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Music Education Department
Westminster Choir College of Rider University

SUBJECT AREA: Primary General
Student Teacher: Ashante Taylorcox
University Supervisor: Sharon Morrow
Cooperating Teacher: Laura Hall-Carney
School/Site: Parkway Elementary School
Classes Observed: General Music Grade K

Summary and Recommendations:

This was my first observation of Ashante at her student teaching placement at
the elementary general music level. Today I observed a kindergarten general
music class. Ashante was well prepared with a detailed lesson plan for this class.

After Laura (the cooperating teacher) brought in the class singing Take 8 to Make a
Circle, Ashante sang a welcome song to the children. This is always a nice way to
set the tone of the class and to help the students focus. For these youngest Ks,
its best to keep them singing, using fewer words when possible.

To transition to the next song, Ashante asked, Do you remember the song? After
the lesson, we discussed the efficacy of yes/no questions, pointing out that it
doesnt matter if they do or do not remember this, the song is going to be sung in
either case. If they do not happen to remember it, we just re-teach the song at
that point.

Students were asked to show their dance moves for different sections of the tune
(e.g., watermelon). Ashante pointed out, Everyone look at Alanis move. This was a
nice strategy to highlight student creativity, and also to focus students on the
task at hand. After the lesson, we discussed ways in which she might smooth
out the sequencing of this part of the lesson (for example, choosing one student
at a time to share their dance move).

As a Brain Break, Ashante introduced a counting chant while the students
were seated in a circle (Listen, listen for a clue, then youll know just what to do.) For
the third verse (Now lets try some other tricks, clap your hands when I say six. 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6). We discussed how you can help model waiting until they reach the
number six by exaggerating the teachers face and holding the hands in ready
position clearly for counts 1-5, then a clear, intentional clap on 6. Once they get
the pattern for this, they will be able to predict where 6 is and clap on that when
they reach that number. As easy as this sounds, it is kind of a tricky thing for
some of the kindergartners.

To segue to the next activity, Ashante asked, Do you guys have a pet? Even this
short yes/no question might be better phrased as Who has a pet? or What kind of
pets do you have? Again, it gets to the real question you are asking.

I loved your story telling ability, Ashante! Loved that you led them so
masterfully into being surprised at the addition of and a dragon and then
had that moment of wait while the students got the joke.

At one point, one of the students was scooting closer to you, not because he was
misbehaving, but because he was interested in what was happening. You
handled this masterfully by asking, Can you sit back so I can see my friend,
Madison? Nicely done.

This was followed shortly by a great question, Who can tell me the pattern in this? I
loved that you gave them some time to think about how to decode this pattern. It
is more often the case with new teachers that they will quickly call on someone to
answer the question and move on, not allowing the students that few seconds to
think through the question and what their answer to it might be. Again, nice job.

Your reading of the book was delightful! Nice, expressive reading. This is so
important to children and actually helps them become more fluent readers
themselves. Asking the students to think deductively while you were telling the
story (Why might the dragon not be a good idea?) and then following that with a
prompt when it was clear they werent quite sure what the answer for that was
(What is he doing to all the animals on the farm?) Great.

During the game following, the suggestion was made to have all the students
keep a steady beat on their knees while they sing. This keeps all of them
physically involved, and reinforcing steady beat for kindergarten students is
always a good idea. At the end, you asked, Can everyone give their cards to our
farmer? Great to keep in the spirit of the game (farmer) while you are collecting
the cards from the students. Notice how aware these youngsters are of
fairand they will let you know that they did not get a turn. Work out ahead
of time how you are going to deal with that if you do not have time for everyone
to have a turn.

One final suggestion was to work out a closing song to indicate to the students
that the class is over, and its now time to move on to our classroom. You can
actually use the same song each week. Its a nice procedure to have in place. It
helps signal to the children that there is a transition that is imminent, and helps
minimize the disruption.

This was a nice lesson. Working with a large group of kindergarten students
presents challenges of classroom management. This will only get easier as you
get a bit more experience with them. Plan your transitions, have your brain
breaks in place, and when in doubt, talk less and sing more.

Ashante has a nice start on this student teaching semester. I look forward to
continued growth in working with all levels of elementary students.

Beginning/Ending time of visit: 1:05-1:55 pm.

The student, cooperating teacher and university supervisor discussed the students
progress in a 2-way conference. (Yes)

___February 10, 2014 ____________ ____________________________________
Date Signature University Supervisor

I have read the summary statement above.

Signature Student