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Microteach lesson written by Joel Price, September, 1999

I included revisions and thoughts in hopes of showing my ongoing process of updating usefulness and applicability of the lesson.

Classroom Overview:

This lesson is designed for my fourth grade classroom at Friends Select School. I have thirteen students in my classroom. Students really seem to like musical activities, whether it be singing in the classroom or participating in music class. There are a couple problems I would like to consider in my class, namely the "calling out" problem--students not waiting until called before speaking. The other problem is an exclusion problem where one or two students are hassled by a few others about talking all the time or about their ideas, e.g. "Harriet, that's so dumb!"

Key Design Questions:

1. The idea of using music in the classroom as a teaching device should be given much more credit -to all students, it is worthy and requiring of understanding. Music can be a powerful learning device for many students; it is used way too infrequently in most if not all classrooms.
2. Evidence of understanding will be ascertained by the level of involvement of students in the activity. It should be pretty apparent if students are participating--it is a whole-group-at-once activity.
3. Learning experiences in this activity include memory enhancement, a chance for students to bring in home/outside-of-school life to the classroom, and increased group cooperation.

Mager Objective:

Given a well-known song, the students will all participate in and react accordingly to musical cues which they will decide during the lesson.

Facets of Understanding:

This lesson aims to involve Facet 2: Interpretation as students explain how a certain musical cue pertains to a certain reaction, Facet 3: Application as students gain interest in and permeation of music in their daily lives and perhaps how it can be used in a transformed state in their writing, and Facet 4: Perspective--students may gain perspective on what makes catchy music and apply it to what makes gripping literature; the extension from music to other areas of life.


-a musical instrument

-a space where all students can gather, preferably in a circle


First, I will gather the group together in a circle. The base song will be announced and played for the students once (to familiarize students with what we will be building from). After that time, I will explain that there is a "secret language" game that we will play using the music (this will hopefully excite the students by the prospect of designing and using a language). There will be several riffs of music that I may play at any given time while playing the song through after which the students will respond (all together) with a certain reaction (this will allow everyone to participate and will encourage those who are usually shy to participate as well). Example: when the Simpsons riff is played, everyone shouts "Doh!" in Homer-esque style. We gradually build on to the language making it more and more difficult. After I have set out a few riffs to watch for and the class has practiced them, the students will be given a chance to come up with their own additions to the "secret language" (this will allow students to work aspects of their out-of-school life into the classroom and to share with other students if they are comfortable doing so). A few follow-up lessons might be to have students make a written language of their own or to discuss how the musical/listening activity was harder or easier than learning on paper. Students might discuss ways they thought the musical activity helped them in written work. They might also brainstorm ways to use more music in activities at school, such as adding music to plays, reading aloud with music fitting the work, and so on.


I would like to know whether this would truly interest students as well as glean more ideas on how to use music effectively in the curriculum. I wonder if I will be able to effectively pull off a lesson like this and actually have it be cohesive and apply to other academic subjects.


1. Is what I'm doing fun? Would it be fun for fourth graders?

2. Does it effectively use music and language together in a lesson?

3. Do you think meaningful learning can take place as a result of this lesson?

4. Will it lead to meaningful connections in the childrens' minds --will it help them to broaden their perspectives of learning?



-easel with chart paper to write down what each riff means (for the first few riffs, then the activity will become a memory game)



I'm not sure my lesson connected to other parts of the curriculum as it could have. Here are some ways I have thought of to change the lesson in order to be a more connected and integrated piece of the curriculum. Once we stop writing down our new additions to the "language," students start to create dictionaries of musical terms, adding to the list as we create more language. We can talk about how dictionaries are organized and how to define terms in a dictionary. We can work on the writing process; drafting, editing, updating, adding, cutting, etc. in creating the ongoing dictionary. Another way we could do it is to create a shortcut code of sorts in order to remind ourselves of the musical cues. By doing this, students learn by trying different ways how to keep notes in a quick and efficient manner.
We could use the ongoing music activity as a way of teaching tallying and graphing in math; students could learn how to keep a tally and transfer data into graph form and we could see which musical hints were most used and which were least used. We could then extend our graphing knowledge into science and see how graphs we've made are similar and different from one another.
I feel confident that the Microteach lesson itself would be interesting for students and engaging. I think that the modifications in future plans for this lesson that I have made will tie together other subjects more thoroughly and will make the aforementioned lesson more meaningful.
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