This year, I’m challenging myself to be more structured with Notebooks for my students to teach more theory, and for teacher-friends who are interested in trying the project in their classrooms. The basics:
-Supplies: Spiral Notebook should be on the school supply list, or in your syllabus for the first day. If they bring one with a folder, it’s great, but you can also tape an envelope in the back cover.
-Storage: Rack like I have, or you can use a milk crate, or even just stack by class.
|Notebook/folder storage. Hi, Jim!|
-Assignments: Students have at least one writing assignment per week. We do ours on Wednesdays. Sometimes I hand out worksheets, they tape to the notebook page. Great for during sectionals. If a student misses an assignment, they are responsible for checking with a peer, then approaching me to make it up during class.
-Grading: I give 10 points each week for notebooks. This is easily broken down into 5 & 5 if you assign two. My advanced choir rarely gets to notebook every week, so sometimes we do a couple at a time. Make it work for you! With 100+ students, it isn’t possible to grade all the notebooks every week, so I just grade at Midterm and Quarter. That way, I am more focused on each student and can better assess their progress over time.
Some sample notebook prompts:
- Choir Goals/Singing Goals
- Rhythmic Dictation
- Listening Assignment (give a focus or two, like expression, timbre, tone, text, mood, instrumentation)
- Open question to teacher concerning music
- Free-write on what music means to you
- Copy text of a piece to memorize
- Favorite song and why
- How do you listen to music?
- Songwriting Projects
- Chords for songs they're learning on guitar
- Reactions to current media, performances, etc.
- Concert Reflection
Questions? How do you implement literacy in your music classroom? I would love to hear from other music teachers trying to make it work.