4-8th Grade Music Teacher, Ms. Jessica Sapp, Makes Musical Connections with Her Students

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 12/21/20 10:18 AM

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Ms. Jessica Sapp earned a B.S. in Music Education from Duquesne University this past spring with a Certification in Music PK-12. During college, she would volunteer as a choir teacher for Pittsburgh Public Schools and work as a substitute teacher, elementary band camp instructor, and percussion instructor for both Penn-Trafford and Jeannette City School Districts.

After having the opportunity to gain experience in a menagerie of settings, Ms. Sapp joined the PA Distance Music Department as a 4-8th grade Music teacher this year.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was a little girl because I always played school with my dolls,” she explained. “I feel like I am a caretaker and knew I would grow up to do something where I helped people.”

“Once I got to high school and continued taking music classes, I knew I wanted to keep doing things in music. That’s why I pursued music education,” she said.

In college, she was a percussionist and vocalist. She owns an array of musical instruments that were gifted to her by her grandmother who finds them at garage sales. In classes, you can find her utilitizing her gifts, whether singing for students, playing the instruments, or dancing.

In 6th through 8th grade, she is teaching four different areas of content: Music History, World Music, Music Theory, and Electronic Music. Although there are no instruments sent home to families, these classes showcase how technology can be a gateway to a new world of opportunities.

At PA Distance, Ms. Sapp is teaching her 4th and 5th graders music skills that involve dancing, singing, and reading music. The 4th graders receive xylophone kits and rhythm sticks, while the 5th graders get boom whackers sent to their homes

“For example, this week in my 5th-grade class, we sang a song and they hit their boom whackers along with the musical notes,” she explained. “It teaches them how to read music and how different notes sound.”

Ms. Sapp also incorporates world geography by teaching her students about music and dances from other countries. Recently, she taught her 6th grade students the national dances from each country in South America.

“Music represents time and place, so I teach them about songs from different periods of time and how it impacted what was happening at a specific place,” she said.

“I love seeing my students engaged and enjoying what they are learning. Earlier this year I was trying to make the Renaissance era sound interesting, so I related it to the movie Shrek,” she said with a laugh. “I try to connect what I’m teaching to something that my students like to help them grow.”

Topics: Stories, Family Resources, Tech & Teaching

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