Exploring the concepts and instrument families using hands-on instrument creation, small group composition, and linking instruments to other subjects helped students gain multiple frames of references for material that was otherwise unfamiliar to them. Students in fourth grade also liked and were willing to do more with movement and music.
What did not work?
Giving this age group too much freedom ended up not producing any results, or ended up with students missing the mark. This age needs more structure and defined objectives. Sometimes moving too quickly from one objective to the next didn't allow students to fully grasp a concept, and didn't allow us to accurately assess whether they'd mastered that particular topic. It would also be helpful to find ways to have students do more self- and pre-assessing as we move into new areas of learning.
What questions do you still have?
How can I keep the objectives well-defined but still have creative and open-ended (inquiry-based) activities? How can I strengthen the connections between the in-class activities and the big idea learning and cross-curricular connections? How often should we give feedback to help students be more aware of their progress?
What new ideas do you have?
We would like to perhaps do one visit in the academic classroom early on to introduce the concept of arts integration to the students, and then work on carrying that integration more strongly into the classroom. It would be helpful to incorporate more on-the-spot assessments to help students be more aware of how close they are to meeting the objectives. We also want to give more differentiated work options so that students who are more advanced can choose more difficult projects and students who feel overwhelmed can be successful choosing a modified option.