Dan Colquhoun enjoy collaborating with the children. He teaches to write songs about the things they are learning in class. He record the songs and make animations to go along with them. His blog promotes and provides background for his fun and scholastic songs that are designed to help children succeed in the classroom, covering topics like basic math skills, the alphabets and Literacy.
The Rocking Dan Teaching Man educational musical tour starts on Friday the 19th of August in the small Victorian town of Newham (near the world famous Hanging Rock). I'm taking the term off and using my long service leave to play some free shows in schools around Australia! I'll be singing all my hit tunes like What makes a good friend, The friends of 10, The vowels song, Be kind to everyone and many more! After Newham I'll be heading down to Queenscliff on the Victorian coast before going back up to Melbourne for some more fun rocking educational shows! Once my time in Victoria is over I'll be heading back up to Sydney for a week of shows (July 29-August 2) before hitting the road again and going up to sunny South East Queensland where I will be performing to schools on the Gold Coast and Brisbane (August 5-9). Then it's back down to Sydney for some more shows. After that who knows where I will show up in the weeks to follow. Exciting times ahead! I am really looking forward to sharing my music with children live in their classrooms and schools. Rocking Dan on YouTube
It will be great to see the kids sing along to their favourite Rocking Dan tunes from YouTube! You can follow my tour here on this blog or on my YouTube channel! A big thank you to all the teachers who have agreed to have me in their schools!
I'll be in and around Sydney for a few weeks this term. So send me an email for your free show! Rockingdantm@gmail.com
If you would like me to come and play at your school or in your classroom for free this term then send me an email at Rockingtm@gmail.com Let's see if we can work something out!
You can also get some amazing Rocking Dan Merchandise from my Redbubble store too!
My YouTube channel has just clocked up 5000 Subscribers so to celebrate I am giving away a Rocking Dan Teaching Man mug! Imagine being in the staffroom or at your work place or in your home and people see you drinking your tea, coffee or hot chocolate out of the Rocking Dan mug! What a great conversation starter! All you need to do to win the mug is leave a comment on the video below on my YouTube channel!
Your chance to win a Rocking Dan Coffee Mug / Celebrating 5000 Subscribers - YouTube
A huge thank you to all my subscribers and everyone who has watched my videos on YouTube. So what are you waiting for head over to Rocking Dan Teaching Man on YouTube now for your chance to win!
It was billed as being a rock 'n' roll party in the library and it certainly lived up to all expectations as Rocking Dan Teaching Man played to an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd of children, parents, teachers, librarians and other fans on Thursday night (November 15th) at the Sutherland Shire Library.
Rocking Dan exploded onto the stage of the library's event space in his trademark academic cap (mortar board), silver cape and animal print shirt to rapturous applause as he belted out his opening tune the classic educational rock party anthem Have You Filled Someone's Bucket Today which included one of Rocking Dan's signature guitar solos. It was the ultimate party starter and set the tone for an evening of energetic educational musical fun!
There was great delight on the faces of the audience as they sung along and performed the actions to the ever popular classic tune What Makes A Good Friend?. Before anyone could catch their breath the crowd were soon back up on their feet again as they danced to Funky Four Times Tables (a request by a local primary school teacher) and were jumping up and down to super fun song about following left and right directions Bounce.
As the show reached its fever pitch climax Rocking Dan played his extremely catchy R @ B Alphabet song Get Up And Dance to the Alphabet (ZED Version)which had everybody shaking their bodies and moving their feet to the beat. With the concert goers still dancing Rocking Dan signed off with the hit new song Be Kind To Everyone. "It a song with a great message you can dance to." remarked one of the audience members.
At this point Rocking Dan left the stage but the wildly enthusiastic crowd were chanting "Friends of 10, Friends of 10, Friends of 10." Rocking Dan didn't disappoint his adoring fans and returned to the stage for an encore and to the absolute delight of everyone in the Sutherland Shire Library Events Space he played a heartfelt and moving version of the song that made him an musical educational YouTube mega star. The audience were now in full voice "La, La, La, La, La, La, La the Friends of 10". It was the grand finale of grand finales and one that the people who were lucky enough to be there will never forget. This was not just a concert, this was an experience of a lifetime.
Set list: Have You Filled Someone's Bucket Today, Dance To The Days Of The Week, Come On Everybody Let's Do The Floss, What Makes A Good Friend?, Funky Four Times Tables, Bounce, Get Up And Dance To The Alphabet, Be Kind To Everyone. Encore: The Friends Of 10 Check out Rocking Dan Teaching Man on YouTube
As Dyslexia Awareness month comes to a close for 2018 a few people have asked me “What’s it like being dyslexic?” This is great because the more people who know about dyslexia (particularly teachers) the better. I can relate to one of the descriptions of dyslexia in the book Overcoming Dyslexia. The book refers to a University of Colorado student named George. He describes dyslexia as “the beast, an unknown predator that silently stalks him, continually disrupting his life…George wants to see the face of the beast, to understand why this is happening to him.”
For me personally I think being dyslexic is like fighting a massive fire breathing dragon but instead of wearing armour you are wearing a wetsuit and instead of having a sword and a shield you are armed with a toothpick and a bin lid. The dragon claws at you, bites you, and scratches you. It bats you around for fun like a cat playing with a ball of string whilst you desperately and frantically poke at it with your toothpick in a mad panic. Eventually the dragon breathes fire on you then swallows you whole.
(Dyslexia means difficulty with words (Dys- difficulty, Lexia words). Dyslexia is a result of a neurobiological weakness in the phonologic module located in the left hemisphere of the brain due to a difference in how that part of the brain is structured and wired. Individuals with dyslexia struggle with reading, spelling and writing. Dyslexia is not rare it affects up to 20% of the population and is on a continuum from mild to severe. It is not linked to intelligence.)
At this point you are bouncing around the dragon’s stomach covered in its slimy digestive juices trying in vain to gain your footing and balance while at the same time jabbing the dragon’s stomach wall with your toothpick. After a while the dragon coughs you back up and you fly through the air at tremendous speed before landing face first on a hard gravel road. There you lie face down in the gutter battered and bruised your wetsuit ripped and singed. You sob uncontrollably with no fight left in you hoping the dragon will leave alone but you can hear the dragon laughing and taunting you.
You are now at your lowest point and if you are lucky enough a wizard comes along and picks you up and tells you it’s going to be alright. The wizard pulls out a crystal ball and they show you a ray of light at the end of a deep dark tunnel. They tell you one day that light will shine really bright.
The wizard trains you in a special magic called the alphabetic code. They teach you the alphabetic principle (explicit, systematic, structured, cumulative teaching of the alphabetic code) and they teach you how to strengthen your working memory. The wizard believes in you because at this point you sure don’t believe in yourself. You work harder then you ever thought you could under the guidance of your wizard and maybe a few other wizards along the way. (I remember my first wizard her name was Miss Leslie she was from England and she was my tutor when I was nine years old after I was identified by an educational psychologist. Sadly She had to return to the UK when her visa ran out.)
They build up your armour, give you a sword and a shield and then give you the skills to face the dragon again. This time you are ready, you let go of your fear and anger. When the dragon roars at you this time you roar back you scream at it “ Yes actually I am deciding to try today…by the way I was trying all those other times…no I’m not lazy… or dumb, or stupid and yes my parents did read books to me… and you know what else I can read, write and spell better then you thought or I thought... yes I know my multiplication tables... most of them… most of the time so you don’t need to single me out, I can remember things, I can sequence the days of the week.. months of the year.. I’ve worked out which side of my body is dominant (sort of), I can balance long enough to ride a bike and I can do up my shoe laces. Yes I can hold more than one direction in my head... yes I can match letters to sounds... and yes I know there is something called spell check…” You yell as loudly as you can and the horrible dragon yells back even louder. Then you fight that dragon with every ounce of effort you have in your mind, spirit and body, you swing your sword with all of your might and you take a chunk out of it.
Armed with knowledge and skills it's time to stare down and fight the dyslexia dragon.
You know that you will never slay the dragon… you will never defeat it. You will battle the dragon for the rest of your life but one thing is for sure the dragon will never swallow you whole again and you will never ever be left a sobbing mess at the side of the road in a torn and singed wetsuit… Thank you to all the wizards in my life…and to all the wizards in every dyslexic’s life. You will never know how much impact you have on us…
We need more wizards! Early Identification and evidence based intervention is key to helping dyslexics overcome dyslexia! Dyslexia doesn't just affect reading, writing and spelling it also affects self esteem and self worth. It is four times harder to intervene in year 4 than it is in year 1. Unfortunately most dyslexics are not identified until after year 3 if at all. With support, intervention and lots of hard work dyslexics can achieve wonderful and extraordinary things. The light that once was dim can shine brightly for them as they show off their talents can strengths.
Some strengths of dyslexics may include: Inquiring mind, problem solving, comprehending new ideas, generating new ideas, analytic thinking, insightful thinking, thinking outside the box, seeing the big picture,creative and critical thinking. Dyslexics may also have an extensive vocabulary. Read more about my dyslexic journey in my 2017 blog post here
How can you identify and help a dyslexic?
Dyslexia means difficulty with words (Dys- difficulty, Lexia words). Dyslexia is a result of a neurobiological weakness in the phonologic module located in the left hemisphere of the brain due to a difference in how that part of the brain is structured and wired.
Dyslexics find reading, spelling and writing very challenging. This is because dyslexics have difficulty identifying, manipulating, segmenting and blending individual sounds in spoken language (phonemes) and mapping those sounds to letter combinations (graphemes) (cracking the alphabetic code, decoding and encoding). Dyslexics may have higher than average verbal abilities. It is not linked to intelligence and often dyslexics have creative, productive and talented minds. They often have excellent vocabulary and language comprehension skills. It is the lack of decoding ability that impedes their reading comprehension. Dyslexia is not rare it affects up to 20% of the population and is on a continuum from mild to severe. Around 5%-10% are severe to moderate. (About 3-6 kids per class on average are on the dyslexic continuum.)
The major feature of dyslexia is a concern for their literacy development (i.e. acquiring and using written language to learn). Dyslexics are capable of learning, however, they learn in a different way and need explicit, systematic, structured, cumulative and multisensory teaching of the alphabetic code with lots of opportunities for repetition to learn to read, spell and write. Using decodable texts in conjunction with the explicit teaching of the alphabetic code is great way to help dyslexic children practice the skills of mapping the graphemes to phonemes they have been taught and blending them together to decode words with fluency and accuracy.
Early identification and evidence based intervention is key to helping dyslexics overcome dyslexia. It is four times harder to intervene in year 4 than it is in year 1. Unfortunately most dyslexics are not identified until after year 3 if at all.
Dyslexics may also experience cognitive challenges such as inefficient verbal short term and working memory (i.e. being able to hold onto information for a short period in the mind) and Verbal long term memory (i.e. being able to retrieve language based words and sentences. Verbal long term memory is also used for reading fluency and speaking fluency such as holding onto numbers whilst doing mental arithmetic, learning new subject words, holding onto verbal instructions long enough to then work on those instructions. Transferring information from short term memory to long term memory is also affected.
Lots repetition and practice is needed to make the new skills become automatic. A lack of automaticity means that dyslexics are likely to experience processing overload when attempting to carry out new or complex tasks (e.g. learning the Days of the week, Months of the year, Times Tables, The Alphabet or sequencing).
Some strengths of dyslexics include: Inquiring mind, problem solving, comprehending new ideas, Generating new ideas, analytic thinking, insightful thinking (Outside the box), seeing the big picture, creative and critical thinking. Dyslexics may also have an extensive vocabulary.
Some signs of dyslexia in children at school include: Poor letter sound knowledge, poor phonemic awareness, poor word attack skills which leads to slow and inaccurate decoding and this results in poor reading comprehension, difficulty with spelling, poor organisational skills and difficulties with written expression.