I am continuing to follow John Feierabend's First Steps in Music pretty religiously. I tweak a few things to fit the needs and developmental pace of my students but for the most part we follow it closely. I have found that my kindergartners have a much more refined sense of pitch than my kindergartners from last year. They also are more willing to sing alone in front of the class, and I no longer have to worry about giving the option or even having to coax them. They just automatically do it when asked. I have also found my students have more awareness of their bodies due to our work with the Laban Themes. I am looking forward to when they get to 2nd grade and we can start to incorporate integration with dance and classroom subjects!
We have just started introducing rhythms. This is where I begin to veer away from Feierabend. My students are starting to get board with the first steps and so we are beginning to use pictures to show long and short sounds. We have begun to use the language of Carol Krueger and progressive sight singing to read rhythm. This is the language used to read rhythms in choir grades 5-12.
2nd Grade Arts Integration:
We kicked off our arts integration with dance and science right away this year. Students came up with a way to show how heat energy is created, and what it is used for through a dance to Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. It was really awesome to see their creativity shine through and watch them get into the scientific concepts as well!
In 3rd grade, students have been working on an arts enhanced project along with their study of Ellis Island and Immigration in the United States. In each 3rd grade, students choose a nationality (German, Italian, or Irish) and then study that nationality's journey to America. Students later participate in a simulation of being processed through Ellis Island to gain an understanding of what people endured trying to enter this country for a better life. I teamed up with the 3rd grade team to add a musical element to this simulation. Students grouped into their nationalities and were given a song from their country that dates before 1900, with each class having a different song for their nationality than the others. So far students have really enjoyed this. They love learning a song in a different language, and they are excited they will get to connect it to what they are learning in their classroom. To connect it further with music, we have been discussing why music would be important to families as they traveled to a brand new land and how their musical culture impacted American music as we know it today.
This is where it gets more personalized. I have been using EDPuzzle to flip my classes so that students are learning lessons at home and coming into the classroom ready to do activities that help practice and cement their music reading skills. What I love about EDPuzzle, is that I can take videos from their database, youtube, khan academy and many other resources, crop them to a length of my choosing based on what I want students to know, and insert audio comments from myself, as well as questions that students must answer before moving on in the video. As the teacher, I am able to check the progress of how far students are by minute in each video lesson, as well as track their performance on the formative assessments questions they answer throughout the lesson. All questions that have a concrete answer are graded by EDPuzzle while all open ended questions can be graded very quickly by the teacher. The best part is, EDPuzzle can be connected to student's google accounts or edmodo accounts. In my case, students access EDPuzzle through our google classroom and are imported from the classroom into EDPuzzle's system. No information besides that already associated and approved with their school e-mail is used to access EDPuzzle. I love the accountability that it provides with the assessment that teachers can build in to the video lesson as well as the fact that it gives students a chance to check in with what they have just heard and think through the content they have just been taught. We will be using the website throughout our recorder unit for students to watch lessons at home and practice with it, and then come right to class and work with me one on one or in small groups so I can give feedback and help make that learning experience more enjoyable as well as beneficial. It will also give students the ability to take the learning at their own pace as students do not all gain proficiency at the same time! I will keep you posted as to how this will work and how it will go compared to last year's attempt at personalizing the recorder unit!
Sorry this was so long! Next post will be shorter and more specific to one grade level or activity!