Video: Grade 4 CMM Linguistic Lesson

Maritsa Madias-Kalasz teaches in Dearborn, Michigan.  She is a music teacher who specializes in special needs students, including the population of her school who are low achieving and English Language Learners.  Maritsa is a master teacher who believes in teaching IN and THROUGH music at the same time.  She really understands that good music learning patterns the brain for all learning.  That teaching in one language builds neural pathways with other languages if the connection is made intentionally.

Maritsa send an e-mail that said, “CMM 4 linguistic lesson – great work!”  The students have created their own versions of body percussion patterns to go with a song.  They read and followed specific directions, working together and solving a specific problem.  Take a look by clicking the underlined words below.

Question:  Where on the website can you share this type of video?  Make sure its an mp4, and post it with a short description in Share What Works!

Masterful Content and Masterful Teachers

This topic has been sitting in my file for a week. What was I thinking???

Masterful content is determined by a group of teachers who ponder what the core of their curriculum will be – what do we want our students to know and be able to do by the end of the [lesson][day][unit][marking period][year]? This content includes concepts and skills from the core curriculum, which includes language arts (speaking, listening, reading, writing), mathematics, science, social studies/history, music, visual art, physical education/movement, and drama. Yes, these are ALL core curriculum. The content also includes overarching sets of skills, such as social-emotional, 21st century (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity/innovation).

Masterful teachers manage to blend and deliver these content components through

  • planning of meaningful instruction and tasks that build understanding by taking students from the known to the new by connecting the new content to students interests and lives;
  • creating circumstances for frequent, positive, engaging, and challenging interactions with students and between students so the child’s voice is heard; and
  • using authentic, performance assessments that indicate whether students understand and what they don’t understand.

Is the content you are teaching masterfully designed to provide your students with the understandings and skills they will need as a foundation for future school and life? Is your teaching of that content masterfully crafted to develop independent learners who not only learn, but can demonstrate and apply that learning? As you read the Total Learning lessons (lesson, videos, studio and additional resources), notice and explore the way they are constructed, and how many disciplines, concepts, and skills are interwoven in each lesson. Let the lessons and their structure be models for you as you become a masterful teacher. Then think about what happens when this ideal concept is applied in real classrooms. Share your story by commenting here.

The Case for Creativity

Ken Robinson quote

Ken Robinson quote

“Children have extraordinary capacities for innovation.”
“All kids have tremendous talents and we squander it shamelessly.”
“Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
“We stigmatize mistakes.”
“We are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
“We get educated out of creativity.”
Sir Ken Robinson gets to the heart of the matter. With all the testing that has dominated the education scene for several decades, the essential processes required for creative thinking are pushed out. Either we’re going to teach in ways that honor childhood curiosity and inventive thinking, or we’re not. It’s not an either-or proposition. If we teach the concepts and skills kids need to succeed through tasks and processes that develop imagination, we can deliver the content at the same time. But if tests are created with right answers in mind, rather than all possible answers in mind, we do disservice to children, learning, and ultimately our society. Total Learning is taking the logical step of teaching for imagination and critical thinking, as well as delivering the content. We’ve started to create the kind of formative assessments that honor creative thought. Do you think the Common Core assessments will provide formal measures that likewise ask us to build the 21st century skills our kids will need? Listen to Ken Robinson at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY#t=225 to get started. What do you think?