Teaching Artist Lesson Plan & Theoretical Account

Lesson Plan for Observed Teaching Practice

C McCluskey PG Certificate Teaching Artist Lesson Plan Title Page

C McCluskey PG Cert TA Observed Lesson Plan

Theoretical Account

The lesson plan that I have devised for my Observed Practice is very much inspired by my knowledge, understanding and experience of the Orff Schulwerk approach to Music, Dance and Speech Education. The theme of the lesson is to teach Community Music 1 students the A section of a Rhythmic Rondo which can be found in ‘Music for Children’ (Orff & Keetman, 1958, p.67)  through engagement with speech, body percussion, paper cups and hand held percussion instruments. There will be opportunity for students to create their own original rhythmic B sections and so working with rhythm, improvisation, collaboration and composition are integral to this lesson.

The main learning objective of this lesson is to actively support and engage learners in how to work creatively with rhythmic material. I will invite learners to engage with this lesson on two levels: as a musician working actively and creatively with elemental musical material; as a teacher who has opportunity to translate and adapt this material for others.

Summary of Lesson

Context setting and warm up:

After a brief introduction to the context and learning objectives of this lesson, I plan to lead a gentle warm up which will provide learners with opportunities to connect with the space; to connect as a group and to focus ensemble skills. During this phase, I will fluctuate between free pulse and 4/4 which is the time signature of the Rhythmic Rondo material. I believe that it is important to work in 4/4 during the warm up/introductory stage of this lesson as I am hoping to prepare learners for the thematic musical material which is of the same time signature. Activities that allow people time and space to connect with their surroundings and with each other are also of extreme importance. I am aware that many leaners can feel apprehensive or anxious prior to engaging in new things and so this time is of value.

Introducing theme through exploration:

I have chosen language around the theme of coffee as a means of communicating the rhythms from the A section of the chosen Rhythmic Rondo. Before teaching the language pattern that I have devised, which will be communicated through speech, I plan to allow time for leaners to uncover the theme through play and then time for learners to explore rhythmic language that is inspired by the theme.

In the Orff Schulwerk approach, much attention is given to the balance between what may be described as free, exploratory activity, time and space given for learners to explore thematic material for themselves and with others, and then cohesive activity where the teacher either offers everyone one possibility of how to work with the musical material in question or the learning group choose one possibility of how to work with the musical material.


After exploratory work around the theme, I plan to communicate the A section of the Rhythmic Rondo (Orff & Keetman, 1958, p.67) through speech ( using language that has been specifically devised for this activity) and  body percussion before facilitating the opportunity for rhythmic material to be transferred onto paper cups. I will mainly adopt a call and response approach when working with speech and body percussion but the dynamic will change from teacher led activity to learner led/collaborative activity when I introduce using the paper cups. For this task, I will invite learners to translate the rhythmic material onto paper cups finding their own creative possibilities as they do so. I will invite learners to work collaboratively with a partner and I will allow opportunity for the sharing and presentation of ideas. I also plan to incorporate opportunities for improvisation when working with body percussion and paper cups

I have chosen to use paper cups in this lesson because I am interested to see how I can provide learners with opportunities to work creatively and musically with everyday objects during the creative music making process. I hope to also incorporate improvisation into this lesson and from my teaching experience I have observed that learners, who are unfamiliar with improvisation, often feel more relaxed when improvisation work is introduced progressively (i.e. initially working with natural everyday objects and, or body percussion and speech before working with un tuned percussion instruments; tuned percussion instruments; voice and orchestral instruments).

Development of Theme:

During this stage of the lesson, learners will be invited to work collaboratively in creating their own original rhythmic sections using language inspired by the theme of coffee. Learners may wish to revisit language/rhythms generated during the exploratory introduction of the theme, or completely new material may be devised. This is very much a student let, collaborative activity in which learners can incorporate elements of speech, body percussion, paper cups and hand held percussion instruments. The task will accumulate in a piecing together and sharing of an original Rhythmic Rondo.

Reflection on Learning, Creative Approach and Process:

In this final part of the lesson, learners will be invited to share short verbal reflections describing their experience as a musician and as a learner. Depending on the flow of this activity, I may encourage students to offer reflections within the categories of musicality, creativity and collaboration.

I will also ask learners to reflect on how they might adapt this creative process and/or repertoire for their own work in Community Music. I will ask them to reflect on what they would need to consider as a teacher (e.g. age of learners, stage of development…..) Due to time constraints, I will ask for these reflections to be written in personal E-portfolio/ WordPress journals ahead of the next lesson.

Learning Theories and Learning Styles

This lesson plan is complementary to a Constructivist Approach (Reflective Journal 1) to learning and Situative Perspective (Reflective Journal 2) learning as I am facilitating opportunities for learners to build knowledge and understanding through exploratory and collaborative activity within the workshop environment. I have carefully selected and ordered activities with the intention of supporting the progressive nature of learning and allowing opportunity for the consolidation of learning. Working in this way is often described as Scaffolding Learning (Reflective Journal 3), although I am new to this term, I have been working in this way for many years. This way of working is very much at the heart of the Orff Schulwerk Approach to Music, Dance and Speech Education. As I am working with Community Music students at varying stages of study our Community of Practice (Reflective Journal 2) is naturally enriched as I believe that students and teachers learn from each other in a multitude of ways (musically, artistically, creatively and in confidence, self esteem and awareness). In my planning, I have considered how this lesson can support a number of learning styles. I believe that information will mainly be shared and received aurally, orally, kinaesthetically and visually. This is complementary to the VAKT Learning Styles model (Reflective Journal 4) in which V represents Visual Learners; A represents Auditory Learners; K represents Kinesthetic Learners and T represents Tactile Learners. There are also elements of Behaviourist Theory (Reflective Journal 5) in my lesson, especially when I adopt a ‘call and response’ approach for the teaching of repertoire.


Reflective Journal:

1. https://carolinemccluskey.wordpress.com/critical-appraisal-paper/

2. https://carolinemccluskey.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/community-of-practice-situative-learning/

3. https://carolinemccluskey.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/scaffolding-learning/

4. https://carolinemccluskey.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/vak-vakt-vark-learning-styles-models/

5. https://carolinemccluskey.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/behavioural-theory-notes/


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