“The most important contribution to my school community would be offering a place for all students to feel success during the day.”
Lorelei Batislaong offers this environment daily to her students at Ruth Barron Elementary School in Pflugerville, Texas where she has taught for the past four years. Grades K- 5 participate in music classes on a 4 or 6-day rotation and there is a Grade 4 and 5 school choir. An annual Spring Orff Ensemble, Vivace, is comprised of Grades 3-5.
At this Title I school, 85% of the population receives free or reduced lunch, yet Lorelei feels “fortunate to work in a school where the arts are valued.”
Within the music curriculum and daily music classes, there are many opportunities for the application of creative problem solving. Lorelei describes the setting:
“The music room at Barron Elementary is a place where not only music curriculum is taught but the core curriculum comes to be applied. Music students use problem-solving skills… in creating new compositions and can also transfer those same strategies to other subjects. The amount of natural differentiation that occurs in an elemental class… ensures that all students feel successful, which in turn gives them the confidence to create.”
During her 14 years of teaching experience, Lorelei has honed teaching skills and the approaches that she feels lead to success. Movement plays a large part in both the learning and creating of music. She finds the incorporation of music and movement in the elemental approach both natural and essential…
“I appreciate how movement is ingrained with the teaching of music so that movement isn’t something that is done separately or as a time-filler, but is a natural beginning or ending point in the creation of music. Students internalize music on a whole other level when it is part of your body’s natural movement.”
The creation of music and movement results from carefully prepared lessons that are designed to incorporate student ideas, and encourage collaboration with peers and the teacher to take the music and movement to the next level…
“Students create because they understand the music room is safe environment to explore outside their normal comfort zone. They understand that their opinion is considered and any comments I make are in collaboration with their ideas and are ways they may expand on what they have already created.”
As parents, we can only wish that all teachers serve as role models and help guide our kids to shoot for the stars… we are lucky to have Ms. Batislaong. Her vision of the program and ways of teaching it, foster the creativity of the kids. It is a constant learning environment that allows the kids to learn various forms of expression and communication. It shows that not everything is black or white, but “unique and positive” in it’s own way… As parents we can see our daughter’s growth through the program. It has taught her how to really express her thoughts and open not only her eyes, but also the eyes of those who watch her. It encourages her to try new things and builds her confidence level. The music program has taught her patience and structure, but most of all it has taught her how to have fun with music and performing. Thanks to Ms. Batislaong, our house is always full of music performances and family togetherness. Those are truly priceless moments… to have.
~ Robert & Linda Ramirez, parents
Never in my experience as an educator have I met someone as artful as Lorelei Batislaong. She is a truly inspiring individual who had the idea to create an adult Orff ensemble in the central Texas area. Her vision included people of all backgrounds and skill levels. This blend of teachers was guided under her leadership to perform at the 2015 Texas Music Educators Association Convention. The performance was breathtaking. Ms. Batislaong delivered a poignant speech before the climax of the show to tell the mission of her performing group as seeking to regain the origins of the Schulwerk by inspiring music from movement. She is a master when it comes to pulling out the best movement in others. She guided the group in their rehearsals with none of the members left out, overlooked, or under-used. In fact, Lorelei makes a powerful effort to achieve success in every member of a group she is working in. She services many Kinder through fifth grade students at the bilingual campus of Barron Elementary. There she molds and grows a passion for musical expression, self composition and personal exploration that delves far past the evident language barriers of the students and takes hold of the soul of each child. She even finds time to cultivate her own performance needs as a member of an all female folk band. She is an incredible movement educator and a remarkable servant of the heart.
~ Michael Vasquez – colleague
If I were to explain the impact that our music program has on our students, I have to start out with how much enjoyment our students gain from the opportunity to sing, play instruments, and to just experience music. I have had the opportunity to walk into Lorelei’s music class and observe students applying and strengthening skills necessary in other content areas, such as pattern recognition and memorization.
The classroom environment is structured for maximum engagement of all the students. It is the one classroom that students are not afraid to take risks. I have seen students who are not usually confident in the classroom, volunteer to play an instrument or to sing a song. Students are excited to go to music and when you visit the classroom, you see the enthusiasm of the teacher and the excitement of the students.
~ Virginia Caudel, Principal, Ruth Barron Elementary School
When I think of music it brings certain words to mind such as engaging, influential, and stimulating. I could use the same words to describe how powerful Mrs. B is when she teaches music at Barron Elementary… you see kids actively listening to music and learning to appreciate the power of music. You see kids creating music either with their voices or with actual instruments. Not only do they participate, they enjoy the activity they are involved in. My students are always excited to go to music and really vocalize how they enjoy class.
The most powerful tool a teacher has is how they influence and impact a child’s education and life…A great example is the program my daughter was involved in in 4th grade called ‘Vivace.’ The kids were given a story and through music the story was interpreted and presented to the school. The kids were guided to represent the story using songs, movement, and instruments. The music and story was the driving force; however, so much was happening. The kids were given the freedom to use their creativity, peer problem solving, and higher level thinking skills to find a way to express the story. My daughter, as well as the other students involved were so proud of what they had done because they were given the tools to be creative and express themselves. Even as I type this I still can see the kids presenting it to the school. I see my daughter, her smile, and the best part, her confidence soaring. Mrs. B was truly the driving force behind her smile…. Mrs. B is a rare find in education. She shows students music isn’t just coming in and learning a fun song. Music is so much more and involves movement, stimulating the senses, or expressing yourself. Mrs. B is an amazing teacher and our Barron Bears are fortunate and blessed to have her sharing her passion of music in our school each day.
~ Shannon Robertson, parent and colleague
ACEMM congratulates Lorelei Batislaong on the supportive comments from administrators, colleagues and parents. Her efforts have not only benefitted the students she teaches but have awakened an understanding among the larger community that music and movement education can have a powerful impact on the social and aesthetic development of young people.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.