Who (and Why) We Are Reports from the Field Opinion, Observation, Commentary Learning, Teaching, Knowledge The Latest from Freddie Bowles

A Mozart Concerto Inspires Writers.

Scorpio Sphinx Conference 2-13-05

By Freddie A. Bowles,
Posted from Chicago, Illinois

Greetings from the Windy City and the Association of Teacher Educators Conference.

Listen, Move, Draw, Write!

I've just returned from my first presentation about using music to teach literacy. Anne Schultz and Glenda Cosenza co-presented their Action Research Project in the Chicago Public Schools as an effective strategy to teach writing skills to primary school-aged bilingual children.

Ms Schultz told about her frustration trying to teach writing to the children. After an especially challenging class with a group of second graders, she jumped in her car and loaded a Mozart CD to create a mood of serenity. It was during this interlude that she experienced that Aha! moment. She asked herself if bringing Mozart into the classroom would have the same effect on her students. She was hoping for a few minutes of peace in the classroom before another effort at bringing her second graders to the conjunction of pen and pad.

She began the next lesson by having the class listen to a Mozart Concerto while at the same time drawing on a piece of paper the story that the music brought to mind. She was hoping for a minute or two of calm, but the outcome was surprisingly different. The students drew throughout the first movement... and the second, and then the third. They were engaged. It was a teachable moment. She took advantage of it and asked everyone to write down the "story" that they had drawn.

The writing exercise generated the same concentration. From this experience, Ms Schultz and Ms Cosenza have developed the LISTEN>MOVE>DRAW>WRITE! project for teaching writing skills based on music movement, and art. Now that it has been used successfully for K-3,the project has been expanded to include a group of sixth graders.

Next Is Harry Wong.

The next big event is the opening address by Harry Wong (The First Day of School: How to be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong). You may have read about him or heard about him. I've mentioned some of his ideas about classroom management in several of my classes.

So far, most of the pre-conference attendees have been here for committee meetings and planning sessions, so the general sessions won't begin until tomorrow. Approximately 1,500 educators are expected to attend. I've already met a lot of folks from several states and institutions: CUNY in the Bronx and Buffalo, Old Dominion in Virginia, educators from California, Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. The main topics of discussion in the informal settings have centered on standards in alternate education and the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Over 1100 Future Teacher Educators from across the states filled the conference center for their own pre-conference sessions. It is encouraging to see so many high school students interested in joining the profession.

The evening hour on Saturday was mostly filled with socializing and eating. There was a Presidential Reception hosted by the current President, Ed Pultorak, with a delightful buffet of finger foods. The Hilton has several places to eat and drink, so our party continued with Irish music in the Kitty O'Shea pub.

A Quick Jaunt to the Art Museum.

Even though today's weather was a "wintry mix," a few of us ventured out and walked down to the Art Institute of Chicago. We only had time to visit the museum store, but that alone was fascinating. A stop at the Corner Bakery for a cappucino warmed us up for the walk south on Michigan and back to the hotel.

Now it's almost time for the Opening Session followed by a reception and mixer, so I'll close for now, and wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.

E-mail address

The End

University Courses

for Educators




Darbo Brief


Resource Center



UA /
Curriculum and Instruction

Planet Clio

Planet IEP

Planet Deutsch

Teaching People
of Other Cultures

Visit Corndancer Corndancer


Fly on the wings of knowledge....

z magyar


t w