Teacher Ideas

Curriculum, Planning, & More

2018-03-25 08.48.27 amCurriculum

I started a very basic form of curriculum in my first few years, but it wasn’t helping as much as I had hoped.  Then, I took a music-curriculum course.  It was lead by Arvida Steen and Jay Broeker, Orff-Schulwerk legends.

They helped us to start out with just a basic list of things to accomplish for each grade level.  These would be your top melody and rhythm goals for each grade level. For example; First grade would need to learn steady beat, rhythm, basic rhythm notes, So and Mi, and La.  Very basic. Then, working with resources like “Exploring Orff” by Arvida Steen, I  developed a road map for these yearly goals.  I mapped out what should occur first, second third, etc.  I planned for doing steady beat and singing voice excersises for the first couple months, then starting to sing and identify So and Mi.  Then after Christmas we would add La to the mix.  Same with rhythm notes.  This gave me a slightly more in depth outline.

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From here I could plan out each week what I wanted to do.  I looked at different lessons and activities and saw how many days I would use each one and planned accordingly.  Then I was able to add in the “extra” stuff where I had room and where it fit with what I was already covering.

2018-03-25 08.46.06 amPlanning

Loving to organize, naturally I make list and spreadsheets for everything.  One of the best things that has helped me is a year-long planning.  I had to begin with an idea of what goals to accomplish within a year, that’s where the curriculum goals came into place.  Using those ideas I was able to create a template to use for my planning purposes.  2018-03-18 09.18.18 am.png


These are the main concepts I am covering within the lesson.  This is where I put those “big goals” I have for my students.  These are basically the same for awhile within the plans, until I start teaching a new concept.


Here I put what props, manipualtives, instruments, and curriculum books I may need for a lesson.  I especially love putting which books I need, because I tend to forget where I found a song or activity.  If I got a lesson idea from a workshop or conference I would also list it there (i.e. AOSA16, GCC17).


This is “my version” of what I see when I plan lessons.  I just write the title of a song or activity.  Then if I need a refresher, I can refer to the book, workshop, or my own notes on how the actual lesson goes.  There are 4 categories that I plan with: Melody, Rhythm, Movement, Other.  I try and incoporate at least one melody, one rhythm, and one movement concept activity into each lesson.  Each of these activity lengths depends on the lesson.  We could be finishing a concept and just reviewing it, or just starting to explore it.  These would have those activities being a short beginning or ending activity.  The main concept we would work on would happen in the middle of the lesson and cover the most amount of time during the class period.

Assess & Standards:

Here I list what song I will be using to assess the students, and what I want to assess them on.  The standards are the Ohio standards, just listed by their number and category.  I have a large list of all the standards that I can refer to, or my admin if they want.

This was just a starting point for me to see what I could do with each grade level.  I never stick right to what I have planned.  We all know that things happen and you get off course.  That is one of the beautiful things about the Schulwerk, getting creative with your students and seeing where the music takes you.  As a learner myself, I also add things to my lessons each year that I see or hear other teachers doing.  Attending my chapter’s workshops always give me new ideas to try out.

2018-03-25 09.07.33 amMore

To help with planning for the year, and to keep track of things that work and didn’t work, I have a “master list” of all the songs and activities I do each year in a certain grade level.  2018-03-24 08.49.06 am.png

I have the song title, as well as what concept areas can be covered with that song.  I don’t have it in any order really, just the order to which I entered the songs into the list.  On the left side I mark when I have done a certain song/activity with that grade level.  If I didn’t like the activity, I push it to the bottom and give myself some notes about what didn’t work.  I also add to this list throughout the year, after seeing workshops, instagram posts, or TPT ideas.  This list is something that is a pie in the sky kind of list.  I never get through everything with every grade level.  I try my best, but as you know, there are never enough hours or days!

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