Monday, September 21, 2015

Teacher Spotlight: ELA Teacher Ms. Anderson, Music Mondays

Teacher Spotlight:  Ms. Anderson, 6th Grade ELA

Music Mondays


What are the students doing?
At the beginning of the school year during our Interest Survey, I asked students to list their favorite artists, songs, or genres of music. Each week, I look through their responses and choose a song that best fits the purpose of the lesson. I print the lyrics and upload them to our Google Classroom. Before playing the song in class, I ask students to read the lyrics while listening and make notes with a specific purpose in mind. I play the song twice and give students the length of the two songs to complete the warm-up.
What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?

I wanted to create a weekly assessment that would engage students with real world examples.  They hear a song on the radio, sing along to it, and move on to the next one when it ends. In my class on Music Mondays I tell them, "Hold on, let's analyze what the author is saying and how they are saying it". We  worked on symbols, themes, subject, and supporting details with Katy Perry's "Roar." We analyzed conflict in the Black Eyed Peas, "Where is the Love." This week, we went on a verb scavenger hunt with the song, "Cheerleader." This led to an unplanned discussion on contractions and artists that do not use verbs correctly in their lyrics. With Music Mondays I hope my students will go home, listen to the lyrics of their favorite songs, and be able to discuss authorial purpose and the parts of speech.  


How did this activity tie to your standards?  

Music Monday ties into reading, writing, communicating, inquiry, and LCS standards. Students analyze lyrics looking for authorial purpose and structural components. They examine the grammatical and linguistic choices that the lyricist made and determine how the speaker (the author in this case) used style and media to articulate a message. I use Music Mondays as an inquiry based assessment before I teach a lesson or as a formative assessment to gage student understanding after I teach a concept.

How did this activity promote student learning?

Students are actively involved in choosing the songs that we use in class each week, which puts them in charge of their learning. They look forward to Music Mondays because they are able to listen to the songs they love with a new analytical mind.  I play the songs twice so that the first time they can listen and sing, and the second time they can read along and complete the warm up. The learning is relevant rather than disconnected from their lives. They are able to work on their own during the inquiry process and then collaborate on their answers before sharing them with me. Finally, this activity is one that changes on a regular basis. One week we may work on the author’s message, the next we study pronouns and antecedents. It is one that I can modify for my students’ needs while simultaneously keep as a routine.

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