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Showing posts from September, 2012

Lesson Plan Template

Your lesson plan template is the form on which you write your plans for an individual lesson.  Loads of people just jot down their plans on a sheet of loose leaf paper, but I like using a template because it tightens up my practice, gives each lesson a solid grounding in a curriculum area, reminds me of essential questions, and is a document I keep and refer to if a parent, teacher, or administrator has a question about a lesson.

This template is the result of several that I've been given over the course of my studies.  I've tweeked it to my needs.   The red dotted line shows the change from using the footer to the main body of the word document.  It may be helpful when you create your own template.  I hope you find this helpful.

The red type is words that are not on the template but comments on why an element is present.

Lesson for Grade_________________ Essential Questions: How do we make music together?What is the history of music?What is good singing? How does my body …

Planning the Semester

Retrieval System
Making a retrieval system is part of every Kodaly level course.  I myself wrote one with over 300 songs from all over the world.  This was a complete waste of time as I ended up using the songs I was shown during that level work.  This year was the FIRST year that I actually sat down and wrote a retrieval system that I am actually using.  It's not until you really teach the Kodaly method that you understand why the retrieval system is so important.  It simply doesn't make any sense to write one before you have used one.  That is my major complaint about American Kodaly level courses.  In Hungary, they simply give you the Hungarian retrieval system.  This makes much more sense to me.  Fortunately, some level courses are offering that the retrieval system be done after level III as a separate project.  While expensive, this is more useful in the long term.

Reinventing the Wheel
Luckily, there are two great resources for a pre-written curriculum map/retrieval sy…

Setting Personal Teaching Goals

Every year I try to improve my practice.  Every year I meet with my administrator to discuss my professional goals for the year.  My personal goals for my teaching and my official professional goals are two different things.  Here's why.

School Improvement Plan

One of your official goals should mirror your school's improvement plan.  Every school has one, but it may be called "long-term planning" or something else in a private school.  School improvement plans are generally inspired by statistics generated from standardized testing.  As such, they generally involve regular classroom subjects, so your first official goal should involve collaboration with regular classroom teachers. 

Here's a link to the Durham, North Carolina Public School's improvement plan.  It's an official document signed by the high mucky mucks in the district.  I'm noticing some aspects of the plan that would be very good for a music teacher to concentrate on. 

1. Hispanic and econ…

Essential Questions

In September and October I'll be writing posts about planning lessons.  A well-planned lesson is a joy for both teacher and student.  Refining planning is part of every teacher's practice and one of the things I love most about the beginning of each new year.

Let's begin with the concept of essential questions.  Each link in this post will be to a different site that will help you wrap your head around the subject of essential questions.  When I worked in The Cambridge Public Schools, we rewrote the curriculum to include these essential questions.  This work was exhausting because the questions were so difficult to write.

What is an essential question? 

Essential questions are unanswerable in one lifetime, much less in one class period.  They are the eternal questions that keep us learning for a lifetime.  The questions don't have one answer, but have answers by the million that may change over time.

As you write your essential questions for the year, look at some quest…