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Planning units for IBDP Music in 2020 - a challenge!

Planning the units for a new curriculum is always truly exciting! Add in the pandemic and many additional factors need to be considered.


I am in the lucky position that I already know quite a few of the students I will be teaching in the new curriculum.


Some general thoughts about planning the year.

  • All units need to be flexible enough so I can teach them in person, hybrid or online.

  • All collaborative projects will be moved to the following year, hoping that a vaccine will be available and the situation will be bit closer to "normal".

  • My units will be shorter than usual and are of approximately equal length to provide more flexibility in case we have to react to the situation.

  • I am planning many mini formative assessments with written feedback. During the distance learning last academic year, my students have expressed their appreciation for the frequent comments via google classroom. They also mentioned that they never realised how much feedback they received during our "normal" face to face lessons.

  • All units are created as hyperlinked docs with all elements embedded. In case of a sudden shift to online teaching (or some students unable to get back in time), all material is available.

  • Already during the face to face teaching, frequent use of digital collaborative software to ensure that all students are familiar with the tools I will be using.

  • Clear lesson structure which can be applied in a virtual environment. (e.g. 10 minutes theory as a warm up, review from last lesson. new content, discussion, application etc) Hopefully, this will provide a positive framework for the students where they feel safe and know what to expect.

Some thoughts about this specific year group.

  • Our students will be physically present at the beginning of the school year. I am using this opportunity to plan a performance unit. We might have to close down again soon, so I make every minute count.

  • My students are strong performers - putting a small performance unit first will help them create a good relationship within the class and also decompress from the distance and hybrid lessons.

  • They still have a lot of learn in terms of music technology. Putting this unit after the October break will give them enough time to fully understand the way the course is run and by that time, they will have built up the confidence to be challenged with something quite new to them.

  • Hopefully by the second semester, concert halls will be open again and we will be able to attend several rehearsals in the Musikverein (in Vienna). This is when we will focus on the "local context".