We had an optional work day on Friday because of the end of the quarter, so naturally I spent that entire day in my classroom getting ready and excited for the next "unit" for my third graders. In the next several weeks, I am going to let my students decide what curriculum path they want to choose, which they would like to create a project on, and what questions need to be answered in order to demonstrate that learning occurred. I put together three curriculum paths for my third graders.
1) The Orchestra Pathway: students need to demonstrate an understanding of the instruments in the orchestra by sight and sound. This is a benchmark that needs to be covered and assessed before the end of the year. I chose this as one of the options for this unit because it really doesn't require me to stand up and lecture. The best way for kids to get interested and understand the orchestra is to let them discover and explore it.
2) DoReMiSoLa - Note Reading Pathway: Students will be able to read, sing, and play melodic patterns on DRMSL. This is a benchmark that also needs to be covered before the end of the year. A lot of this will be covered in mini-lessons or conferences with me as students decide when they would like to learn more about it.
3) Composer of the Month Pathway: This doesn't really go with an assessed benchmark, but it does fit in with relating music to history and culture, and gives students the opportunity to listen to works by the composer and maybe connect with it on a more personal level, enhancing a love for classical music!
"Planning" Personal Pathways
A lot of "planning" went into this experiment of personalized learning, but not the traditional kind of planning that I have been used to.
First, I took all three pathways and created folder for each in our classroom management system Schoology. I then began to take a look at my benchmarks for each category: knowing about the orchestra, learning to read pitches with solfege, connecting music to history, and started to think about what was really important for students to think about as they were learning and what did I want them to be able to know when everything was said and done. I provided documents in the folder that gave the Long Term Goals: concepts that needed to be shown for learning and growth by the end, and Short Term Goals: Examples of small learning targets that could be completed in a lesson or two. I provided some guided questions for students to ask themselves with each pathway to check their learning process, and then created a Rubric that would help them as they were thinking of some kind of project to demonstrate their growth. Once the long and short term goals, guided questions to check learning, and the rubric were created for each pathway, I set up a project. I asked students to create a project to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of certain questions that related to the long term goals. I gave students a choice between creating a project for the Orchestra, or creating a project on the composers.
Below is a screen shot of my "planning" This was shared with students to guide them through the orchestra pathway and the project expectations if they chose to focus heavily on this pathway.
Stay tuned for more information on how I set up this personalized unit and the resources that I used. There is a lot that went into setting it up, too much for one blog post, but so far the set up has been pretty fun and not exhausting!