Let’s Bring It Back….Southern Gospel Music

I love music. Always have and I always will. I grew up in a very musical family where everyone but my  mother played an instrument. I play the violin, trumpet, bass guitar, piano, and mandolin. The rest of my family plays the trumpet, piano, and guitar, collectively. Most days, when we would return from school, my father would have us complete music theory worksheets, key/time signature flashcards, practice instruments, or sight read new music. The worksheets got old sometimes, but overall, we really enjoyed doing these activities.

One aspect of music that my parents worked hard to expose us to were singing conventions. Singing conventions are when singers from all over the Southern United States come together to sing out of song books. The conventions usually last around 5 hours (including lunch) and are a blast if you enjoy great gospel music. There are amazing piano players and singers who are super supportive and encouraging. Many of the songs played and sung are written by the participants, which is neat.

The lyrics to the songs are meaningful and deliver a wonderful message about Jesus. I would encourage anyone interested in Music with a spiritual message to give Southern Gospel Music a chance.


Let’s Bring It Back….Penmanship and Spelling

I have never had amazing handwriting. I’m usually in a hurry when I hand-write documents. However, in my defense, when writing slower, I have very legible handwriting. Obviously, I should begin slowing down and doing a better job more often.

As a history teacher, I get to see a lot of student writings. Granted, some have beautiful handwriting.  You can tell they had practice and someone at home working with them. The vast majority, unfortunately, have abysmal writing and their lack of penmanship is clear.

Part of the problem is technology. Schools stress the importance of technology and integrating it into the classroom. Teachers are appraised and judged on their ability to use technology with their lessons. Computers are very important in a global market and for a future of heavy tech use. That said, there are still many times that people need to be able to hand write and they must have some sort of training so that people can read what they write. Many of my junior high kids have the same handwriting skills as my 5 year old cousin. I’m not even kidding.

Here’s another problem. They can’t write in cursive. Since they can’t write in cursive, they cannot even read cursive. When asked to sign their name, they are forced to print due to no penmanship or handwriting training. They won’t be able to read any handwritten historical document or signature.

Spelling is also affected because of tech reliance. Students are so used to spellcheck and texting that they cannot spell basic words. Even words that they should be expected to know at their given age. As an English teacher the past two years, I attempted to stress spelling and cursive in my class, only to receive a lot of backlash from the administration because I was “not aligned with the STAAR training.” I was told not to do any more spelling or cursive training and instead, focus on reading and writing comprehension. That made no sense to me and still doesn’t.

Please stress spelling and penmanship with your children. We are losing some of our foundation to be able to read and write. What happens if computers all stop working? Chaos.

Be part of the solution and demand that cursive be brought back to the classroom.