Tag Archives: thinking skills

4 Easy Tricks for a Quieter Classroom

Music teachers have an amazing tolerance for noise. All primary school teachers deal with the calling out, the obliviously loud voices, and all that, but the music classroom multiplies that. After all, we don’t usually sit at desks—maybe not in … Continue reading

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Exploring Musical Expression using Carnival of the Animals

One of the most important concepts we teach is communication through music, or what we might call musical expression. Music, I emphasize to my students, is not just here to entertain you or fill the silence at the grocery store. … Continue reading

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Metacognition and Student Reporters

These ideas can be used in any class, or any subject, but arose as a solution to a specialist situation. Specialist teachers have such limited time with students—and so many students—that getting an overview of students’ learning becomes a perpetual … 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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Earth Day

April brings Earth Day, which is observed by people in countries all over the world. For the most part, our students have some awareness about the environment, and they quite naturally feel the need to take care of it. No … 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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10 Fun Formative Assessments

Here are some creative formative assessments for this beautiful Friday! Get children using their critical thinking skills to synthesize their knowledge and apply what they have learned. These ideas can be used in any subject. Students design an ad (for a … 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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