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Myp Music Reflection Essay

How To Structure an MYP Music Unit   

I've had several teachers email and ask how to make an MYP unit and so realised that I needed to add an extra page to describe my units.  Here, I'm going to describe how my grade 6 "Elements of Music" unit is setup.

Topic: Elements of Music         Grade: 6 / Level 1

Significant Concept / Enduring Understanding:

The Elements of Music contain the Enduring Understandings of music.  With a basic knowledge of the Elements, you will have a good support to help you in the rest of your studies.
I typically find that good questions start with "How" or "Why."  Sometimes they don't even seem to relate to the topic at hand, and that's a good thing because it makes the kids think deeply and it makes them conscious of how the question relates to other parts of their lives.
For example: Grade 10 Modern Music: "Why is it acceptable to break the rules?"

Learner Profile:

Knowledgeable – Knowledge of the Elements of Music
Communicative – Discussing their knowledge and using their skills to communicate music to their peers

Summative Assessment:

Criterion A: Music Critique. Students will perform a critique of the music they have chosen to performing in which they will discuss the Elements of Music they have studied, including topics such as melodic contours, phrasings, timbre, etc.

Criterion B: Students will effectively use the creative cycle to put together an ensemble performance, demonstrating sensitivity to the different Elements of Music studied previously in Criterion A. Strand 1 will be assessed through the developmental workbook; strand 2 will be assessed through a live performance.

Criterion C: The student DWs will show evidence of evaluations and responses to individual, peer, and familial feedback in putting together an ensemble piece. This will encompass all strands of Criterion C.

Criterion D: Students' artistic awareness and personal engagement in tasks will be assessed using the following means:
* Well decorated DW that shows care and interest were put into the processes involved throughout Criteria A, B, and C
* Photographs of the student on-task and engaged in class
* Short videos showing students' work in class, including both on and off-task behaviours
* Writing in the DW that highlights their work with their peers / teammates (e.g. writing about the team troubleshot their problems, etc.)

Criterion A Comes First:

The kids can't work their way through the creative cycle (Criteria B & C) if they don't know what they're doing! Teach them! Give them skills!  This is where all the North American teachers, including myself, breath a sigh of relief.  Here is where we simply teach music.

Now, in my class, I have the kids use whichever skills they currently have.  We are running a general music programme and so don't have access to band instruments.  My grade 6s include ukuleles, guitars, a piano, a drum, 3 violins, and a bunch of singers. I put one kid on bass guitar.  Now we have a band.

We start each lesson with "general musicianship."  We work on rhythms using Orff Patsching, we do sight-singing exercises, ear-training exercises, etc.

Next, we go open the Silver Burdett music textbook and do all the lesson focusing on an Element of Music.  This is really typical, North American-style, skills stuff.  The kids love it.  So, for example, we learned, "Lean On Me" when we were looking at Form and we covered the following topics:
Da Capo Al Fine
Repeat Signs
First Ending
Second Ending
Outro / Coda
After we are finished singing the song together, and really studying it, then we all pull out our instruments and we play it as a band.  This is really helping the rock bands in the school because I'm not writing out any music for these kids.  The guitars, ukuleles and piano have to figure out the chords. The bass guitar knows to play the name of the chord.  The violins decide between themselves who will be playing the top note and who will be playing the bottom note.  We play the music.  See, knowledge needs to be connected to something, right?  So after we are done analysing/studying a score, we get out our instruments and we play!

We finish the lesson 10 minutes early and we open our DWs and do some paperwork on what we've just learned.  (This is where your Criterion A comes in!) The kids will define the terms and will answer some questions using the DeBono Thinking Hats.

I don't always use Silver Burdett for everything.  When we melody contours, I use a British book called Music Matters.  There's a great exercise there on melody mapping, which the kids always think is really fun. Then their homework is to use GarageBand to cut up 20 seconds of a favourite song and then to "draw" the melody for me to hear with my eyes.  It's very cool. I typically know the songs they've chosen and the kids are really accurate.  Some draw bubbles, some draw lines, etc.

During this time, do your normal assessments that you would do regardless of what education system you were in.  Do your playing test that is out of 10 marks (not using a rubric).  Do a pop quiz.  These are all formative / diagnostic assessments that do not affect your Criteria-based assessments -  they just let you know how the class is doing so you can change your teaching as needed.

Now do Criteria B & C Together

Let's say you are going to do a group performing task.  Help the kids to get into groups.  I try to differentiate the groups like this:
1) No more than 1 language group except for English;
2) A mixture of boys and girls;
3) Must have someone who will play melody, someone who will play harmony, and someone who will play bass;
4) Must have an advanced musician, an intermediate musician, and a beginner musician.

Next, we have a non-playing lesson in which they discuss, in their groups, what piece they want to play.  This depends entirely on the topic studied.  If they are studying Chinese music, the piece they choose will be Chinese, etc.  When they are finished, they write this in their DWs:

Criterion B Planning:
1) Who is in your group?
2) Which instruments will they play?
3) Who will be playing melody, harmony and bass?
4) Who are the advanced, intermediate and beginner players?
5) What piece have you chosen? Who wrote it?
6) What looks pretty easy about this piece?
7) What looks challenging about this piece?
8) What strategies are you going to use when starting to learn this piece?
9) How are you feeling at the moment about this ensemble and your piece?
10) What is your personal interpretation of this piece (a.k.a. how do you want it to sound? What are you trying to do with it?)

Give the kids maybe 5 or 6 classes to go through the creative cycle. In the following classes, just walk around with a camera that does video and pop into their practice sessions.  Trouble shoot problems.  Give advice as needed.  Walk away when they don't need you.  Take photos and videos at all times.  Every time you give the kids advice, remind them, "Now, remember, write down what I said in your DW and write a response to it..."  For Criterion C, they need to prove that they responded to feedback. Their responses might be "NO!" but they need to respond.

Always stop the lesson 10 - 15 minutes early and have the kids write in their DWs.  While they are doing this, post the videos or photos you've taken to the school server so they can pop them into their DWs as they are writing.  Have them play their videos for friends and write down their friends' comments.  Have them answer questions using the DeBono Thinking Hats.

Where Do I find Criteria B & C?

Criteria B and C are very intertwined. I look at it like this -

Criterion B is about their work through the creative cycle.  Do they have planning, practicing, polishing, and performing videos?  Did they state an intention about their performance and try to follow through on it?

Sample Question
How did the realisation of your plan match with your written plan?
How authentic did your music sound to the World Music style in which you are working? If not, then why not? Did you choose to depart from the authentic style or did it just happen? How did you make your music creative and musical (personal interpretation)?

Criterion C is about their reflections and evaluations through the creative cycle.  Yes, they had their videos, but did they reflect on their videos? Did they get feedback from mum and dad and then try to fix their performances?  Did their reflections cause them to practice differently and in so doing improve?

Sample Questions:
What were the positive aspects of your group’s performance? Remember to use The Elements of Music when critiquing your performance.
What needed to be improved about your ensemble? What have you learned about ensembles and how will this inform your future ensembles?

Criterion D

Criterion D is a mixture of class participation /  teacher observations and the DW. From the videos, photos, and teacher notes, I know who has worked well and who hasn't.  However, the student also needs to reflect on their engagement in class.  I also have them write a final evaluation of their working habits for the entire unit.

Sample Questions:
What strategies did you use in working together as a group?
How well did you stay on task?
How well was the division of the workload?
How did you change or “tweak” your plan as problems arose?
How did it feel working in your group?
Were the relationships healthy?
How have members been supporting and encouraging each other?
How did your group work through any problems that arose?

But how does this all look at the end? Are the kids doing 3 different assessments?

The kids aren't doing three different assessments - they are just doing one.  I have the same task sheet that I use for every unit; I just tweak it to make it easier or harder, depending on the grade level.  And yes, this has successfully passed grade 10 moderation.

The kids watch their videos, read through their DWs, and then answer the questions on this sheet.

I know that each question is linked to one of my assessment strands.

Video: CritB Strand 2
White: CritB Strand 1
Blue: CritC Strand 1
Yellow: CritC Strand 2
Black: CritC Strand 2
Blue & Red Hats: Criterion D

Actually, now that I look at this task sheet, there's two questions that I think need to be added:

What feedback did you receive and how did you respond? (CritC Strand 3). Of course, I can also judge this by reading their DWs and finding evidence of responses to feedback.

During which states of the creative cycle did you work the best? the least? (CritC Strand 1)

Sample Unit Planners

These are two unit planners from Nanjing International School.  Please use them as inspiration but don't copy them exactly.


File Size: 423 kb
File Type: pdf
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Global Context: Orientation in space and time

Discuss: Innovation, creation, development and change
Reflect upon / Explain: The desire to create, develop or change
Reflect upon / Explain: Thinking creatively
Evaluate: Solutions, and products
Evaluate: Transfer of knowledge and skills

Unit Statement

This is the leading or guiding statement that will drive the unit. The students must  be able to answer/discuss it at the end of the unit. 

1. It must not be answered using YES or NO.
Examples of BAD guiding questions:
"Is the cold war truly over?" 
"Was Freud correct?"
"Can we ever truly know another person?"

2. It must not be answered with a list of facts.
"What are the Elements of Music?"
"Who was the greatest composer to have ever lived?"

Unit Statement

The Elements of Music gives us a deeper understanding of musical links across time and genres. 

Sub-Unit Questions (Formerly known as "Sub-Guiding Questions."

How are the Elements of Music used to create music?
Why are the elements all interconnected?
Why do musicians argue over the number of musical elements?

File Size: 120 kb
File Type: pdf
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File Size: 200 kb
File Type: pdf
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Essay on Culture And Music Reflection

1054 WordsJan 24th, 20155 Pages

Alma Diaz
Laura Pawuk
HON 201
9 September, 2014
Culture & Music Reflection
"Culture" is defined as the belief systems and value orientations that influence customs, norms, practices, and social institutions, including psychological processes and organizations It acknowledges that all individuals are cultural beings and have a cultural, ethnic, and racial heritage. Culture has been described as the personification of a worldview through learned and transmitted beliefs, values, and practices, including religious and spiritual traditions. It also encompasses a way of living informed by the historical, economic, ecological, and political forces on a group.
The biological basis of race has, at times, been the source of fairly heated debates…show more content…

But to be completely honest, many Hispanics do not believe in going to the doctor. We have generations and generations of different home remedies that our ancestors swore work. If we can come up with a home remedy, why would we need to go to the doctor? In my opinion, I feel like it’s simply pride and stubbornness. We are very prideful and stubborn, so when we have a high fever or a serious cold, going to the doctor is not even an option; calling grandma for a remedy is.
On the other hand, Americans is everything. They believe that if a doctor tells them to take a certain medicine, they have no doubt that the medicine will cure them and not any other remedy. In American culture, research in medicine is very popular and important. Thankfully, because of this research, many cures and vaccines to serious medical conditions have been produced. According to me, I don’t believe and do not believe in both cultures beliefs about medicine. I grew up with the Hispanic belief and all of the remedies, so of course I think that some of them actually work. Additionally, I believe that if a doctor tells you to take a certain medicine is because they know what you have and what you need to take to feel better. I do believe that doctors know best.
Multiculturalism, in an absolute sense, recognizes the broad scope of dimensions of race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender, age,

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