Hook, Line, and Sinker: Catching the Attention of Older Learners in the Music Room

Amy Abbott of Music a la Abbott

November 13, 2021
9 am until 12 pm
Burleigh Elementary School
Brookfield, WI

Catching and maintaining the attention of upper elementary students can be a challenging and daunting task. But, if you “bait your hook” just right, you’ll soon have them eating out of your hand! In this session, we’ll focus on instructional strategies, pedagogical materials, and ways to build student rapport in order to gain and maintain the engagement rate of your upper elementary students.   Song material, singing games, reading activities, pacing ideas, lesson structure and delivery, and building trust and relationships with your students are among many of the topics that will be addressed as ways to increase student participation, ownership, and joy in the music classroom.

Amy Abbott is in her 24th year of teaching elementary music with the past 20 years having been in the St. Vrain Valley School district. She received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and obtained her masters in music education with a Kodály emphasis from Colorado State University. She has Kodály certifications from Portland State University, where she studied with Jill Trinka, Susan Brumfield, Vicki Loebell and Sean Dëibler and from Colorado State University, where she studied with Sue Litehold-Bowcock, Gabor Viragh and Ann Eisen.

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 She has presented sessions at multiple OAKE conferences, the Colorado Music Educators State Conference, Oregon Arts Alliance State Conference, many OAKE chapters including AKTS, CAKE, KEGA, KET, KEWT, KMEK, LUCKE, MTAKE, NCAKE, NPKC, OKE PKSOR, ROCKE, SWOKE, TRIKE, as well as professional development of Amarillo ISD, Bakersfield MEA and St. Vrain Valley School Districts. She is also the level 2 pedagogy, folksong and analysis Kodály teacher at Colorado State University.


Additionally, she has served on the ROCKE board for over 7 years as President,
Secretary and Member-at-Large. She was the co-chair for the OAKE 2020 National Conference. In addition to teaching general music at Red Hawk elementary in Erie she also teaches a 4/5 choir and a 4/5 musical each spring. When not teaching she loves spending time with her husband, son and daughter, cross stitching, blogging ( and creating for her TpT store: Amy Abbott at Music a la Abbott.


Matters of Diversity in Music Education

Dr. Karen Howard

February 5, 2022
8:30 am until 10:30 am
Virtual Workshop - Zoom

Co-hosted with WMEA

Participants will engage in a presentation on recognizing cultural appropriation and identifying pedagogical strategies to avoid it, and how to ethically and practically research for repertoire and related materials. In addition, both new and old quality resources will be explored. 

Since this workshop is co-hosted with WMEA, registration will be held through their website. The registration button below will take you directly to their page.

Karen Howard is Associate Professor of Music at the University of St. Thomas where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, diverse pedagogies and repertoire. Her publications include "World Music Pedagogy: Secondary School Innovations", "First Steps in Global Music", "Dance Like a Butterfly: Songs from Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana", and the upcoming "Harambee: Songs from Tanzania" as well as several research articles related to reducing social bias through music education. She is the founder and editor of the World Music Initiative series through GIA Music. Karen is committed to working alongside music educators to support them in building confidence and skill in diversification of pedagogies and repertoire, as well as developing teacher identities able to nurture anti-bias teaching and learning environments.

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Using Native American Music in the Music Room

Natasha Verhulst

April 9, 2022
9 am until 12 pm
UW-Oshkosh Arts & Communication Building

Oshkosh, WI

In this workshop, Natasha Verhulst, member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) and descendant of the Menominee Nation, will share about ways to approach Native American music in the music classroom. Natasha will discuss important points like terminology, resources and resource checking, background information, and material for further reading about Native American history and Act 31 in Wisconsin. 

Natasha Verhulst is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a descendant of the Menominee Nation. She is currently teaching 4K-5th grade general music at Keshena Primary School in the Menominee Indian School District on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. She received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education with triple certification from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin in 2015, and is currently working towards her master’s degree in Music Education with emphasis in Kodaly at Lakeland University. 


Natasha’s career goal is to help bring Native music and culture to the music classroom setting for children to experience and learn from. She presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association State conference in October 2019. Natasha worked with PBS on their project “ReSound: Songs of Wisconsin,” creating a diverse curriculum of different cultural music for educators throughout the state. She was a part of the 2020 WSMA Summer Workshop series, where she taught a session to music educators on how to include Native American music in regular music lessons. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is featuring Natasha’s lesson plans on their website so that educators throughout the country may use them in their classrooms. Recently, Natasha worked with Lawrence University Music Education students as a mentor, where she guided the students in creating a lesson plan centered around Wisconsin Indigenous music for the Backyard Groove program. She was a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access committee member for the Feierabend Association of Music Education. Natasha was named a 2021 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellow, and most recently became a member of the WMEA State Standards Committee.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and relatives, performing, crocheting, and beading in her spare time.