I've got to be honest here, this year's projects did NOT live up to expectations, nor did they live up to the success of last year's third graders who completed it. I was really disappointed in the laziness that I saw from students. Many procrastinated through out all of their work time, and didn't work unless I was constantly with them. In a class that is 30 minutes long and takes place 2 times a week, I really don't have the time or capability to ignore the other 22 students to spend the entire time with one, but I feel like that is what happened this year. I wanted everyone to be successful. I gave them rubrics, wrote out the 5 essential items needed for their project and had it posted each time they came to class. I even gave them all the resources they needed to find the information and took an entire class time showing them how to get to it. None of this seemed to help them. I was constantly getting questions about what information they needed, even though it was posted. I had students create a plan this year, the same way they create a plan for projects in their classroom, and for their art projects. This didn't seem to make a difference in terms of project quality. Many students slapped information on a poster sloppily. I had some kids create books using the Book Creator App, but they didn't include the information they needed. Projects were put together sloppily, despite a plan, and it seemed like the kids didn't care about quality. I will say I had a few gems that were absolutely amazing, like creating a script about interviewing different "musicians" talking about their instruments and the information they included went above and beyond expectations. I had some students draw out their instruments beautifully and include so much extra information. The few gems made me really excited for where this project could go. I am hoping that next year's third graders will be a little more creative, a little more cognizant of the importance of quality rather than quantity, and will include the information they needed. They were only asked to include information about the name of the instrument, it's family and why it is in that family, how to play it, and to compare the way the instrument is played to any other instrument in the orchestra. I hope that next year the kids will focus on that when they create their projects. I am still reflecting how to change and fix this project for next year.
Orchestra Projects 2017
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Music Specialist: Howard Suamico School District