Thursday, 13 December 2012

Responding to Music - The Listening Framework

Listening activities are one of my favourite things to do with my Music classes. Themes & Variations has a great selection of listening resources and I must say that I would have been lost without them! 

Listening Kit 3 is where I found many of the ideas to use with my Grade 5/6 classes. It is designed for Grade 3s but the movement activities are fun and the students love the rhythm play-a-longs so it easily transfers to the bigger kids. (This is also the first year I've taught these students so their listening slate is pretty clean). The Listening Kits also come with CDs and a variety of blackline masters and posters to use with your classes. 

I've put together an outline of how I structure the introductory lessons that teach my students how to respond to the music we listen to and lay the groundwork for listening activities for the rest of the year. You can use any piece to start but I used "Entry of the Gladiators" by Julius Fucik (mainly because it was the first song in the book but it also turned out to be a big hit thanks to Madagascar 3).

1. Listen to the piece. Stress the importance of silence so that students aren't disturbing other people's listening experience.

2. Listening Log - I put a copy of the listening log found in Listening Kit 3 on my Smart Board. I played the piece again and together we filled out the log on the board and students copied the answers on their personal listening log. 

3. Listening Map - I also transferred the Listening Map from the book onto the Smart Board and we discussed the form of the piece. 

4. Non-Written Response - This is where I like to incorporate either a movement activity or a rhythm play-along. Anything fun that increases student buy-in to the piece. For "Entry of the Gladiators" we did the rhythm play-along suggested in the book. 

5. Success Criteria for Responding to Music - Ideally, I would co-create the success criteria with students but I didn't do that this time. I wanted to make sure they were familiar with how to respond in writing to music first.

6. Response Journal Prompts - These prompts come directly from Listening Kit 3. I think it is important to give students a choice when it comes to how they wish to respond to the piece. Students choose any prompt but are reminded to follow the Success Criteria!

7. Model - I did a think-aloud to model for my students exactly how I would select a journal prompt to write my response. I always make sure I refer directly back to the Success Criteria when crafting my response.

8. Group Response - Students worked in groups of 3, selected a journal prompt and wrote a response using the Success Criteria.

9. Gallery Walk and Feedback - When students finished their responses, I posted them in the hallway and gave each student two sticky notes. The students silently read each response and used their sticky notes to provide feedback for two groups.

10. General vs. Descriptive Feedback - With a few responses, I read the feedback on the sticky notes aloud and as a class we decided whether the feedback was general or descriptive (see my previous post on descriptive feedback). 

There is a lot here but I can usually get these activities done in three to four lessons. My next listening activity would be structured in a similar way. I'd follow steps 1-4 as outlined above and review steps 5 and 6 but this time I'd have students write a response on their own. 

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