A reflection on my summer resolutions 2014

This time last year I wrote my first ever blog post and came up with some resolutions for the new academic year as inspired by #mufuchat. You can read it here.

1. To keep singing at the heart of my classroom

I definitely kept putting singing first this year, although there is still work to do. Every one of my classes sang this year and even my year 8s and 9s in the summer term, which I have to confess was a first! I piloted some ideas for the launch of SingUp Secondary, which built up my repertoire a little and all my exam classes sang their set works at some point. Some of my favourite lessons on the year came from doing this with sixth form.

This year I plan to encourage more musical communication through singing, trying to embed sung responses when working on compositions. I also want to build up a formal shared bank of singing resources for the department as I rely very heavily on my ‘bank’ of songs I have acquired over the years and know my NQT has sometimes found it hard to choose pieces. Time to freshen up the selection!

2. Not to let exam board requirements dictate non-musical teaching

I taught at least half my year 12 set works via practical work shopping, the vocal pieces were certainly easier, and this felt a little daunting in places as in previous years I had done this for a couple with practical here and there. I worried they were not getting the core content written down and formalised enough. However by exam season their knowledge of the set works was certainly not diminished and I was impressed by their responses in essays. This is certainly something I will be taking forward into the new academic year.

3. To use assessment to critique meaningful musical learning and not for assessments sake

By using Edmodo to give feedback and by using a lot more video evidence my use of assessment is certainly more musical in spirit and is directly impacting on musical progress. I can see this in every lesson. I am however still reporting in levels and completing the half termly data entry using levels. I still feel I am doing the latter for assessments sake and have not managed to connect this to the musical feedback and dialogue that is happening in my classroom.

4. To encourage and inspire high quality listening in students of all ages

I have set a lot of listening homework this year and encourage the students to follow the department twitter account and #bccsplaylist to increase their exposure to more music. Sixth form students have also kept a diary of their listening as a weekly task and this was invaluable in writing the AS sleeve notes. I have tried to do more active listening in class at key stage 3 and tried to encourage ‘listening to’ as opposed to ‘hearing’ the music. I edited a¬†resource that was shared with me a few years a go to create our own literacy mat. I have laminated a set of these in A3 and have them around the room to encourage more extended responses. These have been some simple, but effective ideas but I would like to formalise some more for the new year.

Resolutions for next year still pending!

LG