Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This week’s throw-back movie about the Hudson Bay Company (Canada) and the United States was really amusing. Ethnic stereotypes and historical accuracy aside, it really was entertaining. While I am sure this was not how the Canada-US border was decided, this movie was made as entertainment. Even 50-60 years later, it still is entertaining.

Personally, I am excited to do the Hudson Bay Company assignment using project based learning. It is something completely out of the normal routine of education and it is a refreshing change. I also appreciate that after we research and present our topic, we have to link it back to education and how it would work in our classrooms.

I love the idea of using project based learning in my classroom. I think it’s something that is more typically used in a general classroom setting and I don’t think enough music teachers assign projects. I am specifically interested in incorporating this into a Senior Years music class where the students are there for a more lengthy time period and are taking the class for credit. I feel like a smaller version would have to be adapted for an elementary classroom.

Project based learning is a way to engage all students regardless of their strengths and interests. There should be clear guidelines for the students to follow and assessment in all stages of development of the project. This would work really well for a unit in a music classroom. One could use things like different eras, countries, films, genres as a broad topic. The students could then choose from different aspects of these to study. Likely, it would be the teacher’s job to facilitate the connections back to music, although that could also be incorporated into the project. As I type this, I have a million ideas floating around in my head that I’d really love to try…

Project based learning does pose some challenges. For me, the hardest would be letting go of control of the learning and letting students explore on their own. In a music classroom it would also be difficult to manage both a project and a regular rehearsal schedule. Perhaps a project would be something to consider at the end of the year, after the spring concert is over. It would also be difficult to determine proper guidelines and assessment. To find the balance between being too involved and smothering their creativity or being not enough involved and wasting their learning opportunities. 

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