All semester I have been trying to work on being fun in my teachings, so at the beginning of each lesson I tried to keep everyone engaged and ready to have fun, by joking about being tired or something and getting them ready to pay attention. These lessons definitely felt lighter and more fun than when I taught “Old Brass Wagon” because I tried to keep everyone engaged the whole time and come up with different activities that children might like to keep them from getting lost. I felt like it was easier to take charge at times than in the past, and it is just getting more experience with these kinds of lessons.
I go into the lessons feeling scared because I fear that I will have trouble recalling the whole lesson (I memorize as much as I can) and with the last lesson it was kind of a combination of me needing notes and deciding in the moment that I wanted to go an easier route that I didn’t follow the exact lesson plan. In the last lesson, I said “as a group” and “work together” but I just ended up telling everyone what to do and realized what I did as it was happening but I didn’t want to stop. Overall I did a good job of keeping on track with the memorized plans, and by following the examples from class I was able to get through each lesson and have some sort of individual assessment, something else I have been trying to work on.
I need to work on my questioning a bit, because I don’t always know what is appropriate for younger students. I have talked with my mentor teacher about my lesson plans from class to see what she thought of them, and she always thought that they were a little too difficult for younger students. Looking at the first video I realized that the first question that I asked was a little challenging, unless I had sung the song a bit more, so I need to work on balancing things out and finding what will work. I am trying to get more comfortable with learning through discovery, but I am trying to incorporate more of the teaching strategies that we learn in class and not talk too much. I am doing better with having fun, but I need to keep the energy up, especially in my voice because I tend to get monotone at times.
In the Orff lesson, Dr. Stauffer suggested that I get more creative with the words that I used (i.e. giddy-up rather than bell horses for the tambourine part) and think about how I can improve the arrangement (have the xylo in 5ths and put the 3rd in the glock part to fill out the chords). The arrangement that I had worked, but I would like to get better at making Orff arrangements of songs, and teaching them, and I think that it will just come with practice and looking at other arrangements.
I am not always sure how to break things down, because the exercises that we do in class don’t always match up with the songs that we choose (the elements that we teach are in good spots, at the end, but a lot of times not like that with what I choose, and I try to model my lessons after the in-class experiences). I need help on where to place questions because it hardly ever feels natural to me, mostly because in my internship when we teach a song it is just repeating the teacher and having the lyrics projected. I also don’t always know how to end a lesson, because it is usually “good job” unless there’s something specific that was being taught (Old Brass Wagon had 16ths and Bell Horses had la).