Monday, March 31, 2014

Elementary Music: Standardized Testing

As a bright eyed naive Elementary Music Ed major I never anticipated the idea that some day I may have to administer a standardized test to my little ones.  I remember sitting in my elementary methods class enjoying every minute of getting to play with my colleagues while vividly imagining how I would one day be leading my own group of little ones through a magical, music experience.  Although I don't completely despise the idea of testing for music, I'm not exactly excited about the idea of administering a test next year, and it certainly was something that I never thought I would have to do.

There are so many factors that are weighing heavily on my mind as we move towards this new process.  I'm worried about my students anxiety about testing, the fact that I will see them even more infrequently because our school is growing so rapidly, how to catch them up when they are absent or pulled from my room for one reason or another, and am I doing enough to prepare them for this whole new process.  I know I'm probably over thinking this and a lot of what I'm feeling is anxiety about the unknown but it's something that has been in the back of my mind.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on testing in the elementary music room.  What do you see as the positives/negatives?  Is standardized testing a part of your reality?  How does it work in your state/county/city?    

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Favorite Free Music Resources from TpT

I was browsing Teachers Pay Teachers the other day and came across some free resources that I love. Below are the resources with links to where you can download them.

1.  I CAN Statement Posters

These posters by fellow blogger David Row are a great way to display the purpose of each lesson.

2.  Staff and Beat Maps

Who couldn't use an easy printable set of beat maps and large size staff paper?

3.  Sharp and Flat Signs

I've been meaning to make myself a set of these, now I don't have to.  I'm excited about just printing these out for my classroom.

4.  Use the Bathroom Sign

Another poster I've been wanting to make!  Gonna hang this one right outside my door.

What are some of your favorite FREE TpT resources?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Recorder: Playing Low E

Wow!  I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post.  I'm such a slacker!  :)  Here is a short one for now.  More posts are planned for after my concert next week.

Over the years I've come up with a couple of things that really work when teaching recorder; as well as a few that completely flopped!  :)  I've recently started working on Low E with my 4th graders and something I find them repeating to each other are my directions on how to remember the fingering for this pitch.

When we learn it, I describe the fingering as G plus bunny ears.  I've tried G plus two and a number of other ideas but bunny ears seems to stick.

(And a sneak peek at the backdrop for our concert!)

Add bunny ears for low E.  We still have a bit of work to do on finger position but what you really want to avoid is below...

Some students will tend to tuck their fingers back behind the recorder or curl them up.  This makes it harder for them to change pitches later on.

Just thought I'd share this little recorder tidbit.  What are some of the recorder tricks you use with your kids?
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