There are now just three weeks left in my first summer vacation as a full-time teacher. While the break has been a definite pleasure, I’m looking forward to getting back into my classroom and seeing my students again. The break has given me a chance to step back and evaluate last year’s work, and set some goals for the upcoming school year.
I’m tremendously excited to get back to work and start playing with the new interactive white board (IWB) that’s being set up in my room. At the end of the last school year, we did a group composition project. But, without the benefit of an IWB, progress were slow and the kids could not see the piece develop note-by-note. This year, we’ll be able to do the project with Sibelius and the IWB, which should help keep the kids more involved every step of the way.
The IWB also offers new possibilities for teaching within the traditional band class model. Have a new piece and people are struggling with the melody? Put it up on the IWB and have the whole class learn the melody together. Ditto for bass lines, tricky rhythms, anything. This might be a tad idealistic, but I hope to be able to give the class a better understanding of whole pieces of music, rather than just their individual parts.
I also have aims to work a lot more creativity into the curriculum in the coming year. We did little improvisation games last year in every class, based on Music Learning Theory, and Learning Sequence Activities. We will be expanding on those this year, and adding to the composition component as well.
Lastly, for the two and a half week gap at the end of the year between our final concert and the last day of school, my plan is to get the students performing some chamber music. We experimented last year with a couple of groups, a flute choir and a woodwind trio. The kids gave a bunch of positive feedback, so the tentative plan is to devote a day every week or two to working on chamber music, and using the last two weeks as prep for a small chamber music performance. I’ll be posting updates on this project throughout the year.
What are you looking forward to during the next school year? What goals have you set for yourself and your classroom?