This might not interest you, but I need to share this publicly or I won't hold myself to it.
I'm always so excited by/inspired by what I see and hear at our October Music Convention, but it frustrates me a little that it occurs after the school year has begun, when I am short on time and energy. Today, I found inspiration in an article in this month's Teaching Music magazine (membership required), and I made a vow to start the year with a (probably) exhausting but definitely exciting plan. The article was the extra push I needed to go where I've wanted to go, but been too afraid of failing (and, honestly, too darn tired) to fully commit.
I've always done some sort of interest groupings with my kiddos--we all know that it's a tenet of best practice and I've seen terrific growth in the students' learning with these groups. This year, however, I'm going to break it down even further and move closer to the individualized learning plan(ILP). Now this is nothing new; districts have been talking about this for years. But, except for occasional special projects for students who specifically asked for more, I have leaned on small group work to save myself the extra planning, extra setup, extra, extra, extra everything this will most likely entail. To put it bluntly, I've been selfish, and it's just not giving my students the best I have to offer.
SO...I have resigned from almost all committees for the year, decided NOT to look at theatre auditions for this season (with one already-auditioned-for exception ;) ), and am going to start our first days of school by basically talk, talk, talking with my kiddos. The subject of the article was about creating a culturally diverse classroom. Here are parts of the article that got me started this morning: "If we're trying to provide equitable education, then we have to respond to the goal of music for all, and to redefine the paradigm...For starters, avoid limiting music literature studied...There's music production, music creation, African drumming ensembles, klezmer music ensembles...And we can try to make students better consumers of music." (Adria Hoffman)*.
*"Around the World in Six Class Periods," K. Powers, Teaching Music, Aug., 2012
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