School Name: A. N. Pritzker Elementary
Teacher Name: Jenai Jenkins
Section I: Arts Integration – Documentation.
1. Documentation should not only provide a narrative, or story, of your project, but should also provide evidence of students’ engagement in the unit inquiry.
2. Through your documentation, please provide student artifacts that depict the range of work completed. For example, what were the various ways in which students responded to various aspects of the project?
Section I: Arts Integration – Inquiry
3. What is your Inquiry Question for your ATLAS curriculum unit? What big ideas does this inquiry question address, and why do you think the question successfully addresses these?
INQUIRY QUESTION: How can the integration of instrumental music, language arts, & technology help you discover the hidden hero within yourself?
4. How did student research help them to engage more deeply with the unit inquiry question? Explain how your students conducted research for their ATLAS project, and how that research opened up avenues for further inquiry.
Students used iPads & iPod Touches to look up definitions, synonyms & antonyms of the word hero in order to form a word bank of phases to use in creating poems.
5. Describe how the unit inquiry opens up avenues for interdisciplinary connections between the arts and academic content. How did arts processes and/or research practices facilitate students’ understanding of the academic topics addressed in the inquiry question?
The inquiry questions set the stage for students to use multiple art forms to tell their story. Music students were able to use music to tell their story, along with videos & poetry.
6. How did the curriculum evolve based on the unit inquiry process?
The curriculum started as individual projects. Students were to compose their own song, write a poem/story based on the theme “hero”, and create a video of themselves performing their song and poem/story. I realized that about 1/4 of the students did not want to video tape themselves because they did not want to see themselves on camera. Also, a good number of students didn’t want to perform their compositions. Finally, many students were overwhelmed with having to write a language arts piece for the project. For these reasons, I decided to allow the students to work in groups. Once I made this adjustment, students began to take more ownership of their role in the project.
Section I: Arts Integration – Create Works
7. How did students self-direct while creating their artistic work during the ATLAS project? Please provide any examples for the ways in which students made their own aesthetic choices and direction for creating their artwork. Examples might include but are not limited to: how did students make choices about the use of materials, how did they decide what they wanted to communicate, how did they make decisions about how to present work?
Students used iPads and laptops to access the online music notation platform, noteflight.com, to compose their own original musical composition. Students also chose if they wanted to video tape their poem or their musical performance. Students also decided if they were going to use the green screen effect and change the background. If they chose to do that, they then had to find a picture to replace the green background.
8. Please explain what opportunities the students had to reflect on their experiences and react to the work of their peers.
On various occasions throughout the quarter, students listened to each other’s compositions and made comments. The compositions were displayed on a screen via a Smartboard connected to a laptop, iPad or iPod Touch. The teacher often made suggestions for altering compositions during these sessions. Once the students started working in groups, they shared their compositions & poems to determine which poems and musical selections would work well together and what to change or adjust. Students also examined video footage as they worked to create a video that would portray their intended message.
9. How did the students’ artifacts from various stages of the ATLAS Unit impact your teaching practice? Please provide artifacts that exemplify your points. What did you learn about your teaching practice from looking at these artifacts?
Students’ work from various stages helped me to see which concepts needed more explaining. For example, listening to students’ music compositions helped me realize that I needed to teach about a tonal center, how to establish it and how to maintain it. Watching and listening to students’ iMovie projects taught me that I needed to teach students how to work towards a better balance of sound.
10. Describe how the students’ work was shared in the school or publicly. Why was this an important part of this unit?
The teacher displayed students’ compositions on a bulletin board outside of the Music Room. Additionally, the video projects were displayed via an iPad mounted and locked on the wall outside of the Music Room. On the day of the Festival of the Arts, students from all classes were able to stop by and spend time viewing the videos. Finally, the same display was installed at the Hairpin Gallery located at 2810 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Section I: Arts Integration – Collaboration
11. How did students collaborate at different stages of the project? Examples might include but are not limited to: did the students research together, did they create together, did they critique together, did they present together?
Students worked in groups and established which job they would fulfill. The jobs included composing the song, playing an instrument, writing/reciting the poem, shooting/editing the video. For most of the groups, students had to create, critique, & perform together, either as a whole group or as a small ensemble.
12. In what ways did you collaborate with the students for this unit. How did the students impact the way in which the curriculum was implemented? For example, how did students help you plan, develop, and/or implement the curriculum?
I collaborated with students for most of the project at various stages. Each group needed help but in different capacities. Some groups needed help with their compositions. Other groups needed help with shooting the video. Other groups needed assistance with editing or incorporating the green screen effect. The students shared ideas for developing their video projects. They determined their groups based on skill sets and instrument choice. Students helped me as I introduced how to use noteflight.com, the online music notation software. Students determined ways to maneuver around the online platform that I had not previously explored. During our class time, they figured out short cuts that made the music composition process go much faster.
13. How did you collaborate with other teachers in your school to plan and/or implement the unit?
Classroom teachers aided the students in researching their topic, developing their language arts piece, and preparing the presentation of their final project. Teachers gave students foundational information for creating language arts pieces, such as poems & short stories.
Section II: Technology Integration
14. What was your process for selecting this form of digital media technology? Why did you think this form of digital media technology would be ideal for student learning?
Because my 6th grade students are playing band instruments seriously for the first time, I wanted to integrate technology and instrumental music.
15. How did students use digital media technology to direct their own learning? Provide artifacts to show evidence of how students used the technology to direct their own learning. Examples might include but are not limited to: making choices about technologies to use, using technology to facilitate experimentation, using technology as a research tool, to express themselves artistically, and/or to make meaning of their experiences.
Students used iMovie to display their own learning. The video example above that includes a floating head is a good example of a student that used technology to direct her own learning. She knew she wanted a floating head to recite her poem. She had to figure out how to make it happen and then how to edit the video to create certain effects. She got quite frustrated when she couldn’t edit the video perfectly. The image below shows her work during one of her frustrating moments.
16. How did you use technology to enhance the learning environment for both you as a teacher and for the students?
I used technology to teach composition. Without the online platform, I would not have taught composition at this level. Also, because of with the use of technology, I was able to incorporate the green screen effect.
17. In what ways do your chosen technology resources align with your goals and outcomes for student learning? Looking back at the unit, how did the technology meet, not meet or exceed your expectations for facilitating student outcomes.
My use of the online music notation software greatly enhances my ability to teach composition, and as a result, music theory. Students will more quickly gain an understanding and appreciation of a tonal center, key signature & time signature when they have to consider these aspects for a composition.
18. How did the use of technology contribute to students’ application of higher order thinking skills? Examples of student higher order thinking skills include metacognition, self-reflection, analysis, and application of knowledge or skills.
Students employed higher order thinking skills countless times during this project. Some examples include determining how to transpose a line of clarinet music for a saxophone, or deciding whether to use a flute or a guitar to play the melody of a composition. Students also had to decide how easy or hard to make their music, considering the musicians they had in their group.
19. How did the use of technology drive student creative artistic expression? Please provide student artifacts that exemplify how technology supported their artistic expression.
The use of technology allowed the students to take ownership of how they wanted to express their learning. Students were able to decide how they wanted their music to sound, which instruments to use, and how their video would look and sound. Again, in the video of the floating head, Brooke chose to use a picture of her violin as the backdrop instead of a video of herself playing the violin.
20. How did the integration of digital media technology impact your teaching practice?
Integrating digital media has challenged me to reach outside of my normal teaching practice, to present new learning experiences for students, and challenge students to create in new ways as they experience learning in the general music context.