Teaching Artist Reflection: Overall, this was an inspiring and exciting process for me. I very much enjoyed working with Ms. De Guzman and Mr. Welsh over the past two years. I have learned a great deal about the collaborative process and how best to balance literacy and music to enhance student learning. Ms. De Guzman has a great deal of experience with the arts integration process and works very well with the other teachers at Perez and so I was able to learn a lot from her. Our varied backgrounds and skills complemented each other very well. We had a good balance of creativity, structure, innovation and a solid foundation in terms of teaching styles. The principal at this school is extremely supportive and that always makes things run more smoothly.
Producing a show was a very exciting process and worked well over the two years. We were able to alter the process the second year to fit with our big idea of teamwork. The first year we had all the students work on all the areas that are required to make a show. The second year we allowed each student to 'specialize' in some areas of the process. They were given the option to work on the set, props, costumes, script, and music in small groups for a number of classes. We did have everyone eventually write music and the script, because those are integral to our literacy and music integration curriculum. This year we also added recit singing instead of just speaking the lines and partner songs. This helped to make the final show more like a real opera and helped the students make connections to the opera they saw on the field trip. A highlight of the year was going to the backstage tour of the Lyric Opera. The students were so engaged the whole time and brought that excitement back to their own show 'jobs'. They were seeing real professional work and relating that to their work at school!
This year the classroom teacher took a greater role in the process. They helped with rehearsals, writing assignments, prop making, social studies collaboration and more. The communication between all the teachers this year was very good.
I like the idea that the students get the chance to perform the whole show during the Fine Arts Festival at Perez instead of just as an assembly during school hrs.
Having the 6th grade just say their lines worked much better than trying to get them to sing recit like the other classes.
Using their social studies work to inspire their writing also worked very well.
MCLT Reflection: The 6th graders were more engaged with the music this year. Middle School is a challenging year, so we gave them time to get used to how their changing voices sound to them by making the singing work less demanding. Once they were used to their own personal voices, they became more comfortable and more engaged. Teamwork was an important aspect of the work as well. It made everyone have a feeling of ownership for their work and their performance. They all eventually felt that each of their "roles" were important. The collaborative time we did have with teachers really helped to make them influential and helpful "team" members.
Teacher Reflection: I like to see my students engaging in projects that they enjoy as well as learn from. The arts are really good for that.
What did not work?
Teaching Artist Reflection: A lot of the initial planning time was spent developing theoretical concepts for the year, and not enough time deciding the specific details of how we wanted to implement the ideas we had. The professional development days are very informative and useful, but we can always use more time to plan the day to day curriculum. Ms. De Guzman is an extremely busy teacher who takes on lots of exciting art projects to help students get great opportunities. It can be difficult to find enough planning time in her busy schedule.
The final rehearsal process seemed a little rushed, because we had the added elements of the orchestra, sets, costumes, props, and recit singing. We could have used a bit more time to put all the pieces together.
MCLT Reflection: This was a challenging school year. Weekly planning time was a challenge for everyone.
What questions do you still have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: How can the teachers carry the knowledge and skills the students have learned in this process over into their classrooms? How does the information the students have learned and the experiences they have had translate to quantitative data? Does the work we have done with the classes show in the final evaluations and interviews with the students?
MCLT Reflection: 6th grade is a pivotal year. How do we move on with them to keep their learning in the arts........music interesting for them, but also productive.
Teacher Reflection: Math is my passion as a classroom teacher. How can I incorporate the arts into learning math?
What new ideas do you have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: I have so many ideas about how to streamline the process of creating a show with the ideas of literacy and music integration. I think having pre-designed templates for each element of the process. (I did make graphic organizers for most of the areas) It would be good to have a writing question for each area before and after the creative process and give that to the classroom teachers to allow more reflection time.
I have ideas about how to better my own collaborative work with other teachers in the future. I think that having more planning time would help and setting an overall schedule for the year would help a lot.
I have ideas about how to better the 'portfolio' process. I think lined paper as well as blank paper would be helpful to have for writing assignments. Sometimes the students forget to date things and then adding it back into the portfolio is always a tricky process.
I think next time I would give students more time to look at the work they have done periodically throughout the year.
MCLT Reflection: Moving forward with the portfolio and journal process. Adding more innovative work to the portfolios.
Teacher Reflection: I would like to use the music journals in writing class, maybe once a month.