Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Using The Complete Recorder Resource Kit & Performing With A Down's Student

Submitted by Denise Gagne, Alberta, Canada

Idea posted 2002-05-28

I'm coming to the end of the recorder unit and no woes here - I'm delighted by the progress with the groups this year. I use the "Complete Recorder Resource Kit 1 and 2" with grades 4 and 5. I chose four songs from each for belt tests - two were tested for the last reporting period and two for this reporting period. I give the students a date when I'll begin testing in class time. If they want to test sooner, they can come after school. Some of the students have completed their black belt pieces already. I expect them to continue to practice with the class unless I have an empty room next door. If the room is empty (it's the library) I allow them to go out and work out of some Disney recorder books that I've placed in the library. We also have computers in the library, so working on computers is a potential reward for students who've completed the black belt. Everyone knows they will have to play the test sooner or later, so they've continued to work well. Those that are ready have the satisfaction of having the belt before the other kids in the class.

One of the best performances we ever did included a Down's Syndrome child who could play "Just B" on the recorder - that was it. I asked a few students to play with him, so he was part of a group. Every student got to pick a song that they wanted to play. I recorded the accompaniments onto one tape, and the groups just stood up one after the other and performed their portion. Those that were ready played "Ode To Joy." I think it went something like:

  • Group 1: Just B
  • Group 2: Hot Cross Buns variations
  • Group 3: Hush Little Baby
  • Group 4: Morning
  • Group 5: Ode To Joy

Students who played with the Down's Syndrome child played in another group. All other students chose the piece that they wanted to play and played just one. I sat them on benches at the front of the gym, they stood to play, then sat down. It was short but very sweet.

I'm going to have each class perform for someone - we're going to visit a neighboring school with some of our students, some will play at the monthly assembly, and some will play for the grade 3's to show them what they can accomplish on recorder. I'm sure the grade 1's and 2's would love a performance, as well. Even knowing they have to perform for someone will motivate those that haven't worked hard.

Just an aside - I had a new student yesterday. The rest of the grade 4's are playing "Ode To Joy" well, and this little girl had just started and knew BAG not very well. To give her a chance to catch up with the others, I reviewed the BAG songs on Boomwhackers® - fun for everyone, and she can read BAG well now. They worked very well with the accompaniment CD from the recorder kit. I'm going to go through the kit and try a bunch of the songs on Boomwhackers® - good reading practice for all!


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