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: Vertical Teaching - October 10, 2013 While I know this isn't part of 2014, it is the only post on this blog that occurred before 2014, and it is a pretty critical part of several of the posts that followed! I discussed the vertical nature of our professional learning community: 5 teachers that teach lessons and rehearse instrumental music groups in grades 6-12 across three secondary schools.

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Reflecting on Standards-Based Grading

For our final assignment in my VanderCook class, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, we were asked to look reflect on the work we did for our choice assignment earlier this week. I chose to look at standards-based learning, grading, and reporting. PromptComplete a comprehensive reflection paper. Include a recap of the concepts and strategies learned from the assignment that you created and completed over the last week. Please explain why this project was important to you and how it helped deepen your understanding on the topic you chose.

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Reflecting on Implementing the Common Core in My Classroom

For the past three weeks, my VanderCook class, Teaching Music in the Common Core World, has been looking at how to implement the Common Core State Standardsin the music classroom. We were provided a wealth of resourcesto begin our study in the first week. The second week focused on the specific implementation of the English Language Arts CCSS. This week focused on the implementation of the CCSS of Mathematical Practice. At the end of each unit, we are asked to reflect on what we learned.

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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 Standardsinto our music classrooms. Last week, we focused on the implementation of the English Language Artsstandards. This week, we are focusing on the implementation of the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

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Implementing the English Language Arts CCSS in My Classroom

We are in the midst of the second of a three week look at implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into the music classroom. Last week, we looked at Unpacking the Common Coreand their relation to the habits and skills developed in the music classroom. This week, we are focusing specifically on the English Language Arts CCSS.

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Unpacking the Common Core

In our first of a three week focus on implementing the Common Core State Standards, we were asked to look at a document released by The College Board for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. The document, entitled The Arts and the Common Core: A Comparison of the National Core Arts Standards and the Common Core State Standards, looked at language in the National Core Arts Standards and the Common Core State Standards for alignment between the two sets of standards.

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Initial Thoughts on the Common Core State Standards

We are now in the a three week until on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for my VanderCook class, Teaching Music in a Common Core World. We have been provided with a wealth of resources to get us started:

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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:

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Responding as an Artistic Process

My course, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, through VanderCook College of Music, is continuing to progress through the National Core Music Standards. The past two weeks, we looked at Creating and Performing as Artistic Processes. Those blog posts detail a lot about what NAfME and other organizations have crafted in the new Core Arts Standards. This post is a continuation along that line focusing on Responding. This week, we were delivered the following prompt:

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Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

For this week, we focused on the final domain. We were asked to complete the Relevant Information portion of the NAfME Workbook for all the components in Domain 4:

  • 4a: Reflecting on Teaching
  • 4b: Maintaining Accurate Records
  • 4c: Communicating with Families
  • 4d: Participating in a Professional Community
  • 4e: Growing and Developing Professionally
  • 4f: Showing Professionalism

We were also asked to select one of the components for more in-depth study. The result of our in-depth study was to develop a narrative proving we know how to accomplish the proficient or distinguished criteria for our selected component. I chose to focus on Component 4e: Growing and Developing Professionally. The bolded statements below are the bullet points from the Distinguished portion of the rubric followed by my narrative describing how I accomplish these bullet points.

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Performing as an Artistic Process

My course, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, through VanderCook College of Music, is continuing to progress through the National Core Music Standards. Last week, we were looking at Creating as an Artistic Process. That blog post details a lot about what NAfME and other organizations have crafted in the new Core Arts Standards. This post is a continuation along that line focusing on Performance. This week, we were delivered the following prompt:

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Domain 2: Classroom Environment

For the third week of our class, we are focusing on Domain 2 of the Danielson Framework: Classroom Environment. For more information about what we are doing for the class, read my post about Domain 1: Planning and Preparation. This post will focus on the work we are doing for Domain 2: Classroom Environment. As part of our assignment this week, we were asked to complete the Relevant Information portion of the worksheets for all components in Domain 2:

  • 2a: Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
  • 2b: Establishing a Culture for Learning
  • 2c: Managing Classroom Procedures
  • 2d: Managing Student Behavior
  • 2e: Organizing Physical Space

We were also asked to select one of the components for more in-depth study. The result of our in-depth study was to develop a narrative proving we know how to accomplish the proficient or distinguished criteria for our selected component. I narrowed my choice down to two separate options: 2c - Managing Classroom Behaviors or 2e - Organizing Physical Space. Classroom management is definitely something I want to improve in my teaching, but with the busy-ness of this past week (conferences, Senior Night, jazz band auditions, last week of marching rehearsals, State Marching Band Festival, and the Mid-Iowa Band Championships), I didn't feel I could adequately develop a narrative for 2c. I hope to do that sometime soon; not as a requirement for this course, but as a way of improving myself. Below is my response to the prompt for Component 2e: Organizing Physical Space

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Creating as an Artistic Process

Our course, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, is in the midst of working through the NAfME workbook: Building and Evaluating Effective Music Education in the School Ensemble. For the next few weeks, we are working through the four domains of the Danielson Framework, the system my school district uses and NAfME recommends for teacher evaluation. We are also reviewing the new National Core Music Standards as part of the process. Part of our assignment this week is to discuss the following prompt in reference to these standards:

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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. 

As part of our assignment this week, we were asked to complete the Relevant Information portion of the worksheets for all components in Domain 1:

  • 1a: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
  • 1b: Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
  • 1c: Setting Instructional Outcomes
  • 1d: Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources
  • 1e: Designing Coherent Instruction
  • 1f: Designing Student Assessments

We were also asked to select one of the components for more in-depth study. The result of our in-depth study was to develop a narrative proving we know how to accomplish the proficient or distinguished criteria for our selected component. I chose to focus on Component 1f as this rubric is a main focus of my evaluation for this year through my Individual Teacher Professional Development Plan. I hope to gain a better understanding of the expectations in the Danielson rubric as well as the skills to develop assessments that accurately reflect what my students know and are able to do.

 

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Teacher Evaluation Systems

At the end of the first week of our course, Teaching Music in a Common Core World, we received the following prompt:

Read through the workbook, then write a narrative and explain how the National Association for Music Education Guidelines compares and contrasts to the current teacher evaluation system at your school?

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Teaching Music in a Common Core World

This fall, I am taking another grad course through VanderCook College of Music entitled Teaching Music in a Common Core World taught by Bill Koch, a former Illinois band director who retired to start an educational consulting firm to help music educators undergo teacher evaluation. I am already quite excited about what we have been doing with this course. Our textbook is the National Association for Music Education's workbook entitled Building and Evaluating  Effective Music Educators in the School Ensemble. It uses the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching, a series of rubrics for evaluating teachers across four domains, each with 5-6 components. My school district has begun using the Danielson Framework for our evaluations, and this course has already been an immense help.

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Upcoming Posts

I am in the midst of a bunch of different things grabbing my attention on which I would like to share my learning: I am currently spending a week at the Vandercook College of Music taking a MECA course entitled Developing the Successful Jazz Ensemble with Mike Steinel, professor of jazz studies at the University of North Texas and author of Essential Elements for Jazz Ensemble.

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