My musical action plan begins…

I really dislike having to assign a 'grade' for primary children in their music classes.  This struggle with assessment was what led me to Cohort 21 in the first place.  My HMW question came from my thinking during the first and second face-2-face sessions.  I realized that my trouble with assessment was partly due to a lack of evidence, and that this was in my realm of control.  Also, in my initial research, I realized that my little students did not have much ownership over their improvement - they loved music classes but they weren't really thinking about their own growth.  By combining these troubles and realizations, I arrived at my HMW question and I'm really satisfied with it:

How might we create a motivating system of self-assessment and reflection for grade 3 musicians using portfolios and curated performance activities?

I was really motivated after the 2nd face-to-face and quickly set about getting my first planned experiment underway.  After talking with my group of colleagues, I decided that using Seesaw was the way to go.  In December, I undertook my first portfolio entry.  I recorded each of my 17 students individually doing their own solo.  Then, I posted it to Seesaw as an assignment where I was able to ask specific questions about their work in a few target areas we have focused on.


Students responded to me after they watched/listened to themselves.  These responses were mostly really insightful and thoughtful.



My next experiment was a self-assessment document, where students evaluated their work in the 4 main areas we discuss and work on in singing activities.

Then, I asked them to choose two things to focus on for the next solo, and write about  two specific goals.




That's where I am now - I am collecting the goals next week, and will post them on a bulletin board to make them obvious and keep them front-of-mind as they prepare for their next solo performance recording.  I'm excited to hear and read their own responses to their performances after my experiments!  More to come...

8 thoughts on “My musical action plan begins…

  1. @epaul
    Something to consider...
    Your HWM embeds your solution directly into the question
    "How might we create a motivating system of self-assessment and reflection for grade 3 musicians using portfolios and curated performance activities?
    could also be rephrased as...
    "How might we re-think self-assessment and reflection in grade 3 music in order to maximize student ownership and motivation"
    This leaves you WIDE open to many different solutions. Could be SeeSaw, could be these incredible reflection activities you have created, could be something else. By opening up the question to many different answers you don't limit yourself.
    Like @lmcbeth says often. "Don't fall in love with the solution, fall in love with the problem". 🙂
    This is one AWESOME problem to fall in love it.
    Connect with @ashaikh about SeeSaw and @lyorke They are both gurus

    1. Post author

      Thanks - you're right. It's not really so much a question anymore... your phrasing is more open-ended.

      It was Lisa Yorke actually who helped me with the Seesaw part of all this at the last face-to-face! Thank goodness we happened to be sitting together 🙂

  2. Post author

    Ok, my revised HMW:

    How might we use self-assessment and reflection in primary music classes in order to maximize student ownership and motivation?

  3. Hey Erin,
    What I found really cool about this is the way you structured the self-assessment. In trying to capture the mindset of an 8 year old, I feel like it would be easy to think that singing is "just singing," i.e. a singular skill, that one is either "good at" or "bad at." It is cool to see how you've broken it down, and then had students move from a scale assessment to individualized goal-setting supported by evidence. I hope you keep us posted of where they end up, performance- and self-assessment-wise, after their next performance recording.

  4. @epaul
    It looks like your plan is taking shape! It is incredible when students begin to take ownership of their growth, furthermore, listening to themselves and critiquing their playing will give them motivation. Your student self-assessment is an excellent tool to keep them moving towards their goals!
    Have the students noticed the change? Do they feel as though they are making progress? It is amazing how their perspective can change with a goal!
    I can't wait to hear how this progresses!

  5. This looks great Erin! I am wondering about how your students coped with the range of 1-10 when evaluating themselves. Young learners are often very hard on themselves. Looking forward to hearing more about your action plan on Friday.

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