Feb 22, 2015: Music

To Work Together Play Together, Overcome

Fourth Graders are working hard every time we meet to be able to finish all the creative tasks that will come together to tell the story of "To Be a Drum."  A couple groups are beginning to work together consistently with cooperative musical flow, using their positive collaboration skills and Learner Profile traits.

Stay Tuned - Music Class performances!  
We aren't finished polishing it yet, but over the next couple class meetings I think we will be ready to perform it for you, proud parents!  I will let you know what day each ABC group will perform their integrated performance in the Music room - I hope you can come in!

Here are a few visual examples of how we are collecting ideas for telling the story:
Interlocking Rhythms & Improvised Melodies - Sample screenshot of our sketches for an integrated presentation of "To Be a Drum."

Recorder note reading (1st, 2nd endings, new notes - F# & G')
What role did music (Fife & Drums) play a part in wars?  We adapted this revolutionary war tune to be played on our soprano recorders and a snare drum.

Research about African American inventors informed later creative movement invention representations.

Creative Movement solutions to represent a moving and sounding invention inspired by this student sentence: "Inventing is like a bucket brigade, people in line pass to the person in front of the line and puts out the fire, but he's the only one who gets the credit, but everybody helps." - Karuna & Marina
Information and poetic phrases based on student library research about slaves who used quilting as a way of communicating.


Grace M. gave a report about her research on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, "I Have a Dream."  Using no written notes, she recited a few of the lines that resonated with her the most.  The screenshot above became the foundation for the class's rhythmic speech ostinato.   


    All of the above creative tasks and more will become musical vignettes within the whole piece.   I can't wait!
    The Art, Music, and PE specialists are rethinking our assessment structure a bit, in an effort to make the process more useful for the students.  If students are involved in their own assessment, they have a way to apply an Action Cycle (Reflect, Choose, Act) to their future steps in their learning.  
    In Music the students reflected on 5 main components of their work: Positive Contributions, Showing Interest, Musical Skills, Movement Skills, and Ensemble Skills.  For each of these areas, they reflected carefully about their work recently, and spent some time identifying their own next steps to improving.
    "It's hard, but maybe I'm still not trying enough." = Additional Growth Needed
    "Practicing it feels awkward, but I'm getting the hang of it!" = Developing
    "I can do this!  Consistently!" = Meeting
    "I don't have to think about it.  Now it comes naturally." = Exceeding
    With a few exceptions, the students self-assessments generally reflect my own observations.  Bear in mind that high-performing students in a particular area often hold themselves to a higher standard, and might assess themselves lower than I would, and that under-performing students sometimes might not recognize what they are not achieving yet. 
    Their next steps are all a little different, guided by themselves as independent learners.  Of course eventually the goals will be met, or not met, but we can consider this work a practice that is never complete.

Looking ahead: 
March 2nd
Oregon Symphony Young People's Concert
"The Seven Wonders of Oregon"

Upcoming Unit in 4th Grade Music:
Jazz & Democracy- freedom within a governing structure.

-Peter Musselman, Music Specialist