Our theme this year at the Florida Music Educator Association's (FMEA) professional development conference was "Uniting Music Education: Models for Collaboration." In case you were unaware, I am the Queen of Collaboration. Chets Creek has certain traditions that are to be maintained at any cost each year. Here is the short list (grade level events)...
I collaborate with the Kindergarten team during their annual Pow Wow celebration in November, I collaborate with the Second Grade team on their Multi-Cultural Holiday Program and Multi-Cultural Day in December, I collaborate with our First Grade team on their "Sleepover" event (a study of our galaxy and all that is within) in March and finally, I collaborate with our Third Grade team and produce a patriotic musical that celebrates America in May. If you stay at Chets Creek long enough, you'll get to collaborate with me on all of these collaborations!
Back in July, 2012, I received an invitation to present my work at our conference last week. I was one of a dozen teachers from across the state of Florida who was asked to do so. I was asked to create a display board which would be "on display" during the Curriculum Fair on Thursday. I was to "man the board" for an hour to answer any questions with regard to my collaborative effort. I was stoked!
I purchased the largest display board I could find, enlisted two very capable photographers to shoot photos of our holiday musical and multi-cultural day events in December, asked my scrap-booking sister to make it pretty and off I went. I took the board, the musical scores from all three musicals ever produced by me at CCE, a CD player and the professional recordings that come in the kit.
I must say that my display board was the largest and most colorful board on display at the Curriculum Fair. My sister did an awesome job - much better than I could ever have done. Lots of folks stopped by and we exchanged ideas with one another. Most of them loved the concept and vowed to duplicate it at their schools. Of course, they want my art teacher (Mrs. Jennifer Snead) to come and paint their backdrop for them. She is an awesome artist and the creative genius on the visual side of things.
An excerpt from my handout...
From Custodian to Conductor: A Concert in Collaboration
Our 2012 production of “December in Our Town” was a huge hit! The plot follows a group of school-age children throughout their town as they collect food for those less-fortunate. In doing so, they stumble upon various holiday celebrations going on in their community which are then explained in the show. We chose to partner with the Grocery Fairy (www.groceryfairy.org) for our “Season of Giving” project and collected non-perishable food items to distribute via “Blessings in a Backpack” and also through a local food pantry. We felt this was an appropriate tie-in with what was happening in the plot and it made the experience much richer for the students.
One week later, we celebrated Second Grade Multi-Cultural Day. This is a day that is designed by the classroom teachers in collaboration with the resource team. A passport is provided for each student as they travel through various centers throughout the day. They receive a passport stamp before leaving the country they are studying. In the Music center, they learn about Hanukkah, play the Dreidel game and dance the Hora. In the Art center, they make Mkekah Mats using the colors of Kwanzaa. In the PE center, they learn about Parranda, a Puerto Rican holiday celebration which includes the roasting of a pig and Christmas caroling through town. To conclude their day, each classroom teacher provides a unique learning opportunity for students in their own classrooms.
My Display Board "on steroids"
Answering teachers' questions about the project
More questions...more answers
Conference Program and my "Presenter" Badge
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my work and to share it with others. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many who were part of this collaborative effort. It began in August, 2012 and culminated at FMEA in January, 2013 and I certainly hope I inspired at least one music teacher to step outside of her comfort zone and give it a try. It is a huge undertaking, but the memories created by such a project will be remembered for a lifetime by all who take part in it!
Until next time...