have been working on.

Jubilee Concert and Year End Celebration

Friday, May 29 at 5pm

Every year, POP has an end of the year celebration concert, and while we can’t be in person to do so this year, we are excited to all come together for this Jubilee Celebration! We have many wonderful things planned for this concert: we will be reflecting on our very unique year, showing our appreciation for our essential workers and sending a message of hope through music, short speeches, photos, and more. As the culminating event of the year, we hope that you will be able to join us. Your whole family is welcome to attend, not just your student. We would love to see as many faces as possible!

May 1, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 1

 

Have you signed up for your online POP classes yet?

Click on the Box to go there now!

 

Dear Families –

I was glad to get to speak to many of you this week and to hear that you are healthy and doing well. We know this is not an easy time for our students or our families, and I am grateful for those conversations this week. Checking in with you was nourishing to my soul. I miss our students!

We are looking forward to seeing many of you next week for our online POP classes! Please remember, even if you are a POP kid already, we need you go to in and choose your online classes! There are many options, and we want you to choose ones that look interesting to you.

On Friday, May 29, we are hosting our Jubilee celebration concert, and the TAs are working hard to create a special presentation for the students. Please make sure you have the Jubliee on your list of classes!

Let me highlight a few FAQs

  1. Does my student need his/her instrument for these classes?
      • NO! The instrument Family Hangouts will use instruments, but the core classes will focus on musical skills that don’t require an instrument.
  2. Can my student sign up for more than one class?
      • YES! Please have your student sign up for as many classes as look interesting to him/her
  3. Can my student invite his/her friends outside of POP to join?
      • YES! Please encourage your students to invite any of their friends to join us. POP Out of the Box is available to all students!
  4. Is there a fee for these classes?
      • NO! These classes are being offered to POP kids and their school peers free of charge.
  5. Can I as a parent/guardian come to the concerts?
      • YES! And we hope you will! Please join us for all of our concerts (there are three!)
  6. I lost the link for the registration page.
      • No problem. Here it is.

We are looking forward to seeing you next week!

April 24, 2020

Posted: Friday, April 24

Pop out of the Box Programming Starting May 4!

Welcome to our new online learning program! The staff and Teaching Artists at POP have been working hard creating some pretty awesome programming for our students, and we are excited to get it rolling. In a nutshell, here’s what we will be offering:

Core programming for all grade levels – twice a week for 45 minutes

Specialty Workshops that happen only one time – don’t miss these!

  • Practicing at Home
  • Hangout with your instrument family!
  • A Listening Salon – things you never knew about music
  • A concert by your TAs
  • and A final Jubilee Celebration – Everyone should register for this one!

 

You can sign up for as many classes and workshops as you would like. All of the learning is happening through the online video conferencing app Zoom. We hope you and your students will be able to join us for these creative ways to engage with music during this time.

Please Register for your classes here!

In order for us to have a good sense of who is interested in what class and to help us plan for classroom management, we are asking that you register for these classes using this portal on our website. You will find any supplemental materials here that you might need for the class, as well as a detailed description of the classes. Remember that these classes are available to your student AND to you! This is a unique opportunity for you to get a hand’s on sense of what we do at POP. We would love to have you!

And now for something a little silly, but lots of fun: Making Music with Brooms

In the spirit of making music at home, have you ever asked yourself what is music? Or what is art? Well, art and music are all around us, sometimes in ways we may not even realize. Check out this group, STOMP, who is making incredible music with brooms! They have other videos where they make music with just their hands, hose pipes, or even a box of matchsticks. Click on the link above and watch the broom video. Notice how they can make the brooms louder and softer depending on which part of the broom they use to hit the ground. This is called “dynamics” in music: loud and soft. After you have watched the video, go grab your broom and see what kind of music you can come up with – or try and play along with the guys on the video. Send Ms. Anna a video of you rocking out on your broom to your favorite music!

POP Freire Family Newsletter

Posted: Friday, April 10

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Celebrating Philadelphians in Music

While we are all separated and in our own spaces, I thought it would be fun to learn about some musicians who came from our great city of Philadelphia.

This week we are learning about Philadelphian Bobby McFerrin. Bobby is famous for his song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This song came out in 1988 and was instantly a success. It was the first acapella (voice only) song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and one of the first to have all the tracks recorded by one person – Bobby! Kind of like today how everyone is recording videos of people in their homes and then putting them together. Bobby was doing this 30 years ago!

Check out Bobby’s website here where you can be the engineer who mixes all the parts together. Choose which tracks will play at which time and come up with your own arrangement of the song.

You can also watch the music video here. Robin Williams is in the video too! (They were good friends.) Bobby’s message is still important for us today – stay strong, Dragons!

Bobby visits POP

Last year, POP had Bobby McFerrin and Stewart Copeland (drummer for the Police) visited us at St. Francis de Sales to talk about what music means to us in our lives. I believe this topic is more relevant to us now than ever before. Art is going to help us get through this time. We need it more now than ever.

Let us know how you are using music to get you through this time of isolation.

Teaching Artist Videos

Don’t forget about our TA instructional videos available to all of our students on our family portal. Do you have a request for a video? Just let me know, and I’ll have a TA make one for you.

POP TAs Doing Great Things

Mr. Devin just completed his curriculum for three levels of clarinet players all in one book – way to go, Mr. Devin! Check out some of his practice videos for a sneak peek into what that curriculum looks like.

Ms. Anna was featured in an article in the Temple News for her live daily concerts during the quarantine. Read the article here.

St. Francis TA, Mr. Nic was featured in an article in the Inquirer. Check it out here!

Upcoming programming

We have spent the last several weeks considering how best to program for our students and to meet their needs while we are all at home. Look for updates coming to your email very soon for what this will look like. In the mean time, explore the TA videos.

POP FCMS Family Newlsetter 4.3.20

Posted: Friday, April 3

Something to Brighten Your Day!

So, I feel like it’s time to lighten the mood a little bit and let you in on some pretty terrible humor. Here are some of my favorite musical jokes, and by favorite, I mean terrible. If you have one of your own, please send it along to me. Beware, these are groaners!

 

Teaching Artist Instructional Videos!

If you haven’t already, please check out the resources section of the family portal! Don’t know how to get there? Navigate to the POP Family tab at the top, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Click on “Click Here” and you will have access to all the videos made by all the POP Teaching Artists (TAs). If you want to, you can watch videos by any TA – feel free to practice scales or any other skill with any of the TAs, your student can explore all of the videos!

 

Send us a picture of how you are staying musical at home?

Whether you are practicing your instrument, watching concerts online, or creating music in the Chrome Music Lab, send us a photo of you being musical. We miss you all, and can’t wait to have you back in our classrooms.

POP Freire Newsletter 3.27.2020

Posted: Friday, March 27

Our Concert Video is Ready!

Dear Families – We are certainly missing all of our POP students, and are hopeful that you are staying healthy and safe during this isolation. We are working hard to make sure your students have plenty of things to practice at home, so look for updates in your email!

I’m SUPER excited to announce that our concert video is ready! Here’s the link. Sit down with your student and watch the concert together. Better yet, sit the whole family down and enjoy the concert together. It really was a wonderful session, and you are going to love this video. The kids were really disappointed to lose the whole celebratory aspect of the concert day, so maybe you can watch the concert together, then all have a celebratory treat – like ice cream or cookies, or whatever you have in your house right now! Be sure to celebrate you student and tell them all how wonderful they are!

Your TAs are recording for you!

In an effort to continue to provide you with resources for your students at home, our TAs are busy making videos for you to use while you practice from home. The videos are now live on our website – go to the POP Family page and scroll all the way to the bottom. You’ll find a link under Resources that says “click here.” Click it for access to our instructional videos. Your child is encouraged to do videos posted by their TAs AND, if they want, they can check out videos of other TAs and practice along withe them. We would love to have your feedback on how this process is going in your home, so please let me know.

Register for Summer Program!

At this point, we are uncertain what will be happening during the summer, but for now, we are planning on moving ahead. Please register your student for 2, 4, or 6 weeks of program. Remember that this will only cost you a $25 registration fee, and that’s all! The kids are REALLY going to need this by the time we get there. Here’s the link.

 

Please fill out this very short survey

Please take a minute to fill out this google poll and let me know if your student has an instrument and/or internet access at home. This will help me in determining what I need to send home for them.

No Program Scheduled until April 6 – But you can still be musical!

So many arts organizations are offering free access to their concerts and performances. Check out the links below to get some supplemental music in your house!

  1. My kids introduced me to a REALLY FUN music making site called Chrome Music Lab. You can find it here.
  2. CHALLENGE: Have your student create a piece of music using this platform and send me the link. I’ll share them with you next week!

Moving forward, if you have any questions, I’m certainly available to you. Feel free to email or call me. I hope you had a relaxing spring break! Please, everyone stay healthy – wash those hands!

~Anna.

 

POP Freire Newsletter 3.20.2020

Posted: Friday, March 20

“Back” from spring break!

Ok, everyone, I hope your students (and you!) had a restful break, and that you are figuring out our new kind of “normal.” As we transition back to learning, I want to give you some resources for helping your student to continue learning music while we are all in our separate places.

Please fill out this very short survey

Please take a minute to fill out this google poll and let me know if your student has an instrument and/or internet access at home. This will help me in determining what I need to send home for them.

Register for Summer Program!

At this point, we are uncertain what will be happening during the summer, but for now, we are planning on moving ahead. Please register your student for 2, 4, or 6 weeks of program. Remember that this will only cost you a $25 registration fee, and that’s all! The kids are REALLY going to need this by the time we get there. Here’s the link.

Spring Concert video coming up!

Mr. Vince is hard at work with our Development office compiling the videos from our very last minute recording session just over a week ago (can you believe it?!). As soon as that video is ready to go, I will share it with you, so be looking for an email on that. Please keep in mind that this was a very last minute set-up and some of the footage doesn’t get the entire ensemble into the picture. If you can’t see your student, ask them to help you hear them.

Your TAs are recording for you!

In an effort to continue to provide you with resources for your students at home, our TAs are busy making videos for you to use while you practice from home. We are still working on getting the videos up and live for you, but I’ll let you know when to check out the resources page of our website for links to our practice videos. These little mini teaching sessions are meant to help your child tackle some of the basics of their instrument. Your student will be able to do things like practice scales with Ms. Anna or intervals with Mr. St Clair.

No Program Scheduled until April 6 – But you can still be musical!

So many arts organizations are offering free access to their concerts and performances. Check out the links below to get some supplemental music in your house!

  1. The Berlin Opera is offering a free viewing of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen from their home page through March 24, so put it on your weekend to-do list! Click here to access it, and scroll down – it’s the second one listed. The opera is about an hour. If you or your student tune in, let me know what you thought!
  2. Take a tour of the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Click here for a virtual experience that is sure to delight you and your student. (This one is not musical, but my 10 year-old son took the tour, and really enjoyed it!)
  3. Have your student write an original composition for his/her instrument. Our last session was all about composers who wrote music for our kids specifically. See if your student is interested in writing a piece. We can provide a platform for them to perform the pieces when we come back! Here’s a link to some free music notation software.

Moving forward, if you have any questions, I’m certainly available to you. Feel free to email or call me. I hope you had a relaxing spring break! Please, everyone stay healthy – wash those hands!

~Anna.

 

POP Freire Newsletter 3.13.2020

Posted: Friday, March 13

Dear POP Freire Families,

First of all, thank you for your flexibility in this uncertain time. Also, your students are to be commended for an excellent video performance they gave yesterday during program. After I announced that the concert was cancelled, there were many angry faces staring back at me. Admittedly, I was glad to see that they had taken such ownership of their identity as musicians that they WERE so upset! However, they brought their A-game in a serious way and managed to pull off a really great video performance. Links and MP3s will be coming out soon!

Secondly, welcome to our new format for newsletters! From now on, you will get all of your information from me here. Please take the time to check out the newly-live parent portal on the website. There are some great resources here – including a place to pay fees with a credit card (can I get an amen?). We will be using this site for all our future newsletters and communication about upcoming events. But don’t worry – I’ll still send you a link every week!

Recording Session a Success – Just Barely!

My plan for this week rapidly deteriorated from concert to recording session to no program. However, thanks to Mr. Devin – we have one photo, and thanks to Mr. Mike, who ran from the POP office to FCMS with video recording equipment at the last second, we have a video forthcoming! Check out this photo from our recording session on Thursday. I know I keep saying this, but your students were incredible this session. They took immense pride in their performance and showed a whole lot of musical maturity. We are working on getting the raw video/audio from our recording session ready for you, and I will send it out as soon as I can.

No Program Scheduled until April 6 – But you can still be musical!

By now you have received the email from Ms. Jess, our program director about suspending all programming until April. 6. While we are going to miss this instructional time with your students, we don’t want to leave you with no tools for encouraging them musically. Here are three things you can do in the coming week to encourage their musical-mindedness.

  1. Encourage your students to practice as they feel they can during the break. They may get bored of other things, and this might break things up for them.
  2. Have them watch an online concert. Here’s a link to a really good one by the Philadelphia Orchestra to an EMPTY hall on March 12. The performance is stunning.
  3. Have your student write an original composition for his/her instrument. Our last session was all about composers who wrote music for our kids specifically. See if your student is interested in writing a piece. We can provide a platform for them to perform the pieces when we come back! Here’s a link to some free music notation software.

 

Moving forward, if you have any questions, I’m certainly available to you. Feel free to email or call me. I hope you have a wonderful spring break!

~Anna.

 

Welcome!

Posted: Thursday, December 5

Welcome to our new Freire Charter Middle School family blog! We’ll be linking here in our weekly newsletters. Just as before, you’ll find updates about performances, schedules, and any other important information. We hope that this is another way we are making our communication more effective as we strive towards greater heights of musical excellence. As always, thanks for all you do!

All the best,
Mike Pechter
Program Manager