Devin Schroeder, 29, and Shaylena Bell, 25, are helping Perry’s elementary students find connections between their lives and music.
Both are elementary music teachers new to the Perry School District this year, and Schroeder also teaches fifth grade band.
“We began the year with some different ideas, but we have collaborated and come to agreements on how to approach the curriculum,” Bell said.
Schroeder looks at music education as an integral part of the elementary curriculum, not just something students do that is different than anything else.
“Whenever I can, I relate music to other curriculum,” he said. For example, each note has a specific number of beats. Schroeder will line up the notes and then the students count the beats and even add them up.
“I work to implement core standards in music, just like in any other class,” he said.
Bell noted, “I think content is important, but beyond that, it also is important to get to know them and make sure they know you care about them.”
She sets goals for the students and works to have them reach their goals, with the goals dependent on grade level.
“What you are teaching is basically the same for each grade, but it becomes more complicated as they get into higher classes,” she said.
Elementary music students meet for a 50-minute music class twice in a six-day cycle. Bell said she appreciates the 50-minute class because it allows more time for learning. The music sessions she taught in her previous school were only 30 minutes.
Schroeder, who was hired to teach music, was soon asked to teach fifth-grade band, the first time for fifth-grade band in the district. He was asked because he also has a background in instrumental music.
Schroeder came to Perry from teaching music for four years at Lincoln Public Schools. He graduated with a music performance degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and received his master’s in music performance from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
He and his wife, Jackie, who have a 2-year-old son and are expecting another child, decided they wanted to get back to Iowa, where their parents still live.
Bell received her bachelor’s in music education from Iowa State University. She taught music the spring semester at Prairie City Monroe school district, then taught kindergarten through 12th grade for two years in Winfield-Mt. Union Consolidated Schools before coming to Perry.
In addition to teaching in Perry elementary, she also coached the Perry High School color guard and will coach high school girls’ track in the spring.
What do you like best about music class?