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This unit focused on three main aspects of music: Creating,

Performing, and Assessing. Over the course of the three lessons,

students engaged in the creative process in both large and small

groups. Through discussion and hands-on collaboration, students

learned about the process of group songwriting and how it differs from

individual songwriting. Many students struggled with the idea of

including everyones ideas, and this unit helped them to identify

strategies for creating collaboratively.

Additionally, students learned about creating within a set

structure (their song had to retell a story). This allowed students to

connect music with reading, which I believe will help them integrate

music more thoroughly into their lives. Many students in these classes

are not as passionate about music as they are about other subjects,

and seeing how music connects to their passions can make it more


Students performed both their large and small group

compositions as part of this unit. In their performances, they focused

on using instruments, lyrics, and other musical aspects

programmatically in order to tell their story. They also had to be

flexible in their performances: many groups had students who were

absent for the performance, so they had to adapt and perform without

their whole group. Students also reviewed performance etiquette and

practiced being respectful audience members while their peers


Based on what I knew of students prior experiences composing, I

decided it would be most developmentally appropriate to assess them

mostly on participation and effort rather than musicality. I did not want

students to be so caught up with their score that they were unable to

create, and I believe that my methods allowed them to explore music

in an open environment while still grasping the objectives of the unit.

Students also got the opportunity to assess themselves on many of the

unit objectives. I believe that this gave the students an opportunity to

reflect on their work and the learning that occurred over the three


I think my musicianship had a positive effect on the students.

When we did the large group composition, I wrote an introduction for

the song in order to provide the students with some musical context

for their creation. This can be seen in the Creating video. I think that

this helped to inspire students; One groups song took after my own

introduction very much. Additionally, when the students were learning

the songs by rote, I provided accurate vocal models for them to echo,

and cued them appropriately with a breath and a gesture so that

everyone began singing together. If I teach this unit again, I will

compose a full song instead of just an introduction. I believe that this

will allow my students to get an even better grasp of my expectations

for their own compositions.

Our classroom was an open environment for creating,

performing, and assessing. During the small group creation time,

students had free reign to experiment with different instruments, and

also to ask questions to both my mentor teacher and me. This fostered

a highly creative environment in the room. Before the performances,

we discussed proper audience etiquette. Most groups were respectful

to their peers, which fostered a safe environment in which students

could share their ideas. I allowed students to explore freely, and

assessed largely on their own perceptions of their effort and success.

Most students were honest and the scores they gave themselves

matched the scores that I had given them on my assessment form.

If I were going to teach this unit again to similar students, I would

make several changes. As mentioned, I would model a whole song as

an example, instead of just an introduction. In bigger classes, I would

try to find additional space for the groups; several students noted that

the classroom got too loud at points in the process, simply because all

of the creating was happening at once. I am torn on whether or not I

should let students opt to work alone. Some students clearly have a

great deal of trouble collaborating, and this difficulty can effect their

group members (see boy in the blue shirt and girl in the flowered shirt

in Creating video). On one hand, the unit emphasizes group

composition and collaboration, which students who opted to work

alone would miss out on. However, it may provide a more effective

learning environment for children who can collaborate well. For

instance, one Tuesday group wasnt able to finish their song because

they spent so much time trying to work with one group member who

was combatting every idea that was suggested.

Overall, I believe my lessons were successful. The students met

the goals I set for them, and most groups had a fantastic final product.

I do believe I will do this activity again in the future, and I look forward

to seeing how different learners needs shape the activity, my

instruction, and myself as a teacher.