Recorder Karate Idea Bank

End-Of-The-Year Class Management

Submitted by Stephanie Menefee, Tacoma, Washington

Idea posted 2003-04-10

Question: Well, what I anticipated would happen with my 8th grade recorder class did today... 2 of my 6 boys (strugglers at that) let me see that their position from here to the end of school (when they graduate) will be "I'm gonna blow off recorders!!" From the opening warm-ups to the composing activities at the end, there was goofing off, reluctance to even play the music, and subtle ways of them trying to "pull my chain." If anyone has handled this kind of situation successfully before and can suggest anything, I'm open...

Answer: Some people [on the Mailing List] have already mentioned Recorder Karate to you. I work in a public Montessori school in a very poor area of town (most of our kids are neighborhood kids) with grades Pre-K through 5. I use the Recorder Karate in two ways.

First, I teach each song to the class as a whole and when they as a class can play it to my satisfaction, I move up to the next one. (Exception is when we get to the fifth song, which introduces low D, then I go back to "Hot Cross Buns" and teach low D as part of the harmony G D G - /G D G - /G G G G /D D D D /G D G - and then go back to the songs in order.) This gives the kids the opportunity to hear the piece with the recording instead of just trying to read it from the page. Then, one day a week at lunch recess (I'm only here three days and at another school for two), they can come in and practice on their own and test. I have about 50% of my kids that have come in to test at least once. They all seem pretty motivated (even the kids who do not come in at lunch recess time)!

Good Luck!

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