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Writing Development Of ELL Students In A Music Classroom


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This is a project I completed for a online course, a requirement for me to finish teacher induction.

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Writing Development Of ELL Students In A Music Classroom

  1. 1. Writing Development of ELL Students<br />By Mrs. Valerie Erickson-Mesias<br />PK-5 Music Teacher<br />7-7-09<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Student Population<br />PK-5th Grade students, total 463<br />I have been teaching at a school that has a small population of ELL students, with a large population of English speakers. Some ELL students are from Russia, others from India, etc. They speak mainly their first language in their homes, and English at school. <br />ELL students go to the speech room, and to the library for extra assistance during school days. <br />2<br />
  3. 3. My Position As Music Teacher<br />I have a unique opportunity to assist students with their writing, since I am the school music teacher. I support the classroom teachers in any way that I can within the short amount of time I see my students each week. <br />3<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />Two Essential Questions:<br />1. As a music teacher, which tools and activities can I use in my classroom beyond just the concert reports I assign to my 5th graders, journals, etc. to engage ELL students in their learning, and make the English language more understandable and useable for them? <br />2. How can I best support the classroom teachers in what they are already teaching students about writing, and how can I best respect the cultures of the ELL students while still teaching them English? <br />
  5. 5. Strategies Supporting Writing Development<br />Morning Message….with younger students, I may put a word up on the board, or use a word wall to teach a specific music vocabulary word at the beginning of class each day. For example, tempos, types of notes, genres of music, etc. <br />The morning message assists with spelling, pronunciation, and writing of letters correctly from left to right. For older students, I have them write journal topics in regards to music and higher level thinking. <br />5<br />
  6. 6. For More Ideas on Morning Messages <br />Check out and watch the video “Morning Messages.”<br />Students in this video “sign in” on a large sheet of paper to practice signing their names. Then the teacher talks about what month and date it is, and spells these words out on the paper with students saying the letters along with her. This video takes place in a preschool classroom. After the month and date, the teacher assists the students in creating a short sentence. This teaches kids that “print carries a message,” see<br />6<br />
  7. 7. 7<br />National Standards Addressed by Morning Message Activity<br />Standards 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12<br />
  8. 8. 8<br />Word Wall<br />The word wall can be used in a music classroom to show music vocabulary words that start with similar letters, sounds, or words that rhyme. This helps ELL students make comparisons and be able to recognize similar words faster. It is a great visual for the bulletin board, and will also work for students who already speak English, but are young and learning to read. Students can combine words on the wall to begin creating sentences. See <br /> for more ideas.<br />
  9. 9. 9<br />Technology in the Music Classroom in Regards to ELL Students<br />Students can use music software to teach them spelling, music vocabulary, and how to write. I plan to use a PC in my classroom, and have all students, (particularly ELL students) take turns using it. This software can also show students how to read music, which assists with the left to right orientation of writing and reading of text. One such software is located at, and another at: <br /> <br />
  10. 10. 10<br />Graphic Organizers<br />Graphic organizers can be used in my music classroom to assist students in showing sequences of events. Often in my classes, we work on musicals and other performances. We could use organizers similar to what I found on to sequence the stories. Students will write and fill in the blanks themselves and we will work on the spelling of certain vocabulary words. <br />
  11. 11. 11<br />Graphic Organizer Example <br />
  12. 12. Modeling<br />A way to use the technique of modeling in my classroom would be to teach my students a song in Spanish, for example. I could write the Spanish word on the board, have an ELL student model how to say the word, and then write its English equivalent on the board. <br />The entire song would be taught this way, and the students could see the connections between the English and Spanish words, and how they fit into context in songs and sentences. I have found music is a fantastic way to teach English, vocabulary, AND other languages. <br />12<br />
  13. 13. 13<br />Sample Concert Report Guidelines for 5th Grade:<br />Basic Information to Include: <br />When/Where did the concert take place? How long did it last?<br />How many pieces were performed? What were they called and how many movements were in each? Who composed each piece?<br />Who were the performers (name of ensemble and/or soloists)? If there was a conductor, what was his/her name? What were the names of the principal performers?<br />What types of instruments were played and/or what types of voice parts were featured?<br />Was there any special purpose to the concert? If so, explain.<br /> <br />General Questions to Keep in Mind:<br />What was your general reaction to the concert? How did the performance sound to you? Was the music performed well? (e.g., Were the musicians rhythmically “together”; were they playing/singing in tune; did any instruments/voices stick out? How would you rate the musicians’ technical ability and the “energy” of their performance? Did the musicians seem well prepared for the concert?)<br />Which composition did you like best? Why? (e.g., what specifically did you like about the piece itself or the way it was performed?)<br />Which composition did you like least? Why? <br />Did any of the compositions trigger an emotional response from you? What were your specific feelings or thoughts in response to the music?<br />Is this type of concert experience new to you? <br />
  14. 14. Colorado State Music Standards<br />These ELL writing activities are connected not only with National Standards for Language Arts, but also with Colorado State Music Standards. This is how teaching writing in the music classroom also serves what regular classroom teachers are working on with students. As a team, we can improve writing across the board. <br />Standard 4: Students will listen to, analyze, evaluate, and describe music.<br />Standard 5: Students will relate music to various historical and cultural traditions. <br />14<br />