Congratulations to the American Kodály Institute's graduating class of 2019! In four summers at Loyola University Maryland, they each completed a Master of Education in Kodály Music Education degree and earned OAKE endorsed Kodály certifications. These teachers live across the United States, but together, they will positively impact the lives of thousands of young musicians. On behalf of Maryland United Specialists in Kodály and the Organization of American Kodály Educators, well done and best of luck in all your future endeavors!
So many fantastic professional development sessions, so much to share! And that's exactly what the Maryland United Specialists in Kodály did on March 30, 2019. Board members Amy DeLoriea, Jim Javorsky, Lauren McDougle, and Rachel Tanenblatt shared their favorite new songs, games, and educational strategies from various regional, state, and national conferences from throughout the academic year.
After a delicious complimentary breakfast, courtesy of Loyola University Maryland, attendees sang and danced throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Songs and dances from Guatemala, India, St. Lucia, and more were studied and shared in a hefty packet. We are so grateful to our 40 attendees and we can't wait to see you again in the fall. Have a great summer!
If you were able to attend the workshop on Saturday, it was very clear that practical pedagogy is also play-based pedagogy! On January 12, 2019, Maryland United Specialists and the American Kodály Institute at Loyola University Maryland partnered for the workshop, Practical Pedagogy. Clinicians led 60 attendees through many high-energy and engaging games, dances, and activities that often had multiple uses in multiple grade levels. The morning sessions were presented by four American Kodály Institute graduate students. The first presenters, Bethany Pasierb and Veronica Timm recently completed their Level I Kodaly levels at the American Kodaly Institute. In Level I is Done: Songs for K and One, Pasierb and Timm shared a collection of singing games for kindergarten and first grade that had been successful in the music classroom.
After a short break and an opportunity to enjoy a complimentary breakfast, Amy DeLoriea, a K-2 music specialist, shared the benefits of spiraling curriculum with Using Your Music for All It’s Worth. She shared strategies for utilizing song repertoire to teach multiple musical elements in multiple grade levels. In the third session of the workshop, attendees were serenaded with a handmade illustrated folk song created by Hannah Graf. In Can We Play That Again?, Mrs. Graf highlighted her K-5 students favorite singing games and activities that also lent themselves well the preparing and practicing a variety of musical elements.
The workshop attendees and clinicians enjoyed a lovely lunch provided by and returned for the afternoon sessions. The American Kodály Institute Materials instructors, Lauren McDougle, Rebecca Foster, and Jim Javorsky ended the afternoon sharing over 40 folk songs, games and dances. Four or More featured songs with more than four game variations or activities. Mr. Javorsky shared songs about animals in Creatures Great and Small and Mrs. Foster shared food-themed folk songs in Just from the Kitchen: A Musical Culinary Celebration. This workshop was filled with inspiring moments filled with harmonious singing and laughter. Please join MUSIK members at the OAKE national conference in Columbus and we look forward to our spring workshop on March 30.
On Saturday, September 22, 2018, Maryland United Specialists in Kodály hosted the first workshop of the season. Nearly 50 educators from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Virginia came together to enhance their pedagogical skills at this four hour workshop. MUSIK is grateful to Loyola University Maryland for hosting our first workshop and providing a complimentary breakfast for the attendees.
After a short break, attendees returned to explore an online interactive platform SeeSaw. This application provides opportunities for teachers to engage students, allows for individual assessment, monitors practice and progress, and can improve communication with families. In the final hour of the workshop, attendees continued their musical exploration with a bucket drumming jam session. Rhythm reading, layering ostinati, and improvisation were highlighted in this segment of the workshop. Our session ended with the Hora Pe Gheata, a beautiful Bulgarian folk dance.
MUSIK is so grateful to Suzannah Norris for sharing her skills and knowledge with all of our attendees. Also, many thanks to our attendees for joining us. Their dedication to their students, schools, and communities is evident and appreciated. Please make sure to join MUSIK for the winter workshop on January 12, 2019! Have a great fall!
Congratulations to the American Kodály Institute's graduating class of 2018! In four summers at Loyola University Maryland, they each completed a Master of Education in Kodály Music Education degree and earned OAKE endorsed Kodály certifications. These teachers live nearly in all four corners of the United States, but together, they will positively impact the lives of thousands of young musicians. On behalf of Maryland United Specialists in Kodály and the Organization of American Kodály Educators, well done and best of luck in all your future endeavors!
Pictured (left to right): Kira Levitzky, Christina Booker, Stephanie Lichtenberger, Christopher Dean, Dani Ritchey, Afton Kreush, Korey Cunningham, Rachel Allnutt, Genevieve Rigsby
On May 5, Maryland United Specialists in Kodály hosted our final workshop of the year: Wrap it Up!, a Kodály-focused make-and-take at Loyola University. Each of us in attendance at this workshop left with our arms full of goodies and our minds full of engaging new activities to try as we round out the end of the school year.
This make-and-take workshop was a great way to conclude another year of Kodály-inspired teaching and learning. On behalf of the entire MUSIK board, I hope you have a fantastic summer. For those of you studying with us at the American Kodály Institute, see you back at Loyola University in July!
Our musical neighbors to the north, Kodály Educators of Eastern Pennsylvania, will be hosting Joan Litman on Saturday, February 24, 2018. Attendees will spend the day exploring the aural beauty of the Middle East and learning about songs, instruments, languages, culture, geography, history, and so much more! Registration for OAKE Members is $10.00 and non-OAKE Members is $20.00. Students may attend free of charge. Don't miss this fantastic workshop!
There is something so fantastic about ringing in the New Year with seventy five dedicated and passionate music educators! On Saturday, January 13th, Maryland United Specialists in Kodály teamed up with the American Kodály Institute and several members of their faculty to create an inspiring day of professional development with topics covering pedagogy, choral studies, learning modalities and music, and repertoire and materials. The More Than Music workshop opened with Student Centered Pedagogy: Engaging Students as Stewards of Their Own Learning, led by Ashley Cuthbertson. Mrs. Cuthbertson wowed attendees with her incredible organization, her utilization of 10 minutes of ability-based centers, and strategies for gathering data and guiding student learning. A highlight was her demonstration of methods of leading young musicians from teacher-led music making to independent music making, including sight singing, improvisation, composition, and instrument play!
The next presenter, Dr. Alyson Shirk demonstrated and sang with attendees for the first 20 minutes of her presentation. The high ceilings echoed with exuberant voices raised in song to Hold On. Through singing and gesture only, Dr. Shirk led attendees through minor pentatonic patterns in triple meter, and then beautifully transitioned us into canon singing, then to duple meter and added body percussion, then text and harmony. She then shared some strategies for building an aural foundation with older beginners in choir and led attendees through some useful drills and exercises. To close, Dr. Shirk shared how to help students make the connection to musical notation with kinesthetic and visual representations through listening maps.
After returning from a complimentary lunch provided by Loyola University Maryland and the American Kodály Institute, attendees laughed, danced, and sang with Amy Weishaar during Creating ConSENSES: MultiSENSEory Lessons to Help Deepen Musical Understanding of Students Learning Disabilities, Autism, ADHD, and More. While dancing and moving in ways that were new, Mrs. Weishaar encouraged attendees to not shy away from the experience and said, “Different is not wrong. Different is the world,” which gave everyone great pause – educators should constantly search for and try strategies that open the world of music in new ways with all of our students.
To close the More Than Music workshop, Jim Javorsky shared 26 songs, games, and dances in A-Z Learning Objectives for Today's Music Teacher. After a nearly 7 hour day, there was no better way to close the day then playing games and singing together! Mr. Javorsky closed his session with a Waltz Mixer, similar to what would be done after a long night of folk dancing, and it was a beautiful way to bid farewell to all of the new and old friends that were made on this wonderful day of music making. On behalf of MUSIK, thank you to all of the fabulous clinicians that share their talents. And to our attendees, we are so grateful you could join us and we hope to see you soon at Wrap It Up!, a make and take workshop in the spring.
Greetings Fabulous Educators!
Lucia Schaefer here from the kodaimusic blog (https://kodaimusic.wordpress.com). It is such an honor to be invited to take sometime today to talk about Responsive Classroom on the MUSIK blog. Thank you for this great opportunity! In my last post on my blog I outlined the philosophy of Responsive Classroom (RC) as well as its foundational elements. (If you don't know anything about RC, you may want to jump over to my blog and read the summary before diving in to this post.) I admit that it is a lot of material but I truly believe there is a way to authentically integrate the RC model with the amazing music instruction we are all already doing in our rooms.
You may be thinking, “that’s all well and good but I have *insert absurdly short amount of time here* to get my students where my curriculum and State Standards say they should be. I cannot afford to spend any time on this!” I would respond to that by saying you don’t have time not to. In this post and those that will follow, I will walk you through how I have implemented RC in my room. My hope is that I will inspire you to consider using RC in your room. Let’s start with the four key domains of RC.
1. Engaging AcademicsAdults create learning tasks that are active, interactive, appropriately challenging, purposeful, and connected to students’ interests.
If you are an Orff person, you are probably already doing this in some form. Any activity where you take a concept (like quarter and eighth notes for example) and put it into practice via composition or improvisation is purposeful learning that is appropriately challenging. Can anyone say #rigor?! Admin never seems to come for my observation on those days but that’s a whooooole other post. If you are a Kodaly person like myself, you might struggle with integrating improvisation into your lessons (I know I do!). I would recommend taking Orff Levels to fill this gap when you have some time. I’ll write another post soon about my journey in merging my Kodaly training with my Orff training.
Another layer to this is Culturally Responsive Teaching. If we are taking into account the cultural backgrounds of our students and adjusting our instruction accordingly. Then we are connecting to our students. This does not mean we abandon everything about our curriculum of course. But I do encourage you to consider the inclusion of the musical backgrounds of your students a social justice issue. Social Justice in the music room is yet another topic for a separate post so I’ll leave it at that for now.
2. Positive CommunityAdults nurture a sense of belonging, significance, and emotional safety so that students feel comfortable taking risks and working with a variety of peers.
We are way ahead of our General Education peers on this one. Music is AMAZING at accomplishing this. Think about the circle games, singing in rounds, and playing instruments. Every activity in our room naturally creates a sense of belonging. In addition to this, wee encourage risk-taking in a safe environment through the careful scaffolding of improvisation and composition (again, go get those Orff Levels!). Finally, our students have to work with varied groups of students every day depending on the outcome of that lesson’s activity so all of these boxes are checked!
3. Effective ManagementAdults create a calm, orderly environment that promotes autonomy and allows students to focus on learning.
This one can be a little more difficult. While you may be thinking about behavior management, this domain has to do with the physical space of the music room. Music teachers have a lot of stuff. Like….ALOT. I have spent an uncountable amount of hours telling students to stop touching things in the music room. RC is adamant that anything out and/or in view is for student use. That means that the conga that can’t go anywhere else, the orff instruments that are not meant for the Kindergarten but you will use them in the next block and yes, even your guitar on the stand in the front of the room are fair game.
The simplest solution to avoid having these conflicts is to remove the object that is so tempting to touch. This is a true story; I had an upright bass in my room due to the string program at my school that didn’t have a cover. In every single class, every single day I had to tell students not touch it. Then one day I asked myself “what the **** am I doing??!” It has been said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” I was definitely driving myself crazy with this bass in my room! I removed the bass and replaced it with the cellos that all had covers. Now that I don’t have to fight that battle anymore I am much happier and the kids are more focused.
When a student opens the bin with all the beat buddies, goes behind a curtain to find the shakers, or plays my guitar, I have to remind myself that it is not their problem that they want to touch with all the cool stuff in the music room. It is my job as the adult to take a critical look at my room and ask myself “how can I remove all distractions from learning?” Every few weeks or so I take stock of my room and make adjustments as needed. Now in my room everything is in a bin with a lid. Anything that is not in a bin with a lid is covered by some kind of sheet or curtain. All horizontal surfaces are clear of clutter and everything that can be is put out of sight in a cabinet or closet. This was a huge undertaking that required me take stock of all the materials I had. It’s almost winter break and I am still in purge-mode. As painful as it was to say goodbye to things I had been hanging on to for five years, it really has paid off in terms of my own emotional state in my room and I highly recommend giving it a try.
4. Developmental Awareness
Adults use knowledge of child development, along with observations of students, to create a developmentally appropriate learning environment.
This is another hard one. There are teachers out there who are able to manage and track data for every student they teach across the 5-7 years that they teach them. While I aspire to do this I am no such teacher. What I can do though is research what is developmentally appropriate for my students and do my best to assess them using the benchmark. This applies both to what I expect from them musically. and what I expect from them behaviorally.
There are two books that have had a huge impact on my teaching. The first is Eric Jensen’s Teaching with Poverty in Mind. and the second is Yardsticks by Chip Wood. The first is an invaluable resource for educators who are working with high risk students. A few months ago I wrote a whole post about self-regulation and how poverty impacts brain development. That post was primarily based off of this book so jump back and check it out if you haven’t already. The second book gives a wonderful summary of each age-group emotionally, socially, and academically.
Combining the information of the two has helped me better understand what is reasonable to ask of each age group. Maybe that dance that should be appropriate for my third graders according to the curriculum really is too ambitious. Or perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect kindergarteners to be able to sit and listen to a song tale without any pictures to ground them. These are just a handful of the many realizations I have made this year about my instruction. As a result, I am a happier and more successful teacher, and my students are happier and more successful as well.
In my next post I’ll take a deep dive in to the classroom practices that facilitate the domains covered above. I hope this post has given you a good jumping off point when reflecting on whether RC has a place in your room. Come and visit at kodaimusic.wordpress.com to get more information on Responsive Classroom as well as other topics such as self-regulation, arts integration, and much more! Hope to see you all soon,
Music making engages the whole child - mind, body, and spirit. Music educators often find that the best lessons have beautiful moments because the magic of a song has tapped into the passion, interest, and imagination of a young musician. So to encourage Kodály educators in the New Year, Maryland United Specialists in Kodály is co-hosting the winter workshop, More Than Music, on Saturday, January 13, 2018 with the American Kodály Institute at Loyola University Maryland. Location details, directions, and parking information can be found here.
The More Than Music workshop registration is free so please invite your friends and colleagues to join you! Many thanks to Loyola University Maryland for providing the complimentary breakfast and lunch for all attendees and clinicians. We hope to see you soon, fellow music educators!
Current Board Members
Lauren McDougle, President