Sunday, March 9, 2014


Like many of you, I do a "Composer of the Month" type thing.  I used to HATE teaching about composers - because the students didn't seem like they really cared.  But, this year, I've tried something new and am mad at myself that I didn't do it before.  I have a bulletin board in the back of my room that has become my "Composerbook" board:

It's basically like a "Facebook" profile for a composer.  I put up pictures, general information, famous compositions, etc.  I left a place in the middle that says "Write on my wall."  The picture above is one I took before the kids started writing on the wall.  I really wish I'd taken a picture of that before I changed it - because the kids went crazy!  My school has a writing focus this year, where they are encouraging all of us to do more writing in the classroom.  This was one way I got to do it - the kids could ask a question about anything.  And when I say anything, I meant it.  The questions ranged from "How did you die?" and "What was your most famous song?" to "How much did wigs cost?" and "Did you like to wear lace?"  Post-its were all over the place!

I am also teaching musical concepts so much more - based on the composer the students are studying.  I will have more blog posts soon about specifics, but I introduced 16th notes, opera, and rondo form while teaching Mozart.  I taught letter names on the staff while teaching Beethoven (the students had to be able to play "Ode to Joy.")  I taught ti-tika (or ti-tiri) and tika-ti (or tiri-ti) while teaching about Bach (Badinerie).  I am currently teaching about Scott Joplin, but introducing syncopation to my 4th graders before we delve into our jazz unit.  The kids are truly connecting with the composers and becoming excited about them in a way I've never seen before.  It's truly great!

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