The New World

Tonight was the last day of band camp for my daughter.  Parents were invited to see a preview of their new field show called The New World.  The theme of the field show is outer space.

My husband and I are new to the whole marching band thing.  All I can say is wow!  The band marched (without instruments), and they called the counts out loud.  The formations were very intricate.  Everyone looked together as a cohesive unit.  To my eyes they looked great.  My daughter told me later that there were some mistakes, but I couldn’t tell.

I was very impressed with all they had learned in a short amount of time.  I thought of my daughter who has never marched before in her life.  The first day she was totally overwhelmed with all the information that was being thrown at her.  One night she came to me and said she didn’t understand how to read the formations.  She didn’t understand the terminology.  I felt bad because I couldn’t help her.  I do not have marching band experience.  I can see why someone would want to quit.  She wanted to give up, but she didn’t.  When she came to me and said she finally got it, I was so happy for her.  It is amazing to see how far she has come.  She is improving everyday.

I am going to make sure I take this lesson with me into the classroom.  When my students are feeling frustrated, I need to encourage them to keep going and not give up.  Eventually things will begin to make sense.  I am also thinking that when times get tough, students need to feel supported.  I am sure this is what happened with my daughter.  The veteran band members help each other out.  They encourage the freshmen to ask questions if they don’t understand something.

I want that feeling of community and camaraderie to happen in my classroom.  I know it’s up to me to make that happen.  It’s going to be a whole new world for my students and me.  I know there may be some setbacks, but if we work together, we can accomplish anything.  I am hoping this will be an awesome year.


5 thoughts on “The New World

  1. “The veteran band members help each other out. They encourage the freshmen to ask questions if they don’t understand something.”

    This is a very important observation. I will teach journalism this year after a two-year hiatus, and I know from past experience at teaching this class that the staff members (students in grades 9 – 12) learn at least as much from each other as they learn from me.

    The challenge, as you note, is to replicate this environment in a class other than band or journalism. I think the ideas behind the Connected Learning framework can help with this – I’m excited about trying out some ideas I learned in the Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) this summer.

    (By the way, I’m not sure how much Kim shared with SDAWP from the CLMOOC, so I won’t go into a detailed explanation for fear that I’d be repeating what you already know – but I’d be happy to share if you have any questions! I was the CLMOOC liaison for Los Angeles.)

      • We were exploring the ideas behind the Connected Learning framework, which argues that meaningful learning is 1) driven by interest, 2) situated in a community or other social setting, and 3) oriented toward academic, career, or civic achievement. The CLMOOC took place across a number of different platforms – my involvement was mostly through writing on my blog and participating in Twitter chats – and the discussion and sharing centered on ways that we could use these principles in own classrooms.

        (You can find more at, and under the Twitter hashtag #clmooc.)

        For my part, my deepest insight was that I have been using technology to make my teaching more efficient, but not to transform my teaching. My kids use laptops regularly, and do quite a bit of work on the computer – but I realized that this hasn’t changed my teaching; the kids do the same assignments but with a computer. I haven’t tapped into much of the great power of using technology to help students connect to the world beyond our classroom. I also realized that I use a much wider range of digital tools than my students do.

        As a first step toward changing this, I’m planning to blog with my students this year.

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