Typical Day Of Recorder
Submitted by Barb Philipak, St. Peters, Missouri
Idea posted 2002-04-23
Question: How many kids were you able to test each class?
Answer: I have about 28-30 kids in my 4th and 5th grade classes. I see them for 30 minutes 2 1/2 times/week. Usually, this is how a typical recorder class goes...
We review hand positions, new notes learned last class, etc... Usually, I do echo patterns next with my back turned so they have to use their ears. Then, we usually sight-read a new piece of music. I use all Music K-8 pieces for this... I make enough copies for the kids to use to practice at home, and I use an overhead. We 'talk' through the piece, and after I've done a few for them, THEY talk me through the piece!! Then, we play it with the accompaniment tape. LATER ON, WE DO SPEND TIME JUST PLAYING SONGS THAT WE HAVE SIGHT-READ - THEY ALWAYS HAVE A FAVORITE from all the GREAT Music K-8 songs!
Then, in addition (or maybe in place of), we talk and play through the next note and/or song from the karate list. This depends on time. Some days, we don't need to do a new note or song yet... so we skip it. Other days, if I'm running behind on time, I skip the sight-reading and do a new note/karate song instead.
Then, for the last 10-15 minutes, we TEST FOR BELTS and work in groups!! They are so excited for this. I usually try to stick closer to 15 minutes for this. (I also test during specific plan times AND after school on SOME days... I tell them in advance when I'll be staying late.)
If I have 15 minutes, I can usually get through all or MOST of the class for one color belt. Sometimes, this gets slowed down because I may spend some time helping one particular student for awhile. (That is one of the things that I love about this - I do get to hear each student individually... and I can give that child pointers specifically to help him/her!) If I spent the whole half hour, I'd definitely get through one whole class.
Later on, when you have kids moving up in the higher colors of belts, this process speeds up some. It also helps when students can play a little faster after they get more proficient at reading music. Also, later I do spend some whole days testing towards the end of the unit. They want to do this so much, I might actually use these full testing days as rewards... for everyone remembering the recorders for so many days, etc...
Oh, one more thing that I do that seems to help those kids who get impatient is that I sometimes start at the top of the list alphabetically, then I'll start from the bottom, then in the middle. I vary it a lot!