Category Archives: Assessment

Assess Melody Reading and Writing

Are you doing assessments for your end of the year report cards?  One of the areas that I want to assess is how well children can read, write, hear and transcribe melodic patterns using solfege.  I use solfege only for note reading in Grades 1-2-3, then transition to a combination of solfege and absolute pitches in Grades 4-5-6.

It’s magical when you can show a song to your students and they can sing it or play it at sight.  That’s a skill that many adults don’t have, and it requires some very high level thinking skills.  Musicplay is sequenced to teach the following solfege patterns:
K – prepare so-mi (Some K classes are ready to label so-mi, but that depends on the class.)
1 so-mi, la-so-mi and prepare so-do
2 mi-re-do, so-do
3 la-so-mi-re-do, low la, low so
4 fa, ti
5 scale

Just as when children learn to read, sequencing the skills and breaking them down into small steps will help more children to be successful readers.

I think (and this is just my own opinion) that you could compare the sequence of reading solfa patterns to the way that children learn to read.

Read and name the solfa notes = recognizing and naming the letters of the alphabet and knowing the sounds that each letter makes
Circle the melody pattern that you hear = seeing the word cat, hat, mat and circling correct
Read and sing the solfa pattern = sounding out the word c-a-t
Write the solfa notes on the staff =  writing C-A-T with help sounding out letters
Write the melody pattern that you hear = writing the word cat independently
Create and perform a new melody pattern = write the word in a sentence

If you agree with my sequence, then you’ll want to assess each of these steps, informally in your classes to determine if children are ready to move to the next step.  And you may want to do some formal assessments of these skills for grades or portfolios.  Opportunities for all of these assessment of these skills are on www.muiscplayonline.com and we have print versions available for many for those who don’t subscribe.

Solfa Note Challenge – use to Read and Name Solfa Notes:

This was one of the first interactive solfa activities that we created for the online site.  In this activity, students drag the soccer balls  (the notes) to the net to show that they know which note is so and which note is mi.  Almost every reading song in Musicplay has a Solfa Challenge activity.  If you do not have Kodaly training and are unsure what the answers are, each challenge includes a play button and a singer sings the song in solfege, giving you the correct answers.  (Another great way to learn to read solfege yourself is to use the Note Highlight videos, part 2)

Match the Melody Game – use to circle the pattern that you hear:

The Match the Melody Game is online at www.musicplayonline.com and is also a print product if you don’t subscribe or if you want a print version.

In Match the Melody, you choose the level you’ve been working on.  There are 14 levels in the online game.

The Print version has been divided into Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 includes sm, ls m, smd, mrd and ls m d patterns.

Level 2 includes:  s mrd    ls mrd,
mrd l,  mrd l,s,   drm sl d’   drmfs  drmfsl d’ sltd’   t’drmfsltd’

You can choose to have the melody sung in solfege (voice) or you can choose to have the melody played on a keyboard.  The keyboard version is great ear training in classes with teachers who don’t use solfege.  If you’re assessing the solfege, play the solfa pattern and have students choose the pattern that they heard.  We were careful in creating this activity to use the same rhythm pattern for each answer, so students are assessed on their melody reading ability – not solfa.

Additional printables and assessments are included in the print version – Match the Melody 1-2

This is a printable assessment of the Circle the Melody Assessment.

 

This is another additional printable included in the print version of Match the Melody.  The starting pitch is given, then students write the rest of the melody on the line.

If you’re using the online game, give the students a piece of paper and pencil and have them number 1-5.  Then play the pattern that you want them to write down, and they write it using letters.  For example:  ss m ss m

Teaching music reading using solfege is more difficult than teaching children to read rhythms.  When teaching time is very limited, teachers may have to leave out this aspect of the music curriculum.  (And some teachers choose to teach letter names.) But the reward of having a 6 year old look at a simple so-mi song like, “Hey Hey Look at Me!” Or “Bye Lo Baby Oh” and be able to sing it at sight, is to me well worth the time I invest to teach solfege.

Quick Solfa Teaching Tips

This newsletter is about assessment, but you can’t assess unless you’ve taught, and those who see their students once a week or less, need strategies if you want to teach this.

  1. Start every class with a solfa activity.  The Solfa Practice section at www.musicplayonline.com has enough activities you could do a different one every class for the whole year.  Start with echo, then poison melody, then read flashcards, then read handsigns, then Listen and Sing, then Assess.  Five minutes every class, and your students will read solfa by year end.
  2. If you don’t start your class with solfa, use solfa flashcards as an exit-ticket activity.  That’s where the printed cardstock flashcards are great.
  3. When you teach a reading song, have the students read it!  I have them read rhythms first, then words in rhythm, then solfa pitches, then sing.
  4. Use solfa and simple reading songs as a part of your music class – not the entire class!  Lois Choksy said that reading songs should comprise 1/3 of the repertoire in music classes.  They should be experiencing folk songs and other songs that use a wider range of pitches than just so-mi.
  5. Remember that there are 3 ways to teach a song:  rote, reading, immersion.  If your students USE their solfa reading skills to learn new songs it will be more meaningful.

In Musicplay, some songs have a small staff on the upper-right hand side above the composers name.  This staff indicates the solfa pitches used (in K-3) and in Gr. 4-6 both the solfa pitches and the absolute note names are indicated.  These songs are the songs I use for teaching melody reading.  Sometimes they’ll be in the sequence early to prepare the students.  Children should always experience sound before symbol.  So they should play many singing games and sing many songs in new tone-sets before they can read and write them.

This graphic illustrates where I think that rhythm assessments fall on Blooms taxonomy.  Naming the rhythm as ta or ti-ti would be remembering.  Reading rhythms with a steady beat would fall into understanding/applying.  When you do rhythm dictation, this is even higher up the taxonomy – this is applying/evaluating.  When you have students create their own rhythm compositions, you’re at the highest level.

Purchase our great set of Melody Flashcards

USA and International – Melody Flashcards

Purchase the Print version of Match the Melody, with many printable assessments and projectables:

Match the Melody

Purchase our great set of Rhythm Flashcards

TeachersPayTeachers – Rhythm Flashcards
Order Cardstock Flashcards – USA

Purchase Which Rhythm Do You Hear?

Which Rhythm? Print Version – USA
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Assess Rhythm Reading and Writing

As we approach the end of the school year for some of our American friends, I wanted to share some easy and quick ways to assess the students’ ability to read and write rhythms.
 

1. Flashcard Attendance ~ Rhythm Reading Assessment
In the Musicplay teacher’s guides I sometimes suggest starting your class with flashcard attendance.  We don’t always have to take attendance, but in schools where you do, make taking the attendance into an opportunity for a quick evaluation.
In flashcard attendance, I would take the pile of cardstock flashcards that the students were working on.  I’d call a child’s name, hold up the flashcard and the child would read it.
4 – student accurately and fluently claps and says the pattern
3 – student is mostly accurate and mostly fluent in clapping and saying the pattern
2 – student is somewhat accurate and somewhat fluent in clapping and saying the pattern
1 – student has many inaccuracies clapping and saying the pattern and is not able to keep a steady beat
Themes & Variations publishes a set of 100 rhythm flashcards that are printed on colored cardstock.  The color coding indicates the patterns included in the set and helps you to quickly find the set that each class is working on.
Purchase our great set of Flashcards
TeachersPayTeachers – Rhythm Flashcards
Order Cardstock Flashcards from Musicplay Canada     
Order Cardstock Flashcards – USA   
 
At www.musicplayonline.com, we’ve taken the flashcards and made this into a very quick and easy to use movie – just press play.  There are 25-35 patterns in each set.   There are fewer patterns for very easy sets as younger classes are usually smaller (we hope!) and more patterns in the harder or longer sets for your older students.  In the easier sets, we’ve given you both 4 beat assessments and 8 beat assessments. You can choose the set that you want to assess.
 
The Rhythm Practice Menu is on the left menu (on computers).  Select Rhythm Practice, then select Assessments.  There are 15 levels for rhythm assessments from K all the way to Grade 8.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rhythm Reading Assessment at www.musicplayonline.com.  To make this really easy, line your students up or seat them in class list order.  Student 1 on your class list will read the first rhythm pattern, then student 2, etc.
 
For the first 2 patterns, the voice says “ready go.” After the first 2 patterns, “ready go” is replaced with “click click.”  There is a 2 beat pause at the end of the pattern, where you can say the name of the next student.  If your students need the “ready go” prompt you can say it with the clicks.
 

 

 
This graphic illustrates where I think that rhythm assessments fall on Blooms taxonomy.  Naming the rhythm as ta or ti-ti would be remembering.  Reading rhythms with a steady beat would fall into understanding/applying.  When you do rhythm dictation, this is even higher up the taxonomy – this is applying/evaluating.  When you have students create their own rhythm compositions, you’re at the highest level.
 
Rhythm Dictation Assessments
You can do this with the videos at www.musicplayonline.com or you can do this by clapping the rhythms yourself.
 
Scroll past the Rhythm Reading Assessments in the Assessment Section to Rhythm Dictation.  A PDF is given with the answer key, and it has a printable 4 Beat Rhythm Dictation worksheet for students to complete.  (If you want to save paper, use recycled paper and have students write their names at the top and number from 1-5.)
 
Play the question and pause.  Drag the video back to repeat, or clap it again for students if they need to hear it a second time.  Five questions are given.  The Answers follow.  I like to have students exchange papers and grade them in class, then I check them over and enter them into my gradebook.
 
 
Which Rhythm Do You Hear?  Another tool that’s available online and as a print product is Which Rhythm Do You Hear?
 
There are many levels to select from.   Choose your level, and you have 10 questions.  Press “play” and students choose the rhythm that they heard.  If you have a SMART Board, students can select the answers on the board.  Or you could have them hold up 1, 2 or 3 fingers to indicate which answer they choose.
 
If you want to use these as your assessment, Just press play, allow students to write down their answer, then go onto the next question without showing the answer.  I’ve found 5 questions are enough for a good assessment – I don’t need to do all 10.  There are printable answer sheets in the print product.
 
 
Which Rhythm? Print Version
 
 
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Recorder Solo Assessment Rubric

As teachers are approaching the end of their recorder units, we wanted to share a rubric to use for solo assessments.  This rubric is available to print, or you can download a fillable PDF.  This is a great option if you want to save paper and quickly type in comments. Click the links below to download the rubrics.

 

Click here for the printable rubric!

Click here for the fillable rubric!

10 Easy Assessments for K-5 Music Classes

If you only see your K-6 music students for 30-60 minutes/week, you have very limited time to assess student progress. In this article, I want to give suggestions that will help you make the most of the limited time that you have.

You should plan your assessments when you create your year plan. If in the first term of your year plan, you decided to focus on steady beat, then your assessments for term one should focus on steady beat. You can’t assess every musical skill and concept each term.

When planning assessments, find out what your school or districts allows or requires on the report card. If you can only report on 3 outcomes, don’t assess 20 outcomes.

In planning assessments, you will want to assess both skills and mastery of concepts. Skills include singing, playing, moving, listening, reading/writing and creating. Concepts include beat/rhythm, pitch, expression (dynamics, tempo, articulation), tone color (timbre), form.

Not all skills and/or concepts have equal importance. The skills that I feel are the most important in K-6 music are singing in tune, and keeping a steady beat. I might assess thost skills every term, and assess the other skills/concepts during the times that I’ve focussed on them.

Ten Easy Assessments:

 1. Outcome: Students sing independently, on pitch.

To Assess: Sing “hello student” on so-mi, so-mi.

Student responds by singing “Hello Mrs. Gagne” back to you.

  • 1.  Developing does not always use singing voice, rarely matches pitch
  • 2.  Beginning occasionally sings in-tune
  • 3.  Proficient Sings in tune most of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent Consistently sings in tune independently.

2.  Outcome: Students sing in the group, on pitch.

To Assess: Play a recording of a song that you’ve worked on that the students should know. For example: The National Anthem or in Musicplay 2, Ridin’ That New River Train. Have the students stand in class list order. Walk down the rows listening to each child sing for 2-3 seconds. Record your assessment in your grading program or on your class list.

  • 1.  Developing:   Beginning to use singing voice
  • 2.  Beginning     occasionally matches pitches.
  • 3.  Proficient      Sings in tune almost all of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent      Consistently sings in tune.

3.  Outcome: Students keep a steady beat when moving to music.

To Assess: Play the song, “Time for Music.” It’s song #1 in Musicplay PreK part 1 and in Singing Games children Love Vol. 3. (also available on iTunes and/or at www.musicplayonline.com) In this song children keep a beat, clapping, patting, tapping, flapping, and drumming on their knees. Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and move to the song. Another way to assess steady beat when moving to music is to play a listening example and have the children find their own way to keep a beat.

  • 1.  Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2.  Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3.  Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4.  Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

4.  Outcome: Students keep a steady beat when playing instruments

To Assess: Sing and play an instrument song such as, Play, Play, Play Along in Rhythm Instrument Fun.  (This is also in Musicplay PreK, and is found online at www.musicplayonline.com)  Have the students sit in class list order and give each child a pair of sticks. Observe and assess as they sing and play to the song. Alternately, play along with a piece of classical music or a folk tune. Find a piece of music that has a tempo approx.. 120 beats per minute.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

5.  Outcome: Students tap a steady beat on a beat chart

To Assess: Sing a short, familiar simple 16 beat reading song or chant such as Engine #9, Lucy Locket. While they sing, have the children tap the beat on a beat chart. (Download a beat chart for the songs listed above from musicplayonline.com – printables) Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and tap the beat.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

6. Outcome: Students can read a 4 (or 8) beat rhythm pattern using ta, ti-ti, rest

To Assess: Create a set of 10 or more rhythm flashcards. Go down your class list, having each child read one or two flashcards. Gr. 1-2 – use 4 beat rhythm cards   Gr. 3-5 first report card, have students read 8 beats.

Have the students sit in class list order, observe and assess as they sing and tap the beat.

  • 1. Developing:   rarely keeps a steady beat
  • 2. Beginning     occasionally keeps a steady beat
  • 3. Proficient keeps a steady beat almost all of the time.
  • 4. Excellent Consistently keeps a steady beat

Themes & Variations publishes a set of 100 rhythm flashcards that are printed on colored cardstock.  The color coding indicates the patterns included in the set and helps you to quickly find the set that each class is working on.

Link to Flashcards – Canada   http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=26

Link to Flashcards – USA   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=62

In www.musicplayonline.com, we’ve taken the flashcards and made this into a very quick and easy to use movie – just press play.  There are 25-35 patterns in each set.   There are fewer patterns for very easy sets as younger classes are usually smaller (we hope!) and more patterns in the harder or longer sets for your older students.  In the easier sets, we’ve given you both 4 beat assessments and 8 beat assessments. You can choose the set that you want to assess.

7. Outcome: Students can notate a rhythm pattern that they hear (ta, ti-ti, rest)

To Assess:   To do music Dictation using cardstock flashcards, I choose five cards at the level I want to assess.  I give the students a piece of paper (I use paper from the recyling in the school) and a pencil (I keep a class set in a container by the door)  and an old hard cover text to write on.  They write their name at the top and number 1-5.  I clap a pattern – they clap it back, then write it down.  I’ll give it a second time if they need it.   I write down my patterns as I go or keep my flashcards in order. Students exchange papers and correct them in class, so I don’t have to take home bags full of marking.  Yay!

Music Dictation at www.musicplayonline.com is done the same way.

Five questions are given.  Pause the movie between questions.  Immediately following the five questions are the answers.  Exchange papers and mark.

 

8. Outcome: Students can sing at sight a melodic pattern

To Assess:   If you use solfege in your music classes, assessing the students ability to read and sing melodic patterns may be an outcome that you choose to assess. In my classes, in first term I might assess the following patterns in term 1: Gr. 1 – so-mi,   Gr. 2 – la-so-mi   Gr. 3 – so-mi-re-do Gr. 4-5 – low la, do-re-me-so-la   Every teaching situation is different, so this may not be an assessment that is relevant to your teaching.  Create or purchase melody flashcards to assess the tonal patterns that you have taught. Melody flashcards are available to purchase from www.musicplay.ca. OR you can use the Solfa Reading videos at www.musicplayonline.com.

9. Outcome: Students can identify singing, speaking, whisper, shouting voices

To Assess:   The Types of Voices lesson in Musicplay for Kindergarten, song #7, This is My Speaking Voice, includes a printable assessment. In this assessment, the teacher uses one kind of voice, and the students circle the type of voice that they heard.

  • 1. Developing:   few answers are correct
  • 2. Beginning     some answers are correct
  • 3. Proficient most answers are correct
  • 4. Excellent all answers are correct

10. Outcome: Students can identify when music is fast or slow

To Assess:   #29 in Musicplay PreK is called Fast or Slow. Eight musical examples are played for the students and the students tell if they are fast or slow. You could use 4-6 of these examples in an assessment.

  1. Mary Had a Little Lamb     slow
  2. Mary Had a Little Lamb fast
  3. Twinkle Twinkle   fast
  4. Twinkle Twinkle   slow
  5. Ring Around the Rosie   fast
  6. Ring Around the Rosie   slow
  7. Eensy Weensy Spider   slow
  8. Eensy Weensy Spider   fast

Give each student a piece of paper (I use paper from the recyling in the school) and a pencil (I keep a class set in a container by the door)  and an old hard cover text to write on.  They write their name at the top and number 1-4 or 1-6. Play the movie to use the musical example but don’t project it.  Pause to allow children to write slow or fast. (or make up a worksheet so they just have to circle slow or fast.) If you prefer, you could play your own examples on a keyboard. Mark the students work for your assessment.

  • 1. Developing:   few answers are correct
  • 2. Beginning     some answers are correct
  • 3. Proficient most answers are correct
  • 4. Excellent all answers are correct

These are just a few possible assessments, but I hope this gives you some ideas for easy assessments that you can do in your music classes, without taking up all of your limited teaching time!

Musicplay K-5 Synopsis – What Does Musicplay Teach?

I had an email question from a teacher this week. She needed to give a synopsis of what she teaches in each grade to her principal. She asked if I had a synopsis of what’s taught in Musicplay, and I had never written it in this format. So here’s the synopsis. Of course how much you’re able to teach depends on the time allotted for music, the experiences your students come with, and a myriad of other factors. With Musicplay you treat the teacher’s guide like a menu – choose the song, choose the activities. If you do all the “core” activities, you will complete what’s in the synopsis with your students.

For information on the Musicplay K-5 curriculum: www.musicplay.ca

Musicplay Kindergarten: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In kindergarten music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs, songs to enhance the themes in their classroom, and will learn songs that reinforce basic skills that they learn in kindergarten such as colors, numbers, shapes, and alphabet. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement with body percussion and with instruments. Students will begin to read rhythms that are one, two or no sounds on a beat. Students will accompany simple songs with borduns on barred instruments, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. Students will listen and move to the beat of the teacher’s drum, and will listen and respond to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will learn to identify high-low, loud-quiet, fast-slow, in sounds around us, through movement and through listening. Students will identify timbre such as speaking voice, singing voice and classroom instruments.

Musicplay 1: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 1 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs, songs to enhance the themes in their classroom, and will learn songs that reinforce basic skills that they learn in Grade 1 such as beginning consonents and vowels. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They will sing simple songs in two parts by adding melodic or rhythmic ostinato. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and using body percussion and instruments. Students will learn to read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables so, mi, la and do. Students will accompany reading songs with simple Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. Students will listen, move, respond and begin to use critical analysis when listening to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will identify loud-quiet as forte and piano, fast-slow as allegro and largo. Students will identify music that is smooth sounding and music that sounds separated. Students will identify timbres such as speaking voice, singing voice and classroom instruments. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

Musicplay 2: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 2 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs and songs to enhance the themes in their classroom. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will learn a few simple rounds. They will sing simple songs in two parts by adding melodic or rhythmic ostinato. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and using body percussion and with instruments. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half and whole notes and rests. They will learn to read tied quarter notes. They will identify accented beats, and tell how many beats are in each group. (time signature) They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, so and la. Students will accompany songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will define rondo form and AB form. Students will listen, move, respond and begin to use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of Bach, Handel and other classical composers. Students will identify a variety of dynamics and tempos using musical terminology. Students will identify articulation in music. Students will identify timbres such as speaking voice, singing voice, families of classroom instruments and families of orchestral instruments. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

Musicplay 3: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 3 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will sing songs with ostinato, many rounds and begin singing partner songs. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion and instruments. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, or 4. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, so, la, high do, low la and low so. Students will accompany many songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In grade 3 students may learn to read absolute note names (ABCDEFG) and play songs using BAG E on the recorder.

Musicplay 4: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 4 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. Students will sing songs with ostinato, many rounds, partner songs and two-part songs. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion, instruments and cups. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, dotted half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth, eighth-sixteenth note combinations, syncopated notes and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, or 4. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, high do, low la and low so. Students will learn to read absolute letter names – ABCDEFG. Students will accompany many songs with Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, AB, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In Grade 4 students will learn to play songs that may use BAG ED C’D’ F on the recorder. They will create their own recorder compositions using BAG E (D). Students may learn to accompany one and two chord songs with the ukulele.

Musicplay 5: Sing, Play, Move, Listen, Read/Write, Create

In Grade 5 music classes students will learn poems and songs from many different styles and cultures in English, Spanish, French and other languages. They’ll learn seasonal songs from many cultures. They’ll sing and play many action songs and singing games. They’ll practice keeping a steady beat using non-locomotor and locomotor movement and keeping a beat with body percussion, instruments and cup games. Students will read rhythms that include quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, quarter rest, half, dotted half, whole notes, groups of four sixteenth, eighth-sixteenth note combinations, syncopated notes and the corresponding rests. They will identify accented beats, and will read music in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 5/4 time signatures, explaining that the music is in groups of 2, 3, 4 or 5. They will read simple melodies using the solfa syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, high do, low so, la, and ti. Students will learn to read absolute letter names – ABCDEFG. Students will accompany many songs with more complex Orff arrangements, and will use non-pitched rhythm instruments to create accompaniments for poems, songs and stories. Students will create and play new verses, new rhythm compositions and B sections. They will learn about form in music by moving, listening and creating new compositions. They will identify and define rondo form, ABA form and theme and variations. Students will listen, move, respond to and use critical analysis skills when listening to the music of classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Students will identify dynamics, tempo and articulation (stacatto, legato) using musical terminology. Students will identify the timbres of classroom instruments and orchestral instruments and be able to classify/sort them into families. Students will use a variety of expression when they sing and speak to show that they understand the meaning of the text.

In Grade 5 students will learn to play songs that may use BAG ED C’D’ F on the recorder. They will create their own recorder compositions using BAG E (D). Students may learn to accompany one, two and three chord songs with the ukulele or the guitar.

For information on the Musicplay K-5 curriculum: www.musicplay.ca

Try www.musicplayonline.com for free for a month!  This is an amazing online resource!  Just $149.95/year USD!

Rhythm Assessment

Quick and Easy Ideas for assessing Rhythm Reading and Notation
June 12, 2016

 Many of our American teachers are already on summer break, but the Canadian teachers have 3 weeks of teaching.  With your final report cards due soon, here are a few very easy assessment ideas for you to use this week.

  1. Flashcard Attendance ~ Rhythm Reading Assessment

In the Musicplay teacher’s guides I sometimes suggest starting your class with flashcard attendance.  We don’t always have to take attendance, but in schools where you do, make taking the attendance into an opportunity for a quick evaluation.

In flashcard attendance, I would take the pile of cardstock flashcards that the students were working on.  I’d call a child’s name, hold up the flashcard and the child would read it.

4 – student accurately and fluently claps and says the pattern
3 – student is mostly accurate and mostly fluent in clapping and saying the pattern
2 – student is somewhat accurate and somewhat fluent in clapping and saying the pattern
1 – student has many inaccuracies clapping and saying the pattern and is not able to keep a steady beat

Themes & Variations publishes a set of 100 rhythm flashcards that are printed on colored cardstock.  The color coding indicates the patterns included in the set and helps you to quickly find the set that each class is working on.

Link to Flashcards – Canada   http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=26

Link to Flashcards – USA   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=62

In www.musicplayonline.com, we’ve taken the flashcards and made this into a very quick and easy to use movie – just press play.  There are 25-35 patterns in each set.   There are fewer patterns for very easy sets as younger classes are usually smaller (we hope!) and more patterns in the harder or longer sets for your older students.  In the easier sets, we’ve given you both 4 beat assessments and 8 beat assessments. You can choose the set that you want to assess.

Rhythm Read 4 beats coverRhythm Read 4 beats pattern

Rhythm Read 8 beats cover

Rhythm Read 8 beats pattern

If you have already assessed rhythm reading, and want to take your students to higher level thinking skills, do a dictation assessment with them.

Reading the pattern is easy for most of your students.

Hearing a pattern and notating it, is more challenging.

Prepare the students by having them Listen, Clap and Say

With the cardstock flashcards, you clap a pattern and have the students clap it back and say the rhythm names while they clap.  You can use whatever system of rhythm names you prefer – Ta, Ti-ti, Takadimi, or Edwin Gordon.  I make this into a game by dividing the class into two groups:  the Allegros and the Vivaces.  I show the Allegros a flashcard and they clap it.  If they clap it correctly, they get a point.  The Vivaces have to correctly SAY the rhythm the other team clapped.  If they say it correctly, they get a point.  I can usually rig it so it’s a tie by the end of the class!

At www.musicplayonline.com this is given as a movie.

Students hear the rhythm played, then have to say what they heard.  The answer follows.  This is the preparation the students need to be successful at music dictation.

Listen Clap Say pattern

Listen Clap Say question blank

Listen Clap Say - answer

To do music Dictation using cardstock flashcards, I choose five cards at the level I want to assess.  I give the students a piece of paper (I use paper from the recyling in the school) and a pencil (I keep a class set in a container by the door)  and an old hard cover text to write on.  They write their name at the top and number 1-5.  I clap a pattern – they clap it back, then write it down.  I’ll give it a second time if they need it.   I write down my patterns as I go or keep my flashcards in order. Students exchange papers and correct them in class, so I don’t have to take home bags full of marking.  Yay!

Music Dictation at www.musicplayonline.com is done the same way.

Five questions are given.  Pause the movie between questions.  Immediately following the five questions are the answers.  Exchange papers and mark.

Rhythm Dictation cover

Rhythm Dictation how to use

Rhythm Dictation - question

Rhythm dictation - answers

Similar assessments can be done for melody reading, and similar movies are found in the solfa practice section.

I hope this makes getting those marks onto your report cards a little easier!

Visit www.musicplayonline.com to use the assessment tools in this post.

Visit www.musicplay.ca to find workshop opportunities with Denise Gagne.

 

Elementary Music Report Card Comments

Some of my American teacher friends are already finished school, but for many teachers you are into the home stretch and looking forward to the end of the school year.

Report cards are not anyone’s favorite job, but it’s important to communicate how the students have progressed in music.  If we don’t assess, evaluate and report on what we’ve taught, it’s possible that parents will look at music as a “frill” or “something extra” that we do if we have time, and not as a subject area that’s really valuable to our students.

 A teacher in the Musicplay Teacher’s Group on Facebook asked for samples of report card comments, so I’ve gathered some samples for you to peruse.  Every district (and sometimes every school) has a different reporting policy.  Some allow and encourage lengthy comments, and some limit you to just 1-2 sentences.  Here are some categorized comments:

 Attitude

The student:

  • is an enthusiastic learner who seems to enjoy music class.
  • exhibits a positive outlook and attitude in the music classroom.
  • is a positive influence on other students in music class.
  • participates with enthusiasm when singing
  • participates with enthusiasm when playing instruments
  • shows enthusiasm for music classroom activities.
  • volunteers ideas and suggestions in musical activities
  • strives to always do their best in music class.
  • is committed to doing their best in music class
  • enjoys problem solving and challenges in music class.
  • takes responsibility for their learning in music class.

Behavior

The student:

  • cooperates with the teacher and other students.
  • participates appropriately when playing musical games
  • transitions easily between musical activities without distraction.
  • is courteous and shows good manners in the classroom.
  • follows music classroom rules.
  • conducts themselves with maturity.
  • responds appropriately when corrected.
  • remains focused on the activity.
  • resists the urge to be distracted by other students.
  • is kind and helpful to everyone in the classroom.
  • sets an example of excellence in behavior and cooperation.
  • shows respect for teachers and peers.
  • treats the instruments with care and respect.

Participation

The following comments are leveled.

1 – Developing

  • Beginning to participate appropriately and actively in music class.  Requires frequent teacher reminders.

2 – Satisfactory

  • Sometimes participates appropriately and actively in music class.  Requires teacher reminders.

3 – Proficient

  • – Participates appropriately and actively in music class.  Occasionally requires teacher prompts.

4 – Excellent

  • Participates appropriately and actively in all music classes.

Skills

The following comments are leveled.

1 – Developing

  • Beginning to perform some instrument and singing parts with teacher support

2 – Satisfactory

  • Can perform some instrument and singing parts with teacher support. 

3 – Proficient

  • Can perform instrument and singing parts.  Requires prompts from the teacher.

4 – Excellent

  • Can perform all instrument and singing parts independently.

 Concepts

The following comments are leveled.

1 – Developing

  • With teacher support, beginning to read, write, and identify some grade level beat and rhythm concepts.

2 – Satisfactory

  • With teacher support, reads, writes, and identifies some grade level beat and rhythm concepts. 

3 – Proficient

  • With teacher prompts, reads, writes, and identifies all grade level beat and rhythm concepts. 

4 – Excellent

  • Independently reads, writes, and identifies all grade level beat and rhythm concepts.

 

Assessment of Performances

Assessment of Performances

If students have performed in a holiday concert, give them the opportunity to identify and give examples of their strengths and areas for growth as musical performers and as audience members.  There are different ways that they can evaluate their performance.

  1. Discussion

The teacher could ask the class questions. For example:
– If you were to perform this song again, what would you change and why?

– What parts of the song did you find challenging?
– What parts of the song did you find most interesting to sing? Why?

  1. Quick Self-Assessment

Show me 1 finger if you didn’t sing.
Show me 2 fingers if you sang, but you didn’t try your best.
Show me 3 fingers if you tried your very best, and sang with your best singing voice.

Use 1 finger, 2 fingers, 3 fingers as a reflective response for many other areas:

  • Were you a good listener in the concert?
    – Did you like the way you performed in the Christmas concert?
    – Did you behave well for the substitute teacher yesterday?
  • – When you were moving, did you try your best?
  1. Written Self-evaluation  (This is from Dec. Musicplay 6)
  2. I sang with my very best singing voice.

Always ___ Almost always ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

I used my eyes and face to express the words of the song.
Always ___ Almost always ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

I used good posture while singing.
Always ___ Almost always ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

My eyes were focused on the conductor during the performance. Always ___ Usually ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

I remember all (or most) of the words to the songs.
Always ___ Usually ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

I was a good audience member for the other performers. Always ___ Usually ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom ___

 

Share what assessment tools you use!

Join the Musicplay Curriculum Facebook Page, and/or the Musicplay Teachers group and share your assessment tools.

Or – email denise at denisegagne1@gmail.com and I’ll post your ideas.

These materials come from the Musicplay curriculum.

For information on Musicplay visit www.musicpay.ca

Holiday Concert Scripts:  Last December I invited teachers to send in the scripts that they’ve written for their holiday concerts.  I’d love to get enough to put together a collection of scripts that teachers have used.  I have a few, but would very much like more!  If you’ve written a script, submit it for review.  If accepted, your script will be published and you’ll be paid a 10% pro-rated royalty.    Along with the script, we’ll need the list of songs you used and sources where other teachers can find them.

 

Videos of Themes & Variations songs:  We LOVE to see videos of your students performing music from one of our publications.  No special permissions are needed to take video of children in public performances, so the usual foip rules don’t apply.  Post the video on YouTube and send me the links.  We’ll share your performances with others.