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Listening Journals - Middle School Choir Students

I have began planning for the upcoming year.  This will be my first year as a middle school choir director.  I would like to utilize a Listening Journal in each of my classes.  Any suggestions on how I could use a listening journal in/with my instruction?  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  
on July 28, 2014 1:56pm
Hi Bradley!  Congrats on your new position.  
This blog post that I've posted below is one that discusses how I use folders and bell ringer activities in my classroom.  It may give you some ideas on how to get your children to keep folders of their own to document their work.  Based on your question above, I am not sure whether you are interested in ideas on activities for a listening journal or if you are interested in ideas on how to help your children keep written work organized, etc.  Either way, maybe this will give you some ideas.
Have a great year!
Dale Duncan
S-Cubed:  Successful Sight Singing for Middle School.  How to teach it to beginners:
on July 29, 2014 5:35am
Hi Bradly-
As a middle school choir director who places high value on creating an inclusive learning environment, it is important to me that my students have a wide variety of vocal/choral examples to draw upon.  For this reason, I begin many rehresrals with a listening and critical response.  Critical response is one of several reflective practices that help students respond to the music they are hearing without judgement.  The 5 questions for descriptive review are:
    1.  What do you notice?  (Describe without judgment: "I notice...")
    2.  What does it remind you of?  (What memory, experience, story, music, other work does this trigger?  There are no wrong answers or associations.)
    3.  What emotions do you feel as you respond to this work? (Again, no wrong answers.)
    4.  What questions does it raise for you? ("I wonder...")
    5.  What meaning or understanding is intended or conveyed in this work?
There are no wrong answers in critical response; it is an opportunity for students to show you their thinking.  After students have had the opporunity to create their critical responses (in my class- 5 responses=5 points when I choose to grade).  Afterwards, students can develop their collective wisdom around a piece of music by sharing their observations.  For more information on the critical response protocol- you can check out this website:
Good luck with your middle schoolers,
Kim Kroetsch
Vocal Music Specialist K-8
St Paul, MN
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