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Miss Abby’s Classroom

Thomas Palmatier • FeaturesNovember 2022 • November 13, 2022

Last month SBO+ introduced you to Miss Abby’s classroom and provided an inventory list for the instruments and other gear she uses to teach K-5 music. Over the last two years, I’ve been a guest teacher (our district’s terms for subs) in Miss Abby’s classroom and observed how her teaching evolved and improved because of COVID.

Teaching remotely and often asynchronously forced her to invest a lot more time into building engaging lesson plans with embedded videos and audio tracks so students could learn to make music at home, frequently outside of class times.

Each lesson had a “hook;” an engaging video that tied directly to the day’s learning goals. This would be played as the students entered the room, starting the lesson before they had a chance to do what little kids do. BTW – does every little boy have a “I must slap and tickle at least twice a minute” gene?

After going over the learning goals, there would be a music warm-up by Miss Abby where she led them through stretching and singing by video. I recently asked Abby what she’s doing differently this year. She had recognized the warm-up had become too routine and wasn’t necessarily tied to the learning goals. How many of us do the same thing in our rehearsals? “Let’s play 1C, 2B, 3A, and 4D for the thousandth time.”

So, she scours the internet for videos geared to each age group that does not include questionable language (not always easy) and uses them for “dance-along” warm-ups. Each of these contains one or more ties to learning goals in the present (rhythm, dynamic shape, articulation, timbre as examples) or in the future (A-B-A structure, compositional arcs, repetition in support of continuity, etc.). Here are the warm-ups she’s using for October:

– Cupid Shuffle Music Video

– Waka Waka Choreography

– Blanco Brown – The Git Up

– Just Dance 3 – This is Halloween

Thanks for visiting Miss Abby’s Classroom!

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