I remember the days in elementary school, when the whole school would work on project together. We came together with an idea in mind and did a plethora of activities with different teachers all corresponding with that theme. In the end, we learned, we laughed, and we worked together to build one big final product that was over the top and awesome. Even when I taught, I had some spectacular specialist team mates who were a blessing to collaborate with. We did a few fantastic projects that incorporated all over our areas and what came out of it was wonderful. We completed products that were recognized as quality work within our district. It helped show everyone that the arts had an important place inside the school that could not only stand alone, but be able to work together flawlessly with any subject.
So what are some things that could be done? If you wanted to work together with your colleagues what could you do?
First it’s always about the overall theme and final product. What do you want the students to accomplish? What do you want them to learn and get out of it?
We always started by looking at test scores. NEWAs to be exact, and figured out where the students were struggling. We based the project over that theme. That is what all of our parts built around. One year it was reading graphs, another year it was stats and probability. Each of us built what we were going to do around that relation. You could link it to anything, maybe you want to work with your science teacher about sound or maybe you and your history teacher want to teach the Revolutionary war together.
I’m sure you’re thinking..how did I relate math to music.. It really is simple. Do you remember all those Facebook and Twitter post pictures where it relates music to every subject? Those really are true, it is so easy to relate music to math, science, history, english, and everything else when you think out of the box. Its all about thinking about the final product before the actual project. What do you want the students to get out of this experience? For us it could be 95% of students would improve between a pre and post test, or maybe 80% of students would score 90% or higher in a predetermined rubric.
So what COULD you do? What are some simple ways to relate music to other subjects? You’ve figured out what you want them to know. Now its about what you want them to create using that knowledge.
- Learning about the Science of sound? What about a science fair? Work with your science teachers at the same time relating sound waves, how your ear works and all that. You students could create science fair projects around the same topic and you could hold a fair together and judge for the top prize.
- What about creating an experience with your history teacher? I use to American Civil War reenact so I did a whole unit on Patriotic tunes and talked about fife and drum corps and how they were an important part to the military unit.
- What about studying different areas of english literature and relating to the music of the period? Students could reenact the music of that time or maybe do a report on how the arts influenced the time period relating to the culture and how music fit in.
- You could even have them studying poetry and take one of the famous poems they are reading and remix it into a killer song. Whilst learning about the poet, pentameter, rhyming, all of the building blocks to a great piece.
There are many ways you can create a cross curricular project showing the relationship between music and many other subjects in school. It is a great way to show that music is an integral part in the school community and we aren’t going anywhere.
What activities would you do that could relate music to other subjects?
I love to collaborate with the classroom teachers. My favorite is a 4th grade unit. I work with the social studies teachers as they study the regions of the United States. I begin wholistically with teaching “50 Nifty United States” and talking about American folksongs. then as the teacher discusses the different regions (Northeast, Southeast, etc.) I teach the students different folksongs from those states and we also learn about different genres as well like the birth of the Blues, Jazz and even the Harlem Renaissance. It is my favorite part of the year!!
That is amazing Mariann!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂