7th grade general-help!
January 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm #19144
I am a first year teacher with three 7th grade general music classes that meet on a three day rotation for the entire year. I have no curriculum to go off of and no student teaching experience in general music above 4th grade. I need ideas for what to do with these kids! Any resources or ideas you may have are greatly appreciated! Thanks!January 29, 2013 at 12:17 am #19153
I student taught a 7th Grade general music class and have taught 7th Grade choir. In my student teaching experience I did a unit on guitar. I don’t know if you have guitars available but the kids will definitely enjoy it. You just need to make sure you walk them through every step of how to take care of the guitar (i.e. how to carry the case, how to open the case, etc.). My supervising teacher (during my student teaching) divided the semester into two sections. The first half of the semester was guitar and second half of the semester was keyboard. In the following semester, she split the semester into a choir section and a general music section which including using a computer program (I think it was called Meastro or something, I can’t remember) to learn note names and rhythms. It also inlcuded a music heritiage project requiring students to research their heritage and find music associated with it. They would then present it to the rest of the class.
Depending on your resources and equipment, you might be able to do something with GarageBand, the app from Apple. I think 7th graders would pick up on it very quickly and they could play with it on their own. You can check out a post of mine on GarageBand for more info: http://musiced21.blogspot.com/
I hope some of this is of help. Good luck!January 29, 2013 at 9:31 am #19160
Garage Band is an awesome idea. I use it with my elementary kids but older kids will be able to develop something much more complete.
You can do an extended unit of music through the decades. Take a few classes for each decade and show popular music, musicians, culture, dances! I did 70s, 80s, 90s, with my 8th graders and they loved Saturday Night Fever clips (carefully selected!) as well as Michael Jackson dances. We got to 90s rap with Will Smith and I had them write their own raps (again, carefully selected topics) to a basic beat. If you have a long class period, you can use Music Through the Decades as a reoccuring activity for half the class and focus on something else otherwise.
I also remember doing a lot of listening in general music class in middle school. Listening with intention though. We had to fill in worksheets about timbres we heard, style, tempo, time signature…It was a great way for to teach the concepts and keep listening to music. The music selections went through themes also: classical, baroque, broadway, popular, Beetles, etc.January 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm #19200
I observed a 6th grade general music class last semester and the teacher did many activities with them. If you have access to congas, hand drums, shakers, bells, or any other percussion instrument, the teacher I observed did numerous drum circles. She would create rhythms for each instrument and layer them in. She would usually have 4 or 5 different instruments and different rhythms going at the same time. She did not introduce all the rhythms at once if they were difficult for the children.
Every Wednesday, the same teacher would have “World Music Wednesday” where the students would learn about different cultures and their music. They would listen to samples of the music and talk about what they liked and didn’t like.
She also would have the students play guitar and recorded. When they played guitar they sang songs a lot with the chords they were playing. They learned 3 chords throughout the 9 weeks and learned countless songs to go with those chords. For recorder they did this one exercise where they were to create an improvisation during one of the songs. It was very interesting to listen to each of their creations. When she would have the students play these instruments she often had them play it all together and then asked if the students wanted to play it as a solo or small groups and allowed that for a few minutes before moving on the the next song.
These are just some ideas I got from observing her class. I hope it helps.
Kent State University
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