This is Part 2: The Nitty Gritty Details and that is exactly what we’re going to dive into. Note: this is the first details section.
A couple years ago, I had the privilege to serve on the Review Panel for Instructional Materials for the new TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) that came into effect last year (2015). On the first day of the panel, we were trained in how to review the submitted materials. Part of this training included identifying the “breakouts” within each standard as seen below.
Luckily, we didn’t have to do all the work ourselves. It was done for us and I have the breakouts for four of the grades here so you don’t have to do all that work either.
Disassembling the standards is necessary to really understand everything the standard is addressing. It is important to look at the words that normally wouldn’t catch your attention: and, or, including, may, etc.
After you disassemble the standards, you can sort the breakouts by concept: pitch, harmony, beat/rhythm, composing/creating, form, expression (tempo, dynamics, articulation), timbre (vocal and instrumental), creative expression, historical/cultural/societal relevance. These are my concepts but you don’t have to use those specifically.
The concepts become your units. Of course, some concepts are going to be interwoven throughout every unit during the school year (creative expression, historical/cultural/societal relevance) and some will be used as a stepping stone for others.
My scope for all grades is available here if you are interested. Again, these are Texas standards but you’ll get the idea even you can’t use it. Also, feel free to alter it to serve your needs.
The next step is to write the objectives for each unit which can be done simply by adding the words “Students will” or “I can” to each breakout.
For example: Identify beat using iconic representation
Students will identify beat using iconic representation.
I can identify beat using iconic representation.
Each place I’ve taught has different expectations for how teachers write their students’ objectives out. Currently, mine does not care but I do it anyway for my own knowledge of the goal of the lesson. I’ll also (try to keep up with) writ(ing) it on the board for students to read and know what our learning will be focused on.
All of the objectives put together, sorted by concept, creates what I like to call a Curriculum Outline because I can show this a parent or administrator and they have (somewhat of) an idea of what is going on in my classroom.
Have you ever been in this situation:
It is Open House or Meet the Teacher and you have a gaggle of parents and students coming into your classroom. Some you’ve met before and some are brand new and asks a version of this question: What is my child going to learn in music this year?
It seems so simple but it isn’t. There is so much that goes on within each year of instruction and I can’t keep it all in my head. I can’t just recall it out of thin air. I can give a vague answer but it is better to be able to point the parent to where they can find the information or hand them a printed copy if available.
I’ve presented this document at the grade level orientations and had copies to hand out. I have them on my school webpage for parents to check out if they are perusing the school site. Of course, if they know nothing about music at all, it will probably seem like nonsense. It’s okay, it will be a very organized and educational blob of nonsense. 😉
What comes next? You might be asking. Well, stay tuned for Part 3!