Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Spending Lots Of Time Testing

Submitted by Barb Philipak, St. Peters, Missouri

Idea posted 2002-04-23

Question: In these last few weeks, it seems I spend all our class time testing. The kids are content to do that, but I feel guilty about not "teaching." Any advice?

Answer: I see my kids 2 1/2 times a week. We alternate odd and even days... so two times one week and three times the next. I tested during certain plan times and on certain arranged times after school - I wrote on my board when I would stay after school for the next week. I also spend all class time the last several weeks just testing for belts. But, I never felt guilty about 'not' teaching. The way I see it is... these kids are practicing WAY MORE than they normally would AND finally everything that we have taught them about music up until this point - rhythm, notes, staff, symbols etc. - FINALLY all 'click' and make sense.

I have all my kids who aren't testing work in groups with specific jobs. Each group is working on a certain song. Some days there are many groups working on the same song, but it varies. Also, my kids who are really advanced help out others - A LOT! I have never had this much enthusiasm about ANYTHING else... so I definitely don't feel guilty. I have had SO MANY more kids sign up for band these last several years than EVER before. Our job isn't always about 'teaching a lesson'... it is also to help the kids learn to LOVE music. Learning these songs, getting them right, and getting the recorder belt make it exciting. It makes them motivated to keep playing - and they learn to LOVE it!

A classroom management tip on the groups... I have mentioned this before on the list, but I have a running competition between all my 4th and 5th grade classes for an extra Super Day based on which class gets the most points. I give points for lots of things, but one of these is how well they work in their groups, and if they are working hard.

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