PYP Creative Cycle Labels - Planning, Practicing, Polishing & Performing

The four parts of the PYP creative cycle are planning, practicing, polishing, and performing. We can break these down further to see how the Learner Profile relates to each section. (Click here for a summary of how the creative cycle is similar for both PYP and MYP Music.)

As a quick reminder, the creative cycle and the inquiry cycle are the exact same thing. At the beginning of the creative cycle, you are setting up the learning. It’s where the pre-assessments are, the fun hooks, and the teacher-led engagements.  Once the students are released to inquire, then the magic starts to happen. 

In the planning stage, the students are deciding what their creation or performance will look like.  They are choosing who are in their groups and are deciding on the piece / direction in which they want to go.

Grade 4 Example Using Persuasive Music

Let’s look at an example from a grade 4 persuasion unit. In their homeroom’s unit of inquiry, they are looking at how advertising uses persuasive tools. This will provide a perfect link for Music class through the use of jingles. 

In their homeroom, they’ll need to look at what language text makes for really catchy jingles. Maybe they’ll study McDonald’s (Singing: You deserve a break today… at McDonald’s or Kraft Dinner’s song, I love, I love, I love, I love my Kraft Dinner with… my dad!) So far, it’s not a music unit because they are looking at the language of what makes a good jingle.  What are good slogans and tagline? (In DP Music, they call this Extra-Musical Findings.)

Once the group has their slogan set, they’ll need to compose music for it. They have to consider whether it’s going to be in a major or minor. How long will it be? What key will it be in? Which instruments will be playing? Who will be singing? In all these decisions, they are improving their Learner Profile . Thinker – Knowledgeable – Inquirer – Open-Minded – Caring

Once they’ve done all their planning, they need to start composing. This is the practicing stage. In our example, they’ll go to Hookpad Theory Sketchpad and test out their chord progressions together. Reflective – Risk-Takers (courageous) – Communicators Maybe they realise that the chord progression is too long, or would be better in a major key. Maybe they realise their singings can’t hum along that high, and they’ll need a lower key.

Hookpad Theory Chord Progression for PYP Music

Once they are happy til their chord progressions, it’s time to start adding their melody line. Throughout the entire process, they are reflecting in their music journals by taking screen casts and evaluating their work thus far. Reflective – Communicators. 

Hookpad Theory Melody Composition for PYP Music

When their melody composition is finished, they can export their work to GarageBand and sing along with their composition.

Finally, the group is almost finished and they are starting to polish. They do a final recording and their homework is to go home and show their parents and at least three friends not in their class.  The questions relate back to their homeroom’s unit of inquiry.  Perhaps they’ve created a product in their homeroom and now they need to test it against the jingle they created in Music class.  How successful are they, thus far, in persuading people to purchase their mockup? They are evaluating their success and making necessary changes. 

And now it’s the end. Our grade 4s are going to perform their creation by creating a little commercial in iMovie. They take pictures of their product and combine it with the song they created in Music class.  After watching their commercial, they do a final evaluation in which they talk about what their inspiration was (principled), how they worked together effectively as a team (caring – communicators) and how successful their performance was (thinkers – knowledgeable).

Their creative cycle is now finished. Their summative assessment was a commercial created in conjunction with their homeroom’s UOI and they have evaluated its effectiveness against their central idea. 

A Few More Creative Cycle Examples in the PYP

Grade 1 Members of communities share responsibilities.

In this example, the homeroom teachers’ central idea was, “Members of communities share responsibilities,” so I wanted to explore the different ways members participate in ensembles.

Grade 1 UOI: Members of communities share responsibilities.
Topic: Members of the Orchestra
Task: Put together a rhythm ensemble with three people and give everyone a job.
Planning: Together, write 2 bars of rhythms using non-traditional notation.
Practicing: Practice with your group.
Polishing: Have your teacher or TA video your group. Watch and see if there’s anything needing fixing.
Performing: Perform your composition for your class, then talk about who did what jobs and what their responsibilities were.

Grade 5 Composers are often inspired by nature and/or stories.

In this example, the homeroom teachers were doing a wild weather unit. Singing songs about weather would have been a superficial (social) link, and I was looking for depth, so I decided to do tone poems instead. We specifically looked at Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. 

Grade 5 UOI: Composers are often inspired by nature and/or stories. 
Topic: Programme Music
Task: Compose a piece of music in the style of Antonio Vivaldi
Planning: Brainstorming ideas for your poems; write 3 poems in rondeau form.
Practicing: Experiment with sounds in GarageBand. Choose 1 poem and compose music to go with it.
Polishing: Have friends and family listen and offer feedback. Respond to the feedback in both writing and in changes. Document your changes through screen captures and writing in your music book.
Performing: “Share” your music out to iTunes (using the Share button) and then add the music to your music book.  Do a final evaluation using the DeBono thinking hats.

And here’s what our creative cycle looked like:

PYP Music Creative Cycle Example

Perhaps your school does Performing Arts instead of a separate Music and Drama? Here’s an example of how the creative cycle could look. 

PYP Music Creative Cycle Poster featuring animals playing instruments and dancing