Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What To Do With The Rambunctious Music Class This Last Week...

I have THAT class...

You know the one that has more than its share of kids who check out WAAAAAY too early.  I think they were done three or four months ago.  As a teacher, you know that if you lighten up, there will be problems.

It's the end of the year here, students really aren't that motivated, unless it is some project of their creation.  The problem with their projects is they can end up involving the Dean of Students.  What should I do with them?

Every once in a while I have a spasm of lucidity.  Make a project theirs.

It is time for a creative project.  Our music text has a musical in it.  Instead of skipping it because we ran out of time, we are in the process of turning it into a video.  There will be several versions of it, because I have 4 different teams working on the project.

This project needed some lead time to set up.  We watched some musicals.  We studied the characters.  Historically, the music we had an interesting cast to study.  When asked "why?"  I pointed out the more you know about the topic the better story you can tell.  We learned to sing the parts.

We split into two teams.  We planned and did story boards.  We won't have a lot of time to shoot and edit, so planning is key!  When I saw a solid plan,  I handed out the cameras.

My students are problem solving.  It is surprising how many choices you can make on an artistic endeavor.  I think these students get that now. We'll see how they turn out.  Right now, I am hoping they will finish!  There is a lot of discussion on how the musical should look.  There have been a lot of reshoots, just to get it right.

I get materials, observe the groups and stay out of the way.  I tell them it works like Donald Trump's TV show, if you are helpful and pitching in, you will hear good words from me.

I am seeing some of their best work of the year right now.  At a time of year when most other teachers are complaining about their attitudes and laziness I have busy and productive students.  Amazing.


GML4 said...

Awesome project Roger! I HAD to teach a 7th grade general music class one year. The class was a mix of half band students who I was familiar with and the other half not band students. About half way through the year, I had the class write an Opera. They chose the story, wrote the songs and lyrics, then we casted the parts, rehearsed, and finally performed it in front of most of the school (this was a school in a small community). It was a LOT of fun, and I'm pretty sure the kids enjoyed it to. Great work!

Keith Ozsvath - @band_techie said...

Brilliant Roger!

Mark Waxler said...

You've given me some ideas for next year as I plan for my band classes. Maybe I could free them up to improv their own music in small groups. Hmmmmm!!