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.
Standards-Based Grading, Learning, and Reporting This has been a central theme of this blog as our PLC works to transitions our work to a standards-based model. Posts included:
- Introduction - April 13
- Collecting Data using Google Drive - April 17
- Reporting using Infinite Campus - April 22
- JumpRope as an alternative to Infinite Campus - May 7
- Update to Assessing our Power Standards - June 14
- Standards-Based Grading and the Common Core - December 14
- Reflecting on Standards-Based Grading - December 21
Assessment Another central theme to this blog that ties into our work around the standards-based model is assessment. Posts included:
- SmartMusic as an Assessment Tool - May 3
- Reflection on Formative Assessment - May 11
- Update to Assessing our Power Standards - June 14
- Assessing in a New Year: Part 1 - September 15
- Assessing in a New Year: Part 2 - September 20
Professional Development I work hard to use this blog as a reflection tool after professional development experiences. It provides a means for me to recall and, hopefully, better ingrain what I learned through those experiences. Here is the PD I reflected on in 2014:
- Iowa Bandmasters Association 2014 Conference - May 25
- Standards-Based Grading
- Collaborative Listening
- Young Conductors Project
- Defining Your Marching Band's Look
- Conducting with Purpose
- Music Learning = Life Learning
- Conducting Beyond the Notes
- Professional Learning Communities At Work Institute - June 25
- Building the Solid Foundation
- Building the Collaborative Culture
- Keys to Effective Leadership
- Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap
- Feedback: The Breakfast of Champions
- Raising Questions and Finding Answers in Our Grading Practices
- Kid by Kid, Skill by Skill
- Midwest Clinic 2014 - December 23
- Play Alto Sax with the Big Phat Band... NOW!
- High School Rehearsal Lab: Woodland College Park Wind Ensemble with Dr. Robert Carnochan
- Coverting to Digital: Our 1st Year as a 1:1 Music Department
- Sound Fundamentals - Daily Ensemble Training for Ideal Tone, Intonation, and Blend
- Literature and Concert Programming: Improving Student Learning through the Music
- Building and Maintaining Quality Band Programs in the Context of Current Educational Realities
- Concerts & Exhibits
VanderCook College of Music I began pursuing my Masters of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music during the summer of 2014. I have taken several MECA (continuing ed) credits already, and will begin the first of two residency summers in 2015. Here are my posts about VanderCook:
Developing the Successful Jazz Ensemble - June 30 I spent a week on VanderCook's campus with Mike Steinel, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at North Texas, studying jazz methods. This post highlights a lot of what we discussed in the course. As a PLC, we will be implementing several different components from this class over this year and the next.
Teaching Music in a Common Core World This course was HUGE for me. Several posts detail the learning I did around a wide variety of topics:
- Teacher Evaluation Systems (October 12) - Our first unit focused on the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching and how the National Association for Music Educators suggests we implement the framework. The domains are taken from the Danielson Framework. The artistic processes are taken from NAfME's alignment with the National Core Arts Standards.
- Domain 1: Planning and Preparation - October 12
- Domain 2: Classroom Environment - October 19
- Domain 3: Instruction - October 25
- Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities - November 2
- Creating as an Artistic Process - October 12
- Performing as an Artistic Process - October 28
- Responding as an Artistic Process - November 2
- Reflecting on Teacher Evaluation - November 2
- Student Growth (November 10) - Our second unit focused on measuring student growth using student learning objectives (SLOs).
- Common Core State Standards (November 27) - Our third unit focused on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics.
- Student's Choice - Our final unit allowed us to choose a topic for more in-depth research. I selected to look at standards-based grading.
I learned a great deal about teacher evaluation, student growth, the Common Core, the Iowa Core, and standards-based grading through this class. Much of what I learned I am working to implement into my classroom as we head into the next semester. I can't wait to see what my first residency summer at VanderCook has to offer!
Other Posts There are only a few posts from 2014 that didn't really fall into a category:
Takadimi and Solfège - Tools for Teaching Music - April 13 Our PLC uses takadimi and solfège to teach rhythmic and tonal literacy. This post explains how both tools function and how we implement them in our teaching.
Iowa's New Start Date - December 13 Our governor has asked the Department of Education to begin enforcing a 1983 law requiring that school districts begin classes no earlier than the week which contains September 1st. Prior to this request, school districts in our state have stared as early as August 11 and as late as after Labor Day.
As you can see, 2014 was quite a busy year! Between standards-based, assessment, and VanderCook, I did a lot of learning! Throw in getting married and moving to Ames, and it gets a bit chaotic! I have another post in the works about my thoughts on curriculum that have been rolling around over Christmas Break. I am also taking two more MECA classes at VanderCook this spring: Band Arranging and Recording Techniques. It looks like my first summer residency will include classes like: Instructional Design, Percussion Methods, Woodwind Techniques I (flute and clarinet), Jazz Arranging, Symphonic Band, Choir, and Jazz Band. I am looking forward to what 2015 brings!