What My Students Learned From Playing Dungeons & Dragons

As part of my school’s Summer Learning Program, we offered a variety of teacher-led clubs that included basketball, recycled arts, ukulele, as well as Dungeons and Dragons. It was an awesome experience to watch the same group of students grow over the duration of the club. It was such a slow, holistic growth that it […]

8th Grade Class Songs & Graduation Playlist

Engaging 8th graders in the final weeks of school is always a challenge, especially for enrichment teachers. However, I found a modest amount of success this year with a student-driven lesson plan based around selecting songs for their own graduation. Students first suggested songs, we compiled them into a bracket-style tournament, and then the winners […]

At Long Last: The 2020 Student Mixtape

Better late than never! After resolving a technical snag I was unaware of, our end-of-the-year songs from LAST year are finally being published. We used the DAW BandLab.com and a loose rubric centered around creating a lo-fi study beat. This was a special batch of songs for me because of the pandemic and the way […]

Is Rap the “Poetry of a Generation”?

Dr. Marcyliena Morgan from Harvard’s Hip Hop Archive call raps the “poetry of a generation,” but many would disagree. What are the similarities between rap and poetry and in what ways are they different? We explore this question with this week-long thematic unit that looks at lyrics from modern poets, like Amanda Gorman, and rapper […]

No Instruments? No Problem!

Teaching remotely can be a real challenge. Teaching music remotely can seem impossible! Students often don’t have the resources or instruments necessary to participate in traditional activities. However, I’ve found great success in this first month of online learning by using found-percussion. Just like STOMP! students are clapping, slapping, and taping their way to success […]

BOY-o-boy: Gathering Beginning of the Year Data

As the school year begins, teachers are setting up their classrooms (or virtual ones), prepping materials, and establishing norms. It’s tempting to do it all in advance, and might not seem like the best time to gather data. However, this is when you can get some of the most important and meaningful information all year. […]

Roll-a-Song: An Introduction into Digital Composition

A quick, fun, and engaging activity to help your students enter the world of digital music. This 1 hour lesson is tech-centric but relies on entirely free to use programs. It covers key vocab like melody, harmony, and rhythm then transitions into a dice rolling random composition tool that has your students effortlessly making multi-voiced […]

Designing Student-Centered Curriculum

How can we better integrate our students’ interests, ideas, and needs when we develop arts curriculum? When and where can we encourage them to take the wheel and drive their own learning (without sacrificing depth or discipline)?  explore ways to activate and increase student voice, choice, and leadership engage in hands-on practice with Responding and Connecting strategies […]

The Music Box: A Project Based Learning Activity

A great introductory project that is based on student interests. Can be modified easily to work in any subject, and incorporates numeracy, budgeting, and other math skills. This open-ended idea has students creating monthly “loot crates” based around a central theme (music in this case) and then they have to create a budget figuring out […]