Saturday, March 20, 2010

Doug Butchy has a conversation going about grading elementary band on his blog. Worth a read.
I wonder about grades as well. Letters rarely line up with growth, effort or progress. I haven't had to struggle in school, so I couldn't personally say if they were really a motivator. I hope that kids take my class for more than just the grade.
I have the usual daily rubric and the required concert performances. I also use SmartMusic assignments to be sure that practicing is happening and to document what students are accomplishing. I'm covered for grade justification.
I think SmartMusic helps with more than just grades. I was really worried about this year's 7th graders. They were the first class hit with no sectionals after 5th grade. They were also our first group we really pushed to use SmartMusic. Next year's registration for 8th grade band will be as big as it ever was. I think that is because these students know what they can do and are confident about their success. I wish they knew more as they go to the next building, but I am really glad they are sticking with it!
If I had to pick sectionals or SmartMusic, I think I would pick sectionals. I miss the ability to have conversations with my students in a small group setting. It is much easier to tell kids what they need to know in those settings.
But if sectionals came back, I think I would still be using SmartMusic as much as we are now. It is a tremendous practice guide. If you beat the machine, you have a really good start on the music and are ready for rehearsal. Why would you give that up?

1 comment:

Janice - Music Theory Worksheets said...

Informative info on SmartMusic - thanks for posting.