The students began the unit by practicing the skill of drawing inferences. Mr. Miller stated that this was an area in literacy that they needed support in. Ms. Wyatt (music teacher) and Mr. Ziyad (CAPE teaching artist) constructed a lesson in which students would act out the inferences they drew from the picture in a story. As they viewed the picture, the students were encouraged to think about all the emotions and actions needed to bring the picture to life. I really admired how the students not only had fun, but also had to plan how they were going to present the picture given to them.
Another part of the lesson involved students drawing conclusions from the same film clip with three different soundtracks. It appeared to me that the students were visibly moved by how the soundtrack can influence their perception of the film scene. They were asked to journal their responses to this lesson as well.
6th graders journaling their thoughts
Student #3Question: What kind inferences can you draw from the same film clip using three different soundtracks?
Student answer from journal:
Clip #1 = Sad and in despiration
Clip #2 = It sounds like someone trying to sneak up and kill someone.
Clip #3 = It sounds like a [sic] agent undercover or a superhero.
The Mr. Ziyad and Mr. Miller constructed an integrated unit that merged units from the Harlem Renaissance (social studies) and jazz (music). Mr. Miller discussed the Harlem Renaissance in his social studies class while Mr. Ziyad discussed jazz and famous jazz artists of that time period. Mr. Ziyad taught the class the piece made famous by Duke Ellington “Take the A Train”. The students learned the verses and constructed a rap that was connected to the song. I liked how the construction of the rap helped to solidify their understanding of jazz and the Harlem Renaissance.
[caption id="attachment_2138" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Student reflection on Jazz"]
[caption id="attachment_2100" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="6th graders are learning about jazz feel."]
[caption id="attachment_2142" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="C. Reflecting on jazz. It was suprising to me that C. stated in his journal that he actually is very interested in music but in class in front of the other students, he acted like he wasn't."]
The conclusion of the unit was marked by the class performing “Take the A Train” at the Black History assembly in February 2012. The students were dressed in traveling clothes and carried luggage onto the stage. They truly enjoyed this activity and loved the chance to express their creativity.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="194" caption="Thinking about Jazz"]
[caption id="attachment_2118" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="V. performing a rap that she created about "The A Train""]
Click here to see an example of a student created rap: ATrainRap