Wednesday
Jul232014

Balanced Diet of Literature

This is a super-sweet article that will be COMING SOON.  Be excited :-D.

Wednesday
Jul232014

Assessment/Tests | by Janice Ragland

ASSESSMENT/TESTS

Janice Ragland

 

            Although every performance is really a “test,” there should be additional ways of documenting each student’s progress.  A written test indicates to the student that you are serious about the information you expect them to know.  Since every student had their measures numbered, my test asked questions such as:

            1.  measure 13             What is the dynamic marking of the soprano part – name it and explain what it means.

            2.  measure 4               On what beat does the tenor enter?

            3.  measure 12             Alto part, first note.  What kind of a note is it and how many beats does it get.

 

            Another testing procedure was analysis of vowels for each syllable

 

1 = ah

2 = oh

3 = ee

4 = oo

5 = ih

6 = ah-ee

etc.

 

_____My                                 6 My

_____coun-                             1 coun-

_____try                                  3 try

_____tis                                  5 tis

_____of                                   1 of

_____thee                               3 thee

 

            With the advances of technology I would use more individual voice testing.  Smart Music with it’s recording capabilities allows the student to hear the soprano, tenor and bass parts while they sing the alto part, record and save it.  Something like this would hold EACH student accountable while not taking away from class rehearsal time for you.  Listening to each students recording is easy and convenient while offering you a documented sample for student and parents as you assign a grade.  Parts of Smart Music will also assess and document sight reading.

 

 

 

Concert Assessment: Holiday Concert

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________

Class: ______________________________________________________________

 

Please use the space provided below to answer the following short answer questions.  Each answer must use complete sentences.

 

     1.  Considering our performance, what was the strongest aspect?  The weakest aspect?

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     2.  What did you learn from our preparation for this concert?

__________________________________________________________________

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     3.  In preparing for our next concert, what do we need to do to improve our

          performance?

__________________________________________________________________

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     4.  What was your reaction to the other choirs performing on the concert?

__________________________________________________________________

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     5.  What kind of feedback did you receive from your family and friends regarding your performance?

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     6. What have you learned so far this year in Choir?  What do you want to learn that you haven’t learned?

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Wednesday
Jul232014

Defendable Grading | by Janice Popejoy

First of all, do you need one?  ABSOLUTELY!!!!  There’s nothing worse than facing a parent and trying to explain how their child got a “C” in choir!  I started this system many years ago and have tweaked it along the way.  When I came to Winnetonka High School, my colleague Tom Gifford and I did more modifications and are now both using this for all choral classes.  First of all, choir is basically a participation and performance class, which is easily observed and quantified.

 

PARTICIPATION - Participation accounts for 50% of their grade.  Face it – if it’s not happening in the classroom, it won’t happen on stage.  Students have the opportunity to earn 5 points daily for full participation.  We double the points available AND points deducted for block scheduling. 

 

They lose points for the following:

 

Talking (T)– 1 point

Tardy – (L) 1 point

Gum, candy, soft drinks – (G) 1 point

Sleeping – 3 points – and HOW can they do that in choir?  I just don’t get it!

Low participation – (P) 2 points (warming the chair and sucking the air!)

Disruption – (D) 3 points

Asked to leave the classroom – 5 points

Absent – (A) 5 points

 

Modify this as needed.  YOU need to decide what’s important to you in the classroom.  Attendance at our school is an issue and we feel that their backside needs to be in a chair to learn ANYTHING, so that’s why the points deducted are so high.  If you find objections to this, check the student’s grades.  Chances are they are not succeeding in their core classes if absenteeism is an issue.  Tom and I have different ways of recording this daily grade.  I have an old-fashioned grade book that I just mark the above letter code next to their name.  Tom has a roster print-out from our electronic grading system that he uses.  Your accompanist is invaluable in noticing infractions.  I just leave the gradebook open on the piano and we both make quick notations as needed during the class.  Turning to the gradebook and making a quick notation does wonders for classroom management.  We use the electronic gradebook IGPRO, so it will do the percentage calculations for you.  At the end of the week, I enter a weekly participation grade BUT I have the gradebook to back me up for specificity.  It’s also extremely helpful for me to catch trends in a student’s behavior.  I’ve had students who routinely fail to show up for school on Friday (LOVE those 3 day weekends!) and the attendance office is very appreciative of a “heads up”!  When a parent has confronted me on a less-than-expected grade, I can easily look at the gradebook and note that the student comes in EVERYDAY with gum.  When I explain the safety issue, there’s never any argument.  While this may seem very time-consuming, it isn’t.  It takes about 15 minutes on Friday to enter all of the grades and keeps portions of my anatomy intact when faced with questions from administrators and parents.

 

CONCERTS – 20%

 

The reality is that we are a PERFORMANCE oriented class.  It’s like a HUGE test and it’s worth 200 points.  They HAVE to show up!  But that’s not the end of it.  If  performance and audience etiquette is important to you, the students can lose points for inappropriate behavior, both on and off stage.  It’s vitally important that you make your expectations VERY clear.

 

ASSIGNMENTS – 10%

 

TESTS/QUIZZES – 10%

 

I give quizzes on basic theory, sightreading (both written and performed) and singing.  I have a great rubric to use for singing that is easy and fast.

 

FINAL – 10%

 

We are required by our district to give one to every class.

 

As in every other aspect of teaching, take what you can use, throw out anything that doesn’t work for you and modify the rest!  Whatever you come up with, don’t forget to run it by an administrator for approval.  This will increase your chances of support when needed.  We also publish a handbook at the beginning of the year, with a signature sheet that must be signed by a parent acknowledging the requirements of the classroom

 

If you have any questions, please contact me at jpopejoy@nkcsd.k.12.mo.us and I’ll be happy to assist in any way possible!

 

 

Janice Popejoy

Winnetonka High School

Choral Director

Wednesday
Jul232014

Defendable Grading System | by Tresa Jo Wilson

A solid grading system should reflect a balance of the many components expected from choral students.  Some schools do not allow grades to be based on attendance so rehearsal participation may be a better title for that.  Make it clear what expectations are included (bringing music, posture, etc.)  Another area would be written assignments and, of course, performance, which could include concert expectations as well as individual or small group singing checks.

 

Assign percentages or points to each category that are realistic and represent what is most important to being a successful member of the ensemble.  Within each grading period, there should be enough grades in each category that it is viable.  A failing grade caused by one event is difficult to defend.

 

Take the proposed grading system to an administrator for approval before it is given to students.  I recommend including the grading system as a part of a packet that goes to parents at the start of the year and have them sign below a statement which says they are aware of the grading policies and expectations for the class.  These will be good defenses if a grade is challenged.

 

Tresa Jo Wilson, Retired

Francis Howell School District

Wednesday
Jul232014

The Day After the Concert | by Janice Ragland

This is a super-sweet article that will be COMING SOON.  Be excited :-D.