If you are on any kind of social media, I’m guessing that you’ve seen dozens of posts about whether or not schools should open. As schools and the rest of society reopen, schools have become the center of a lot of discussions. The thing is, there is no good answer. We want to meet the need for students to be together in a genuinely educational context, and at the same time we need to keep both students and staff safe. We know that remote learning does not meet the expectations we hold in our classrooms, but how can we focus on those expectations when everyone is worried about masks, social distancing, and hand washing?
No matter what your district decides, there will be disappointments. We need to be flexible: know what your priorities are, and what you can be willing to let go. Remember, this is temporary!
Here are a few things to consider as we start planning for next year:
- We can decrease risk with smaller cohorts of students, social distancing (putting sit spots or tape on the floor), washing hands before and after every lesson, and wearing a mask.
- We might be able to use instruments that can easily be cleaned or disinfected between classes: Boomwhackers, rhythm sticks, plastic egg shakers, plastic mallets on Orff instruments. Another idea is to have individual instrument packs.
- If you need to disinfect instruments, have clear and separate spaces for clean instruments and those waiting to be cleaned.
- There is a growing repertoire of digital lessons that can be projected or accessed on individual devices. Think about how you could use Google Slides, GarageBand, or any number of music ed apps. You might include listening examples, rhythm-reading along with a fun track, graphic notation exercises, or creative provocations with guiding questions.
- Many teachers are talking about flipping their classrooms. I don’t really see this as an option for my own context, but if your students are willing and able, they can record themselves singing or playing at home, and then you can feed back and analyze in class.
- Incorporate more activities like “don’t clap this one back”, the instruments mentioned above, purposeful movement and no-contact dancing, digital music if devices are available, or responding to musical examples.
- It’s not a solution for a regular basis, but reading music-related books is a great starting point for musical experience and creative thinking.
Looking for ideas for distance learning activities or choice boards? Check out this collection of 250 ideas! Plus, both pre-filled and blank, editable Music Bingo and Listening Bingo cards to get you started right away!
If you are on Facebook, join the Teaching Elementary Music through the Pandemic group to share ideas as the situation develops.Teaching remotely is very limited, but sometimes will be the safest option. Teaching in school presents a whole new set of challenges. But we all want the best for our students while keeping everyone safe. We are amazing and creative,… Click To Tweet
Teaching remotely is very limited, but sometimes will be the safest option. Teaching in school presents a whole new set of challenges that we may never have thought of before: no singing, no recorders, no wind instruments, no games with contact… But we all want the best for our students while keeping everyone safe. We are amazing and creative, and we can do this!
What is your school doing when school starts? What will you be doing differently?