Teaching Artist Reflection: With the sixth grade, they were invested in the work when they got to make it personal. This sounds obvious when it comes to art, but sometimes learning music isn't inherently personal (if you're learning skills). So by connecting the music skills to outside material (stories, social studies, paintings, movies, etc), students had more "buy in," and they contributed more. Also, giving this age group ample time to process verbally (talk about and express their opinions!) was also crucial. They were going to talk, so it was better to have it be part of the class as opposed to outside of the class parameters!
MCLT Reflection: Using my planned curriculum but adding the dimension of self assessment and creating a portfolio added more interest and enthusiasm to the projects we were doing.
Teacher Reflection: I think what worked was the students having background knowledge of music that you (the TA and MCLT) had already provided, which made it easy for them to incorporate that in our classroom with the projects that you came up with in conjunction with our social studies lessons and the theme of transformation.
What did not work?
Teaching Artist Reflection: Some of the project templates that we used with the 4th and 5th grades ended up being too simplified for the 6th graders, so we tried to have them add more detail. If I had it to do over, I would just increase the level of expectation and complexity right off the bat with them.
Teacher Reflection: I feel that it all came together perfectly, and there was nothing that didn't work. I was extremely impressed and amazed at how quickly you were able to put these mini-lessons together, and the kids quickly grasped them and turned them into these beautiful polyrhythms. It all worked together.
What questions do you still have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: How can you give older students more ownership of a composition project without it going completely off the rails? Where is the balance of freedom and structure?
MCLT Reflection: Being new to planning music portfolio, I learned from this experience how to plan self assessments and reflections into the curriculum better. I would like to focus on it being a more consistent part of my teaching.
Teacher Reflection: I have no questions at this time.
What new ideas do you have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: I loved the idea of using music to represent visual patterns, and the link to textiles (Kente Cloth). I would love to use that idea and add even more to it (movement/dance, more instruments, create a story, etc).
MCLT Reflection: I was wondering if other music teachers could share their experiences of creating a comprehensive portfolio for their students.
Teacher Reflection: In thinking about next year, I'm planning to use music more in my reading classes, but the challenge for me is I don't have a music background, so I will be relying heavily on internet YouTube and creativity.