You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 13, 2012.

Another productive day at the IU thanks to my CIG!  We worked together to get everyone on track for their inquiry.  I focused on finished a few posts, analyzing the data from my survey, and finding information my ideas for my inquiry content.  I’ve decided to use the information provided here: to kickstart my ideas. I’m going to decide between interviewing war veterans, people from different generations, and family members after discussing it with my students. The students will write interview questions, videotape the interview, and edit the videos into a TV show. This would cover most of the skills they expressed an interest in from the survey.


At our meeting we first reviewed our inquiry question, and shared where we were with our students. We decided that pre surveys and post surveys were needed to help in our evaluation of students.

At the end of Art Ed 2.0 year 3; I said okay so where do I go from here?  I have brought technology into my classroom and have found that it equalized my non music reading students, my music reading students and my IEP students.  It is easy to follow the line and notes up and down where ever they lead has helped students master music faster which has allowed me to focus on blend and dynamics more since the average choir student requires many, many repetitions of their parts before they get it into their head and muscles. (This is tedious and sometimes boring when it is teacher run because students have down time while waiting for their turn) Technology has helped us to utilize time better.

My administration have asked us to bring more rigor and relevance into our teaching in the classroom. Now I’m not sure what can be more rigorous and relevant than being in a musical collaborative group learning the music, learning vocal technique and making it work together with other singers to have a blend and balance and to take it into a show and communicate it to an audience. Together with my friend who is the band director, we asked, What would happen if students took on a larger role in the putting together of a concert show.

So, I laid out a plan and we put together collaborative groups. Students in the band and choir signed up to be in these groups. They were given a time frame in which to complete their tasks and I asked if they wanted me to establish tech to help with collaboration and communication and they said, “No, let us come up with that.” So we did. This is my largest concern, how will students communicate with each other.

Since my students already working on the concert before the CIG meeting I felt that I could not give them a pretest or survey. Instead I designed  a reflective evaluation for my students to complete at the end of the Christmas concert project. My hope is that from their experience, we will learn some what they know and how they work, then draw from the experience and take what we learned and plan a spring show that would turn out better, smoother communication and program flow, more input from students. So now that the first show is done and my students have completed I have poured over their responses, now we meet and plan new goals, new music, I have better help for their documentation and communications. They had some great ideas which we are now implementing. Now we start the new project and I let you know how that goes.

Check out this project idea that connects history and the arts!

At our meeting today, we shared our surveys and progress with each other. Some, well most of us, have time frustrations and spent time sharing. We received help with our technology an helped each other. I had time to convert my notes and place them in my wiki as well as get caught up on my blogs. My time and some connectivity issues had kept me off the internet so I have written in my journal my notes and reflections.  Today was a good day to revisit our inquiry and realign my goals. My students signed up yesterday for their more specific collaborative groups. Hopefully, they will have started today while I am away to begin setting goals. We’ll see…

So, I was going to be absent from school and left  my students with the technology to run their own rehearsals. I have my students’ music in finale and project it to the board so students can learn to follow a line of music. I have been the one who runs the technology, but I left it for them to run. My students rehearsed! Hurray. They held rehearsals. They didn’t rehearse the same as if I was there but they sang, they interacted with each other and they had fun. Actually there were a couple of things that they solved that were quite creative! Hurray for my students!

Right now, I am lucky enough to say that this is my 4th year in AE 2.0.  Four years of questions, searching for answers, and trying new stuff!

I say this not because I am bothered by it.  I say it because I feel like I have so many new ideas and flows of thought that I am wondering which direction to go from here.  I am passionate and concerned about teaching students to express and communicate who they are.  I want students to understand that they can contribute to the world in positive and creative ways.

Right now I am considering our group’s question:

How can we help students discover who they are and their connection to the world through the arts?

I am thinking about how I can create a classroom lesson that helps me revise and excel the activities that I have started the last couple of years, and create a new lesson that really addresses this year’s question too.

I am entertaining some ideas using the mp3 players and Audacity to allow students to do some mash-up type mixing, or allowing students to create a piece of music using sounds that they create and edit and mix them!  Right now I am just at the idea phase – but next I will be asking myself – How does this relate to our question? 🙂

I had my substitute administer a google docs survey that I was hoping that it would provide me with insight  to what my students would be interested in doing when I return.  This was going to be my window into their minds! Well, not so much. Of course I now have more questions than I had before. Did they misinterpret the questions I gave them? Do they think that this questions covers something that is important to me? important to them?  Well, regardless, I’m taking the information I have and I’m running with it.

One portion of the survey was to evaluate how independent they are in their learning.  When asking about completing their homework, the survey showed that about 27% of them can do their homework alone and on time.  The rest need help from friends, neighbors, or at home.  This shows me that they need instruction on how to find the answers for their homework.  Hopefully, when I post-survey them in the spring, There should be an improvement in this response and others similar concerning their independent learning.

Another portion of the survey was to discover what areas of study they would be interested in.  The first question asked the students to mark which of these areas they are already skilled in. The second question asked what they would like to learn more about.  This area has given me some really great tools to begin organizing my inquiry. Bigger question – what will it be???

Reading #2

So I read this article; “The Making of a Music: The Construction & Reconstruction of a Teacher’s Personal Practical Knowledge forming Inquiry.” My first response to this reading was Hurray! I can so relate to the process that Anne went through as she was starting over. I understand her feelings of self-doubt and rediscovery; the stresses of time and wanting to give my students the very best quality while still experimenting and changing according to the needs that I see. My School is trying to get all teachers to do what Anne did. I feel that there is disconnect in their understanding and therefore in their expectations. There is the struggle of change. In my field, music, we live in the realm of inquiry (what would happen if… or how would this sound if we tried…) and what Anne called “play”. Sometimes inquiry happens because of something students bring into “play” a question or an observation. Sometimes because of something really cool that happens while we are rehearsing, a connection made.  I really liked how she focused on the creation of experiences for students within which they would communicate their understanding to others, learn to respond to one another, and be transformed through the interaction of narratives. This helped me as I read my students reflections and evaluations of the Christmas concert collaboration. I have given my students some different tools to help them with their collaboration as a direct response to their evaluations and what they felt they would need to be successful.

The Three Artistic Processes: Paths to lifelong 21st century skills through music by Scott C. Shuler, MENC President

I chose this article because it was a different article than another group member had selected and we thought that we could share ideas from different articles and share information.

This article discussed the 3 artistic processes as an answer to a variety of teachers’ questions about why Music Education in important.  The answer that I felt related to me was the need to explain how studying music prepares students for lifelong success, regardless of career choice.  The author also discusses the 3 artistic processes as clarification for how student-centered music education helps children master 21st century skills necessary for future successes.

Shuler discusses the history of the 3 artistic process model and its usefulness as : comprehensive (content-wise), practical (as a natural process that allows for a natural transfer of learning and assessment), and authentic (allowing live-long student-centered music making that stretches beyond the music classroom).  Shuler also states that in order to give students the gift of lifelong music education that teachers must ensure that students assume the responsibility of making musical decisions (interpretation & creativity), self-assessment and diagnosis & improvement of their own work.  Shuler believes that Music Education has gained some ground since the revision of Bloom’s taxonomy, which puts “Create” on top.  When teachers empower their students to carryout the process, teachers are empowering higher order thinking.  Shuler also comments that some of the 21st century skills that can be gained through this process are  Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and that national music standards highlight creativity through improvisation, composition & interpretation.  Commenting that collaboration requires attributes such as empathy, willing acceptance of a contributing role & respectful participation and an understanding of when to offer ideas and when to listen to others ideas.

The 3 Artistic Processes are described as Creating, Performing, & Responding and the article includes a table that describes activities within each of these areas.  The table also includes verbs that relate to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Insights Gained?

I really feel that this article was relevant to our group’s question: How can we help students discover who they are and their connection to the world through the arts?   I find the connection because I felt the article directly discusses both artistic behaviors and collaboration in the music classroom.  One comment that the author made that really interested me was about how teacher-centered music making does not give students the tools to be musical beyond the music classroom.  That some enthusiastic high school band members and choristers never play or sing beyond graduation, or if they do they are then dependant upon community or other music directors to provide the direction.  Shuler suggests that student centered music education gives students the gift of lifelong music making.  I was particularly interested in the process that he suggests to encourage students to take responsibility for their music learning.  I think that in the classroom, I would definitely like to give students the opportunity to make music in such a way that will extend throughout their lives.

Questions Generated and/or Divergent Views?

Looking at the chart, I do see that it is applicable to classroom music, although it does seem that most of the article refers to the ensemble class.  I am really thinking about the comment that Shuler made about students needing the skills to direct themselves and their research and experiences in their lifelong music making!  I am also considering how I can manipulate the artistic process described  in my classroom.  I am interested in students: creating and developing ideas and concepts, interpreting and developing personal ideas about their creation, presenting work, and evaluating their work.  I really am not sure about what content I want to use yet, I still have lots of ideas swirling around 🙂


While trying to document my time on Nov. 7, I realized that I was pushing the technological boundaries of Canonsburg hospital!  Before the meeting started, I asked the nurses if the had wireless access for their patients.  Since I had just arrived at the rehab facility from Allegheny General, I hadn’t tried to get access to anything myself.  The nurses had no idea if they had patient access! The next time she came back in the room, I was Skyping! As she walked out of the room, I heard her say to another nurse , “She is Skyping into a class from Canonsburg Hospital – that’s a new one!”  So, I skyped on my computer for a few hours, logged into the Wiki live a few hours, and when those wouldn’t work, I phoned Diane for updates.  All of this enabled me to meet my new CIG to plan our new inquiry question through discussion about our classrooms. This gave me the opportunity to listen to how others were planning to take inquiry into their classrooms. Let the games begin 🙂

January 2012
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