You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.

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 🙂

Folding and cutting to create symmetrical shapes are skills that need to be mastered. Math  anchors refer constantly to symmetry so I am using the art room as a place to implement and encourage the student’s basic knowledge of symmetry.  This year kindergarten and first grade students made a simple Christmas tree using some of the math words.  Folding a small square for some kindergarten children is in itself a struggle, so when they fold and cut a symmetrical tree, wow do we have new skill.  I start the lesson by asking them to fold the paper and draw a diagonal line from the top corner to the bottom. We all learned diagonal that day.  They cut the triangle and from there they were given another square and told to repeat the shape.  One would assume that they could easily repeat this.  I molded all of this using my document camera so the fold and the diagonal line was larger than life.  In all they made 4 trees and most got it.  They recognized here symmetry of the shape and knew why the fold worked.  The next lesson I gave them the same size square in multiple colors and asked them to make a symmetrical shape.  Most of them began by folding the paper but were waiting for me to instruct.  I stayed quiet and said hold the fold and use their scissors to make the lines .  Again some of them took the scissors and enjoyed the practice.  Practice using the scissors while their little minds are creating is  fun to watch.  After a few minutes, I modeled the cutting to create simple shapes.  The students were a little worried that it did not look like something they knew.  I told them that all it need be is symmetrical.  Just getting the students to use the correct side of the paper can be a challenge.  Once they figured out the freedom of using the scissors on the fold, they were excited to cut lots of shapes.   Meanwhile back in the classroom, the students are focused on symmetry and their teachers were so excited that they knew these words!  I just smiled.  This week we continued on the symmetrical shapes to make a heart.  I showed them the heart and asked how to do this.   They all responded that you had to fold the paper.  I let them try to make the heart shape on their own.  At this point, they have gained some confidence with their scissors and they eagerly dove in.  Walking around the room, I find some success and some struggles with the shape of the heart.  I model the shape of the heart using the document camera.  Seeing the large heart shape on the screen, they can easily see what they need to draw.  Repetition and practice make these students very skilled. I was so excited to send these super hearts home  for their parents to see what they are able to do.  They walked out of the art room with a new skill!  I armed them with extra paper to make more hearts.

During our morning session we were able to share the lessons we were doing with our classes.  Amanda showed an example of stop motion photography and also a video of gumby that she was able to share with her students.  She talked about how her students were taking ownerhip of their work, and using inquiry to discuss their projects with other stuents.  I was inspired to see the passion she was feeling for this lesson.  I took that she had a hard time letting go of the “Power” of being a teacher, but had a wonderful experience because of this.  I believe that this is what AE2.0 is doing for our group.  It is giving us the freedom to explore different ways of reaching our students.

I was able to share a video after lunch with the group that I made with my student teachers. It was a good example of how inquiry was used in drawing faces in my art II class.  It showed how the questioning might be a little different than direct instruction, and was also able to show how the students interactions were different during the lesson.  Carol was able to see what I was talking about rather than just having me tell her and not giving examples.

During the afternoon, we were all able to interact and ask questions specific to technology and anything we may have had an issue with.  IT was a good time for everyone to be able to just relax and gather information regarding the blog and other things we might need help with.

January 2012
« Dec   Feb »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers