Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The BIG One.. We're Talkin' Assessment!

I am linking up today with Elizabeth over at Caldwell Organized Chaos today for a linky party with other music educator bloggers! 

I don't know about you but at this point in the school year I am suddenly shocked at how little time we have left in school!  We are finished at the end of May and with Spring Break and holidays/workdays we only have 7 full weeks of school remaining.  Now, there are several weeks of half days/workdays and holidays, but it is striking to realize how time is slipping away!  So that leads me to the post today; a check in of sorts, several assessments I use in the music classroom. 
I have posted about this previously with other activities here.
I have posted this one before and just used it this week with Jr. Kinder. and Kindies and I always somehow forget how very much they love this!
What Sound Do You Hear Now

Stretchy Band Assessment
This is the time for a little silliness as well as seeing how well your students understand and can internalize rhythmic concepts. I use this with first grade on up; first grade quarter/eighth/rests, second grade add half note, third and fourth add sixteenth and whole notes. 
1.  Put on some catchy up-tempo music. I particularly love the Hamsterdance Party!  Hilarious and I think it was an Artie Almeida workshop where this idea (and music) was presented. 
2.  Students are holding on to a stretchy band; I made these out of a box of irregular (flawed) white pantyhose.  SOOOOOo easy and very fun to create your own color combinations. I have several small ones and a couple larger ones and use them to mark off my room for instrument groups, or to mark off my room so students don't go to instruments that are set up until I give directions for them to do so, etc. 
Email me for directions on how to make these: 
3.  You are going to be the "caller" and call out "quarter note".  Students will keep the beat by bouncing the band up and down to the beat.  Next call out "rest"; freeze! Then "eighth notes"; I have students alternate hands up and down quickly to the eighth note rhythm, etc.  Half notes; move down to their knees then up over head saying, "one, two, one two", whole notes; down to toes and then up over head saying, "one, two, three, four".  You got it!  Once they get it, switch every 8 beats or so, then switch every 4.  "Now put it in your feet" (march around the circle to the quarter note, or go in for 4, out for 4). Pretty soon you are teaching them a dance, which is fun!  We also switch and put the band behind our backs, play the band like a guitar, do the washing machine (move both hands to one side then the other while holding on with both hands).  Up to the sky, down to the floor, you guessed it, anyway that works while being able to assess who understands rhythmic note concepts and who needs a little more help. 

Necklace Assessments
A few years ago our local Orff chapters in NC and some from SC joined forces to host the National American Orff Schulwerk Association National Conference here in Charlotte.  We had two amazing, courageous, creative teachers who had fabulous, exciting ideas for the teacher boutique.  This was one of them.  Print out rhythms, or staff notation, or dynamic markings, or instrument families, etc. on cardstock, punch holes and put ribbon or yarn around them.  Students put them on like a necklace with note sides facing out.  I use a Garage Band Smart Drum rhythm (a rap track will do) and I say, "quarter note" and throw a ball to someone who has a quarter note.  They wait until I say the next rhythm "rest" and they throw the ball to someone else who has a rest.  Students are not allowed to point to themselves "Me, ME!!!" or else they are out.  Clean and simple, people! Once they have had a turn throwing the ball, they sit down.  This is fun and they love when I trick them; if only quarter notes are standing, I say, "eighth notes" and they are like, "WHAA???".  Haha!
I love using these balls; I made them from yarn and while time consuming to make them, they are the BEST!!! Google yarn ball or large pom pom ball and you'll find instructions.  Also use zip ties in the middle!  I have had these almost 15 years!


  1. What a fun idea! I love the necklace game. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. We were just talking about assessments in our district music meeting today. Thanks for some fun and creative assessment ideas!

  3. Those yarn balls are a great way to use balls in the classroom without endangering the instruments- love it! :) I do a similar game with listening to timbres behind a curtain and it is a lot of fun. #fermatafridays

  4. My students love that flashcards! Great idea! Thank you for all of your posts. I am a first year teacher and have used many of your ideas in the classroom this year. Your work is much appreciated!

  5. Thanks for reminding me about this game! I need to pull it out.


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