This week is an exciting week for me on EducationCloset!
It’s….technique week! This week, we’re going to explore techniques that artists from all areas use in their craft which can be used during a content lesson to foster deeper, more authentic connections for your students. I have heard many teachers asking me for more help with technique work so that they can be true to each art form, and this week, I’m happy to provide a space for that information!
Today’s technique is Call and Response.
This is a music concept that is taught as early as kindergarten, with more in depth variations being taught all the way through 6th grade. Call and Response is simply another name for question and answer form. It is NOT an echo….because an echo would be copying the first person. Instead, this is listening to the “call” from the first person, processing it and then providing a “response” that resolves the first call. You can do this through clapping a call and asking a student to clap back a response (be sure to identify that the response needs to use similar beats as the call, but not in the same order). Then, you can transfer that onto musical instruments or even singing.
This is a great technique to use with language arts. Language Arts uses call and response all the time. It’s simply dialogue. However, if you’ve ever taught writing to students of any age, you know how difficult teaching how to write dialogue can be. Quotations, punctuation, tone, inflection, relationships are all key parts to writing dialogue and several of those pertain to musical call and response as well. By using musical call and response form to help teach the dialogue of writing, students have another concrete way to manipulate the concept.
Call and Response is great to use in math, as well.
It works on a higher order thinking level. This pushes students out from just rote memorization to actually using the mathematical concept. For instance, think about a simple mathematical equation sentence. Many of us teach 2+2=4 and students simply memorize this equation. Or, they will memorize their 3’s table: 3 x 1 = 3, 3 x 2 = 6, etc. Instead, if you teach math through musical call and response, the students have to clap or play the first part of the equation. IE: 3 claps and 1 tap. And then another student must provide the “answer” using either a clap, a tap or a combination. IE: clap-tap-clap. This provides students with the relationship of the numbers among themselves and how to manipulate them in various ways to get the definitive answer.
There are so many other possibilities out there for using this technique – use your inner creativity and try it in your own classroom. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.