Microteach lesson written by Joel Price, September,
I included revisions and thoughts in hopes of showing my ongoing process of
updating usefulness and applicability
of the lesson.
This lesson is designed for my fourth grade classroom at Friends Select
School. I have thirteen students in my classroom. Students really seem to
like musical activities, whether it be singing in the classroom or
participating in music class. There are a couple problems I would like to
consider in my class, namely the "calling out" problem--students not
waiting until called before speaking. The other problem is an exclusion
problem where one or two students are hassled by a few others about talking
all the time or about their ideas, e.g. "Harriet, that's so dumb!"
Key Design Questions:
1. The idea of using music in
the classroom as a teaching device
should be given much more credit -to all students, it is worthy and
requiring of understanding. Music can be a
powerful learning device for many students; it is used way
too infrequently in most if not all classrooms.
2. Evidence of understanding will be ascertained by the level of
involvement of students in the activity.
It should be pretty apparent if students are participating--it is a
3. Learning experiences in this activity include memory enhancement, a
chance for students to bring in
life to the classroom, and increased group cooperation.
Given a well-known song, the students will all participate in and react
accordingly to musical cues which they will decide during the lesson.
Facets of Understanding:
This lesson aims to involve Facet 2:
Interpretation as students explain how
a certain musical cue pertains to a certain
reaction, Facet 3: Application as students
gain interest in and permeation of music in
their daily lives and perhaps how it can be
used in a transformed state in their writing,
and Facet 4: Perspective--students may gain perspective
on what makes catchy music and apply it to what makes gripping
literature; the extension from music to other areas of life.
-a musical instrument
-a space where all students can gather, preferably in a circle
First, I will gather the group together in a circle. The base song
will be announced and played for the students
once (to familiarize students with what we will be building from). After
I will explain that there is a "secret language" game that we will
play using the music (this will hopefully excite the students by the
prospect of designing and using a language).
There will be several riffs of music that I may play at any given time
while playing the song through after which
the students will respond (all together) with a certain reaction (this
will allow everyone to participate and will
encourage those who are usually shy to participate as well). Example:
when the Simpsons riff is played, everyone
shouts "Doh!" in Homer-esque style.
We gradually build on to the language making it more and more difficult.
After I have set
out a few riffs to watch for and the class has
practiced them, the students will be given a chance to come up with their
own additions to
the "secret language" (this will allow students to work aspects of their
into the classroom and to share with other students if they are
comfortable doing so). A few
follow-up lessons might be to have students make a written language of
their own or to discuss
how the musical/listening activity was harder or easier than learning on
paper. Students might
discuss ways they thought the musical activity helped them in written
work. They might also
brainstorm ways to use more music in activities at school, such as adding
music to plays, reading
aloud with music fitting the work, and so on.
I would like to know whether this would truly interest students
as well as glean more ideas on how to use music effectively in the curriculum.
I wonder if I will be able to effectively pull off a lesson like this and
actually have it
be cohesive and apply to other academic subjects.
1. Is what I'm doing fun? Would it be fun for fourth graders?
2. Does it effectively use music and language together in a lesson?
3. Do you think meaningful learning can take place as a result of this
4. Will it lead to meaningful connections in the childrens' minds
--will it help them to broaden their perspectives of learning?
-easel with chart paper to write down what each riff means
(for the first few riffs, then the activity will become a memory game)
I'm not sure my lesson connected to other parts of the curriculum as it
could have. Here are some ways I have
thought of to change the lesson in order to be a more connected and
integrated piece of the curriculum. Once we stop writing down our
new additions to the "language," students start to create
dictionaries of musical terms, adding to the list as we create more language.
We can talk about how dictionaries are organized
and how to define terms in a dictionary.
We can work on the writing process;
drafting, editing, updating, adding, cutting, etc.
in creating the ongoing dictionary.
Another way we could do it is to create a shortcut
code of sorts in order to remind ourselves of the
musical cues. By doing this, students learn by trying different ways how
to keep notes in a quick and efficient manner.
We could use the ongoing music activity as a way of teaching tallying
and graphing in math; students could learn
keep a tally and transfer data into graph form and we could see which
musical hints were most used and which were least used.
We could then extend our graphing knowledge into science and see
how graphs we've
made are similar and different from one another.
I feel confident that the Microteach lesson itself would be interesting for
students and engaging. I think that the
modifications in future plans for this lesson that I
have made will tie together other subjects more
thoroughly and will make the aforementioned lesson more meaningful.
Back to the
music and education page.