Thursday, November 12, 2015

Leader in Me Music Room

I teach at a Leader in Me Lighthouse School.  I love what the Seven Habits of Happy Kids has done for my students, parents and community.  Finding authentic ways to implement the habits in the music room has been one of my missions the past six years. 
As a Music Learning Theory (MLT) practitioner, I use Dr. Edwin Gordon's Primary Measures of Music Aptitude (PMMA) and Intermediate Measures of Music Aptitude (IMMA) to test students developmental music aptitude.  PMMA and IMMA give me snapshot into the tonal and rhythm development of my students.  I tailor instruction to each of my students strengths and challenges. 
Once my students take the test, I give each child a sheet with their raw score on each test.  My students graph their score, then make a goal based on the lower of the two scores.  It's an opportunity for students to know their aptitude and to own their development.  
Each lesson in the music room, I draw their attention to the focus of each activity.  If we do a chant and work on rhythm patterns, then we talk about the activity helping students with a rhythm goal.  If we sing a song and work on improvising a melody, then we talk about the activity helping students with a tonal goal.  
At the end of the year, students reflect on their goal.  Sometimes I test the students' aptitude again to assess their growth.  It's an opportunity for me and each student to know how they've grown musically over the year.
If you're not a MLT practitioner, there are other ways you can track student growth.  I also track students' Singing Voice Development.  It's a great tool for students in Kindergarten through Second Grade.  Another way to track student growth is Musical Progress Sheets.  Each grade level sheet has concepts and skills we are working on through out the year.  Each student reflects on their mastery/progress at the end of each semester.  
We also talk about how the habits impact our daily musical lives.  Our lessons are front-loaded.  If we want to get to the play party or folk dance at the end of the lesson, then we need have to "Begin With the End in Mind."  We talk about "choosing our weather" when we come in excited, or upset from something that happened before music class.  And we apply the habit of  Synergy in the context of our ensemble work, because all music making requires Synergy.
In addition to all of these things, our choir performs a Leader in Me song each year.  Our first year, we sang Jannah Bolin's Seven Habits Song.  From there, I started writing my own "piggy-back" songs.  You can access all of the Seven Habits songs for free in this Dropbox folder.

I've also included a copy of my Seven Habits for the Music Room

If you teach at a LIM school, share with me the ways you use the habits in your music classroom!  How do you have your students set goals or show growth!


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