Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recorder Karate

I was working on this post before the craziness of the end-of-the-year began and realized I never finished!  Even though we have been on Summer break for awhile now (woohooo!), I thought I'd go ahead and tell you a little bit about our 5th grade recorder program.  

Each Spring, 5th graders have the privilege of participating in the "Recorder Karate" program. It is one of my favorite units to teach because the students love it so much! Recorder Karate is a motivational recorder program that encourage students to learn to play the soprano recorder with proper technique while allowing them to work at their own pace and be rewarded for their hard work. 

They receive a packet of music that has 9 pieces that are increasing in difficulty. Each week we will work together as a class or in small groups to learn the pieces in their packet. Students may work ahead as far as they would like and when they feel confident, they may "pass off" a song to earn a "belt." 

The "belts" for the Recorder Karate program are colored yarn tied to the end of their recorder.

Each time they earn a belt, they will sign their name on the corresponding poster in the hallway outside of the music room. This is a great way to track their progress and show growth. Their overall goal is to earn their black belt by the end of our unit in May.  Of course, many of them do not get all the way to the black belt level.  However, even if they do not earn all 9 belts, they can set their own individual goal and still show growth and feel accomplished.

Here are the posters at the end of the year...

Our black belt students (or the "ninja squad" as they like to call themselves): 

After each of these students earned their black belt, I took a picture of them in front of the black belt poster and their picture was shown on the morning announcements the next day.  The students really enjoyed the special recognition and the whole school kept up with who had earned their black belt! The black belt students also get to perform a special song together at their 5th grade graduation ceremony.  Although listening to "Hot Cross Buns" 46823796734 times is exhausting, I look forward to Recorder Karate all year and so do my students!  ;)  It is very rewarding to see many of them begin to realize their musical potential and go on to play instruments in middle school band.