Thursday, 31 July 2014

Rocking Dan Teaching Man rocking in the USA. My "I teach K" conference and Frater Scholarship experience

In November 2013, I was awarded The Frater Travel Scholarship from the Australian Catholic University. The money from the scholarship gave me an amazing opportunity to travel to Las Vegas in the United States to attend one of the world’s leading primary educational conferences called “I Teach K” run by Staff Development for Educators. The conference was held over four days and offered a wide range of workshops covering the Kindergarten curriculum and technology. The presenters were top experts in primary education and I learnt a great deal from all of them. The Frater Scholarship is open to anyone who has completed Post Graduate studies at ACU. If you have a desire to travel overseas and further your professional development then I recommend you apply for the 2014 Scholarship. My Post Graduate Certificate was in Early Childhood Education.

(Here I am being awarded the scholarship from the very generous Bob and Margaret Frater and Professor Anne Cummins)
Click here for a full report!
I Teach K! National Teacher Conference
The interview panel for the award were very interested in my YouTube channel "Rocking Dan Teaching Man". I mentioned how I like to integrate music and movement across the curriculum. I also let them know what a pleasure it is to share my music with teachers and children across the world by posting my songs on YouTube. (320 000 hits to date). (Here is a link to my YouTube channel Rocking Dan Teaching Man)
One of the great joys I have as a teacher is to be able to collaborate with my students to write songs about things we are learning in class. You can look at my "We love monsters" post from earlier in the year to find out more.
Cover photo
If you haven't seen my educational YouTube channel check it out now! Subscribe now! For all the latest updates and songs!

One of the reasons I wanted to travel to Las Vegas and attend "I teach K" was that I had seen that Pete Harry aka Harry Kindergarten was going to be presenting a session called  "Teaching with YouTube." Since I had started a YouTube channel of my own I was very keen to learn more about teaching effectively with YouTube. Pete's YouTube channel is great! He has lots of different songs and videos about the Kindergarten curriculum. Here is a link to Pete's YouTube channel. His channel has over 70 million hits! Take a look at his YouTube channel!  Check out his website too!

On the first day of the conference I was eating lunch and I heard a voice say  "Are you Dan?" I looked up and it was Pete Harry. I jumped up and said "Pete!" I may have been a little star struck! It's great to tell people "Harry Kindergarten recognized me!" His session on "Teaching with YouTube."was fantastic and I learnt so much from it. I was really overwhelmed when he started the session by pointing  me out in the auditorium. Pete projected a large image of me up on the screen and told his audience to check out my YouTube channel "Rocking Dan Teaching Man". Wow that was such an amazing surprise. Thanks for the shout out Pete! 

 Here's Pete Harry showing my image on the big screen!

(Rocking Dan Teaching Man meets Harry Kindergarten)
Pete is a really nice, talented and humble guy. His presentations were fantastic!

Another great thrill for me was Deanna Jump  from Mrs Jumps class
Mrs Jump's class
using my song "The Big Bad Wolf Description Song" in her  kindergarten literacy presentation "Blow through the common core with the three little pigs."
( "The Big Bad Wolf Description Song" being shown by Deanna Jump)
Deanna said she loves my songs. She uses "The Big Bad Wolf Description Song" to help teach descriptive language about the Big bad wolf to her children. Wow! I was blown away! High praise indeed from such an accomplished and well respected educator. It was wonderful to meet Deanna after her presentation. She was so warm and friendly. 
Here is a link to "The Big Bad Wolf Description Song"

"The Big Bad Wolf Description Song"
Some people were saying they had trouble finding in on YouTube. The more hits it gets the more "visible" the song becomes. If you go to YouTube then type in "The Big Bad Wolf Description Song" in quotation marks it should be the first song that comes up. If not then type in "Rocking Dan Teaching Man"and you should go straight to my YouTube channel. Look out for my new song coming out soon "The Gingerbread Man Description Song".

I also had the chance to meet (in person) my educational music and movement mentor Heidi Butkus from Heidi songs.  Heidi is an experienced and highly respected Kindergarten teacher. She makes multisensory educational music and movement DVDs for children. They are a great way for kids to learn letters, sounds, blends, sight words and mathematical concepts.

I met Heidi on "Linkedin" in December 2013. She told me how much she liked 
 "The Elephant Mass Song" (Hey who doesn't!)
As a result Heidi very kindly offered me the chance to co write a song with her about place value for new DVD  "Musical Math 2". Needless to say I jumped at the chance to work with such a legendary educational singer/song writer. So back and forth from LA to Sydney (12084 Km) song lyrics,  melodies and demos traveled digitally.

The sessions I attended that Heidi presented were fantastic. She is an expert on multisensory teaching and critical thinking. Heidi is such a kind and generous person and a wonderful educator. I learnt a great deal from her! I love using her DVDs in my class and so do my students!
Here is a link to her critical thinking question cards for shared and guided reading. They are fantastic and I now use them daily.

Here is an example of Heidi's work. The Who song.

Meeting Kathy Griffin (teacher) from was another great experience! Kathy introduced me before the beginning of her session on differentiated reading. She gave a great shout out to my YouTube channel which was fantastic! Kathy is such an energetic and enthusiastic educator and a wonderful person.
She has lots of great ideas about differentiated teaching of reading and writing through hands on multisensory teaching.

("We Will Read You" sung to the tune "We Will Rock You")
We will read is a fun and engaging way to learn letters and sounds and blends.

Kathy also has lots of great strategies for classroom management and morning meetings. 
(Here is a great song for teaching children how to sit and listen.)
Kathy sells her resources on her Teachers pay teachers store.

It was wonderful to meet Palma Lindsay from
I attended Palma's workshop "It's a great day for science" she has so many fun engaging ideas for teaching science in the Kindergarten classroom.


It was terrific to be able to share my YouTube channel with Palma, she was very impressed with my song "The Friends of 10" and is keen to share it with her colleagues and possibly use it in future maths presentations which is fantastic!

One night after the workshops had finished I attended a bloggers meet and got to meet lots of other great teacher bloggers! Including my blogger friend Terri from Kinder Kapers She is such a great lady and teacher. She has lots of great teaching ideas on her blog! Terri is a big fan of Rocking Dan Teaching Man! I had so much fun with her! 
(Here I am with Terri from Kinder Kapers)

Music Teacher Resources

I was also lucky enough to meet Kim Maloney at the bloggers meet. Kim is a music teacher and fellow Australian. She creates amazing music teaching resources. Check out her website!

Also at the bloggers meet I donated 10 CDs  as prizes in the Teacher giveaway "Rocking Dan Teaching Man's Greatest Hits" 24 rocking educational songs. It was fantastic to see my CDs being given away!

(It's great to make teachers smile! Here are the lucky winners of my CDs)
Thanks to "What the teacher wants for organizing the event!

A great session I went to on the last day of the conference was "Kindergartners can be authors too" by Crystal Radke from Kreative in Knder.
Kreative in Kinder . She gave a fantastic presentation on kindergarten writing, fiction and non fiction. Her process involves brainstorming, drawing, labeling and writing. It was such a good session I went to her Teachers Pay Teachers store and bought it. I have been back at school for three weeks now and  I am using the ideas from this workshop. My children are so engaged with their writing. 
Here is a link to her unit Kindergartners can be authors too in her Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I had the pleasure of attending Greg Smedley's session Building Math Skills Every Day: A Smorgasbord of Math Strategies.  Greg has so many great ideas, routines and activities about building Maths skills in the Kindergarten classroom.  I have started using his Maths calender as a lesson starter which has been great. His addition and subtraction machine is so much fun as too is his hands on number bond activity and 3D tens frames. Lots of great ideas to try! Here is a link to his wonderfully creative Maths Pinterest board.
Greg is a great guy, he is very creative and an engaging presenter. I really enjoyed his workshop! He has been a wonderful supporter of Rocking Dan Teaching Man and has shared some of my songs via social media, including the very rocky "Come on and meet the shapes" and "We love monsters"(The monster description song) Thanks Greg you Rock!

The final workshop I attended was terrific it was called "Making The Leap to Success in Your Well- Managed Differentiated Centers" by Mary Amoson from Sharing Kindergarten
She had lots of fantastic ideas about differentiated learning centers across the curriculum. This is something I have taken on board and am trying with Science, Maths and English right now!

As part of The Frater Travel Scholarship I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco and visit The Computer Science History Museum. At the Museum I was able to learn about computer technology and it's impact on education. The whole experience was fantastic professional development for me as a primary teacher.

(The Google car of the future)                (one of the world's oldest computers in action)

The Frater scholarship also enabled me to be able to purchase some computer software which will help me with the recording of my educational songs and the making of my educational animations for primary school children that I post on my YouTube channel.

Flip Boom All Star is a great program for making simple animations!

 I would highly recommend primary teachers with post graduate qualification from ACU to apply for the Frater Travel Scholarship. The benefits of traveling to an overseas educational conference are incredible. Thanks to Bob and Margaret Frater for making this trip possible through their generosity and kindness. I would also like to thank  Professor Anne Cummins for all her support and kind words, Gai Melville my
Assistant Principal for alerting me about the Scholarship and for her great reference and Dr Cathie Harrison from ACU my Post Graduate Lecturer for her wonderful reference. It is such an honour and privilege to be the 9th Frater Scholar!

A special thank you to my beautiful and talented wife Celine who came with me on the trip and has been a tremendous support through out my teaching career. She is so supportive of everything I do and especially of my music and educational projects. 

(Here we are outside the Computer History Museum in Moutain View CA)

Dan Colquhoun "Rocking Dan Teaching Man" 2013 Frater Travel Scholarship Recipient 
Subscribe to my YouTube channel now!


  1. WOW! Well Dan. It looks like you had such an amazing time.
    Suze and Ed x

  2. Thanks Suze and Ed! We had a great time and learnt so much. It was a fantastic experience meeting and learning from so many wonderful people.

  3. It was wonderful to meet you! You are an awesome teacher, I can tell. I love your songs.

    Terri Izatt

    1. Thanks Terri! It was wonderful to meet you as well! kinder Kapers is fantastic!

  4. What an amazing experience! Love your music! You are awesome!

    1. Thanks Cindy you're too kind! Yes it was an amazing experience! More music to come!