Saturday, 12 October 2019

Rocking my Long Service Leave with a fun filled free educational musical tour of Australian Primary Schools!

Year 1 Ferncourt Public School 

Long after the roar of the crowd has subsided the memories of the Rocking Dan Teaching Man tour will live on. It was such an amazing experience to use my Long Service Leave in Term 3 to tour around Australia and play my educational songs to Kindergarten to Year 3 children. I had the most wonderful time on the road. It is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It is hard to describe the thrill of hearing an audience of a few hundred children singing and dancing along to my music. It was quite surreal and uplifting to hear the kids sing every word of my songs as they knew them from my YouTube channel. At times I had to pinch myself.
Prep St Aloysius Primary School, Queenscliff, Victoria

My Largest Audience 400 Prep- Year 2 kids at Yugumbir State School in Logan, Queensland (The friends of 10)
Be Kind to Everyone with the Prep-Year 2 kids at Coomera State School

A huge thank you to all the teachers and principals who allowed me to come to their schools and preform the Rocking Dan show to their children. Everyone I encountered was friendly and welcoming and it made the tour so much more pleasurable. I ended up playing 37 shows in 55 days at 32 Primary schools to a total of 4857 children in 3 states, travelling 6121km in the process. The Rocking Dan tour stretched from Queenscliff in southern Victoria all the way up to Petrie in Brisbane's north. I had the opportunity to play at Catholic Schools, Public Schools, Special Schools and Independent schools.

 Prep at Petrie State School
Over the last decade I have researched the impact that music and movement has on helping children with their learning. Putting educational concepts to melodies with repetition and adding movement helps children learn new concepts and reinforces previously learnt ones. Singing and dancing is also lots of fun for the kids too! Everyone certainly had fun at the shows and it's so wonderful to be able to help children from outside my classroom with their learning through music. It was so rewarding seeing the children smiling, laughing and singing along to the songs. 
Now that Term 4 about to start the Rocking Dan Long Service Leave Tour is over and I am heading back into the classroom as a teacher. Thanks again to everyone who had me at their school!

It's nice to be thanked (Rosehill Public School, Kindergarten)
Dance to the Days of the Week with Rosehill Public School Kindergarten

Finally, I would like to give a shout out to my official charity tour partner Code REaD Dyslexia Network. This is a charity that is very close to my heart being dyslexic myself. Code REaD seeks to raise awareness of dyslexia. At least 10% of children in Australian schools are dyslexic. Early identification and evidence based intervention is key to helping dyslexic children overcome dyslexia. Check out their website for more information about dyslexia and how you can help.  Here is a link to the Australian Dyslexia Association which also has lots of information about dyslexia.

It was great to meet some of the amazing members of Code REaD Dyslexia network on the tour and thank them for their hard work advocating for dyslexia awareness. 

Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel Rocking Dan Teaching Man!  While the tour was going on my channel hit 5 Million views! Wow!

On a side note mid tour I had the opportunity to hear Professor David Kilpatrick speak about recent advances in understanding word-level reading problems. The presentation was amazing. It was so informative and gave me a greater depth of understanding about the research, evidence and cognitive science of reading. I highly recommend reading his book Equipped for reading success. 
After the tour I went on a very nice holiday with my family to the USA. It was so great to see my guitar the 58 Explorer on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art (The Met) in New York City in the Play it Loud exhibition!  (used on such classic Rocking Dan recordings such as Be Kind to Everyone)
...and yes I finally made it to Carnegie Hall! 

Come on everybody let's do the floss
A big thank you to my Road Crew for all their hard work behind the scenes putting the show together! I couldn't have done it without you!

By the end of the tour it was time for a nice cup of tea! 
Until next time Rock on with Rocking Dan!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Rocking Dan Road Trip Tour!

Hey Rocking Dan fans!

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!

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 Let's see if we can work something out!

You can also get some amazing Rocking Dan Merchandise from my Redbubble store too!
Until next time Rock on and see you on the road! 

Friday, 22 March 2019

Win a Rocking Dan Teaching Man mug! Celebrating 5000 subscribers

Hey Rocking Dan fans,

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!

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!

Until next time,
Rock on with Rocking Dan.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Concert Review: Rocking Dan delivers a night of unforgettable energetic educational rock music!

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!

The awe struck crowd soon rose to its feet as Rocking Dan followed up with the disco funk pop rock inspired Dance To The Days of the Week before the gig reached epic proportions as the audience went wild for the rockin' 12 bar blues dance tune Come On Everybody Let's Do The Floss.

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

A big thank you to everyone who came to the show!
Rock on with Rocking Dan!

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Epic tales from the dyslexia battleground: how a boy defeated the dragon and became a wizard

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

Check out my YouTube channel Rocking Dan Teaching Man

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.

Don't forget to Get Onboard for dyslexia awareness and support Code Read! 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Win a copy of both my albums

Hey Rocking Dan fans,

My new album Dance, Count, Bounce and Sing is out now! Here is your chance to win digital downloaded copies of both my albums (Rocking Dan Teaching Man and Dance, Count, Bounce and Sing).  Check out my album launch on YouTube and leave a comment and you will go into the draw to win these albums!

So what are you waiting for head over to my YouTube channel and the enter the contest now!

You can listen to both my albums here on the music player.

Until next time Rock on, Rocking Dan Teaching Man.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Aussie Teacher Tubers Meet Up!

What's an Aussie Teacher Tuber you might ask? It's an Australian Teacher who has a YouTube channel. I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing Teacher Tubers last week in Sydney. All of them have YouTube channels and they vlog about their experiences as teachers in Australia. It's great to see teachers sharing their knowledge about teaching with a wider audience. Do you watch any of these Aussie Teacher Tubers vlogs?

On the far right of the photo is Bec West she is an Assistant Principal at a primary school. Check out her channels Talkin' Chalk and Clever Pickles

Standing next to Bec is me (Rocking Dan Teaching Man). I am not a vlogger, however, I am a teacher and I have a YouTube channel. I write and record educational tunes and create animations to go with them.

Standing in front of me is the first Aussie Teacher Tuber I ever came across. It's Florence and she is a Year 1 teacher from Sydney. Her channel is called Teacher Tales.

Up the back in the middle is Daniel Yong he is a Primary teacher also from Sydney check out his channel mrdanielyong.

Next to Daniel is the always funny and entertaining EJ Kafoople. She is a High School English teacher from the NSW north coast. Her channel is called Kafoople Land (but it will always be Life in Kafoople Land to me).
On the left of EJ is Erin and she is a Music teacher. Erin teaches music to students from Years 3 to 12. Her musical channel is called Insidethismusicbox.
On the far left of the photo is Kylie and her channel is called Kylie's Edventures. Kylie is currently a Stage 3 Primary teacher from Sydney. 
Go and check out these Aussie Teacher Tubers YouTube channels to hear their teaching stories. Are you a Teacher Tuber? If so leave a link to your channel in the comments below. Maybe you are a teacher and you would like to share your teaching story. Perhaps you too could start your own YouTube channel and become an Aussie Teacher Tuber.

Until Next Time Rock on,
Rocking Dan Teaching Man