You’ve changed… (Course 5 Final Project)

“At laaaassssst….” (in my best Etta James voice.) I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Much has happened in the past year and half and most had to do with my journey with Coetail. I didn’t know I was capable of communicating across timezones to educators from around the world. I’ve learned design principles that has made a positive impact in my teaching practice.  I’ve learned to embrace the available technology and make it work for me. I’ve changed!

My project with a flipped classroom was always in the background, but I never got around to sitting down, planning it and executing it. Thanks to my support group in the school, I took a risk and experimented with this concept with elementary students. A lot of time, sweat and tears (looking at you, iMovie for crashing on me) were shed just trying to get through this final phase. Thankfully, the result was worth it!

Coetail Online9 Course 5 Final Project Video

Project Goals

My goals for this project were to:

  • create a digital library of video tutorials
  • provide an opportunity to teach in small groups for students needing more support
  • challenge students needing advanced music literature
  • And personalize the learning for individual inquiry
  • provide an authentic audience (with other classes and/or schools)
  • empower students to create and spread the joy of music making
Extension

Due to the time constraints (as a specialist, I only see the students once a week), I am going to extend this unit so that the students will be able to create their very own tutorial videos. Not only does this learning experience allow them to demonstrate their music skills, but also to demonstrate their communication skills (can another student or audience understand what they are trying to teach?) and technology skills of creating a movie of their own. We would share our tutorial videos with other classes and hopefully other schools. What a great way to reach out to the community!

Video credits
  • August’s Rhapsody from the 2007 film August Rush
  • SAMR image from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html
  • Introduction photos courtesy of Pexels and Pixabay
Student engagement and feedback

As a whole, the students worked well during the unit and they embraced this “new” way of learning; however, not ALL students were keen to learn from a video:

Student feedback via Google Forms
"I love it [with the whole class] because in real life I can understand it more." Ibrahim
"...it's more better because the teacher help us and we can learn at the same time." Haya

Mixed reviews suggest to balance screen time and teacher time during the music class.

Read the last comment. Seriously? This kid can’t recognise MY voice in the videos? Ha!

FAQs

Q: Isn’t it a lot of prep work to create the videos BEFORE the students come?

A: Yes, lots of prep work. Because I’m a bit neurotic, I created my own videos using the same instruments/materials that the students will be using – for consistency. I’m sure there are thousands of videos out there that will be useful for your context.

Q: What platform did you use and why?

A: I used Seesaw as my platform. I initially thought about using Google Classroom; however, due to the time constraints and the fact that the students ALREADY had experience with Seesaw, it was a better choice for us.

Q: What were the cons during your project?

A: (1) Having a strong enough wifi connection for the whole class. (2) Students complained about not being able to hear themselves play because of the person next to them – it’s more of a space issue. In the future, I would probably split the group to where some students can be spread out in different areas of the room while I worked with the other half and then switch halfway through the class period.

Unit Plan 

Here is my IB PYP Music unit plan (based on the UbD framework).

ISTE Standards for Educators:

1 LEARNER: Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators: 1a Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

2 LEADER: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators: 2c Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

4 COLLABORATOR: Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems. Educators: 4b Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.

5 DESIGNER: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognise and accommodate learner variability. Educators: 5a Use technology to create, adapt and personalise learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

Conclusion

Even with our limitations (time) during this project, I felt as though we made a positive shift in our learning environment. Because the students provided feedback about the flipped classroom setting, moving forward, I would like to have a happy mix of our “traditional” Orff approach and the flipped classroom approach. I DO miss being part of the musical discoveries when we learn something new. At least in the flipped setting, we can use our technology for review and/or extended activities. Uh oh. I think I’m on to something. . .

Special thanks to @Shazahmed for putting up with my antics and @YasmeenMunshi for lending an ear during carpool. And thank YOU, Coetail, for being a part of my learning journey!

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” (Cue music)

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

Greetings from the sandbox! Welcome back Online9! The school year started off, well, late. We moved schools – from one location to another. The new school is bigger, brighter, state of the art, etc., I could go on. Needless to say, everything is behind schedule, including our units of inquiry. Still, we begin our 2018 school year. Here we go!  

 

This year, my teaching responsibilities have been extend to the upper grades. I am now the music teacher for students from grades one through five. My teaching schedule is packed, but I welcomed the challenge with the “older” kids. I knew they were capable of so much more – musically – and I couldn’t wait to start! The first few weeks of school were all about establishing essential agreements and assessing prior knowledge. Boy, was I in for a surprise! The students weren’t quite at the level I expected, in addition, they brought more sass and drama (insert eye roll here). But despite this, we must persevere. Onward!

What do you plan to do and why?

My aim is to reevaluate my current teaching approach and experiment with a flipped classroom with my upper elementary music students. This endeavor will hopefully achieve the following:

  • To create a digital library of video tutorials of me and/or my students performing on instruments
  • To provide an opportunity to teach in small groups for students needing more support
  • To challenge students needing advanced music literature
  • To personalize the learning for individual inquiry
  • To provide an authentic audience (with other classes and/or schools)
  • To empower students to create and spread the joy of music making

In a previous blog, Confessions of a purist, I mentioned my hesitation of technology and its place in a specialized subject, i.e. the arts. As such, I want to determine whether or not a flipped classroom can be a strategy to authentically integrate technology in my classroom without sacrificing my content.

“Confessions of a purist”

I stumbled upon a blog post which introduces flipped classroom and suggests how to prepare students before coming to a flipped class. One takeaway was the notion that no two flipped classrooms look exactly the same, just as no two traditional classrooms look the same. I was relieved! I was concerned that MY version of the flipped classroom wasn’t credible. Which brings me to. . .

How do you think you might get there?

To begin, I’d like to model the flipped classroom for my students. My thought was to use a video tutorial as a provocation. The students will have access to their own iPads and headphones. The students will log onto Google Classroom and proceed with the first task – to watch a video tutorial. The video tutorial will be no longer than a minute and the students will have the opportunity to replay the video as many times as necessary for them to learn an excerpt to play on an instrument (xylophones or recorders). After some time, we will come together as a group and perform what we have learned. This moment of the lesson will determine whether or not they were able to learn the excerpt on their own or if they need more support. The students will write comments on GC regarding the video to provide feedback regarding the pros and cons of the video and how we can improve the next one. Hopefully the format of the videos will remain consistent so that the students learn the “formula” of the video, enough to create their own (insert storyboard here). As a result, not only do the students demonstrate their music skills, but they have created a product that can be used for assessment and to share with a greater audience.

"The Flipped Classroom is a pedagogy-first approach that strives to meet the needs of the learners in our individual schools and communities. It is much more an ideology than it is a specific methodology…there is no prescribed set of rules to follow or model to fit…Practitioners of the various flipped classroom models are constantly tweaking, changing, rejecting, adding to, and generally trying to improve the model through direct experience with how effective it is for kids." 

- from the blog post "How do I get my students to prepare before coming to a flipped class?"
What are you hoping to see in your students learning as you conduct the project?

My Central Idea (or Enduring Understanding for those who use the Understanding by Design a.k.a. UbD framework) is: Musicians practice and reflect to improve their skills for a successful performance. THAT is what I hope to see in my students as we conduct this project. I want them to experience the practice and discipline necessary to have a successful performance. I can already predict that this unit will be longer than expected due to the time constraints – I only see them once a week – and (fingers crossed), the students will want more time in order to have a good product to share.

In theory I’ve got some basic ideas, but in practice is a different story. The project attempts to blend what I’ve learned in our previous courses – geeking out from Course 1, design principles in Course 3 and flipped classroom in Course 4.  I’m ecstatic to get started, and I hope that moving forward, this project will positively impact not only my teaching practice, but also my budding musicians.

Catch you on the flip side! (See what I did there?)

Bop it! Twist it! Shake it! FLIP IT! (Course 4 Final Project)

Image via Pexels (Teono123 No)
Introduction

Upon hearing that I am including upper elementary to my teaching schedule next year, I immediately started thinking about the possibility of creating a unit of inquiry that incorporates elements from courses one through four. This unit combines the concepts of “Geeking Out” from Course 1, digital citizenship from Course 2, design principles (my fav!) from Course 3 and flipped classroom (as evidenced by the unit title) from Course 4.

Short story…

One of my students was injured during recess. He was rushed to the hospital for a broken arm and was house bound for quite sometime. His fellow classmates showed their concern by helping to finish his art work and sending “Get Well” notes with his older brother. One student came up and said, “Miss! He is absent for our xylophone songs! How will he learn the music while he’s at home?!”  Hmm. . . if only there was a way to show and teach him the songs that we’re learning. . .

Task: Students will create a teaching and learning video instructing their peers (and/or others) how to play (insert music title) on a variety of instruments. They will demonstrate their knowledge of the music by performing and modeling how the music should be played. They will use (tech tbd) to create their videos and upload it to Google Classroom for reflection, feedback and assessment. As a result, we will have a collection of teaching and learning videos to share with the school community.
Concerns

The assignment states, ” What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?” Well, I’m not redesigning it. I’m designing it from the ground up. I won’t have any prior knowledge or experience with this unit, but I am confident that I, along with support from my IT team, can plan and execute this project!

Shift in pedagogy

With this unit, it will be interesting to, again, let go of the reigns and have the students lead the unit and design their own teaching and learning videos. I am hoping that the students can not only create an end product that they are proud of, but also reflect upon the process of creating and sharing music with others.

Skills and attitudes

The Transdisciplinary Skills focused on this unit are:

Communication Skills – listening, speaking, viewing, presenting and nonverbal communication

Thinking Skills – acquisition of knowledge by gaining specific facts, ideas and vocabulary; analysis by taking apart their knowledge, separating into component parts, seeking relationships

Self-Management Skills – gross motor skills, fine motor skills, organization skills, and time management skills

The attitudes focused on this unit are:

Commitment demonstrating perseverance through the duration of the unit of inquiry and following through with end goals

Creativity – expression of unique ideas as evidenced by their teaching and learning video

Confessions of a purist

I am a purist when it comes to music education. Let me explain. There are numerous studies of the benefits of music education such as how music lessons make children smarter, or how playing an instrument benefits the brain, etc. So, through my Orff and Kodaly training, that is the approach I take in my lessons. We create music through our voices, our bodies and our instruments. How, then, does technology play a role?

Confession time:

Hi, my name is Kehri, and I need help authentically integrating technology in my elementary music classes. 

I prefaced my approach to teaching music – it is created through our bodies, our voices and our instruments. I believe that developmentally it starts there. Bruner thinks so too. Since this is not a psychology blog, you can read more about him here. The Orff approach (which is the basis of my teaching practice) allows students to create, experience, improvise music in, again, the most organic way which through our bodies, voices and instruments. Where is the research study that suggests that music making VIA TECHNOLOGY also has its benefits? I suppose one could argue that a pencil and paper is technology; but, you all know what I mean. Perhaps I just haven’t found THE THING that combines the best of both worlds.

When I taught MYP, I gave myself a pat on the back for “integrating” technology in music class by using Google Classroom. We would access our classroom with 1:1 Chromebooks and students uploaded their video recordings. These videos were of the students performing on instruments. Google classroom gave us a platform for submitting  assignments and providing feedback and reflection. After discovering the SAMR technology integration framework by Dr. Ruben Puentudura, much of what we were doing was only enhancing and not transforming the lesson. Ugh. I really thought we were making strides. Back to square one.

What am I missing? Perhaps I haven’t scoured the latest apps or programs. As far as I know, there are apps that offer fun games with a “learning element”. Rhythm Cat is a game that reviews and challenges you how to read music notation. GarageBand is an app that allows students to create an excerpt, a short music sample, that combines loops or prerecorded sequences.  It has many more uses, but for now I’ll stick with creating excerpts. But shouldn’t the students KNOW how to create those loops or sequences acoustically? And for those who say that students can compose, there is a web browser based app called Noteflight that does just that. You’re correct. But then again, insert pencil-paper here. Maybe I’m just old school and need to get with the program. Program. See what I did there?

I feel like I’m stuck in the enhancement phase. I’d like to get to the transformation phase. But I just don’t know HOW.

I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a computer, asking all of you, to help her with technology integration in an elementary music setting. 

Open to ALL suggestions.