Last week I read the book, Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance by Keith Graves to my fifth graders. I tried something different. I taught them music to accompany the book and then instead of leading them through a directed activity with the book, I challenged them to create a final product. I shared the learning standard and gave them time to brainstorm the possibilities. Below is what each class decided to do.
MU:Cr3.2 Share a creative musical work that conveys intent, demonstrates craftsmanship, and exhibits originality.
Class 5a: We will read the book to a buddy class and act out the book. We will create an arrangement of the music to accompany the story.
Class 5b: We will read the book to a buddy class ending with a flash mob dance. We will create an arrangement of the music to accompany the dance.
Class 5c: We will create a movie of the book using a green screen. We will create an arrangement of the music to accompany the story using our orchestra instruments and a guitar.
This week students came into my room excited to start class. They approached me in the hallways with ideas for the next music class. I found out that students met, collaborated and choreographed a dance outside of the music class in preparation for our next class. Students brought props and instruments to class without me asking them to. The room was busy. The process was messy. The classroom was loud. Students were in charge.
By thinking differently, my lesson shifted from engagement to empowerment. It was a pretty amazing week.