Planning our first unit.
Last week Rachel (the 2nd grade teacher I get to work with) and I spent a couple hours planning our first unit. Rachel had mentioned during the CITA workshop how she might like to have some activity at the start of the school year to bring the students together as a class. I mentioned a motion activity that I thought we could modify from a Dalcroze Eurythmics class I took several years ago.
I sketched out a sequence of activities I thought might work before we met. When we got together Rachel was able to help me understand what was going to be feasible within the contexts of time we have and abilities of our second graders. I revised the lesson plan based on her input and also looked up the Music and Language education standards and made a small change in the lesson to incorporate one additional language standard. Rachel and I also spent some time talking about other units we might created throughout the year, scheduling, buying some instruments for her class, and some books and other reading activities we are interested in doing.
This week I spent my prep time formally typed up the lesson and looked up the Arts Standards that it would fit. I was surprised to learn that the National Music Standards were rewritten in 2014. I originally learned the 1994 Arts Standards when I was a Music Ed major at UWEC, and had recently taught these same standards to my own Music Ed students at Bemidji State just a few years ago. This was my first experience with the new Music Standards from 2014, so it took a while for me to navigate! My first impression is that the basic content is still the same, but the format has been drastically revised so it took a while to find what I was looking for.
It was also interesting to read the Language standards. I was completely unfamiliar with those, but found that the lesson we created pretty easily met 2 of the language standards with only a small amount of modification. (Basically using a computer to publish our song lyrics in the classroom.) The lesson plan Rachel and I came up with can be seen here.
Looking forward to implementing our lesson and seeing how it evolves when 20 second graders enter into the equation! I was also excited to get a hold of a keyboard on loan for Rachel's classroom for this year. Also we have our first Teaching Artist meeting Friday, so I'm looking forward to that as well.
Last week I attended the CITA workshop, a three day conference held at the Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie. All of the Teaching Artists, Teachers, and Executive board members participated in the three day workshop.
I had a really great and exhausting three days. It was wonderful to see the talents of my fellow teaching artists, as well as meet with all the enthusiastic teachers who we will be working with this year. We had fantastic guest teaching artists Aaron and Lisa visit from Kansas City and their ideas and training proved to be very valuable to me and my idea generation for arts integration. I also got a few hours of planning time with my co-teacher Rachel K! She is going to be a blast to work with.
Rachel and I met yesterday and knocked out the first unit plan that will start the second week of school. We'll be teaching the kids a motion activity and writing a song together that Rachel plans to use to start each day and bring the class together as a community. I'm interested to see how our plan evolves once we get a bunch of 2nd graders involved in the process. I start teaching with Rachel in mid-September so I'll post an update of that process then!
Earlier this summer, the AIM Teaching Artists got together and participated in an online Arts Integration Conference. We watched several teaching artists present on how they integrate arts into the classroom. I watched some additional sessions last week.
Overall I thought the conference and sessions were time well spent. The sessions I watched were for integrating music, fine art, and dance into core classroom subjects. In some ways, seeing how arts other than my own specialty (music) were incorporated let me see the process from a different perspective. I didn't anticipate that these sessions would be as relevant to me as they turned out to be. In some ways, seeing the incorporation of dance and fine art from an outside perspective informed the process of arts integration as a whole for me. I found the session focused on integrating fine art in math to be particularly informative.
The most interesting music session I watched combined music and math in a session called Moving through Math. I though the concept was interesting though I am a little skeptical of how some of the ideas really related to study of math. It seemed a bit abstract to me, but perhaps that abstractness is he point. In any case, it got me thinking about trying to make those kind of connections in the math curriculum.
Overall, the conference was interesting and several of the sessions were very informative. I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend and would do so again if new sessions became available.
Dr. Erika Svanoe
Teaching Artist for Arts Integration Menomonie.