June is graduation month for high schools around the United States. Our blog/article and Radio Show features our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”, Mrs. Becky Jenkins Irons. Also included is an article on how classical music improves patients’ health and makes babies smarter. Our June article of the month is “ 3 Steps to Solving Your Problems” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.

Radio Show Feature Question for June 2016: Becky Jenkins Irons is our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”. Mrs. Irons, can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students? 


Our blog features Becky Jenkins Irons our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”. Mrs. Irons is a master teacher, award-winning Gymnast, award winning dancer, wife, mother of five children, pianist, singer and choral conductor. She is passionate about her family, teaching, music, and helping others.

This year will be Mrs. Irons 12th year of teaching in the Public schools of Baldwin City, Kansas; York County, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia.  She has taught kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. She teaches reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Mrs. Irons after school teaches dance classes in Norfolk, Hampton, and in Yorktown.

Dr. Frank: “Mrs. Irons what is your teaching philosophy?”

Mrs. Irons, “I want to pass on to my students that no matter their location and circumstances in life, they can succeed and become all that they want with determination, hard work, advice from those that already traveled the path, internships, extracurricular activities, volunteering, scholarships, and grants.  I remind my students frequently that how they act and work now will help decide their study and work ethic later.  They need to set goals at an early age and start making a plan for their future now.”

Dr. Frank: “Mrs. Irons can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students?”

Mrs. Irons: “As part of my teaching approach, I have students fill out interest and learning style surveys at the beginning of the year and throughout the year as new units are introduced.   This information helps me provide differentiated activities that offer choices by interest and learning profile while still focusing on readiness.  Throughout the year, I use formative assessments (observation, KWL, anecdotal notes, journal responses, exit tickets, etc.) to help me make sure that students won’t have a gap in their learning and that I am making good use of their time to learn, focusing on the areas that each student needs to work on through small group and whole group activities.  Students do a lot of hands-on activities and use a lot of manipulatives to help them learn.”

“I have found that students are more motivated to do good work and change their behavior, with positive reinforcement.  I try to look for the positive and complement students.  Students move up a behavior chart as they do well (numbers not names – chart might change with theme).  Students that reach the top, get a Super Student note home, pick an item out of a prize box, and put their name in a weekly drawing.  As students show that they can work with others, they get extra responsibilities and take on leadership roles.  Students that go to the bottom of the behavior chart have a conference with the teacher to set up a behavior plan (Parents get a copy and sign).  They also fill out a paper that has them mention what they did wrong and how they will change their behavior, which is also signed by the parent.   If students show progress, they get the incentives listed in the behavior plan.  During our money unit, students can earn fake money and use it at the class store to purchase items, using their math skills.  Other incentives associated with units of study are also used.  Students are encouraged to put forth their best effort, so their work can be posted on our “Excellent Work” bulletin board.  Students also like for me to use the timer during transitioning periods, seeing how fast they can get in “Ready” position to start work (without running).  Strategies like these encourage students to act appropriately, perform work to their best ability, and enjoy school.”

Dr. Frank: “When did you begin working in the Norfolk Public Schools?”  

Mrs. Irons: “I began working for Norfolk Public Schools in August of 2015.  My youngest daughter was graduating from high school and has some health challenges, so my husband and I moved to Norfolk, so she could live at home and attend ODU.  Since I would have to drive a distance and travel through the bridge tunnels to continue to teach for York County Public Schools, I decided to get a job with Norfolk Public Schools to be closer to home.”

Dr. Frank: “What grade do you teach in the Norfolk Public Schools and what subjects?” 

Mrs. Irons: “I teach second grade reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.”

Dr. Frank:  “Do you play Classical music in your classes?”

Mrs. Irons: “Yes, I do.  As soon as the classical music is turned on, my students have a noticeable change in behavior.  They calm down and talk less.  Not only do I play classical music in my regular classroom but also during summer school classes to first through sixth-grade students as they come into my classroom. Some of these students, with behavior and attention problems, calm down quickly as they listen to the music and get started on their morning work.  The students even ask for me to turn on the music when I don’t have it on.  A few summers back, I had an administrator walk in and comment on how they couldn’t believe how quiet and focused the students were and said that they should try playing music at their home school.  Every summer, that I have played the music, these students have improved their scores from pretest to posttest by 30-50%, which is an amazing amount for a five-week program, covering an entire year of curriculum.  The students in my regular classroom have met their end-of-the-year goals every year, and I have also seen great improvement.”

Dr. Frank: “What is the most challenging part of teaching in the Norfolk Public Schools?”

Mrs. Irons “I would say the greatest challenge of working for Norfolk Public Schools is trying to teach without a Behavior Support classroom.  In some of the other districts, there is a separate classroom called Behavior Support.   Children with severe, challenging behaviors (that are found to fit criteria through observation and testing, following the Child Study process) are placed in a small class with a number of trained teachers that teach them what the regular classroom teacher is teaching, while working with them on their behaviors.  These students with the Behavior Support teachers come into the regular classroom to work with other students.  If they can show acceptable behavior, then they continue to come and eventually are placed in a regular classroom.  If not, they return to the Behavior Support class, where they continue to work with a lot of individual help on their work and behavior.  They then continue to come into the regular classroom as they show progress (having a Behavior Support teacher with them at all times).”

“Teachers in Norfolk Public Schools have children with severe behaviors full-time in their regular classroom without any aides to come into the classroom to help (unless it is a Special Education, inclusion classroom where the Special Education teacher works only with Special Education – low students, not behaviorally-challenged students).  The regular classroom teacher works with all of the students and is expected to meet standards without anyone to help in the classroom.  Behaviorally-challenged students might yell out, throw themselves around, hit others, throw things, try to annoy and bother others, eat items that are not food (such as paper, trash, lick the floor, etc).  The regular classroom teacher has to spend a large quantity of time dealing with these students (calming them down and getting order), making sure the other students are safe, writing up infraction notices, etc.  A lot more could be accomplished in the regular classroom, and students with these behaviors could receive the special help that they need if there were Behavior Support classrooms in Norfolk Public Schools.  Even if the teacher is good at motivating students and finds ways to help them calm down, such as playing classical music, there is still a need for extra support.”

Dr. Frank: “ Mrs. Irons what dance classes are you teaching this year and where are the classes given?”

Mrs. Irons: “ I am teaching dance and gymnastics classes this year for two companies at three studios in Norfolk, Hampton, and Yorktown.”

Norfolk: 1 tap, ballet, and jazz class for 6 and up

2 tap and ballet classes for 3 to 6 yr. olds

1 advanced jazz/acro class for 7 and up

Yorktown: 1 gymnastics class for 3 to 6 year olds

1 gymnastics class for 6 and up

Hampton: 1 tap and ballet class for 3 to 6 yr. olds

1 ballet class for 6 to 8 yr. olds

2 gymnastics classes for 3 to 6 yr. olds

3 gymnastics classes for 6 and up

1 tumble/cheer class for 6 and up

Dr. Frank: “Thank you Mrs. Becky Irons for being our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year” and for inspiring, motivating, and encouraging over a generation of students to have successful futures.”

To hear Becky Irons February 2014 Radio Show:

“Becky Jenkins Irons, as a teacher for kindergarten, first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, did your students perform better on class work, tests, and quizzes listening to Mozart Symphonies in the background?”



“3 Steps to Solving Your Problems” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.,DTM,

How do you solve your problems? Do you know the three-step process for solving your problems?

When I served as Area Governor for Toastmasters, I taught a class on “Finding New Members!” I asked my Toastmaster’s class to raise their hands and share their stories of “why they joined Toastmasters?”

One Toastmaster told that after he completed Medical School and residency, he applied for a hospital job. He went for the interview but “His tongue was tied up! He suddenly could not answer the questions the interviewer asked him.”

“That was the day he went looking for a solution.” He found a Toastmasters Club near his home and began attending meetings. He said, “He became a master at answering Table Topics questions”; impromptu speaking timed for 1 to 2 minutes. After several months he went for another interview and got the hospital job!”

His first step was calmly and quietly identifying his problem; overcoming his fear of speaking in front of an interviewer.

His second step was writing down clearly “all the facts” so he could think objectively how to solve his problem. He needed to learn to speak quickly, clearly, and confidently when he was asked a question by an interviewer.

His third step was focusing on finding the right organization to teach him the skills he needed to have a successful interview and win the job working at the hospital. He went on the net and read about developing one’s speaking skills at Toastmasters where you learn how to 1) prepare speeches with a mentors help and guidance and 2) train in giving impromptu speeches. This is when a Table Topics Master asks an unknown question to a Toastmaster member and gives them 1-2 minutes to answer. This gives them the opportunity to quickly think of an answer. Toastmasters have been helping their members “improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills” since 1924. Millions of people have gained confidence and overcome their fear of speaking in front of others.

He located a Toastmasters club in his neighborhood and signed up and began learning the skills to win his job.

By following this three-step process you too will be able to solve your problem just like Doctor Toastmaster.

Zig Ziglar, motivational expert, told the story of Vince Robert, a 37-year-old, Canadian taxi driver that left school in the 5th grade. He found himself waiting for hours for fares at airports, and hotels. He decided to change his life and continue his education. He purchased a “20-pound dictionary”. He was going to improve his vocabulary one word at a time. In his taxi, while waiting for his fare; he read from cover to cover, twice, learning new words improving his vocabulary every day and gaining confidence. His taxi became what Zig Ziglar calls, “Automobile University”, his learning university. Robert’s invested in the stock market did well and bought the taxi company he worked for. Because of his success, he was asked to speak to others on how he did it!

As Zig Ziglar says, “You never finish your education.” Keep learning and improving!

Mr. Robert took that “First step” calmly and quietly identifying his problem. He wanted to continue his education while waiting in his taxi for fares.

His second step was writing down clearly “all the facts”. He decided to increase his vocabulary one word at a time.

His third step was going to a bookstore and purchasing a “20 pound dictionary”. He immediately began in his taxi, learning new words, and increasing his vocabulary.

He did well investing in the stock market and bought the taxi company he worked for. Because of his success he was asked to speak to others on how he did it!

What can you do every day? Learn a new word every day, read 20 minutes a day to become an expert in your field. Read self -help, motivational books, bios. Go on the net and take a course for free from an expert. Make your car into Automobile University. While you’re waiting in traffic listen to an educational cd, pod casts, and increase your knowledge.

What are the 3 steps to solving your problems?

  • Calm down. Clear your mind. Then write down the problem. Think of yourself as a detective like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
  • Clearly write down in order “all the facts” so you can think objectively.
  • Focus on the problem. Give yourself time to ponder, to think, about your problem to find an answer. Be observant, open minded, and a good listener.

If you’re looking for a magnificent book that will change you’re life, I suggest reading, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s, “The Power of Positive Thinking”. His Chapter 10, the “Power to Solve Personal Problems” is one of my favorite in his book. Dr. Peale says, “Pray about your problem, affirming that God will flash illumination into your mind. Believe in and seek God’s guidance.”

By following the three steps listed above you too will be able to solve your problems. © 2016 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]

“Ways In Which Music Affects Our Heath” (April 27, 2016) by A. correspondent from the Mumbai News. “Classical music is played to steady the breath, uplift the mood and has the power to calm an individual down. This kind of music has a beneficial effect on the brain and helps to coordinate left and right brain activity.”


“Music May Boost Babies’ Brains, A New Study Finds” by Sophia F. Gottfried (May 3, 2016) from NewJersey.com: News: Health News.

“Babies get a boost listening to music.” A new study “conducted by the University of Washington and published in the proceeds of the National Academy of Sciences” had researchers studying “39 9-month-old babies, with 19 serving as a control group. The control group played with toys a dozen different times for 15 minutes, while the 20 other babies and their parents tapped out beats of a waltz-like rhythm, led by an experimenter. This rhythm, a triple meter, was chosen because it is typically difficult for babies to learn.” Brain scans showed that “babies exposed to music and tapping out beats seemed to have improved brain processing of music patterns and speech sounds compared with the control group. ”


“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:


Barnes and Noble(Nook)



“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”


Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through amazon.com. Click on the following

Amazon.com link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form.

Click on the following link:


Wishing you and your family a happy Father’s Day from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2016 Madeline Frank.