Sunday, November 13, 2016

Real World Learning: Veterans Day Assembly Lesson Evidence

Real World Learning: Veterans Day Assembly Lesson Evidence

Evidence of Implementation

In the beginning...

As a band director, I am inclined to engage students in "Real World" community events whenever possible.  This is not only good for public relations of the program and the school, but more than that it is imperative that students find their place in the "Real World."  They need to discover the importance of community service first hand.  This was the driving force behind wanting to establish a performance side to the Veterans Day Assembly at our school.  This year was the second annual and I would argue that it gets more expansive and refined each year.  The Veterans Day Performance and assembly is Real World learning for our students.

The process...

As many band directors know, the preparation for an event doesn't always look the same as the outcome.  Throughout the process of implementing the music, program, choral integration, and execution of performance, I changed many of my initial preparations due to several different reasons.

The first was due to opportunity.  Initially I envisioned only the band planning for the assembly.  In conversation with my colleague we came to the conclusion that combining the band and choir in a performance would strengthen student engagement and community involvement as a whole.  This slightly shifted my plan.  Now I was looking at creating the best possible performance for the band and choir while still staying on my objective of Real World learning for my students.  This took some additional editing and creativity on my part.

A direct result of having the choir join us was that I needed to come up with more music.  This was done through arranging and writing.  I had great concerns of the band overtaking the choir due to the nature of the activity.  This brought about another opportunity for a couple of students.  I created a solo/duet section of the music to accompany the choir.  This had to be written out, yet the time and energy it took was well worth it.

As different situations came up it was a breath of fresh air to have my choral colleagues to work through different solutions.  Although I initially didn't foresee collaboration as a part of the experience, it became a staple of creating a successful performance.

Interdisciplinary collaboration also became imperative as I worked with and communicated with the principal, the social studies department, custodial staff, and other school groups.  This sort of proactive and well-thought-out process set the Veterans Day Assembly and performance up for success.

As the days grew to the event, the students were introduced to an activity which I title Veterans Day Research and Reflection.  Students were able to dive into the deeper meanings of Veterans Day including its origins and connections.   Students were also able to reflect on why the band and choir are participating in Veterans Day and the significance on their own lives.

In the end...

Due to the preparation, collaboration, and involvement of the entire school and outside community, the Veterans Day Assembly was a success!  Students were able to actively participate in a Real World learning environment that brought deeper understanding and connection to their lives.

(photo courtesy of

Content Standards/Outcomes
Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.

Student Evidence and Reflection

The Music

Students performed traditional patriotic music that directly is associated with the Real World experience of Veterans Day. Many of the same pieces were performed by other bands and choirs all over the United States to acknowledge Veterans Day.  The students rehearsed, practiced, and performed the following pieces.

The Star Spangled Banner arr. by Mark Williams

Salute America arr. by Don Schaeffer

We're Loyal To You (School Song)

Veterans Day Research and Reflection Assignment

Q1: What is the origin of Veterans Day in the United States?

Q2: What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

Q3: Choose 2 of the following topics and give historical facts about that given topic…

a.) Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

b.) Choose and write on 1 of the following American wars…

1.) World War 1

2.) World War 2
3.) Korean War
4.) Vietnam War
5.) Gulf War
6.) Global War on Terror
c.) Respecting the Flag

Q4: What is significant about Veterans Day?  How does that relate to your life?

Q5: Reflect on why we perform and participate in the Veterans Day Assembly at Byron Middle School.

Student Responses

Veterans Day Assembly and Performance Live!

Another way that I made this a Real World learning experience was to broadcast the event live via LiveStream.  I also announced the event on Twitter.

Veterans Day Assembly and Performance via Livestream

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