I Can Teach

EDU 6120 Week 8

I Can Teach

This week we were given the chance to apply our knowledge, understanding and comprehension of the theories and ideals set forth in the ideals of the founding teachers of education.  The focus was to take the myriad of information and apply it to a lesson of our choosing.  I wanted to focus on the idea of incorporating many of the ‘ways of learning and teaching’ into my lesson; akin to the theories put forth in this week’s readings by John Dewey.  I wanted to “unleash the power of their innate curiosity” and get the students involved in active learning.  I chose to do a creative writing exploration through music. My idea: to take an instrumental musical piece and have students listen to it to create a story that can be put to the music and shared.  The music would serve as inspiration for the student to paint a mental/written piece with the palette of their own imagination.

I am thankful to have two willing children and therefore students experiment this on.  I first started by talking with the students about what a creative story is.  Then I asked if they liked listening to music and what kind of music.  We discussed if music ever invoked feelings or images in their mind while they listened to it.  I then shared what we were going to do; listen to music and write individual stories, share these stories with the class and then record and share on our class blog.  Since this was our first attempt at creative writing through music I started the process by mentioning the name of the song “January Rain” by David Gray.  I thought this might help some students come up with ideas they could write about.  (In the future I could let the kids pick their own themes, have the class decide on a theme or let there be no theme and see what the students come up with on their own.)  I then had the students find a comfortable place to lie down or sit with their heads down and eyes closed.  I played the one minute segment of the song three times; asking the students as they listen, to think about what kind of images they see as the music plays, what feeling they are experiencing and what kind of story they can create around these images and feelings.  Then, I asked the students to find a quiet comfortable place to write: sitting, lying down, at a desk in the corner, etc.  I let the student write for about 10- 15 minutes, while continuing to playing the full track in the background.

After the allotted time the students were asked to stop their writing process and redirect their attention back to me.  I played the song again while each student read their own story silently.  After, I paired them up to listen to each of the other’s story while making corrections and any alterations as appropriate.  Each student had the opportunity to share their story with the class.  Later, I made a recording of each student reading their story to the music and shared that via pod-cast on our class blog.  In an actual class setting students could access these stories from home to share them with families and/or caregivers.

Each piece of this lesson took a considerable amount of time, it could not happen in one session.   The time-line was broken down into these basic components:

1.      Students listen and use their imagination

2.      Students write and create the story

3.      Students take a break for reflection, rest and alternative activity

4.      Students revisited, edited and shared with the class

5.      Stories were recorded using free web-based technology and then published on weekly class blog.

I feel that this can be a very powerful lesson for all students.  I enjoyed incorporating the music into the creative writing process.  I think it helped generate ideas and helped keep the students focused while they wrote.  I think it is an important skill to share work with each other to present in front of the class.  There is something special about students hearing, sharing and developing their voice and sharing it with others.  I think that all these things “unleash” a student’s curiosity by empowering them to have an individual voice.  I really liked the idea of incorporating audial skills with creative writing, as well as providing students a forum to demonstrate verbal competence coupled with active audience participation.  It became a lesson that involved “Viva Activa”.

Delaney’s Story

Addison’s Story


2 thoughts on “I Can Teach

  1. Sarah, What a cool idea. Being a musician this lesson really excites me. I love how peaceful the activity is at first, it really causes the students to open their minds eye and be transported into their imaginations. I also thought that posting a recorded version on a blog to share. Publishing student work is a great incentive to work toward, when kids know that their work will be displayed for others to see it makes them proud of what they can share, and improves the overall quality of their work. Great idea Sarah, thanks for posting.


  2. Sarah, I found your creative writing exploration through music lesson to be a most innovative approach. By so skillfully incorporating technologies like podcasting into your instructional methodology, you certainly stay true to the ideals of John Dewey, who taught that education at its ideal is “the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience.”


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