It can be hard to manage a classroom while trying to give each student what he or she needs. I have developed a recorder program that enables my 5th grade class of 27 students to receive individualized help and learn at their own pace.
Five years ago, my favorite mentor teacher and I designed a black belt system for the recorder. We incorporated 24 folk songs that my students know and love since they started singing them in Kindergarten. The students earn 9 belts culminating with a black belt.
Yarn and beads for the Black Belt
At the beginning of 5th grade, I review the folk songs by singing them, doing the solfa hand signs (solfege), playing the associated song games, and reading the notes. This builds up a great desire in the students to start recorder, which starts at the beginning of the 2nd term, only after every student can read the notes for the black belt system.
For the past four years, every single 5th grader has earned their recorder black belt. They wanted to learn even more songs, so we now have 75 songs beyond the black belt. When students earn the black belt, they receive a special black belt chart on the bulletin board outside my classroom. They get a picture icon on the chart for each song they learn beyond the black belt. The students who pass off every available song also use music software to write arrangements of their favorite songs to play on the recorder.
My bulletin board gets taken over by black belt charts
This student has earned a ton of belts beyond the black belt
My free black belt system has 9 belts (24 songs) and the details of how I run my program.
My 315 page Recorder Mega Pack has everything you need to further motivate and keep your students learning way beyond the black belt.
This is a HUGE hit at my school and is something that even little brothers and sisters look forward to! It has become a big tradition at my school and is a wonderful way to help every student reach his or her potential.