Writing lesson plans can be difficult, especially for an audience. There are activities or items that you instinctively do and know that the broader educator community may not. Other educators may need different accommodations than your students. In the lesson plan I wrote about in Note Names, Now With Makey Makey, I wrote the lesson with the information I needed, not what another educator might need to pick up and recreate this lesson. Now that I have reviewed some feedback, here is the revised lesson plan for Note Recognition Using Makey Makey.
I am fortunate to have wonderful peers with me in Michigan State University’s MAET (Master of Arts in Educational Technology) program, and two of them reviewed my lesson (I will refer to them as Peer A and Peer B). I really enjoy these reviews because they are not usually music educators and will look at different parts of the lesson than my local colleagues. Peer A looked at my lesson from a Universal Design Learning perspective and was curious if the educator could change the speed of Staff Wars manually. Although this is not currently an option in the software, it does start incredibly slow, which will hopefully give students time to feel comfortable answering. This did not prompt me to change my lesson, but I did change my objective to include details about recognition speed.
Peer A and I discussed how to best make groups. In my older classrooms, I have Instrument Families. They are reminiscent of Hogwarts houses; each student is assigned to an instrument family (string, percussion, woodwinds, and brass) and can earn points for their family. Having preset groups means I can spend time on teaching rather than making groups. The University of Waterloo has a page on Implementing Group Work in the Classroom, and this lesson incorporates a lot of their suggestions already, such as “assigning the group tasks that encourage involvement, interdependence, and a fair division of labor,” (n.d.). Since it met some of the criteria for good group work design, I thought I would share some creative way to break the class into groups, one of my own creation, and others suggested by Jordan Catapano in his article 30 Ways to Arrange Students for Group Work (TechHUB.com, n.d.).
Peer B took on the perspective of a students with an auditory processing disorder (APD). We both learned that APD affects 5% of school-aged children, which theoretically means one student in each of my classes has APD (Morlet, 2014). Peer B thought that the amount of noise the activity would create could be distracting and difficult for a student with APD, and they might need accommodations. There are many ways this lesson could be adapted to prepare for these students! We can have students play on individual laptops with headphones while only a few try out the Makey Makey setup, or they can wear headphones to lessen the sound. I decided to provide a Possible Accommodations section with changes that educators can make to this lesson to adapt to their individual classroom environment.
There were a few more style and grammatical changes to make to polish this lesson plan. One noticeable change is that I suggest that the educator spend some time playing Staff Wars and using the Makey Makey before setting up the lesson so that they can troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the lesson.
The overall effect of these changes should provide a lesson that is technology-focused and easy to modify for your classroom. I do not teach any fourth graders this year but I hope to share it with my fourth graders next year! If you give it a shot before I do, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @LindsayLuft.
Catapano, Jordan. (n.d.). 30 Ways to Arrange Students for Group Work. Retrieved from https://www.teachhub.com/30-ways-arrange-students-group-work
Morlet, T, PhD. (2014). Auditory Processing Disorder. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/central-auditory.html
University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence. (n.d.). Implementing Group Work in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/alternatives-lecturing/group-work/implementing-group-work-classroom