As part of my school's professional learning this year, we have been looking at integrating a Work Habits tool into our instruction. As part of our district's transition to standards-referenced grading, we have removed behavior from the academic grade. The Work Habits tool is a means of assessing behavior. Our staff's learning around the science of behavior, collecting and analyzing behavior data, and responding to behaviors has been fascinating to me. Specifically, we have been looking at how our academic AND behavior standards fit into the MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) framework.Read More
Well, we told the students today, so I guess that makes it "official"... This year will be my last at Centennial High School. This past Spring, my wife completed her PhD program in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University and accepted a tenure track professorship at the University of Virginia! We moved her out there at the beginning of November, where she is doing some contracted work with NASA Langley before beginning at UVA in February. I have not yet found a job out in the Charlottesville area yet, but it is still pretty early in the process. I see three options moving forward: a teaching gig in Virginia, getting really good at riding my bike to all of the establishments, or a doctoral program in music education. Someone has to train the future music eduactors to be the funniest band directors in the tri-state area!Read More
This past week, I attended the PLC at Work Institute in St. Charles, Missouri with many Ankeny teachers. This is the same institute that I attended in June 2014. That post has a lot of the background on professional learning communities, the structure of the conference, and how our vertical PLC was implementing practices at the time. I wanted to spend some time reflecting to better ingrain what I learned this past week. I feel like the previous institute I attended was much more focused on the fundamentals of PLC work, but that may have just been where I was in my learning at the time. This year's conference, I was able to better target my learning with the breakout sessions I attended, and have some great ideas for moving forward in our work. Throughout I took notes and tweeted pictures of slides and quotes I heard throughout.Read More
Those previous four posts have been setting up the background for our answer to Question 1 of the four essential questions for a PLC: what do we want students to learn/know/be able to do? The answer that our K-12 music teachers came up with during the 2011-2012 school year was the following:Read More
As I updated in a previous blog post, the Iowa Department of Education announced a team to develop fine arts standards for schools. This Fine Arts Standards Adoption Team has been meeting almost monthly to:
- Examine all relevant Fine Arts Standards
- Create and/or recommend statewide recommended Fine Arts Standards in Visual Arts, General Music, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Theater, Dance, and Media Arts.
- Write recommendations about implementation of the standards through
- Professional learning
- Materials and resources
- Offer final recommendations to the State Board of Education
As I have been working on blog posts and a website for our 2017 IBA presentation, How-To: A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program, I realized a lot has changed in the how of our vertical teaching program. I wrote about it a long time ago (April 11, 2014), so lets revisit. As of the 2016-2017 school year, Ankeny has two high schools, each with its own 6-7 middle school, 8-9 middle school, and five K-5 elementary schools:Read More
During the 2011-2012 school year, every K-12 music teacher in Ankeny went through the curriculum review process. Unfortunately for me, I was not yet a member of the team! Here is what I know:Read More
As I have been avoiding my Nintendo Switch over Spring Break, I came across a sheet of paper I had scribbled things on during a professional development day earlier this year. I want to save those thoughts for later, so I can flesh them out. Specifically that morning, we were working on two different areas: our district's instructional framework (gradual release of responsibility/productive group work) and teaching behavior. Here are my notes:Read More
Dear Representatives Koester and Landin,
Dear Senator Whitver and Governer Branstad,
Dear Representative Deyoe and Senator Schultz,
Dear Iowa friends who voted for Republican state legislators in this past election,
I am writing to ask a simple question: why? What is it that we did to make you want to propose the changes you did to collective bargaining?Read More
In 1994, the then Music Educators National Conference (MENC), adopted the following music content standards (numbers) and achievement standards (letters).
In 2014, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards published new National Core Arts Standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. The NCCAS developed an excellent document detailing their work entitled A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning.
States have developed their own standards for music education prior to, out of, or in reaction to the National Core Arts Standards. As part of the creation of the new standards, the NCCAS reviewed several states' arts standards including Colorado (2009), Florida (2009), Michigan (2011), New Jersey (2009), New York City (2007), North Carolina (2005), Tennessee, and Washington. A simple Google search will turn up results from other states.
From our Curriculum Review Guidelines (September 2016), "each curriculum review begins with a study of the significance of content literacy to all content areas. The Iowa Core literacy standards are reviewed with each curriculum review team."
All of the Iowa Core literacy standards are based off the Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Specifically, they identify College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. These standards are made more specific for each grade level from K-5 and in strands for grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12. There are also specific Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12. Because our PLC focuses on grades 6-12, I am going to focus this post there.Read More
Every K-12 music teacher in Ankeny went through the curriculum review process in 2012-2013. As part of that process, they developed a Music Curriculum Review Summary upon which we based our work as a data-driven professional learning community. This year (2016-2017), we have been reviewing our decisions, ensuring we are adequately answering the four fundamental questions of a high-functioning PLC:
- What do we want students to learn/know/be able to do? (Standards)
- How will we know they have learned it? (Assessment)
- How will we respond when they have not learned it? (Remediation)
- How will we respond when they have learned it? (Extension)
This year, we have been using the new web-based version of SmartMusic with our 10-12th grade students. We were awarded a grant for our 5 teachers and 116 teachers to have SmartMusic Teach subscriptions. Dr. Christopher Russell has a description of the different platforms, but here is a brief summary:
- TEACH Free: Allows teachers to try out the new SmartMusic Web prior to purchasing. Library is limited to SmartMusic's free catalog (Free Selections 1 & Free Selections 2).
- TEACH: 3 teachers can assign repertoire from the full library to 50 students for $399. Students can only access materials that are assigned to them. Each additional teacher is $40. A block of 5 additional students is also $40.
- PLAY: Upgrade individual student accounts to access the full library. $20/account.
I should preface this post with the statement that the web-based version of SmartMusic is not yet a finished product. They are continuing to add and refine features, to take feature requests, and to provide quality support for the new product.Read More
Our professional learning community has changed some things for this coming year:
- Updated our Wind Rubric and Percussion Rubric to unify language across achievement levels.
- Added tempi to our schedule of assessments with a few adjustments of content.
- Transitioned to using Infinite Campus to record data to meet building goals for standards-referenced grading.
- Began using Screencastify to record student assessments
It looks like Keith Ozsvath has beaten me to the punch with a post on using Screencastify, but I'll still detail what we are doing:
Our district is 1:1 with Chromebooks for students in 5th-12th grade. Each of our ensembles has its own Google Classroom. In it, we have created an assignment for our 12-Week Assessment.Read More
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:
By September 2017, 100% of staff will have aligned their work with academic standards for the course as measured by standards/skills-referenced organization in course gradebooks.By September 2017, 100% of staff will have aligned their work with academic standards for the course as measured by standards/skills-referenced organization in course gradebooks.
Last month, I finished my third and final summer at VanderCook College of Music, earning my Masters of Music Education! I have been meaning to write and reflect a bit on my last summer, but band camp started the Monday after graduation. Things have been a bit hectic (and warm) trying to gather my thoughts.Read More
Can you believe we are still in school? Large Group was four weeks ago! Our PLC decided a few years ago that our 9-12th graders last assessment during the school year would be an ensemble project of their choosing. This was the second year of doing it, and we think we have finally started to get some things figured out! Here are the details:Read More
Apologies for the long delay between posts. I am in the midst of my Master's Project for my program at the VanderCook College of Music. Couple that with the normal stress and business of three ensembles and a studio of 112 students, and you see why I haven't been writing.Earlier this week, SmartMusicreleased a publicity campaign touting their new web-based version coming this Fall. I have been both a private and public beta tester of the software, and I've remained pretty quiet as we've moved through the testing. I can tell you I am very excited for the implications of this as my district moves to 1:1 with Chromebooks for grades 5-12. Let's take a look at what the new version has to offer:Read More
A look at all of the blog posts I made in 2015. Not as much as 2014, perhaps a resolution for 2016... Looking back at the posts, it looks like 2015 was a year frustrated by the conversation around educational funding. It was also a year of learning for myself and my PLC in our work to become better teachers for our students. Take a look: An Update on Iowa's New Start Date - February 14 The Iowa Department of Education and then Director, Brad Buck (now Superintendent of Cedar Rapids Schools), released new criteria for receiving a waiver under Iowa Law requiring a start date no earlier than the week where September 1st falls. This is my analysis of the document.Read More
One of our Governor's four goals is the Best Schools in the Nation. As part of his progress towards "world-class schools," the Governor and the Republican-led House passed an education reform bill in 2013 which led to the creation of the Iowa School Report Card. The Department of Education's FAQ and Technical Guide have several details about the what, why, and how of the report cards. I'll briefly summarize:Read More