Assignment 2 in my own words (for #UWSMTeach students)

As promised in our last lecture (and yes, I still owe you lecture notes for it, I know) here is assignment 2 in my own words, because the wording in the learning guide can be a bit confusing.

Let’s start by considering where the marks are:

  • Performance task using technology 10%
  • Composition task using technology 10%
  • Special needs student modification 15%
  • Special needs student extension 15%

The first two points ask you to create a unit of work with a performance and composition task. Let’s consider that we have learned that ideally your units will use all three learning experiences and they will inform one another. So include listening lessons to cement/prepare for the composition and performance. Technology has to be integrated. You’ll do this in two ways: you’ll deliver the whole unit of work online via your blog or another website (again, if you’re using copyright content and want to hand in to me on a CD-Rom that’s OK, but you still need to show how the online delivery would work), and the students will be required to use technology in each task (eg use a sequencer or a notation program in their composition, use performance software or hardware in their performance classes).

While you do have to plan performance class, you don’t have to write another arrangement. You do need to tell me what they’ll be playing and where it will come from, though.

You don’t need to provide me with full lesson plans, but you do need to tell me what the topic is, what the prior learning of the 9/10 elective class is, and make it clear how the unit is paced (eg 6 weeks, three periods a week, how much time for each lesson/task). The students should be able to access the website and see exactly what they have to do, for example if they’ve missed a class or want to get ahead (yes, it does happen!).

I have modelled this kind of thing yet again for you at this new page on my website. It mirrors how I delivered this task in our school’s LMS. Obviously the main outcome is composition, but there is background listening (tho it’s a bit shallow) at the start and the performance is extended in the actual course because they learn to play a song called Shuffle ‘Em which uses the same three chords they learn for the composition. But with the use of video tutorials to back up what we did in class or allow students to go ahead it’s a good model for you. Remember also the When Doves Cry unit and the 6834 unit, both which integrate listening and performance to composition tasks.

The next 30% is for adapting this unit of work to special needs students. Don’t forget that as this is actually more than half the marks you should spend some serious time on it. Perhaps each student gets their own web page with extra resources, linked from the unit everyone else accesses. Or maybe you document it in your teacher page, providing extra tasks/resources/plans for these students. Either way, what you should do is start by telling me about each student. For example: Daniel, a student in this class, has a physical disability. Daniel cannot use his legs and has little voluntary movement in his arms, but can control movement in his fingers. Daniel can speak clearly, and communicates and comprehends well, but cannot write or type for long periods of time because it requires a lot of effort. Intellectually Daniel is an above average student and in music speaks intelligently in listening lessons, has good aural skills and has had some success composing with the mouse using notation software. Modifications to the tasks will be provided for Daniel. Bella, a student in this class, is in the schools gifted and talented programme. Bella has grade 8 piano and cello and leads the school debating team. She is a forthright speaker with perfect pitch and there for incredible aural skills. Bella composes well in classical styles but does not enjoy popular music and finds improvisation difficult despite her performance ability.

Once you’ve done this, I’ve got a clear idea why you’re making whatever modifications you are making. Remember that we have looked at technology for students with disabilities to perform and compose with, such as the banana keyboard.

Does all that sound like a lot to take on board? Well, there is lots to consider, but then you’ll find that’s true every time you enter the classroom – you’ll just get better at handling it and thinking on your feet when you haven’t prepared for every outcome (which you can’t!). To help you, here’s a simple step-by-step guide…

  1. Design a unit of work that involves a performance, listening and composition. Base it around a topic from the stage 5 syllabus and I would suggest start with either what you want to perform or what you want to listen to and study.
  2. Develop a website with two parts. This website could simply be static pages on your blog.
  3. The first should be a part for teachers which tells them prior learning required, how to teach the unit, what the pacing is, and gives them any resources they need.
  4. The second part of the website delivers everything the student needs for the listening (eg recordings, probably via YouTube, possibly worksheets, questionnaires etc), performance (just tell us what the arrangement is if you don’t have it) and composition (template files or loops perhaps with video tutorials if you’re time rich). Students should find it easy to know what to do next. Encourage them to reflect on their learning (eg blog).
  5. If you’ve ‘run out of space’ on your blog, or you’re trying to share files it won’t let you upload, use a file sharing service like Divshare. Remember, I made a tutorial video for you about this.
  6. The teacher page should tell me about the two special needs students.
  7. Consider how the performance task uses technology.
  8. Consider how the composition task uses technology.
  9. You should then create modifications/extensions for every stage of the unit. You should either add these into the student or teacher pages, or you should link to them, on their own pages.
  10. Your modifications/extensions should also use technology. Remember this is worth more than half the marks, so don’t just add it on at the end.

A pass will have a good task in each learning experience which isn’t highly resourced. A high distinction will spend a lot of time integrating technology to the delivery of the lessons, the resourcing of the lessons and the music making in each lesson. As I’ve said before “resource the hell out of it”. Good luck everyone, and email me if you have any questions.

3 responses to “Assignment 2 in my own words (for #UWSMTeach students)”

  1. Hi James,

    Did the due date get cleared up? The learning guide says that it’s due May 4, but I recall there was some confusion at the last lecture…


  2. Hi Dan, and everyone,

    In the lecture last week we agreed it is supposed to be May 31st (which is what I had). However, I have run this by Anne and if she gets back to me and says there is a good reason it’s May 4th I will send out an email via vUWS.

    For now, presume it’s the 31st.

    Best wishes,

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