It has been a long time since I have posted a blog, and a lot has happened!

I put on the musical Bye Bye Birdie in the 2nd last week of my Term 2, left my old school at the end of that term and started at my new school as a permanent position of Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts in Term 3.


Here is an unedited promotion photo we did for the musical showing some of the costumes from the female chorus. I made all of the skirts, underskirts and appliqued the “Birdie” onto the Cardigans! They looked absolutely awesome on stage 🙂

The last term at my new school has been a whirlwind of me getting to know new staff, new students, getting to know different processes, welfare systems and a new routine! In this new school I have so far put on three Art displays and a 2 hour Show of Music and Drama!

One of the nice things about changing schools is the chance to see how other people operate in and out of the classroom. There are new ideas of how programs are put together, different types of assessments, different assessment schedules and ensuring that everything that needs to be done is done.

As a staff member that came in half way through our school year, I knew that my timetable might be made up of bits and pieces—but I was lucky, I do actually get to teach my subject of Music. I have 4 Year 7 classes that I see 6 times over a two week cycle and one Year 10 Elective Music class.

Unfortunately for my Year 10 class, I am their fourth teacher in 2 years and they were very reluctant to do any work for me at first. It took a bit of time, but they are now a lovely group of creative students who are doing quite well. This same class, when I took over, was behind in their assessments as their last teacher chose not to complete a composition task, for a variety of reasons. It has meant that in 10 weeks I have had to get these students through two major composition tasks—the catch up one and the scheduled one.

When I arrived the students were in the middle of the topic—Music for Film, Radio, Television and Multimedia. This was to my advantage as I already had a composition task that I have used successfully for years that I just tweaked a little for this class. The task, pictured below, is available on Teachers Pay Teachers – the link here

A composition task for Elective Music students where they create and record an ad for a real or imaginary product.
A composition task for Elective Music students where they create and record an ad for a real or imaginary product.

In this task students are asked to write a 30 second Radio Advertisement for any product—real or imaginary. They can work solo OR as part of a group, but each member of the group must submit their own Composition Booklet. I choose to do a radio ad over a television one because the students get caught up in the images on screen rather than focus on the music—with the radio ad they have to rely on music and a good script to promote their product.

I find that this project is a good one to link to technology and music as well. I show the students how to use Audacity to record and edit their advertisements—mainly because it is easy to use and it is a FREE program! I created a screencast on how to use Audacity for a senior music class a couple of years ago and you can view it here on Youtube

The second composition task that the students had to complete was originally supposed to be a Theory Exam— I felt that this was not going to be as well received by the class so chose to do another group task instead. Again I called on my past experience by using a task that I had done earlier in the year with my Year 9 class at my last school. The previous class had done this assessment really well and I knew that my current class could do as well, if not better!

Link to the Composition Assignment on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

Elective Music Song Writing Task with chord progressions and lyrics.
Elective Music Song Writing Task with chord progressions and lyrics.

This composition is a song writing task where I give the students a set of chord progressions and some lyrics. The students can work solo or in a group, and again each student must submit the Task Booklet individually. I make it clear to the class that no part is to be doubled and each student in the group must be involved in the actual performance of their song. I like to video the performances of their song for a couple of reasons—one is that it is proof of their completion of the task and secondly the students like to watch themselves back!

In this assessment I used, with permission, some poetry by Dan Frugalberg—a link to his blog is here. It has been interesting how each group has used the lyrics in different ways—not two compositions have been alike in any way at all—at either school!

(When I can successfully upload the samples I will! But having technical difficulties today.)

Both of these assignments have been designed with Differentiation in mind. Each task allows the students the choice of instrument, music, technical skill and creativity. The students who choose to be part of a group are all held accountable individually with very clear expectations from the start of what their role in the task is. With both tasks, at both schools, I had a 95% completion rate! The only students who did not submit tasks were those students whose attendance is very low, all my regular students completed each task!!!

Until next time

Happy Teaching

Julia from Jooya

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