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Looking for full 6-8 curriculum including lesson plans

I just started a new job at a charter school teaching 6-8 general music. The school has had a lot of music teachers all teaching different things and I'd love to really solidify the curriculum for the school. I would love to include some singing in the curriculum. This is my first job out of college and I'm afraid that I would just plan a bunch of disjunct and/or subpar lessons since I don't have much experience with lesson planning. Can anyone suggest a curriculum?
Thank you!
Replies (11): Threaded | Chronological
on August 23, 2015 9:17pm
Unfortunately, I don't know of any curriculum that you can just "buy" that will solve all your problems. There are some out there, but I've just found them to be lackluster. If anybody has any recommendations though, I'd be up to hear it! 
Are you in the process of doing a formal curriculum, or are you doing this for your own benefit? Either way, it's really smart of you! The reason I ask is because, if you're doing a formal curriculum, what I suggest will take some finagling to make it "fit" whatever format your administration wants. But disregarding that...
When mapping out your curriculum, you need to "begin with the end in mind." What skills do you want your students to have at the end of your program? At the end of every year? Semester, month, week, etc.? If you know concretely what you want them to know, then planning becomes much easier. The best place to look for things like this would be your state/national standards. They get a lot of grief, but for the most part, they are a great resource. 
For example (and there are many more goals you may want to include), you may want your 6th grade students, by the end of the year, to be able to: 1) Sing with healthy vocal technique 2) sight-read in diatonic major keys with quarter notes/eighths 3) perform a variety of repertoire with excellence. At that point you, break it down: what does each of those goals, in concrete terms, look like? Then you reverse-engineer a curriculum that, if followed, will get you there. 
As far as the day-to-day of rehearsals, I tend to approach it in a series of segements: 1) vocal technique (warmups) 2) literacy (sight-reading/writing/composition) and 3) repertoire, for example. If you do all three of those with intentionality every day, you'll come very close to meeting your goals with that alone. 
Most of all, don't beat yourself up if it's not perfect. Even veteran teachers will tell you that education is a craft, and that we refine it every year. In truth, just surviving your first three years without quitting the profession can be considered a success by some. But if you want to be really great, the only way is to just get in there and do it! 
on August 24, 2015 4:15am
Hi Braeden! 
This is for my own benefit. The school I'm at does 10+ hours a day just in academics and then theres extracurricular choir and a musical on top of that, so I just don't know when I'm going to get it done. I don't mind if it's lackluster because I'm capable of changing things and making it better, I would just really love some framework so that I'm not completely building it from scratch. Are there any that you like even a little bit?
on August 24, 2015 6:28am
As far as outright choral curriculum, no. But I do have several resources that I use on a regular basis:
Charlotte Adams' "Daily Workout for a Beautiful Voice" (for technique)
150 Rounds and Canons (for short songs to teach)
Road Trip Sight-Singing (for very beginning sight-readers)
The rest of the "plan" comes from the repertoire you teach. Your pieces are your text, which is great: you can find pieces that really meet your kids where they are at and then challenge them appropriately. 
on August 24, 2015 8:16am
The school is really adament about this being general music and not chorus. They need a lot of written work and have no concert at the end. That is why I'm looking for a curriculum instead of just teaching through the songs like I would prefer to do
on August 25, 2015 9:58am
I can seem to find the road trip sight singing book...can you send a link please?
on August 24, 2015 5:33am
I would look in the textbooks in your classroom. Modern music texts have teacher editions with suggested lesson plans that you tweak to your own liking. If you don't have text books for your classes I suggest you get to work.
on August 24, 2015 8:15am
We have no textbooks. All I have is a keyboard, desks, and risers.
on August 24, 2015 6:43am
For curriculum ideas, check the music education standards for your state, as well as the lateste NAfME standards. And check the NAfME site for curriculum ideas for your 6-8 general music. There are so many ideas for general music! Not just choral singing.....
Be sure to include listening lesson plans for your classes, since that is the most important of all music standards- to me. Reason is listening is HOW one makes meaning of the art. Whether teaching music literacy or performance concepts, listening is the key to making meaning of music! 
Also check out GIA publications catalogue for ecent books on middle school general music.
Best Wishes for a successful year,
Carl Smith  
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on August 24, 2015 7:34am
First I highly suggest you check out the Fun Music Company:
Also, I just completed a spring Interim Middle School Choral position even though I am had a career as a Band Director. I have taught General Music 6, 7, 8 on a 90 min block and had one Gen.Music class for 40 or so minutes last year.  From that I have lots of up to date Multi-Cultural Gen. Music items that I can share with you.
If you have a Smartboard in your room or can check out a CPU projector from your media center, either would be a real asset in your situation, along with a good set of computer speakers.
my email is davidcwoodardjr(a)
David Woodard
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on August 24, 2015 9:29am
There are three excellent music curriculum series out there. They will cover all of the general music topics, and meet all of the national standards. Just go through the lessons in order. They are web based, and can stay current. You pay a subscription for one year, or multi-years. McGraw-Hill and Silver Burdett (Pearson) have many decades of experience and so have great depth to their programs. Quaver will be the most appealing to kids, so if you're in a situation where you have to win over fickle middle schoolers, it might be a good place to start. It's relatively new, and has less song material. However, it is innovative in design, and they continue to add to their product with no add-on fees. If you can, I'd encourage you to get a rep from each company to do a presentation for you. Stress to them that you are looking for a general music curriculum, not a choral curriculum. Here are some links:
We just went through a new series selection process, and we thought all three of these companies are excellent. There were plenty of other companies offering materials, but we thought they were more in the supplimental materials line. These three quickly became the main contenders.
Good luck. Your first year will be full of challenges, but it will also be an invigorating experience!
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on August 24, 2015 10:26am
   You may have gotten yourself into a no-win situation, where the only thing you will end up with is a poor reference for your next job from this school with its lofty but nebulous expectations.  Charter schools and other "high standards" schools are notorious for narrowing the curriculum and pushing out the arts to satisfy helicopter parents and make room for more AP courses, STEM, etc.  These things are red flags:
1.  "The school has had a lot of music teachers."  (I'd guess either the school is too demanding (those so-called "high standards") without knowing anything about music education,AND/ OR previous teachers have quit because the job is just unworkable.)
2.  "There are 10+ hours a day just in academics."   (Is 10 a misprint??)
3.  "We have no texts."  (How about funding?   And music equipment--do you really only have a keyboard?)
4.  "They need a lot of written work."  (Some is important, but your instinct to teach through performance is better.)
Is there another person who directs the choir and musical?  Talk to that person (Or other teachers at the school) at once to learn more about the history of your position.  Who evaluates you?  Whom must you please and what does he or she expect?  What is this person's background (or lack of) in music?  Find out who your predecessors were and call them for advice.  This will be invaluable guidance!
There is good advice by others here.  Contact David, above.   I would add that since "the school is adament that this be general music," consider World Music Drumming and Bucket Drumming.  These are field tested curriculums with websites, and lots of Youtube videos to help you.  Also, take Craig's advice about text books. 
Since your school does not have any textbooks, contact music teachers in the public schools.  I bet they would be happy to help you.  Maybe you could borrow a teacher's edition or a student book and some CDs.  Perhaps your public school colleague is teaching World Music Drumming for two months and not using the books.  The two major textbook publishers are Macmillan/McGraw-Hill (Spotlight on Music) and  Scott-Foresman (I forget the title of their current series.)  Both publish grade level curriculums from K through 7th-8th grade, complete with CDs.  Each CD has multiple tracks for each song or activity, including accompaniment, performance, pronunciation, extra parts, etc.; also there are related listening pieces.  Each of these books has enough material for a whole year, PLUS, there are "core" lessons pre-selected for you, which cover the essential concepts in an organized progression in case you must provide formal documentation or if your class meets only one time per week.  These textbook series also use specialist authors and editors who are leaders in their fields, for example Dr. Will Schmid who developed World Music Drumming 20 years ago, and is a retired music ed. professor and past president of MENC; and choral specialists like Mary Goetze and Doreen Rao who are well known to Choralnet readers.
Best wishes, and be sure to document your successes and the roadblocks you run into.  This will help you in the future.
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