Rachel and I continued our reading enrichment before taking some time off for Thanksgiving. One of the reasons we've integrated music into reading time is because at this point, there is no formal curriculum being used at the moment. (Apparently this will change soon from what I understand.) Anyway, because we've gained an awesome new student teacher Jessica B, Rachel wanted to use a more formalized curricular plan for reading to give Jessica that experience. I was game to try it and see how we could fit music into the daily prescribed activities.
I won't lie, this felt difficult. With the set activities each day there seemed to be less room for music in general and the connections to the arts were harder to draw because the lesson objectives sometimes didn't lend themselves to music integration. I think we managed to make it work, and I do think we ended up making some relevant connections. However, it didn't feel quite as relevant as some of the other work we've done where we had more freedom. However, from what I understand, this is the reality of what the teachers are dealing with. They have a master schedule that they need to stick to, with very little wiggle room.
I am certain that arts integration makes a difference in the classroom. Just yesterday Rachel told me that when she asked her students what they were thankful for, one of them said he was grateful that Dr. E came in and taught them music everyday. What was really cool is that this particular student is one that I didn't think I was going to reach when I first met him in September, so this really meant a lot. However, I think for it to really work effectively it has to be given some room to breathe. Broader concepts, broader connections, allowing connections to be made where it makes sense, etc... The larger issue I think is allowing teachers freedom in their classroom to do these things.
This is a battle we will only win with incremental progress and results showing what is possible. Hopefully with results showing positive outcomes a more flexible schedule will be considered by administration as we move forward.