For some reason, I feel really good about my lesson planning this year. Well, I should start off by commenting that this past week was the BEST first week of school I have ever had. Things got frantic at times, but overall, it was awesome! Great classes: students are enthusiastic and incredibly kind which makes the job so much easier. But I also wonder if part of it had to do with my planning.
For many years I planned rehearsals and working towards achieving a certain sound with the groups. I do not want to dismiss that part of my life nor diminish that at all. There is tremendous work being done by music educators who work with performing groups, but I think I finally (FINALLY, after 13 years) figured out how to plan for learning. So, I am a pretty slow learner. I always have been, but my job has really transformed how I approach learning and teaching. My classes focus on learning and the sound eventually comes along with that. It makes so much sense to me and I wish I would have seen the writing on the wall so many years ago. Of course, my students learned when I was in the band classroom, but this feels different to me. I often wonder if is because there is a lack of pressure to perform at a certain level. Allowing the students to experiment with sound and creating their own music has fostered some pretty incredible learning, even within the first week of school. Last week in the guitar classes, we learned a simple melody, the chords that went along with the melody, how to de-code tab and create our own songs, all within the first four days of having a guitar in our hands. The students weren't upset that they weren't learning how to shred their favorite solo, but they were amazed at how much they learned. I was amazed at how much we learned, and we get to do it again this week!
It is likely that anyone reading this is thinking, "Seriously, Sarah, this is nothing new. You have been teaching for 14 years and you are now just figuring out how to plan for learning??" Well, this is my blog and I am still learning the ropes as well :) Considering that, I wonder how discovery and planning to learn might look like in different classrooms. Care to share?