I am a Junior-high school music teacher, but also a first time mother with a 14 months old son. And this is why I listened to Dr. Kist's presentation with special interest: I wanted to not only grow and learn new ideas professionally as an educator, but also have awareness about a topic that perhaps might have the biggest impact on my son's education in the near-future.
Dr. Kist's presentation was great - he practiced what he preached very effectively. The exercises he had us go through, whether it was throwing crumpled paper balls at each other with written messages and replies, or lining up by order of birth date without speaking, have very important components that any teacher should include in the classroom. They are collaboration, communication and action (moving around). While I was doing the birth date line up activity, I remember thinking what a great way the activity would be to teach music history or many other different lessons. Doing the exercises made me experience first hand how important it is to create such active, engaging environment for the students. Dr. Kist mentioned the importance of building a community. This is a very important part of the teacher’s job- to make sure that we are including everyone in the experience.
I really enjoyed the reading Dr. Kist’s book which highlights many wonderful examples of literacy initiatives being implemented by teachers. My favorite example was how the librarian at the Peacock Middle School (whose official title is Media Center Director) plays a centralized role in setting up and administering the whole system of media and technology to support the school curriculum. I am impressed that the school not only recognizes the increasing importance that various media and technology will play in curriculum going forward, but also acts on that recognition. Sounds like an ideal environment for the students!
I want to become a teacher who will be remembered by students, who will say “yes, I learned something very important from Ms. Lee’s class.” I hope to be able teach not only music theory or how to play string instruments, but life skills where it helps my students in the future. I guess this will be my ultimate goal, and Dr. Kist's presentation inspired me and increased my confidence that I can reach this goal.
Here are some links that I think are great examples of using variouis media to make learning music fun for children and adults:
General Music Theory and Knowledge with Online Community: ilearnmusic.com
Music Composition: creatingmusic.com
Music Education for Kids with Performances by San Francisco Symphony: www.sfskids.org