Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Presentation to Supervisor

I developed this unit to introduce my 8th Grade ESL students to the world of classical music and encourage higher level processing through following its influences in music today. Music is also a compelling framework to trace history which will reinforce their Social Studies requirements. Many ESL students have no context for U.S. history and by adding musical signposts, we reach out using different learning styles. This creates a multidimensional learning environment. Also, by connecting the old world (European and Classical) with the new (U.S., Rock and Rap), we parallel the transition they are making from their country of origin.

This unit effectively incorporates Standards and Curriculum across the ESL, ELA, Technology, and Social Studies content areas.

All five Standards for ESL and ELA are effectively used through the WebQuest as are all the five Technology Standards. My intention is to align this unit with the Social Studies department since the first five periods of Classical Music cover the same time period as Unit 4 of their Curriculum.

Each day, I assign several short questions that students must find through reading the websites. These questions are designed to allow for differentiated responses for each student. To check for students who skim or use Wikipedia for the short answers, I will ask for more detail during the daily discussions at the end of each class. Short essays are also a daily part of this unit, requiring evaluation, analysis and synthesis of the data compiled during that section’s tasks. Day 1 asks students to pair a pre-selected musical selection with any book previously read as a class during the year. Again, here we are reaching for the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as does the final project, a music video presentation with a written introduction and explanation of their choices.

Guided Practice
The WebQuest directs students to selected websites and not random web searches. The class discussions at the end of each day are intended to broaden student understanding of the material. I will use the opportunity to challenge students’ preconceptions about music and add to any historical background information necessary. The students are familiar with the Picasa program so the fourth day spent working on their presentations should be content-focused, barring any technological upsets.

Independent Practice
The Music Fusion Video is an independent project, designed for the student to show the synthesis of the information gleaned from the WebQuest. Students will follow the Writer’s Process and the resulting video and written introduction meet ELA portfolio requirements.

I’ve purposely left off assigning any homework for this unit. I intend to let student responses during our daily discussions direct any homework assignments. For example, I may assign students to ask their parents targeted questions about their musical preferences or to find someone they know who regularly listens to Classical music. I may also assign them to research a particular song or artist, depending on students’ discussion responses.

This unit is an opportunity to involve students through multiple learning styles and engage them in their own learning through the practice using technology. They will improve their writing organization and structure with these tools and reinforce concept across content areas. I intend to work closely with my colleagues in the Science, Social Studies, Math and ELA Departments to develop a series of units similar to this one.

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