Link Learning With Singing

by Stephanie K.

Do you want to help your students learn and remember a new or difficult concept or topic? Sing a song about it. If no song exists, then write a song about it. Or, better yet, have your students write a song about it. Why? For starters, songs are usually catchy and fun. They also make it easier to make connections, learn, and memorize material. Raps, rhymes, and poems work, too! “Singing has long been used as an instructional strategy in literacy development. It supports and enhances personal expression, builds community, and connects reading and writing easily and naturally” (Bintz, 2010, p. 683). We can help our students learn better and have fun doing it. Better yet, singing can help support content area learning.

If you asked preschoolers or kindergarteners to speak the alphabet, would they be able to do it? Not likely. But, if you asked them to sing the alphabet, would they be able to do it? Very likely.  “As music educators, we are well attuned to the power of music to alter mood, provide motivation, and link learning. Yet, music often has been viewed in educational settings as a frivolous learning tool” (Cane, 2009). Well, if we, as music educators, can aid our students as they increase and improve learning in other content areas, then we show that music is, in fact, a valuable and important learning tool in both the music classroom and the regular education classroom. “Singing and songwriting have unlimited potential for teaching content area material, especially material that teachers find challenging to teach, like science” (Bintz, 2010, p. 686).

“Some music teachers refuse to endorse the use of music with other subjects out of fear that such an endeavor will compromise their art” (Cane, 2009). I am not one of those music teachers. I believe that integrating music across the curriculum and assimilating core subjects into the music curriculum can strengthen a student’s education. In fact, I believe that such integration “affords students a more thorough and enriched arts education” while enhancing learning in other disciplines (Cane, 2009). Helping our students master difficult material is just one way we can do this. “Research demonstrates that collaboration between music and other subjects provides solid links for learning” (Cane, 2009). It enriches the learning process. It “…also helps students recognize and use rhymes; memorize words, phrases, and sentences; and recognize predictable text, rhyme, and rhythm” (Bintz, 2010, p. 683-684).

At my school, students begin learning states and capitals in fourth grade. So, during a few of my fourth grade general music classes, we worked on the song “Fifty Nifty United States.” After just a couple of weeks of practice, I asked for volunteers to say or sing all fifty states in alphabetical order as we had been working on with the song. Of those student volunteers, those who chose to sing rather than speak the states in alphabetical order had a much higher chance of making it all the way to Wyoming. Music and song help make connections that we would not otherwise be able to make. In this situation, my students even took their new knowledge a step further by using a large map of the United States and pointing to each state as they sang it.

So, what if your students are struggling with a new or difficult concept or topic and you cannot find a clever tune for it already written? I suggest writing your own. If you have general music classes with junior high, middle school, or high school students, then challenge them to write their own. This gives them a chance to be creative while increasing the likelihood of learning and memorization. It makes learning more concrete. Start with a familiar tune such as “Old MacDonald,” “Twinkle, Twinkle,” or “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Or, allow your students to use their favorite pop song from the radio. Have your students brainstorm and list the most important or hardest to remember aspects. Have them write a song about it. The possibilities are endless. The concept or topic can be anything from any subject. And, the creation of the song itself works to develop reading and writing skills.

“Integrating music with other academic subjects can yield many positive results for your students and for your school as a whole” (Cane, 2009). I believe that music is a valuable discipline. Unfortunately, not all people do. When music educators find ways to teach across the curriculum, they give validation to their music programs. It is one of the many ways we can advocate for our programs on a daily basis, and just one small way to show we care about giving our students the best education possible. “With the backing of current research, perhaps finally, our energy can shift from defending music in the schools to expanding our position as collaborative partner outside our classroom” (Cane, 2009). When we use singing to help teach hard and challenging material, we are supporting our students as they…”engage in meaningful learning experiences across the curriculum” (Bintz, 2010). Simply put, it is one of the many ways we justify music in education.

Bintz, W. P. (2010). Singing across the Curriculum. Reading Teacher, 63(8), 683-686.

Cane, S. (2009). Collaboration with Music: A Noteworthy Endeavor. Music Educators Journal, 96(1), 33-39.

Here are a couple examples:

The Continents (to the tune of Old MacDonald)

There are seven in the world.

Seven continents.

Can you name them one by one?

Seven continents.

You have Asia here and Europe there.

Africa, Australia, North and South America.

Way down low let’s not forget

It’s Antarctica.

The Vowel Song (to the tune of BINGO)

There are some letters you should know

And vowels are what we call them:

A-E-I-O-U, A-E-I-O-U, A-E-I-O-U,

Add Y, and you can sing them, too.

Here are the National Standards for Music Education you can fulfill by using this idea in your music classroom:

1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.

4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.

8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

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Collaboration Projects

Written by Amy Fatek

Throughout our blog we have presented many exciting ways in which teachers can validate and show statistically that music makes a difference in the learning process and lives of students.  Through assessment we can provide concrete statistical evidence of this.  I believe that through cross-curricular applications and collaboration, we can bring to life for the parents, students, and the outside community, the special connection that music can bring to life for our students.  I will provide some ideas that I have used; collaborations with the general music teacher, interdisciplinary studies with the art department, research in connections to other core subjects, and performance opportunities for regular education classroom teachers.

One of the ways I have advocated for my program is through collaboration with general music.  One example was, when I was teaching high school band and kindergarten at the same time.  My kindergarten students were using the book, “The Jazz Fly” written by, Mathew Gollub.  This book describes the instruments of the jazz band and how they sound together and individually.  The kindergarten students love talking about bugs and loved the music that they heard.  I decided to use my high school jazz band as “the bugs” and have them bring the story to life on stage.  I asked my high school jazz band to be the actors and to create a set that would reflect the artistic design of the book.  The pages of the book were projected on the wall so that students could “read along”.  I was the narrator and the high school students brought the characters of the book to life. They played a nice arrangement of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” where they would present the melody in the swing style.  The concert would end with the audience joining the jazz band in the swing style where they would sing the simple tune as the jazz band’s rhythm section continued the swing beat and the other instrumentalists sang along.  Student from all over the district came across town for this very special event.  We discussed how they should conduct themselves when attending a performance and students got dressed up for school that day.  They loved learning about concert edicat, bugs, the musical instruments, and using a tune they already knew to learn about the style of jazz.

This year I have plans to do a collaborative concert with the art teacher at my school.  I have chosen music the paints a musical picture for the audience.  This kind of tine poem can be seen in “The Curse of Tutankhamen” written by, Michael Story and in “The Great Locomotive Chase” written by Robert W. Smith.  These two pieces are the two that I will use to be the vehicles of the artists creativity.  The collaborative process will begin with research both by the band students and art students.  We will study music and history from Egypt and about King Tut.  Students from the other class will do research and read the forward the composer provides about the story being told with the locomotive chase piece.  After the art students have gained the background insight they will begin to create their reflections and start to brainstorm ideas for creating a piece of artwork to reflect the music.  Students in the band will begin to rehearse and bring to life the “tone poem”.  The art students will come to the band class and sketch and reflect during our rehearsals.  I will also make a CD so they can have the music playing when they are in their classroom working.  The project will culminate with a “gallery opening” at the concert where students will invite the community and parents to view their work.  Students will be there to show and discuss their creations.  Then the Band will perform their concert.  This concert is a showcase of a cross-curricular collaboration and students connection to history and their artistic talents.

In the future I would like to work with the history teacher to create a plan where we can be discussing the music of the time periods studied throughout the year in the regular education history classes.  I think music history is such an important element in students study.  By creating a Music History portion of the curriculum, students will be able to create connections between the people of the past and be able to see into the future and how tomorrow’s music might reflect a new generation.  When students can understand people who came before them they will better understand them selves.  Students might wish to create a project were they talk about the historically significant fact and then explain why the music of this time period was written the way it was.  This could be an exhibit used in the lobby of the school to showcase students and teacher’s ability to think across the curriculum.

These are just a few of my ideas about collaboration with teachers and students from around the school system.  The more connections that students can make the more real and relevant music seems.  Through cross-curricular applications and collaboration, we can bring to life for the parents, students, and the outside community, the special connection that music can bring to life for our students.   What other ideas have you used to make music come alive for your students?

Here are a few web sites that may provide more ideas on this topic:

Connect To The Technology Infused Music Classroom

http://bloomsinger.wordpress.com/

 

Cross Curricular Thematic Instruction”, Article Written by MaryEllen Vogt

http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/vogt.html

 

MENC: Tips for a Successful Collaboration

http://www.menc.org/v/general_music/tips-to-successful-collaboration/

Rapping and Writing

by Stacie MacBush

Rapping and Writing

I have really noticed a huge decline in writing with my students. When asked to write a complete sentence more than half of my students miss points for writing incomplete sentences. I have thinking of ways to make sure I incorporate writing into my music lessons every week.

One cool lesson that I have been working on with my Jr.High students has been helping with writing. This lesson has also been really fun! It incorporates character education that our school has really been focusing on lately.

Students are required to write a rap about following the “Warrior Way” which is our character education program. They work in groups to write a rap that uses rhyming and uses complete sentences. Writing a poem and a rap are so similar that students do not even realize they are working on their writing skills.

The next step is students write music to go along with their rap, practice it with their groups then I record them. We also make a PowerPoint to play on my projector while student perform their raps.

We invite younger students to our classroom to listen to the raps and view the PowerPoint. Each class gets a copy of our Warrior Way Raps and a book of the lyrics (PowerPoint presentations) for their classrooms.

Warrior Way Rap Performace Rubric

CATEGORY

           3                              2

1

0

Rhythm

The beat is secure and the rhythms are accurate for the style of music being played.

The beat is secure and the rhythms are mostly accurate. There are a few duration errors, but these do not detract from the overall performance.

The beat is somewhat erratic. Some rhythms are accurate. Frequent or repeated duration errors. Rhythm problems occasionally detract from the overall performance.

The beat is usually erratic and rhythms are seldom accurate detracting significantly from the overall performance.

Attention in Class

Student is focused and attentive throughout class and follows directions to the best of his/her ability.

Student is usually focused and attentive during class, but sometimes is distracted by others.

Student is sometimes focused and attentive during class, but is easily distracted by others and sometimes distracts others.

Student is rarely focused and attentive during class. Sometimes disruptive to rest of class.

Practice

Student’s performance indicates regular and sustained practice in class, with great attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates regular practice in class with some attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates some practice in class, but with little attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates there is very little practice in class.

Dynamics

Dynamic levels are obvious, consistent, and an accurate interpretation of the style of music being played.

Dynamic levels are typically accurate and consistent.

Dynamic levels fluctuate but can be discerned.

Attention to dynamic levels is not obvious.

Expression and Style

Performs with a creative nuance and style in response to the score and limited coaching.

Typically performs with nuance and style that is indicated in the score or which is suggested by instructor or peer.

Sometimes performs with nuance and style that is indicated in the score or which is suggested by instructor or peer.

Rarely demonstrates expression and style. Just plays the notes.

Articulation

Secure attacks, sticking, hand patterns. Markings (staccato, legato, slur, accents, etc.) are executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Attacks, sticking, hand patterns are usually secure, though there might be an isolated error. Markings are executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Attacks, sticking, hand patterns are rarely secure, but markings are often executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Few secure attacks, sticking, hand patterns. Markings are typically not executed accurately.

Memorization

90-100% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

75-89% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

50-74% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

Less than 50% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

9 Points will be given for recording the rap as a group.

Total Points_________________/30 Points__________________

Grade =

 Warrior Way Rap Check List

  • o Rap Lyrics               20 Points
  • o Rhythms                  20 Points
  • o PowerPoint              20 Points
  • o Presentation             30 Points
  • o Participation            10 Points

_________________/100 Points Total

Music Journals

Written by Patti B.

Journaling has been a common practice in Language Arts classrooms for many years now.  I recall its popularity growing during the whole language movement.  More recently, there is an emphasis on the inclusion of reading and writing into all content areas.  There is much research which supports the effectiveness of writing in all subjects.  Writing about content areas provides authentic topics and gives students “the opportunity to analyze, question, synthesize and apply information they have learned that day” (Allen, 2004, p. 23).  This year, I began using Music Journals with my third, fourth, and fifth grade classes.  This tool “encourages students to engage more deeply with their music lessons” (Pearman and Friedman, 2009).  This blog entry will discuss the benefits that I have discovered in music journaling.

First, journaling encourages students to take ownership of their learning.  This begins by simply letting them decorate their cover.  My students enjoyed making their journal their “own”.  Here are some examples of journal covers:

 

Ownership in learning continues as the pages of the journals are filled!  Students begin to understand their role in the learning process and can see their improvement in their skills, attitudes, or preferences.  Here is an example of a fifth grade boy sharing the growth he has made as a singer:

                Second, music journals, also be referred to as “academic notebooks”, are also advantageous because they can take on many different formats.  Entries can be very structured.  For instance, stem sentences can be used as writing prompts, or a student may write about new vocabulary words, class notes, or a strategy for learning.  In contrast, entries can also be flexible and have an open format.  “The blank pages of the journal await the students’ questions, hopes, and dreams” (Robinson, p. 30).  This flexibility allows students with different learning styles and ability levels to have their individual needs met.   Here are some wide range of abilities and understandings represented in journaling:

                 This fifth grader has demonstrated his great understanding of what we have learned. 

Here is some contrast between two third grade students and their level of understanding of refrain and verse. 

These two students are also different in their attentiveness in class.  The second student is often off-task.  His entry is less detailed, but I am quite pleased that he has demonstrated understanding and that he likes singing refrains. 

Third, a music teacher can use journals as an opportunity to get to know their students better.  At the beginning of the year, the writing assignment could be to write anything they want the teacher to know about them.  I only see these students once a week; I can learn more about my students through this type of writing assignment.  Students could write about musical experiences which may include any instruments they play.  Teachers could discover family members with special talents that could be used as excellent resources for future lessons and projects.  Students can express their musical preferences through their journal entries.  This entry confirms that my students really enjoy a particular song in our music book:    

  Several students have voiced their enjoyment of solfege singing through their journal writing:

                Finally, music journals provide an excellent way to assess my students learning.  These entries show me that these students understand some key vocabulary words that we have learned. 

Assessment is not just for measuring student achievement.  Assessment is used to evaluate my teaching and to guide further instruction.  These entries tell me that I need to clarify and develop a deeper understanding of some key music vocabulary:

Bailey has switched the definitions for refrain and verse.  The second journal demonstrates the common misunderstanding and/or description of dynamics as “high and low” as opposed to “loud and soft.” 

  In closing, I have found my students excited about their music journals.  They are taking ownership in their learning and demonstrating their knowledge of musical concepts.  Students are writing about improvements they are making in their musical journey.  I am learning when concepts have been taught well and where re-teaching is necessary.  Moreover, both of my building principals are thrilled to know that our students are practicing their writing skills in music class which benefits the whole education of the child.  While my main goal is to use writing to deepen our musical knowledge, I will promote, model, and address proper grammar and writing skills as much as possible.  Finally, students are sharing what they have enjoyed about music class, and I have a better personal insight into each individual in my classes. 

Resources:

Allen, J.  (2004)  Tools for teaching content literacy.  Portland, ME:  Stenhouse.

Pearman, C. J. and Friedman, T.  (2009) Reading and Rhythm: Binding Language Arts and Music in an Academic Notebook, General Music Today, (Volume 23, pages 12-16)

Robinson, M.  (1995) Alternative Assessment Techniques for Teachers:  Are you at a loss for ways to assess your music students? Mitchell Robinson offers some ideas that might help you improve your situation, Music Educators Journal, (Volume 81, pages 28-34)

A Teacher’s View on Practice Records

One of the most fundamentally important concepts that must be presented to young Beginning Band students is the routine of practice.  Finding ways to encourage students to practice with regularity is both one of the most important and also most challenging tasks that faces Beginning Band teachers.  Although students often enjoy their time in Band class, they have an almost universal distaste for practice at home.  I find that this comes from a few sources.  One is that although music is fun, it is hard work and can be a difficult choice to make over the allure of the popular video game.   The other common reason is that students have a pre-conceived idea that they need to lock themselves in a room and practice for hours and hours.  The difficulty lies in helping make students aware that their time spent practicing instead of playing video games and surfing the Internet is valuable, and that they can spend only minutes doing it if they use their time effectively.  I have tried three different methodologies with different levels of success.  The honor system, practice charts, and practice journals have had vastly different results.  However, I have come to believe at this stage of my career that practice journals provide the most accurate picture of the three.

The honor system, or not requiring any practice records at all, relies on using the level of student preparedness in class as the sole barometer of student achievement.  Often it seems like students that are highly academically successful and involved in numerous extra-curricular activities are in-effect punished by the use of a prescribed amount of practice time as grade criteria.  These same students are often quick to pick up musical concepts and are prepared for class even though their schedules are full.  The honor system rewards those that are naturally talented and don’t need as much home practice to excel, but does not provide the teacher with very much of a picture of what is taking place outside the classroom.  The struggle that young musicians find with the growing complexity of music is harder to cope with when strategies for at-home practice are left until students have already fallen behind.  Furthermore, the lure of modern technology and television is particularly hard for young people to resist, and the honor system does not provide them with an incentive to practice instead.

The practice chart has been used for decades by Band teachers and is probably the most popular method for keeping students honest and tracking their at-home work.   Teachers like to have practice records because they think that this provides the feedback that they are looking for, and also to show student work.  As a teacher of Band for seven years I have tried a number of formats for practice charts.  All of these formats were designed to accommodate different school settings and student needs.  In the end, these practice charts were ineffective methods of recording time because the student grades were tied to quotas for minutes practiced.  Teachers have sought to confirm the times listed on charts through including a parent signature block.  I firmly believe that practice charts with these quotas attached only encourage both students and parental dishonesty about the time they have actually spent practicing their instruments.

After years of struggling with the first two methods, I have settled on one that I think provides a truer picture of what is happening at home.  I currently use a practice journal to track my students’ practice time instead of a practice chart.  I do not prescribe a mandatory number of minutes, but I expect students to come prepared for each class.  When a student’s grade begins to drop the first thing that I look at is their practice journal.  Students do receive a grade for their practice journal, but it is tied only to the parent signature and not to the number of minutes they have practiced.  I send letters home to the parents reminding them that they need to hear the success in their home, and also that they need to be signing their child’s journal.  The school district uses an online grade system that allows parents to sign in and keep track of their children’s grades on a daily basis.  When a student’s daily participation grade is lowered the parent can see that their child was unprepared for class.  The combination of the practice journal and the online grading system helps get the parents to buy in to the fact that practicing at home for Band class really is homework like any other class.  The fact that the grade for the journal is tied only to the parent signature encourages them to help me enforce practicing in the home instead of being dishonest to protect their child’s grade.

These three methods have been the source of a great deal of personal trial and error for me.  However after seven years I really think that I have finally found the system that works for many different teaching situations.  This system will both provide my students with the necessary support for Band success, and me with a clear picture of their practice so that I can help them achieve that success!

 

Research and Music Advocacy: Using Numbers to Support Our Cause

by Stephanie K.

We, as music educators, are very likely all familiar with the A-word: Advocacy. This familiarity might be the result of music cuts in our districts or just a personal knowledge of issues facing music education. Regardless, all music educators need to know how to advocate for their music programs, even when times are good. If we advocate for our music programs even when we do not necessarily have to, we are planting seeds of awareness that will be ready for harvest when and if they are needed. I feel both lucky and blessed to be a music educator whose job is not in jeopardy of being cut. I also feel privileged to say that music is (for the most part) valued in the community where I teach. Thus, I do not have to advocate for my music program on a daily basis, but I still can and I still do. Unfortunately, some music educators do have to advocate for their music programs on a daily basis. Well, here is something that might help.

On Saturday, November 5th, 2011, I sat in on a professional development workshop presented by Dr. Jennifer Mishra, Coordinator of Music Education, at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. She titled her workshop “Using Research to Advocate for Music Programs.” I found the presentation extremely interesting and useful, and I believe the information Dr. Mishra shared can benefit other music educators, as well. Her presentation basically all came down to the one idea that music educators need to use research when advocating for their music programs. Just saying that music belongs in schools and education is not enough. We need to be able to support that idea with facts and numbers. According to Dr. Mishra, we need to support our advocacy efforts with “research bites.” Well, what are research bites?

According to Dr. Mishra, a research bite is “a brief fact or finding from research presented in language easily understood by musicians, teachers, parents and administrators” (2011). They are meant “to be used when advocating for music programs” (Mishra, 2011). People who do not have our same [music] background need facts. They need to be convinced of the importance of music in education. When we advocate for the cause of music education in schools, “we need to be talking in a way that people understand in our society…Our society, whether we like it or not, is a very research and numbers-based society” (Mishra, 2011). Therefore, we find and use numbers that will help convince our audience of our cause. “We convince people of things in our society because we toss a number at them,” so, “we need to use those numbers in our favor. Numbers are persuasive” (Mishra, 2011).

The issue is rarely whether or not music educators are passionate about what they do. We are passionate about music. We believe music is important. We believe music belongs in schools. But, that is not enough. We have to support these “beliefs” with numbers and facts. As Dr. Mishra said, “to the passion, add the facts. We’ve got the passion…that’s no problem. But, we need to add some facts to be persuasive” (2011). Numbers can be fact. Numbers can be opinions. Either way, numbers can be convincing. “Numbers have power. It’s all about interpretation. Numbers can be interpreted in different ways. We give those numbers the power, and that means we can actually take it and turn it to our own advantage” (Mishra, 2011). Research bites give you a number and give you an argument in one or two sentences. We just have to find the research bite that fits our situation and speaks best to our audience. So, how do we make a convincing argument?

“Most of the time, when we are doing research, we want to be unbiased. But, for advocacy, we are looking for baised findings…findings that will work in our favor, that support our argument” (Mishra, 2011). We need to focus on research that supports music education, and there is plenty of it out there. However, we want and need to make sure that we have appropriate sources. Choose an argument and find the research to support it. Our argument and research is strong when cited with reputable scientists, researchers, and journals. “Respected sources convince.” (Mishra, 2011). We still make the decision of what to include or not include, but it is our responsibility to choose the research and the argument that speaks to our audience. We need to make the numbers real to our audience. “Make the numbers personal by replicating research findings with your own students. Put a face on the numbers” (Mishra, 2011). If you cannot find exactly what you are looking for in your research, do your own research with your own students. It will be even more real to your community.

“We obviously have to keep music in the minds of our administrators, our parents, our community because, especially in this kind of climate [financial climate], we sometimes have our programs riffed. Even in good times, we have our programs riffed” (Mishra, 2011). There is plenty of research out there. We just have to find it. And, actually, it is pretty easy to find research indicating that music supports other disciplines, but “don’t forget AFAS: Art For Art’s Sake” (Mishra, 2011). Music is fundamentally valuable. Sometimes it is enough just to remember that. Sometimes our argument needs more. When your argument needs more, use a research bite. I know that, personally, I am going to start including research bites in my newsletters, notes to parents, e-mails, and concert programs. You never know when you are going to need them, but you want your seeds of advocacy to be ready for harvest when they are needed. So, where can you find research bites that fit your cause and help you support your cause? Well, the below sites are great places to start.

Advocacy Resources: Collections of Research Bites

Mishra, J. (2011, November 5). Using Research to Advocate for Music Programs. IMEA District 6 Festival. Conducted from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.

More Music Motivators

by Stacie MacBush

I am always looking for ways to motivate my students in music class. Sometimes it is getting my younger students to participate or my boys to sing. Jr. High students are a whole other animal. How do you motivate students who would rather be in PE or at recess? Here are my ideas and hopefully you can add to my list!

My younger students LOVE stickers. I know it sounds simple, but all of my Pre-K though 2nd grade students know they can EARN their stickers in music. They can earn them by participating, sitting criss cross, raising their hand, singing with me and doing movements. Students who earn them show their teachers when they are picked up. The teachers at my school like this system because it is an easy visual to see who was on task for the day. Many times we point out the students who DID earn their sticker and sometimes we talk about what a student can do next time to earn his or her sticker.

My third grade students knowing this system were upset because they didn’t earn their stickers SO they get a SUPER STAR sticker. Only one student per class can get this and I try to spread it out among the students. They ask me every class if I ever forget.

I DO more than just stickers. My younger students do not get a grade so small things like pencils and my prize bin are options for students who are doing an awesome job that day.

My beginner band students have an incentive chart. It is called “POPPIN’ PERFORMANCES” and students earn a popcorn sticker every time they pass a playing test. Once they get to 10 stickers they get to go to a popcorn and movie party with me. It is in my classroom and popcorn is inexpensive so everyone wins! They love this system and my beginners are better the past three years because of this motivator.

Here are some other ideas of how to motivate your students:
1. Bulletin boards showing progression
2. Put student name in newsletter or on school website
3. Positive note home to parent
4. Sit in teacher chair
5. Director for a day
6. DJ for a day (my older kids LOVE this)
7. High five!
8. Lunch with the teacher
9. Homework pass
10. Telling the student that you are proud of them!

There are tons of great ideas out there to motivate your students. Please add any ideas you might have to the list!

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