In Part 2, we looked at the details such as disassembling the standards, creating objectives, and sorting those standards/objectives by concepts to create units.
Now, we are going to take that knowledge and place it in the big picture.
Sketching the year gives you the ability to gain as much foresight as possible for the upcoming school year. It is a lot easier to plan when you know where you’re going.
First, I look at the district calendar. Above is this year’s.
Then, I date each column (in an spreadsheet) with the weeks of the school year noting events such as holidays, staff development, early releases. From there, I plot where the performances can go because you don’t want to schedule a performance the day of a state assessment or immediately after a holiday. You also want to make sure that your performances have plenty of time for preparation. These are the first units that I plot of the “map” and align as many of the standards as can be mastered within the performance unit. Hint: it’s usually the expression objectives that get covered. Also, make sure you plan your performances so you don’t get yourself into trouble during the year.
Since you’ve already made objectives from the standards, you can map out how long concepts and units will need to be for mastery realizing that there is never enough time to get there for every single concept and unit.
Some answers about some pieces in the above slide:
–BOY is code for Beginning of the Year which is used for rules and procedures (very important) and reviewing concepts from the previous year). You’ll notice that 5th grade’s BOY unit is much smaller than 3rd, 4th, and 6th. That is because of the PBL unit that is next. 5th grade will review deeper after the PBL unit.
–Speaking of, PBL stands for Project Based Learning. Every teacher in the district is supposed to do at least one project a year. My fifth graders did the Science of Sound which I’ll cover in another blog post.
After plotting BOY units and performances, the idea is to sequence the remaining units to maximize your time and build upon skills through the year. In 1st grade and up, I start with notation (rhythmic then melodic then both) because I think it is of great importance but there are other music teachers and scholars who disagree. That’s okay with me. You do what you want to do and what is best for your students and situation. Kindergarten doesn’t even start reading notation until way into the second semester (although they hear the songs and sounds, we don’t put words and concepts to them). Pre-k doesn’t read notation at all because we focus on experiencing and experimenting with music. I have a lot of leeway with pre-k because the standards for pre-k are unnecessarily vague.
Aligning units, as much as you can, will help with planning and preparing…..especially if you are one who changes out bulletin boards (Psst! A secret: I don’t). It does help with the “musical mindset” if you align your units somewhat.
Finally, feel free to make adjustments as needed. Nothing is set in stone……nothing……Any part of this process can be amended if you get into it and decide you want to change something….anything…..
Are you information overload yet? Are you Ready for Part 4? See you then!