Week 1 – Something, something, something, sinus headaches.

So week one was great, you guys, but I woke up sick this morning and it’s hard to think about anything other than the sensation that my eyeballs are being crowded out of my head. So apologies if I ramble a little in this post.

My first class this week was a double period with a class of 3/4 students. (My AT suggested I take this class, rather than a 30 minute single period.) I used a lesson based on a rhythm game, to work on steady beat and rhythm patterns. The lesson itself went fairly well – everyone participated, and seemed to understand the concepts I was trying to get across.  I was surprised, though, just how often the class needed to be refocused – practically as soon as I asked them to settle down and listen, they would get distracted by something else. The result was that I was really glad I took my AT’s advice and taught the double period – what I thought was a fairly compact lesson ended up taking nearly a full hour, and I omitted a final activity.

When I got the chance to teach the lesson a second time on Thursday (this time with a 5/6 class, again a double period) I was able to address a few of the things that caused me trouble the first time – I moved a little faster to keep everyone focused, and I had the students set up chairs in a circle, rather than having them stand. (I had asked the first class to stand since the activity involved a fair amount of moving around.) The students were still able to move when I asked them to, but having a seat to go back to helped keep us organized (and everyone was a little less tired.) Classroom management was still a bit of an issue, but I definitely felt more comfortable with it the second time, and I was able to get through the entire lesson in the hour I had.

My second day was both busier and a little lighter – my AT was away, and our supply was not a music teacher. There was work left behind for the older students,  but I was asked to take over and teach 3 kindergarten classes, a class of grade ones, and a choir practice. It was a lot of classes for a second day, but I was able to have some fun with the kindergarten and grade one classes – we learned a poem, sang, played London Bridge – and running a choir practice is something I’m already familiar with, so I was able to relax.

The most exciting lesson I taught this week was to teach a grade 8 class a klezmer piece. I taught the students to sing the tune, while my AT and I accompanied them on guitar and clarinet, respectively. We were able to get a nice little arrangement going, and I ended up having time to teach the students a circle dance, which we all did together while singing. Got our exercise!

Our Friday was the Halloween dance for the grade 7 and 8 students, so the day was light – I adapted the same poem I’d used earlier in the week with the kindergarten classes and used it for a rhythm and reading lesson with a 2/3 class.

My free time this week was spent doing as much lesson planning and brainstorming as I could – I tried to get all my ideas on paper, even if they weren’t fully developed into lessons yet. I know I’ll have less and less time to work on my plans as the month goes on, so I’m trying to get the hard part – coming up with ideas – out of the way now. I’m trying to remember all the great lessons I’ve ever done with my own music teachers, and trying to adapt them for the students that I have. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?



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