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Introduction to the Series of Lessons

The students that are involved in my student teaching project are seven fifth
graders who have elected to stay in general music rather than being a part of
instrumental or orchestral music. The classroom is shared between students in the
unspecialized classrooms and also the special needs classroom. None of these
students needed to audition to be a part of the class. Whoever is in it made this decision
based on their musical interests or goals.
The level of the students music learning varies quite a bit, even their learning in
general and their ability levels have great contrast to each other. Not being their teacher
before this year made it fairly difficult to plan for this project. Without the knowledge of
their previous musical education, I was not able to make assumptions of what I could
skim over. Neither could I have predictions of what I could accomplish with everyone.
Some of the students in the class had difficulty writing in their journals single sentences
of their own thoughts. One student in particular never really progressed beyond writing
his name. Another student has emotional control struggles which made it a challenge
when trying to establish a comfortable environment for creating and for mistakes.
Mistakes are just important as creating in learning. A male student was new to the
school as of that year. Neither my mentor teacher nor I had any knowledge of the type
of program he had come from so there was no way to make a prediction initially about
what he had already learned in his old classroom. In the middle of the project, on week
three, there was new female student that became a member of our classroom.
Therefore we had to condense two weeks of learning to the new female student. At first
I was a little lost in how I was going to adjust the intricate plans I had for the rest of the
class. It was going to be difficult to quickly bring her up to speed in the limited amount of
time while simultaneously continuing my instruction for the rest of the class.
The three lessons that are going to be presented are going to be the second,
third, and fourth weeks. The first lesson includes instruction on rhythm where the goal of
our students was to learn about notation values, writing the different types of notes,
learning about measures, and creating their own personal rhythm to match their own
personal sentence. The second lesson was taking that rhythmic line that they had been

working on the previous week and adding notes to the rhythms to make a melody line.
The learning goals of that class were to have them experience writing the rhythmic
notation which they created again to add familiarity and ownership, experiment with the
notes given for their melodies, and use and get more familiar with the practical
application of solfege. In week three, the goals were to review what a melody sounds
like, understand stepwise motion and leaps in melody lines, hear and sing back usual
patterns in music, introduce the students to the concept of harmony and what that may
look like, think about what harmonies would work for their songs. I, the teacher, tried to
take my melody and show some very basic harmony possibilities. Lesson four was
revised after consideration and evaluation of the students progress from the past
lessons. Overall, the goal was for the students to feel confident in understanding the
process of writing their own songs, to give them them a skill set to pursue becoming
composers, and to have a greater appreciation to the musicians they hear on a daily
In the project the students will be writing their own rhythms, notes, and
harmonies that they have created. The whole project is based on creation, so just being
a part of the process they are involved with creation. The pieces with which they write
will be the way I am able to assess their learning. Being able to look at the amount of
information they have processed and were able to apply will allow me to asses their
ownership of the composition process in the areas of rhythm, melody, and harmony.
Performing is going to be accomplished by the students singing with the class and
improvising their own melodies in week five. The three different aspects, creation,
performance, and assessment, were interwoven so all areas would be covered just by
completing the work for each day.