TAPS 081 Teach a song

Today, we are getting into the most requested topic! Everyone (All. The. Time.) asks for all the resources when it comes to lesson planning.  Now, truth be told lesson planning is a little bit more complicated than what a 20 minute podcast episode can do for you. But lucky for you this episode is powered by my FREE Music Teacher Challenge, Power UP Your Lesson Planning–5 Secrets in 5 Days to Music Lesson Magic. Head to anacrusic.com/challenge to sign up!

So if you had to start SOMEWHERE with lesson planning you are going to have to start thinking about all the things you need to know for a lesson plan. There is big curricular sequence, which breaks down into concept planning, which breaks down into lesson planning. And don’t forget about the learning sequence framework for a concept.  There are many different levels of planning. (If this sequence framework sounds new or you need a refresher you can check it out here)

But today, I’m going to focus just on lesson planning, and give you the four things that I think are really, really essential to it.

1. Lesson Flow

As teachers, you know you have to be flexible. You want to make sure we have some sort of idea of what we’re doing in our lessons week to week, while also having flexible routine that is going to help your students feel more secure, excited, and more willing to participate, because they are going to be familiar with what happens inside of the music room.

Now you are asking yourself, what do I mean by lesson flow? You will want to break down, step by step, that wonderful sequence that leads your students into your music room, to make meaningful music the entire time, and after they leave your classroom.  (If you are wondering a lesson flow looks like, snag my free template here → anacrusic.com/lesson.) This framework will give YOU the structure to have the opportunity to decide what is really important, and give each lesson a direction for you and your students.

2. Define your Objective in Lesson Planning

This specifically means, what are you going to put on the board as a learning target? Here are some questions to ask:

  • What have my kids done?
  • What have they explored?
  • Do I need to  reteach something?
  • Do I need to go to the next step in my learning sequence framework?

You may have one or two objectives, but once you can decide on that objective/objectives, and in turn focus on that specific behavioral objective time in your lesson. Which leads us into step 3. 

3. Decide on your Modes of Active Music Making

Plan a song repertory, or the other games and the other active music making experiences around those objectives so that it is supporting the one or two objectives that you have in your lesson.

Largely speaking, we’re talking about singing, we’re talking about speech. We’re talking about percussion instruments, we’re talking about barn instruments are melodic instruments, like recorders, and we’re talking about movement. But regardless, you have to decide on your modes of active music making.

So once you’ve had that lesson flow, you can decide on those objectives and then kind of plan the material around those objectives based on the modes of active music making. You want to make sure that your students are doing each concept, by variation within your lesson. Because remember, the reason that we want to vary it throughout a concept and throughout a lesson is because we want to hit each student in our classroom with their most meaningful way of making music.

4.  Assess your Lesson Planning Flow

Before you freak out thinking, “Okay, wait, hold the phone, I have this lesson flow that apparently has a million parts and the objectives, which I don’t even know what I’m going to do, then the active music making, which is going to take like an hour, and now I have to find time to assess?

I want you to reframe your brain about what assessment really means. Yes, there’s formal summative assessment. But I am talking about your litmus test or a benchmark for your student to meet. Whatever it is that you’re going to be assessing or taking that observational data, be sure that it’s still allowing your students to be creative music makers.

So that was a pretty fast and furious rundown of how to plan a lesson. If the four steps, maybe didn’t seem like enough to you, go sign up for the challenge because we’re going to dive into this stuff in a lot more way, way deeper.

You can also chat with your other music teacher besties and get exclusive content related to each episode inside of the #TAP Insiders Facebook Group. Click here to join!


Anne Mileski Anacruisic

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