Using standards in every day planning

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    Good morning-

    I have been reading up on the new standards. I have watched the videos, and read through the various portions of each standard. I would like to start incorporating the standards into my lesson planning (ie: listing which parts of which standards I am hitting on a given day) but I am having trouble seeing how to fit in many of the activities that are happening in the fall of an elementary band teacher….

    I see my kids in small (well…) groups for between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the grade. I see different students every day. Obviously for the first lessons we are focusing on very basic skills – things like instrument set-up, sound production, reed placement, buzzing, hand position, etc. And we are working on one or two examples from their method book. Can you give me an idea of what this would look like when I add the nat’l standards into my planbook? Because we are not really composing, or reflecting, or analyzing, or interpreting… We are really just trying to make a sound, or read two or three notes.

    I am excited about the standards and I would like to be using the language of the standards regularly… I guess I’m just not sure how to get started, or how to accurately use them in the elementary band setting. I have been teaching elementary band for 18 years. I am currently using an online planbook that allows for easy placement of the standards right into my book, I just want to be sure that I am using them correctly, and as the writers intended them.

    I appreciate any insight you can provide!



    The skills that we have all been teaching for — at least, for generations — don’t go away under the Core Standards. Rather, they are still the building blocks that we use to help students achieve the overall goal of “music literacy” through the processes of Creating, Performing, and Responding. So the only thing that might change in this practice is thinking through how the knowledge and skills that you impart in the first lessons of the year will support the enduring understandings of the standards. How will those two or three notes lead to the ability to perform — or even improvise — a piece by the end of the period? How can the knowledge of instrument set-up lead to a better understanding of the context of the music? Only you, as an expert educator who knows the needs of the students in your class, can adequately answer this. I’d suggest that you look at some of the draft exemplars of knowledge and skills tracking to the stnadards listed at You’ll notice that there are a number of different approaches. That’s because music teachers are so creative!

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