What We do Matters

I am currently working on a post that traces the history of funding public education in Iowa. I am curious just how the funding formula has changed since the 1950s. This is taking a lot of research and as a “break” (HA!), I thought I would respond to a post my friend and colleague, Pat Kearney, wrote last week entitled A Community of Educators. Pat wrote an outstanding post about his thinking around the challenges facing educators today. I can’t encourage you enough to go and check out his writing. Let me share a few great nuggets: Continue reading “What We do Matters”

Best Practices for Using Rubrics

Spurred by part of a PLC discussion, I have been reading through our district’s document, Best Practices for Using Rubrics to Determine Grades. We currently formatively and summatively assess student performance using our Wind and Percussion Rubrics. Each criterion (tone quality, technique, etc.) has four different levels of performance (currently: exceeds standard, meets standard, making progress, not making progress). Our PLC discussion sprung from the completion of our 6-Week Assessment, transitioning into our 12-Week Assessment, and some professional development occurring at one of our middle schools. Continue reading “Best Practices for Using Rubrics”

2014 in Review

I know that I am 3-4 days late, but the stomach flu will do that to you. 2014 was a big year for me. I began blogging about my teaching experiences in October of 2013. The spring of 2014 is where that began to pick up as our professional learning community looked into curriculum and assessment and I began my Masters of Music Education program at VanderCook College of Music. Here is a review of all I posted over this past year: Continue reading “2014 in Review”

Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in my Classroom

This week marks the end of a three week unit of looking at how to implement the Common Core State Standards into our music classrooms. Last week, we focused on the implementation of the English Language Arts standards. This week, we are focusing on the implementation of the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Continue reading “Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in my Classroom”

Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and Measuring Student Growth Part 1

We are currently in the second week of a three week unit looking at measuring student growth in my VanderCook MECA class entitled Teaching Music in a Common Core World. Several of my most recent posts detail the work I have been doing in that class in regards to teacher evaluation, measuring student growth, and the new National Core Music Standards. This week and next we are developing two Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) according to the Illinois State Board of Education‘s (ISBE) template. Continue reading “Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and Measuring Student Growth Part 1”

Reflecting on Teacher Evaluation

Over the past five weeks in my VanderCook class, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, we have been working through the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) Workbook, Building and Evaluating Effective Music Educators in the School Ensemble, as well as the new National Core Music Standards. The workbook and the process tie the NAfME expectations to the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching. As a conclusion to this part of the course, we were asked to reflect on the process with the following prompt:

Complete a comprehensive reflection paper. Include a recap of the concepts and strategies learned from the assignments that you completed over the last four weeks. This will fulfill part of the VanderCook College of Music exit assessment requirement. Take your time and thoroughly reflect on what we have covered over the last four weeks. This document needs to be worthy of 10% of your overall grade for the Teacher Evaluation unit of your grade.

Continue reading “Reflecting on Teacher Evaluation”

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

For the second week of our class, we focused on Domain 1 from the Danielson Framework. Our discussion as a class revolved around music teachers being evaluated the same as classroom teachers. We also filled out parts of the NAfME Workbook pertaining to Supporting Structures, Program Expectations, and General/Collective Measures in our programs. We also received the following prompt:
Continue reading “Domain 1: Planning and Preparation”

Assessing in a New Year: Part 2

As we are rounding up the first round of assessments, I wanted to comment on how things are going. My last post was about the new assessments we are using this year. We are seeing incredible results with our students. These assessments are falling on the third lesson in the cycle. The first lesson introduced the assessment material to the students and allowed us to give them some initial feedback before their practice. The second lesson was a continual review of the assessment material with us giving students more feedback on their progress. We use the same rubrics in our lessons as we do our assessments. For our advanced students, we were also looking at All-State or Honor Band audition material. Most importantly, our students who struggled in lessons last year are performing extremely well on these assessments. Continue reading “Assessing in a New Year: Part 2”