After winning the school-wide competition at International Community School (ICS) for two poem readings, Clio Erignac (grade 10) went on to place in the top three at the Poetry Out Loud Northwest Washington Regional Finals on Thursday, February 11.
Singing their praises – Lake Washington High remote music classes featured in local magazine
Lake Washington School District staff have been getting creative about how to educate our students. Teachers across the district have been innovative with how they teach their classes, especially those in subjects like music. Kirkland Living Magazine recently featured a Lake Washington High School music teacher about how she is teaching in a remote setting. You can read the full article below.
When the classroom went virtual this school year at Lake Washington High School, the music staff had to figure out how to teach a class like choir from a distance.
Through intense collaborative efforts and a summer full of discussions on how to set students up for success in this never done before virtual learning format, Lake Washington School District was able to forge a plan. “We looked at different educational frameworks, some interesting research, and read books about online teaching and online learning,” shared Heidi Menzenberg-Zvilna, the Director of Choirs, Piano, and Guitar at Lake Washington High.
The research that the district studied to prepare for a smooth start to this online experience showed the importance of prioritizing students’ individualized learning styles and offering autonomy in their demonstration of mastery of the material. Adjustments to curriculum involved a wealth of creativity from the staff at Lake Washington High. Ms. Menzenberg-Zvilna stepped up to the occasion, as she has led her ensemble from Lyrica’ Choir from 2019. This is the top choir at Lake Washington High.
Microsoft Teams Meeting out of her home music studio since the start of the school year.
Now that performances have been put on the back burner, the students have more time to dive into their relationships with music and music theory. The class watches as Ms. Menzenberg-Zvilna sings and uses a method called Solèfege that teaches aural skills, pitch, and sight-reading. Although the students’ micro-phones are off, they can all see each other in ‘Teams Mode’ as they listen, sign, and sing along.
Outside of the classroom, the students use a program called Flipgrid to record themselves performing various “musicianship” challenges. The challenges can vary from sightseeing, performing a rhythm, or sharing an original piece. Playing tests are often given to her guitar and piano students. While students are farther apart than ever before, they have been able to build community in this temporary online format.
“Everybody is turning on their cameras and their microphones, talking, and changing virtual backgrounds. We are having fun being together,” shared Ms. Menzenberg-Zvilna. Through music, the class is able to find a sense of togetherness and still meet district and state standards.
Through the music program at Lake Washington High, students are able to reflect on the influence of music in their lives. An activity that Ms.Menzenberg-Zvilna has incorporated into her class year is to have students go outside and listen for 10 minutes to the sounds that echo around them. This immersive experience allows students to connect with music in a personalized way.
Ms. Menzenberg-Zvilna has seen the impact of music on her students. A former student in her choir referenced her class as one of the most important classes taken. Reflected upon students is the dedication, passion, and creativity of the staff at Lake Washington High and across the district.
Conversations between staff in the district continue to drive forth the importance of equity and accessibility. Even through troubling times, Ms. Menzenberg-Zvilna feels promise in her colleagues to deliver the best of instruction until normalcy returns. “It’s heartwarming. I think that creativity when we go back to a regular school day will have fruition far beyond the pandemic.”