Category Archives: Inquiry

Setting up a Sound Exploration Station

Every music teacher knows how much students just want to experiment (make lots of noise) when they come into a room full of instruments. As people, this probably drives us crazy, but as teachers, we should rejoice in the enthusiasm … Continue reading

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Making Mistakes

I recently dedicated some time to closing some of the 86 tabs I had open, and I finally had a chance to read an Edutopia article that I’d opened long ago. As inquiry teachers, and certainly as music teachers as … Continue reading

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Using Music to Develop Critical Thinking

For many teachers, making the change to PYP can be overwhelming, not only with all the jargon, but the complete shift in thinking. It’s not that the concepts are strange—it’s not even that we weren’t already doing these things. The … Continue reading

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Responding to “I don’t know”

“I don’t know.” It’s a common response from students, particularly on those days when I make a point of calling on students who are avoiding eye contact and trying to hide behind someone. And I will start by saying this: … Continue reading

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Instead of “I don’t know”

Okay, the title is a ruse. Children say, “I don’t know.” You can’t stop them. It’s a go-to response, it’s natural, and it’s fine. But what we want is for students to not stop there. “So you don’t know (or … Continue reading

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Inquiry into Pitch

I’ve just started a sound exploration unit in Grade 2, focusing on pitch (and later, duration and dynamics). Last week was an introduction week, where the students tried singing from graphic notation. What began as the same up-and-down siren sound … Continue reading

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Composing with Body Percussion

It’s a frustrating thing the day you realize that your Grade 4 students are still confusing beat and rhythm, and that they don’t read rhythms quite as well as you imagined they should. I dare say—and feel free to challenge … Continue reading

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Time to Invest in Post-Its

After a number of years in PYP, most teachers lose track of how many Post-Its they have used: in workshops, in meetings, and hopefully also in class. I used to roll my eyes when those little yellow packs would come … Continue reading

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Encouraging Critical Thinking in Music Class, Part II

In Part I, I connected critical thinking skills to the Learner Profile and the PYP Transdisciplinary Skills. As a follow-up, here are some prompts—through the lens of the PYP Key Concepts—to get you started with your students. I’ve kept these … Continue reading

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Encouraging Critical Thinking in Music Class, Part I

Critical thinking. This skill, highly valued by educators and continuously devalued by policymakers, is core to PYP or any other high quality education. The IB Mission Statement refers to an understanding that different people can be “right” in different ways. … Continue reading

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