Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I mentioned a neat way that my cooperating teacher, Mr. Spence is using music and techology to teach poetry in a March 13th post, but I had no idea how truly comprehensive this project would actually be. Because it has taken a considerable amount of time during my practicum, I wanted to take the time to write about all the hardwork that Mr. Spence and his students put into it.

The finished products are in, and now that I've been able to see the entire unit, I am truly AMAZED at the finished product. As a refresher, Mr. Spence is currently working on a project with his students that involves each of them writing their own song. Never in my life have I seen such an incredible lesson that covers such an expansive array of different learning styles. The theme that sparked this unit is poetry; my teacher puts emphasis on understanding rhyme, rhythm, etc.

The assignment basically states that children can work in groups or individually, pick a popular song or write their own, and create a song that rhymes or follows the rhyme scheme that they already have. Mr. Spence works with the students on the lyric and the tune, they sing and record the song, and he records ALL the instruments. The students then call a Class of 2006 NOW CD that combines all their classmates songs. The students then use Powerpoint to create a music video, incorporating pictures they take with a digital camera, images they googled, custom animation, and so many other neat graphics. It's a great way for students to learn a program like Powerpoint while enabling them to add a personal touch to an assignment.

The coolest thing of the whole project is the JAMMY music awards that concludes the unit. Parents are invited as students dress up like their favorite rock stars. Mr. Spence gets a video camera and prepares questions for the students prior to the meeting. Parents attend the event, and kids play their song, show their music videos, and vote for their favorite video. Many of these songs are played at their fifth grade classroom. Unfortunately, I had class during the awards, but I'm sure it will turn out great.

The reason I love this unit is because it enables students with a variety of different learning styles to use their talents. I also love it because it shows what great things technology can do; who would have thought music videos could have been possible in the classroom before Powerpoint? And the music equipment Mr. Spence has to record all the songs is truly amazing. The neatest thing of all is that the kids have the CD in which to remember the class for years to come. This is truly an INCREDIBLE assignment that is very work intensive for the teacher, but it shows in the end how much that hard work truly pays off!

4 Comments:

At 1:47 AM, Blogger Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

This is sensational! I want you to share it in class. This is called project-based instruction and truly is student centered. I am so pleased you are getting to see teaching at this level.

Sheryl
http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger Mab said...

This sounds really great! Did you by chance get the instructions he handed out to the students?

 
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