Hello! My idea for Genius Hour is to incorporate music-based learning into the global language classroom. While I wish to focus on high school Japanese language courses, this plan should be easy to adapt to other languages and grade levels. In the future, I wish to be a Japanese language teacher and I recently picked up the ukulele as well! So, this project will be both interesting and educational for me. I decided to construct a simple lesson plan (with a class blog on Seesaw) that is easy to incorporate into existing plans or to build upon. The lessons will focus on learning a themed song with ukulele as students progress through each chapter, helping to build musical skills as well as use newly learned grammar/vocabulary.
My potential audience is other K12 teachers of global languages, as well as teachers with an interest in music. I have seen ukulele circles become successful in elementary classrooms, but if used in this more specific setting I feel that learning songs in another language would be beneficial to students. Using the ukulele may seem unnecessary if students will be singing anyway, but musical accompaniment will most likely increase confidence, make the experience more fun, and simultaneously build another skill for the students (I know whenever we had to sing a cappella when I was a student it was very awkward and no one really wanted to do it…). Additionally, the ukulele is simple and easy to get the hang of with limited (or no) knowledge. Most songs are constructed with a few simple chords and only take a few minutes to learn and some practice to perfect, so it will be easy for the teacher to build skills alongside the students if necessary.
In summary, I believe that my genius hour project will help students build vocabulary, use grammar in context, and develop correct pronunciation. Additionally, using ukulele or a similar instrument is relatively inexpensive and lightweight, so it should not be much of a hassle. In the end students should be able to have fun, gain familiarity with another language, and hopefully have gained the ability to play an instrument (this can be used beyond the classroom as a lifelong skill of desired).
Here are some useful Twitter accounts to follow!
Users: @JakeShimabukuro, @UkeTeacher, @Tofugu, @funfuntango
Hashtags: #ukulele, #Japanese, #music, #Jpop, #音楽, #ウクレレ, #worldlanguage