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In this episode, Jeanette Shorey and I co-create a unit using my unit planning process. This one’s for music teachers (or any teacher wanting to incorporate music into their classroom), and would be great for the beginning of the year as the class culture is being developed.
Jeanette Shorey is National Board Certified music teacher with over 2 decades of experience teaching general music, choir, Orff ensembles, and group guitar. Jeanette is an Arts Integration Specialist, an instructional coach, a National presenter and a mentor. In this episode, we apply a step-by-step unit planning protocol to dream up a new unit where students co-create a supportive class culture and express the pursuits of identity, criticality, and joy through music!
Unit Planning Step 1: Context/Spark
We’re creating the first unit of the year where we develop class culture and explore, celebrate, and normalize different genres of music. The unit will take about 8 weeks, seeing students once a week for about 30-45 minutes per class.
Unit Planning Step 2: Pursuits (from Dr. Muhammad’s HILL Model)
Identity: How will our unit help students to learn something about themselves and/or about others?
Students will see themselves as a whole person, with all of their identities affirmed. They’ll also see themselves as a person who contributes to and works positively with the class as a whole. Importantly, Jeanette wants students to feel confident in their identities as creators. This includes students feeling comfortable sharing ideas with the confidence no one will laugh at them.
Criticality: How will our unit engage students’ thinking about power and equity and the disruption of oppression?
Each class has a different personality and a different way of working together in addition to classes spanning multiple grades, which means addressing power, equity, and how to disrupt oppression may require different approaches unique to each group.
Joy*: How will my unit enable, amplify, and spread joy?
*Joy is: beauty, aesthetics, truth, ease, wonder, wellness, solutions to the problems of the world, personal fulfillment, art, music
Jeanette’s goal is that students always find joy in Music class. She wants them to say, “That was my most fun class all week!” The goal is for students to cultivate a love of music, and for music class to not feel like a struggle for students.
Unit Planning Step 3: Project Question
What would it look like if we created music that shows how fabulous we are?
Unit Planning Step 4: Summative Project (Publishing Opportunity and Possible Formats)
Student music can be published as YouTube videos on the school’s private YouTube channel.
The music would likely be played on non-pitched percussion instruments. (Jeanette likes ukuleles!)
Unit Planning Step 5: Unit Arc
Hook (2 lessons)
Story book lesson: All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold.
Story book lesson: Your Name is a Song by Jamila Tompkins Bigalow.
In this second lesson, students can do a Circle activity with the following rounds:
Build the Base (approximately 1 lesson)
Teach 4-measure rhythm.
(The goal is for students to be able to create a 4-measure rhythm for any concept with lyrics and play it on any one of 4 instruments.)
Create a 4-measure rhythm on:
First Case Study Lesson:
Second Case Study Lesson:
Third Case Study Lesson:
Project Work Time/ Peer Feedback (2 lessons)
Students rehearse and record YouTube videos.
You can find Jeanette on her website and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @thehappymusicteacher. You can email her at email@example.com. Her awesome podcast is The Happy Music Teacher.
To help you be a happy music teacher or incorporate music in your class, Jeanette is sharing her Lesson Plan Sampler (includes a lesson plan for All are Welcome along with another storybook lesson and a fun outdoor music activity) with you for free. And, if you’re looking for more details on the ideas in this blog post, listen to episode 134 of the Time for Teachership podcast. If you’re unable to listen or you prefer to read the full episode, you can find the transcript here.
If you enjoyed this episode, check out my YouTube channel where I compare continuum of skills to mastery based rubric:
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.