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Long-Range Planning for Online Learning

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Long-Range Planning for Online Learning in the Music Room: How to plan for weeks or months off, while schools are closed

Things are slightly crazy right now. Many of us, because of COVID-19, have just been catapulted into online learning—a space we’ve never inhibited. In my last blog post, I wrote about lesson ideas for online learning, for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. I’m using many of these ideas for my own students for the next two weeks.

However, the governor of Ohio just announced that we might not be going back to school this year. This thought is alarming, and saddening. And just plain crazy. But it is probably the right thing to do. 

As I’ve been collecting my thoughts, I’ve realized that I need to long range plan for this event. After these two weeks, and then spring break, what would the rest of the year look like, teaching digitally? In this blog post, I’ll discuss my long-range planning process for this school closure, and this entire week, I’ll be writing about other aspects of online learning, from singing with students to practicing rhythm and melody. To sign up for daily emails this week with blog posts, click here.

For long-range planning in this event, I think it is best to prepare for the worst, so that we are ready to teach everything (or almost everything!) we need to.

When I sat down yesterday, I considered these points:

Which songs do I still want them to learn?

I often have one new song a lesson, so I looked at my lessons for the rest of the year (or at least, the ones that were already written or outlined) and figured out which songs I still need to teach. That way, I can create videos, provide video links, or create audio to help teach the songs. More on that later!

Which concepts do I still want them to learn?

For example, with 1st grade, I still need to teach rest and prepare la. How can I do that digitally? I had the idea of doing a video of me presenting to students with a dry erase board and marker, or with a PowerPoint with audio. Granted, it’s not as good as in-person, but it can still work.

I figured this out for all grade levels, so I could outline which presentation lesson videos I would need to record, how I would practice those concepts, etc. In future blog posts this week, I'll be writing about how to create videos.

Which assessments do I still have?

I looked at all of my lessons, and figured out which assessments I had planned on doing. Then, I figured out how I could do those digitally. I can’t assess them playing instruments to the steady beat, but I can assess their understanding of sol-mi through a game like this, by Jane from SillyOMusic. Some assessments may need to just be dropped, but some are still possible to do.

Lesson Planning

As I considered those points, I made a bulleted list for each grade level and week, with the three or four things that I wanted to do with each lesson. For example, for 1st grade, the week after spring break, I plan to prepare quarter rest with “Bow Wow Wow,” teach them the movements to “Bow Wow Wow,” teach the song “See the old witch,” and practice sol-mi with this video and the boom cards mentioned above.

With this process, I looked at each lesson and figured out:

  • What is the most important part of this lesson?
  • What can be taught digitally? 
  • How can I still have students actively making music?

In my next blog post, I’ll detail how to have students singing, even during online learning! I hope you found these tips for long-range planning helpful. Stay healthy, and happy (online) teaching!

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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