This was the first week of school for Rachel and our 2nd graders. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting the students yet, but Rachel tells me that we have a great group and she is really excited about the school year.
I'm not scheduled to be in the classroom until Sept. 15 and since our first unit plan is in good shape, I've been using my prep time to think about the bigger picture and search for various arts integration projects, techniques, concepts and activities. I have found some really interesting games and projects, like Drums Alive and various books on integrating music into core subjects.
The focus of this grant is for the teaching artist to co-teach with the classroom teacher and ultimately teach the teacher how to integrate our art from into the classroom. Rachel is already a very accomplished musician. She's played clarinet, sings, and I think plays the piano. In fact, I think that at least some of the arts integration activities I have found online, she could already implement into her classroom without assistance from me. I think my challenge will be to create (really co-create) meaningful arts integrated projects and units that truly help the students grasp the concepts or assist in learning material, especially material that Rachel marks as needing additional reinforcement. These projects need to be teachable by Rachel in the future, or I'll need to teach her the missing steps in the process so that she can reuse them on her own, or I'll need to find a technical work-around so that she is able to use the project in the future on her own. (For example, finding sound samples as opposed to playing music live on a piano.) At this point in the year, my impression is that meaningful unit creation is going to be the challenge, and teaching Rachel to implement the lessons in the lessons in the future will really be the easy part. In fact, thinking about this as I write it, I'm pretty certain I will learn as much or more from Rachel about teaching 2nd graders as she will from me about integrating music into the classroom. We shall see! I'm excited to get into the classroom soon!