Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Abreu Fellows Intern at JAMM

This year, three of the ten Abreu Fellows from the Class of 2011 chose JAMM for their internship.  Alsyia Lee and Stephanie Hsu are here for three weeks and Julie Davis, for four.  These talented women wanted to extend the teacher training experience I provided in Boston - observing the first, team-teaching the second and teaching on their own while I supported them on the sidelines, observing and filming. 
JAMM is the ideal place for this kind of embedded professional development.  It's a place where teachers can observe all age-ranges, teach the same lesson to several classes with the opportunity to reflect and refine each time and participate in before, during and after-school music programs.  The fellows' internship also coincided with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council teaching artist series, which all three were able to attend.  Sessions focused on classroom management, brain theory, curriculum standards and dynamic lesson planning. 

Some of the effective teaching practices they applied included:
  • developing an attention-getting hook
  • using positive language
  • making transitions fluid and connected to the lesson
  • presenting information in manageable chunks
  • building a lesson that breathes in and out
  • practicing a credible body and voice
  • creating episodes using location, emotion, movement and relevance
  • providing choices for students
  • using enforceable statements
  • giving consequences with empathy
  • experience first, intellectualize later
JAMM and Juneau have benefited greatly from having Alysia, Stephanie and Julie here.  Alysia is a vocalists who started her own non-profti; Stephani taught at an alternative high school in NYC and plays viola; and Julie holds a music education degree from Northwestern, during which she taught in an after-school strings program, the YOURS project.  During their stay here, Julie and Stephanie played in the Juneau Symphony concert of Sweeney Todd.  Alysia spent hours at the Juneau Public Library using the Foundation Research Center to identify grant-giving organizations for JAMM, and all of them choreographed a dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller for Glacier Valley's Harvest Carnival. 

Every time I observe another teacher in action, I always come away from the experience a better one.  Whether it was watching Alysia teach breathing exercises to the Morning Musicians, Julie encouraging partner activities in violin class (see photo above) or Stephanie inspiring students to create a soundscape from a painting, my teaching toolbox expanded. 

Alysia sings "Frog in the Meadow" for Mrs. Peters' Kindergarten class using novelty to make repetition engaging

Thank you, Abreu Fellows, for making the journey to Juneau, working with JAMM and making us feel very much a part of a larger El Sistema network.  Below is a video of Julie and Stephanie serenading Mrs. Peters' class during a very special moment:  the first time the entire class held the real violin.  In addition there are more photos documenting their time with us.  Stephanie, we also appreciate you dedicating a blog entry about your experience here. 


The Abreu Fellows' first week with JAMM observing our team-teaching model in action
Julie helps one of our Morning Musicians "pass off" on a piece for an upcoming concert

Stephanie joins Mrs. Steininger's kindergarten class for "This is My Violin"
Alysia explores creative movement with Mrs. Peters' class

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