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
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.
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.
I start the students as a group to get them all
through the first three belts in the system. The most eager students come
to school 15 minutes early to work on the recorder and pass off songs to me.
Some students start earning their black belt in a matter of weeks and become
tutors in order to help other students learn and pass off their songs.
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.
This is a
win/win system. The advanced students develop leadership while advancing at
their own pace. I also have happy students who are motivated by passing off fun
and interesting songs. All students work hard to earn their black belt so they
can move on to the extra belt songs and also be a tutor. It is amazingly
My free black belt system has 9 belts (24 songs) and the details of how I run my program.