I’ve always enjoyed cross-curricular lesson planning. Not only does it make sense because it enhances the learning process to be looking at subject matter in multiple ways, it also frees up time to pursue class interests or activities that don’t perfectly match the common core standards. When teachers are experienced enough to blur the lines away from a rigid subject matter schedule, cross curricular lessons can be magical for both students and teachers. These are the lessons when my class and I have experienced learning without any attention to the clock. Usually there is always one student every year who was a clock watcher, for better or worse, and reminded us that recess was half over.
The new challenge within this module of study was to look at cross-curricular planning with an eye focused on the benefits of technology integration. I focused on integrating technology enhanced arts, health, and physical education with my sixth grade opinion writing unit. This unit originally integrated health which is why you see health covered so heavily below. Here is a link to my Buncee which supports the chart below.
I have a personal teaching story to share about the benefits of technology in music programs. Last year my fourth grade teaching partner and I decided that our students would benefit from a half day field trip to the Oregon Symphony’s Young Peoples Concert. When I announced the field trip they moaned and groaned about how boring it would be. I worried a bit about this myself, but I was assured by my teaching partner that the conductor does an excellent job tailoring the experience for kids. Fortunately, the conductor did and the experience changed some attitudes about remaining open to new experiences for about half of the students. In order to build anticipation and some familiarity with the music, each teacher was provided with a cd of the music that would be played. I turned it on as background music. Nothing. I tried having the students act out how they felt while the music was being played. Aha! I had complete skits without words and too little time for all the volunteers to perform. Now that I had found a way to connect them to music that was originally foreign to them, I could rest assured that I now had data from them in order to finalize plans for our time together after the field trip. I told them that I had a secret activity planned and it involved the iPads. When we returned I introduced them to Beatwave which is a free music composing app. I helped them connect the dots that music doesn’t happen without a composer and they would get to be a composer for the afternoon. They were asked to share their best one minute composition with the class by day’s end. As stated in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (2016),
Today, the desktop music production software industry is helping accelerate a trend away and from reliance on printed sheets and toward an audio artifact. This means that many students who are discouraged by a requirement to learn notation theory can now participate as composers and performers. (p.356)
It’s time our music programs get updated and meet the needs of the learners in front of them. Despite having an amazing music teacher at our school, music class, presented in the traditional way, isn’t holding students’ attention which creates a frustrated teacher and ill-behaved students. Technology can help address many of the same issues across the curriculum. (p. 356)
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.).