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Rachel Ollestad

MUSE 350

Mrs. Finger, Dr. Gerrity, Dr. Hourigan, Mrs. Hourigan

5 October 2017

Video Reflection Statement

Planning for my first teaching at Albany Elementary was quite difficult. Normally

when I am considering lessons for an elementary setting, ideas flow to me fairly quickly,

but having only observed one class (at a completely different school) made it more

important for me to put a lot of thought into my lesson and its implementation. I knew that

the 4th grade class had been working on the pentatonic scale but I did not have much more

information than that. I decided that I wanted to do a review of the pentatonic scale and

teach the class a new song that included the concept. During my planning, I wanted the

students to be able to explain what the pentatonic scale was, sing the song accurately and

with good posture, perform the motions for the song, and read the solfege and rhythms

from the music. Throughout my lesson, I think that I did several things that helped me

accomplish those tasks. I reviewed pentatonic scale at the beginning of the lesson, broke

the song down into manageable chunks, and removed more difficult elements so that

students could focus on one thing at a time (e.g. having them rhythm speak the song before

adding solfege/words). The students were successful at learning the song and performing

fairly accurately, however I could have done a much better job at incorporating the

pentatonic scale into the lesson. I felt that my lesson was slightly purposeless going when

planning it but was unsure about what tactics to apply to fix it.
Another factor I considered while planning was how to incorporate UDL and ELL

strategies into my lesson. While I did give these teaching practices some thought, I think I

have a long way to go before I feel very comfortable implementing them in the classroom. I

had volunteers read the words on the screen for Doctor Foster (one of the strategies for

helping ELL students and for incorporating reading across the curriculum). I also knew that

I wanted the students to be able to hear, see, sing, clap, and experience some kind of motion

with the song. These were my attempts at multiple means of representation, expression,

and engagement. While students were performing these tasks, I was watching to see which

students were accomplishing them well and which may have needed additional help or

more repetition. While I think these were all useful strategies to include in my lesson, I

want to push myself further in the future to come up with more different and

unconventional ways to allow my students to learn concepts, stay engaged, and

demonstrate their understanding.

Every time I watch a video of my teaching I notice some new quirk that I feel I need

to eradicate or change. One of my biggest issues with the way I executed this teaching is

that I felt my response to student participation seemed a little forced and superficial at

times. I think that part of this comes from not knowing the students or the class well and

feeling nervous about teaching in front of them for the first time, but I feel that my feedback

to students both when they answer questions and when they make mistakes that need to

be corrected during the lesson is not as strong and accurate as it should be to make quick,

effective improvements. I responded with a lot of “Good!” and “Yeah!” but these responses,

while positive and encouraging, lack substance. I think that my tone for teaching was great.

I set a quick pace and had high energy, which positively influenced class participation. I
also enjoyed my use of questioning. I made personal connections with the students and

related the lesson to their lives. I liked the frequency of my questioning but wish that I had

asked the students to evaluate their own performances more so that they could be more

actively involved in the learning process. I feel that my questioning helped to engage a lot

of the learners in the room but some were unfocused during certain times. If I could change

one thing about my engagement as it relates to delivery, I would have added a different

group activity so that students would have a chance to work with their peers.

I believe that my greatest strength as demonstrated by this lesson is my ability to

bring high energy and a quick pace to help keep students engaged. I know my lesson plan

well and rarely rely on it, which allows me to move quickly through all of the steps of my

process. I also like the rapport I develop with the students. I am not afraid to admit when I

have made a mistake, and the students handled those mistakes quite maturely! My biggest

weakness, however, would be in lesson planning. I need to spend more time thinking about

and preparing more actively engaging lessons for the students so that they have a better

understanding of the musical concept(s) I am teaching. I also need to ensure that I know

not just what my concept is, but exactly how my lesson is teaching that concept.

For this particular teaching, I would rate myself a 6 out of 10 for effectiveness as a

teacher. While I could have prepared a better lesson overall, I believe that what I did teach

the students was taught quite effectively. They could accomplish all of the objectives by the

end of the lesson and responded very well to my instruction style. I felt comfortable in front

of the group and was happy with their level of achievement by the end of the lesson.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to reteach this lesson at Eaton

Elementary the next week and feel that I made several improvements. I included a more
actively engaging activity and allowed the students to represent their knowledge in more

ways. I also did a much better job of connecting the song I picked to the concept of the

pentatonic scale and focusing on teaching the specific concept more. I also changed the

motions to the song so that they supported the beat and/or melodic shape instead of

simply being fun but unrelated to the music. While I think my lesson was much stronger the

second time, I think that my delivery suffered a little bit more. I could tell that I was more

uncomfortable with moving outside of the traditional lesson and incorporating the new

activities. I also struggled a little more with pacing. The activity itself involved having only a

few volunteers at a time, so it seemed that the students who were not volunteering were

less engaged despite my instructions to watch and sing along. I look forward to pushing

even more out of my comfort zone and trying new and engaging lessons that incorporate

more UDL, ELL, and reading across the curriculum strategies!