Ahhh...the buzz of a creative and collaborative space! It truly is the best feeling in the world to set learners loose with an objective and perhaps a problem to solve and see what they come up with.
It can be a challenge to provide learners opportunities to explore their creative ideas while still maintaining specific skills and technique focused instruction. Especially if your time is pretty limited like mine.
Here is a quick an easy way to integrate more of the 4Cs (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking) into your strings (or band or choir) lessons. I use this strategy all the time and it has a nearly endless possibility for variations.
Just like making a smoothie as long as you add certain categories of ingredients (fruit, nuts, greens, your choice of non-dairy milk!) you can’t go wrong.
The idea: Students compose melodies, combine with friends to arrange and practice their work and perform for the class.
Compose, Link up, Arrange and Practice/Perform
The acronym I use in my planner is CLAP and I write CLAP Day to remember to compose every few lessons or so. This works for all age ranges and is a nice change of pace for many students. My favorite features are that students get to learn from each other and I can walk around to check for understanding.
2. Link up
1. Compose - this can look a ton of different ways. Here are a few.
When you ran across my face at 4:30am today, I was not very happy. It was the first day of school and I really wanted to be rested for my students. Once awoken, my nervous excitement made it impossible to go back to sleep.
However, after some stretching, meditating and coffee, I came up with a fun idea for something that was puzzling me. I have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate more music theory into my lessons without it being arduous and dry. Three 35 minute lessons a week go by fast, and it is always a challenge to squeeze it in.
While this idea is not original by any stretch, I think it is a good one!
I created a Jeopardy-like game with the following categories:
To play, I gave each student a whiteboard, marker and eraser. With larger groups they could work with a partner or groups of three. One group calls out the category and the amount. All groups attempt to answer the question and at the end of the time, any group that got the correct answer adds that many points to their score.
I really like this method because it keeps all students engaged and it takes away the speed element of processing, being the first to ring their buzzer and responding quickly. Some kids are better at that than others and I’d rather have everyone thinking and working.
Other possible categories could include:
So, dear kitties. I suppose I can thank you for your part in this fun and easy solution to a challenge but please don’t make this a regular habit. Or else it could be you who is in Jeopardy.
I am an educator, musician, parent and maker. I do my best to live with intention and to create learning environments that foster the same. This blog is an effort to share my thinking and learning. It is in no way a cementation of my understanding but a catalyst for unearthing it. These ideas are living and fluid.