Hi Everyone! Last year, I taught music through a non-profit organization that provides art and music education in schools for all populations and last year I am contracted to teach TK-3rd grade music at three school sites in Cupertino, an hour south of San Francisco. That was my 3rd year of public school teaching and my 5th year teaching as a private music instructor. In my first 3 years of teaching at public schools, I have worked at 8 school sites with very different demographics, including a Title 1 school, a Spanish TWBI school (Two Way Bilingual Immersion program), a small charter school, the elementary school I attended as a child, and schools (this year) where many of my students' parents work at Apple and Google. Before all of this, I was a stay-at-home mom and performing musician. This year I teach music at a private pre-school, elementary, and middle school in Silicon Valley. I love the school community that I am a part of...and they take their musicals, concerts, and parades very seriously. I accompany my students on piano, ukulele, and guitar. I also get to teach them theatre skills and ukulele.
I took a semester of French in 6th grade and 5 years of Spanish from 8th-12th grade. I got to the point in my fluency where I would dream in Spanish, which was pretty cool but I'm not there any more. I have traveled to Mexico many times and I practice my Spanish as much as possible! I wish I had attended a bilingual school as a child, and I sent my daughter to a bilingual Spanish-English preschool for two years because she learned English so fast and I wanted her to experience another language/culture at a young age. I would love to live in another country with my family someday! I has not worked out for me yet, but I'm very open to it if the opportunity arises. I love being a teacher for so many reasons: 1. To sing and play music with kids of all ages is joyful work; 2.) I get to see children grow and become their best selves everyday, and I feel myself become my best self everyday along with them; 3.) I feel that I will be able to find teaching work no matter wherever I live.
ELA/ELD Framework / Content Literacy / BLoom's Taxonomy & Webb's DOK
I am a music teacher who usually teaches at multiple school sites per week. I do present rigor in my teaching practice by introducing content that is challenging yet fun and engaging.
I am not tasked with assessments other than formative assessments that guide my lesson content and how much each class will practice songs related to our learning target.
I am familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy, and found a great blog post that I am reading: https://mramusicplace.net/2017/01/12/music-teaching-and-blooms-revised-taxonomy/ (Links to an external site.)
I found this blog post to peruse regarding music education and Webb's Depth of Knowledge:
http://generalmusicclassroom.blogspot.com/2016/01/depth-of-knowledge.html (Links to an external site.)
My music classes support the ELA/ELD standards by allowing students to practice singing in English or other languages, but would not be expected to provide the main source of English instruction for ELLs. Music touches upon every other subject taught in schools, but is meant to be enrichment and provide practice/performance opportunities.
PD that goes more into depth on the blog post info I found above would be most helpful!
DI and Formative Assessments
As a music teacher, I rely on constant formative assessments to ascertain whether my songs, activities, and explanations are helping students meet the learning target of the lesson. I listen and observe my students constantly to assess, for example, if they are moving to the steady beat while playing the drum. If the class looks engaged and most students are enjoying the song or musical activity, I can see it on their faces and body language. Having fun and smiling while playing music and also moving to the steady beat are important visual clues that I look for during formative assessments.
I also ask students to give me hand signals assessing themselves: thumbs up if you felt mostly successful playing the song, thumbs to the side means "meh," and thumbs down means "I need more practice. The song didn't click for me yet." These hand signals are extremely helpful for me in determining whether we need to move on to another song or continue practicing.
I like exit tickets also because students are motivated to respond quickly so they can leave. It's a good test of what they can quickly recall from class, and what they take away from the lesson. Then you have a record and better understanding of where to jump back in for the next lesson.
ELL students often find success in music class because I teach songs often by rote, and so all students learn by imitating sounds that I make. ELL students are already in the habit of this for their language learning, so they tend pick up on songs and imitate them quickly.
Differentiation in the music classroom is crucial because students come in with a huge variety of musical backgrounds and experiences. I often give two to three different of levels of instrumental practice to students as an option to try and then find an appropriate balance of challenge vs. familiarity for them. For example, during a dance movement combination to Tchaikovsky's "Trepac" or Russian Dance, I first teach the easy way to everyone. I will then demonstrate a more difficult set of movements and allow them to practice. Then they can choose their level and practice the movement that way throughout the song. This type of differentiation does not take much prep work.
Another way that differentiation works well in the music classroom but takes more prep time is by setting up centers. I would set out a good range of activities and observe which students gravitate where. Some students will gravitate to visual activities (reading/writing sheet music, coloring sheets, or answering written questions), while some will gravitate to the more kinesthetic stations (playing a song on recorder, drumming a rhythm pattern, doing a movement combination to a video), and others will gravitate to aural activities (listening to a song and analyzing what they heard).
I definitely perform formative assessments all throughout music class to determine whether students need more practice, explanation or discussion time, or to move on to more challenging material.