Collecting Data in Year 4

Our Vertical PLC is doing things a bit differently for this coming school year (16-17). I’ve written about what we did in Year 1 (13-14), Year 2 (14-15), and Year 3 (15-16) as well as a presentation at the 2016 Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference. Part of our decision to change in the coming year was out of a desire to better communicate student progress in Infinite Campus to students and parents. Our district has also set the following goal for high schools: Continue reading “Collecting Data in Year 4”

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.

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PLC at Work Institute Reflection

Over this past week, over 150 teachers from my district attended Solution Tree‘s Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute in Minneapolis. Each school was allotted a number of teachers to bring or the three day workshop. Three of us from our Vertical PLC attended as well as many teachers, counselors, and administrators from districts across the country. The Institute is designed to help schools and districts implement professional learning communities effectively. I will explain a little more before delving in to the sessions I attended. Continue reading “PLC at Work Institute Reflection”

Reflection on Formative Assessment

In the past several days, I have been reading a bit of Shawn Cornally’s blog, ThinkThank Thunk. I began with his second post back in February 2010 on Standards-Based Grading. At the time, Shawn was a math/science/programming teacher at Solon High School in Iowa. He experimented with implementing standards-based grading practices in his classrooms and blogged quite a bit about his experiences. He has several articles about standards-based grading, calculus, physics, and a variety of other topics. Shawn is now the Headmaster of Iowa Big Ideas Group, a competency based high school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Many of Shawn’s post on Standards-Based Grading got me thinking about what I am currently doing in my Instrumental Music 10 course (10th Grade Band), Music Fundamentals course (non-AP Music Theory), and brass lessons in terms of implementation of standards-based practices. As we approach the summer and a time to plan out what next year will look like, I wanted to lay out my thinking.

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JumpRope – an SBL Grading Tool

This year, I have been experimenting with JumpRope, a standards-based grade book. Our district currently uses Infinite Campus as their student information system to track grades, attendance, behavior, and many other data points (more on how we currently use IC). I am currently on an Infinite Campus sub-committee of our district’s committee on Standards-Based Grading. We are looking at ways we can make the grade book more standards-based learning friendly. While I don’t think we will be able to transition completely to JumpRope, I think our 6-12 Instrumental Music PLC can use it effectively during our lessons next year.
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SmartMusic as an Assessment Tool

SmartMusic is an “interactive music learning software” by MakeMusic, creators of the music notation software Finale. It can pretty accurately assess pitch and rhythm for nearly all of the instruments in the wind band. There is a multitude of method books, solo literature, concert band literature, and jazz band literature in their library with new material being added frequently. SmartMusic can also incorporate files created in Finale. It is an outstanding tool we use daily in our work with students.
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