Creating a Collaborative Community Experience using the Joyful Ukulele
- Project Contact: Christine Ballenger, Music Teacher
- School: Solheim Elementary
- Amount Requested: $1,000
- Number of students that will benefit: 100
Summarize the project for which you are requesting support. Identify the main activities and time frame for completion.
The grant will help to both increase the school’s number of ukuleles, and replace those instruments that have broken. Ukuleles will be introduced as a special unit for fifth grade as first, and as the year progresses, will be added into more areas of their musical instruction. This is a project that will never be “completed,” as each year it will be repeated with the new fifth grade classes.
What are the project’s major goals?
Building community and collaboration is an important part of music education. Utilizing ukuleles is a powerful way to encourage group collaboration with fifth graders. Additionally, using ukuleles provides the music educator an opportunity to assess student learning in all concept and standard areas addressed in our national and district standards in a culminating way, while also encouraging work in our 4C’s of communication, collaborations, critical thinking, and creativity.
From the teacher’s perspective, how will this grant assist you in being more effective?
While there are many instruments in the music classroom, I have found that the ease of playing a ukulele and the sheer joy of the instrument, is a unifying experience for my fifth graders. Children of this age are becoming quite independent and need challenges, and ukulele allows for the challenge, as it is so different from what we typically experience in music. Additionally, ukulele instruction can easily be differentiated between students based on their skill levels. Furthermore, one of my goals as an educator is to build community and collaboration, and using ukuleles for composition projects enhances the cooperative experience.
From the student’s perspective, how will their educational experience be changed, enhanced or improved as a result of this project?
Students will work together and collaborate on ukulele projects, building community in a supportive environment with musical outcomes that can be shared and performed.
How will you evaluate the effectiveness of this project?
While the student perspective will be that it is a fun project, I will be able to assess the individual’s understanding of melody, rhythm, beat, and chords, along with creative and compositional abilities, within the frameworks and standards of the BPS elementary music curriculum.