Monday, November 5, 2018

Students as Teachers- Learning through Leadership in the Music Room

So, the other day I had a student say he could teach the class. He was kind of being a smart-aleck but I decided it might be fun to let him try.  This class was already ahead of the others because they come on days that we don't have off very often so I told him he could teach the following day.  We laid down some ground rules, such as the lesson had to be musical, and allowed him to plan.

How did it go?  Well, he kind of repeated my lesson from the previous day (I see my kids 2x a week for 30 min each) BUT students were still singing and practicing rhythms.  They were having fun.  The best part- it was AMAZING for building relationships with my students.  I sat with the class and only stepped in as Teacher when I felt it was necessary and helped with writing things on the board. Other than that- Mr. C led the class. They all loved it and are now asking when they can be the teacher. I think it may be an experience some of them- and especially Mr. C- will remember for a while.

While, I can't have a different student teach every class- you know, with all the content and standards I need to get through in my short time with kids, this experience got me thinking of how I could have students be the teacher more in my room.  How can they help other classmates learn?  It might not be a whole lesson, but there are definitely ways to allow your students to lead each other and learn together (aside from the usual class jobs, etc).  Some of my ideas are below.

Students lead warm-ups or solfege/ rhythm games that I have already introduced.
Once students are solid on a game, it is so easy to have them be the leader.  Students can lead rhythm tic-tac-toe, human piano, solfege or rhythm echos and so much more.  You can also have students conducting, starting off songs, and leading/ explaining instrument parts! Do you see an expert? Have them share!

Students make a game or teach a favorite song.  Not just the words, but the concepts. For this, students can take a song they already know and think of a fun way to teach it that emphasizes a music concept- whether it be solfege, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, or anything else. As music teachers, we are always doing this- why not let the kids try as well!

Group Projects with a presentation at the end.  Flipgrid?* Lead a lesson? Video for a substitute?  Group projects are a great way to allow students to become the expert on a topic and share with their class.  I love having students research and then teach- especially with families of the orchestra, genres of music, and broad musical concepts like Dynamics or Tempo. Students can present directly OR make videos.  I love having students make videos because they can be used in so many ways. Once the videos are made they can be presented to their class, kids can watch at home, OR videos can be saved as a great sub-plan where the sub plays the video and then the groups dive deeper with their class, thinking of an activity to practice what ever topic was presented on.

Fourth grade is currently working on a project where they choose a big musical concept (dynamics, tempo, mood) and make a "music  minute" video a la Megs Music Room on youtube and then also have to come up with an activity to help reinforce the information learned in the video they made. They may make a video on Tempo (including accelerando) and then make up a routine to In the Hall of the Mountain King.  Or make a video on how to remember lines and spaces on the staff, and then have their class do staff relays to review. They are LOVING it. 

PS. If you haven't watched any Megs Music Room videos- do it! They are great!

Student teachers for younger grades. Your students will LOVE coming into a younger grade and teaching a song or concept that they remember from the past.  See if they can come in at recess- or even (gasp!) miss a part of another subject to come in and teach a favorite song and game that goes with it.

Enjoy these ideas and let me know yours below!
*See more on FLIPGRID here

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