“The difference between style and fashion is quality.” (Giorgio Armani)

During my first year as an elementary music teacher, I scoured the internet for the best resources. I was not prescribed a set curriculum to follow, and so I was left to my own devices (I preferred that, really). And then I came across a website called Mama Lisa’s World. Indeed I entered her world, and my (teaching) life changed! She has organised a collection of songs, rhymes, games and traditions from around the world. Celebrating International Day at school was a breeze because of this website. My lessons on world music and other cultures were such a pleasure to teach. Also, themed concerts and/or presentations were a big hit thanks to this resource (insert praise emoji hands here)! Thanks, Mama Lisa! 

Mama Lisa’s World Homepage

After reading the articles Understanding Visual Hierarchy in Web Design, and Design Better with CRAP, I realized that “Mama Lisa” could learn a trick or two to update and freshen up her website. For instance, I would redesign the homepage where the header would have a simpler font with a neutral color (I have an obsession with shades of grey. No, NOT the book). The light blueish-green background with maroon letters isn’t quite my style. I would fill the homepage an interactive world map. When you hover above a continent, it would glow (or something). Upon clicking on a continent, it would zoom in – Prezi-style – and from there, you can choose the country which then directs you to that country’s page. The page would include historical information, up-to-date photos and a selection links to songs, rhymes, games and traditions. Of course there would be some sort of icon, perhaps a globe or a music note, to take you back to the homepage when desired. I must say the ads littering the current site can be a bit distracting. Is that something she can control as the owner of a website? Hmm, perhaps a question worth pursuing later if I decide to create my own. . .

Rough draft of redesigning the website

After hours of “redesigning her website”, I got to thinking: who am I to criticize her website? Maybe criticize is a strong word. That’s probably just her style! She happens to LIKE light blueish-green and maroon..?! As a new elementary music teacher, the idea NEVER crossed my mind because I was visiting the site to learn – to learn about new songs, games, traditions, dances, etc. I have composed a number of successful student productions and performances based on the content of her website. Now, I ask you: what’s more important? Content or aesthetic?

Okay, okay. One can argue that it CAN be both. I suppose in an ideal world it should be. But for now, Mama Lisa, you do you (insert praise emoji hands here)! Thanks for everything! 

Draft homepage
Draft individual country pages

P.S. Any thoughts or comments about my draft website? Have a great weekend!


3 Replies to ““The difference between style and fashion is quality.” (Giorgio Armani)”

  1. Happy New Year Keri! ( I am hoping it isn’t too late now that we are in February)
    It was entertaining to read your blog. I enjoyed the unique voice in your writing. As you mentioned, the page “Mama Lisa’s World” has been of great help in your career as a music educator, and, even though you provided great suggestions on how to make it more visually appealing, you valued more the useful resources that you found there. The idea of an “interactive map” is a great one. I wonder if you can use Google Map (My Map) for that.

    I have great respect for music educators. I see them as the revolutionaries of our time. As you may know, my family and I recently moved to Houston from Quito, Ecuador. After five months in a new school, my daughters are missing their music and art classes. Their new school is more focused on academics and less time and emphasis to explore the arts. Back in Ecuador, their music teachers, the same as you, searched for the best resources to incorporate into their teaching. The music concerts were exceptional, and everybody felt proud of what our students were able to accomplish. Do you know about Simbaloo boards? You may already know about these music resources; however, there is nothing wrong with mentioning them. I few teachers also spoke very highly of the music program Quaver. Have you heard of it?

    Have a great week,
    Carolin E.

    1. Hi Carolin! Happy Chinese New Year! (Ha! Even I’m late for that too! No worries.) Mama Lisa’s blog has been a lifesaver for me as an elementary school teacher. Although I taught middle, high and even university music back in the states, I find teaching elementary music just as challenging. If I can’t reach them now, in this stage of their development, to AT LEAST appreciate music, I think it’ll be challenging to inspire them when they move onto middle and high school…at least that’s the conversation I have with myself when planning lessons…

      Am sad to hear about your music classes in Houston. Funnily, music in Texas has always been phenomenal! I just assumed it would be the same (although I’ve been abroad for quite some time) because their high school programs are soooo good! It’s one of the best in the country! Want me to reach out to my peeps in Texas and crack the whip? 😉

      Quaver is slowly making its way here in the middle east. There are many good programs out there and I’m always open to new ideas to incorporate into my PYP world. Thanks for sharing! Side note: I couldn’t open the music resources link…any chance you could resend it somehow?

      Hope all is well across the pond!

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