elementary curriculum suggestions
July 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm #9422
After 11 years of teaching jr/sr high school, I will be teaching elementary music once a week next year. While I have tons of resources collected, I’m wondering where to start with organizing a curriculum. I don’t want to use a textbook-based curriculum, but I don’t think I need to reinvent the wheel by writing it myself either. I believe I will have at least occasional access to a smartboard, but don’t currently have the budget or training for orff instruments. I have some money available for curricular materials, however. Suggestions?July 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm #9437
For starters I would make large generic goals for each grade. You’ll probably have to revise them once you get to know the students, but having a general idea of what skills you want each grade to have really helps pace your classes. Paul K. Weller has a great website and uploads his curriculum and songs. I’ve used his outline style and concept map a lot and the song directory is really helpful.July 12, 2012 at 11:36 am #9463
You might look at John Feierabend’s stuff on the gia website. The main books are affordable and very adaptable for any situation. First Steps for starting then Conversational Solfege for teaching curriculum.July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am #9837
I agree with amcastle, start with goals – maybe a couple for each marking period – then figure out activities. One of the most popular ways to plan lessons and units is called Backwards Design, which involves starting with the end product – what you want the kids to be able to do – then working backwards with assessments and age-appropriate activities. Doesn’t work for everyone, of course. Make sure that you use a variety of activities: movement, listening, singing, rhythm, responding in various forms. Human beings need variety to stay focused and interested (which could be why I have trouble studying for more than an hour!!). With PreK – Grade 1 I change activities at least every ten minutes. Grade 2 -5 every 15 minutes. We sing, add body percussion, then get up and dance for a few minutes, play a game, then do a quick cool-down activity.
Instruments: Recycle! Raid your recycle bin and ask colleagues to bring you items: oatmeal containers, juice bottles, salt containers, etc. are great drums!!! I used this in my previous school where we did not have a budget for the Music Department. Kids were confused at first, but excited that I was recycling!! Put uncooked rice inside one of these objects and you have a shaker / maraca!! Let the kids come up with ideas. You can also make your own rain sticks with rice, paper towel tubes, wax paper and tape. (I taught Arts and Crafts during summers years ago – this was a favorite activity. I started off by letting kids draw a picture. We wrapped this over the tape once the assembly was done.)
Ask your colleagues for general unit topics they are doing and try to build off these. Ex: If they are studying the solar system, have the kids listen critically to Holst’s “The Planets”. Discuss which instruments make which sounds and effects. Print out pictures of instruments and play an instrument ID game: make teams. The captain holds up the picture when the group agrees that they hear that instrument. Admins LOVE it when you collaborate with other teachers and it shows the kids that you are unified. And naturally it enriches the learning.
For the money, Activate! Magazine from Lorenz Corporation is a great value. About $65 a year: comes iwth a CD which has audio recordings of most songs and pieces in the issue, some with accomp track, data files of documents both in the issue and not printed in the issue; lesson plans for most activities. For grades PreK-6.July 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm #10318
Check out the resource: Game Plan – the are wonderful and the kids love them. Also the series Singing Games that Children Love.
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