Instructional Methods That Can Be Used in Elementary Schools

Essay, 2022

7 Pages



The following essay will discuss the instructional methods that can be used in Elementary Schools that use the Primary Years (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) when teaching a music class. One of these instructional methods could include primary resources, which allow students to make connections with the past, relive moments in time, and even reflect on different informative sources of information, which promotes critical thinking.

This paper will highlight the importance of these instructional approaches to benefit students in PYP Year 5 lessons following the IB curriculum as outlined by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

Keywords: Elementary School, Instructional methods, International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Programme.


Primary resources allow students to make connections with the past, relive moments in time and reflect on different informative sources, allowing them to think critically, and be knowledgeable about the various information shared with them to expand their understanding of a particular subject (Fry, 2010).

Eastern Illinois University suggests that: "[students have] first-hand knowledge about a historical event of past and present history” (para. 1, p. 1). This paper will discuss the importance of these instructional approaches to benefit students in PYP Year 5 lessons following the IB curriculum as outlined by IBO (n.d.).

Literacy Development in Music

As part of the music lesson in Year 5 students are exploring the history of Baroque Music focusing on composers from this genre, and studying composers by checking timelines from Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. Students are looking at the Unit of Inquiry question: "How music has evolved from the Baroque period, and which compositional techniques have been employed. Through reading articles students have to ask themselves inquiry-based questions: "how has music evolved?", "what characteristics make baroque music different?", "when did composers like Bach, Handel and Vivaldi compose music which highlighted concertos?".

Through using the inquiry lens students think critically and make connections with various primary sources. For example, students will explore different audio that they can listen to the music, and identify the different instruments used, they will look at visuals, where students will explore the key terminologies used in Baroque music, including basso continuo, harmonic progressions, and ornamentation.

Students will watch films related to the Baroque period and make detailed notes enhancing their communication and thinking skills as outlined by IBO (2018) being "critical thinkers" (p. 1).

These activities and instructional approaches iterate what Newman & Warach (2008) explores by stating that: "Students have done this type of assignment before and know that, as journalists, they must ask themselves "who, what, when, where, how, and why" questions" (para 2, p. 2). Students have the opportunity to expand their vocabulary and learn new words by investigating what they have been presented in terms of the primary resources. They will study visuals, look at pictures from the Baroque period and make notes related to the topic. Newman & Warach (2008) confirms that: "This teacher knows that literacy has three main aspects: reading, thinking, and communicating" (p. 2).

Students have the opportunity to display their understanding by incorporating technology into their work by demonstrating what it truly means to be a 21st-century learner, who believes in collaboration, cooperative learning, and learning through peer learning, by sharing ideas, and opinions.

Historical Thinking in Action in Music

As students continue to explore the timelines of the musical composers, Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, they have to study the various compositions published and composed during the period. They have to use their research skills, by reading content, internalising the information, and making conclusions, through sharing projects in the Music class.

Some students will be working on a joint class project concluding a presentation on Google slides, where they work collaboratively together to use the primary resources to enable them to finish off their projects in the classroom. Students explore the phenomenon of becoming music historians and musicologists, where they look at the scientific study of music through being "risk-takers, "knowledgeable", and "principled according to the IBO (n.d.) learner profiles. When students are sourcing, according to Wineburg (2010) they are "Thinking about a document's author and its creation" (p. 3).

Students have the opportunity to investigate, evaluate the primary resources, read a memo written from the time, and look at a historical document. In this case, students are exploring letters the teachers have shared written by the composer's Bach and Handel as researchers.

Through exploring these instructional approaches, students as outlined by Wineburg (2010) explain: "Consider introducing students to several specific strategies for reading historical documents: sourcing, contextualising, close reading, using background knowledge, reading the silences, and corroborating. Each strategy is defined below, followed by teaching ideas" (p. 3). Students have the opportunity to collaborate, contextualise the information, using the background information that was shared, which could include letters, memos, and journals that were archived from the various Baroque composers, and shared by the teacher with the students.

Assessing Historical Thinking skills

Deciding what assessment criteria will be used to evaluate the work presented, which might include audio examples, a picture shared, historical timelines of each of the composers, their contributions, a combination of visuals and audio examples, which might include their favourite compositions for each composer? These may include google slide presentations, and collaborative projects, depending on the teacher, and what is significantly important. As a teacher, the following criteria will be used in the PYP IBO (n.d.) programme. "Did the students employ the various Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) skills and how?" (p. 1). Breakstone & Smith (2013) suggest that: "Choose what the assessment will measure. Historical knowledge? Students' ability to corroborate sources? Students' ability to construct an argument? Be as precise as possible. This initial step will guide the rest of the design process" (p. 4). In the case of the music lessons, students evaluate the online resources, websites, and papers relating to the composers Bach, Handel and Vivaldi using their critical thinking skills (IBO, 2018; Breakstone & Smith, 2013). Concluding, students will greatly benefit from using the primary resources of information to gather factual information about these composers as outlined by Newman & Warach (2008); Wineburg (2010); and Breakstone & Smith (2013).


Allowing students to be natural inquirers and exhibit the skills they have been taught as part of the various Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) skills, will encourage and motivate students to be on task, which will be beneficial in them attaining the targets, outcomes, objectives, and aims set for themselves.


Excerpt out of 7 pages


Instructional Methods That Can Be Used in Elementary Schools
Masters in Education (Advanced Teaching for Elementary, Middle and Secondary)
Catalog Number
Elementary School, Instructional methods, International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Programme.
Quote paper
Mario Maxwell Müller (Author), 2022, Instructional Methods That Can Be Used in Elementary Schools, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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