While questioning my motives for using a practice sheet in class, I set out to see what other music teachers did when it came to requiring their students to practice at home. I spoke with the band director who was also trying “something new” when it came to weekly practice sheets. This template came from him (thanks Craig!).
This idea was to combine some weekly objectives and the practice component into one weekly assignment.
1. The top section is a worksheet that reinforced what we learned in class that week. I found this to be really helpful for both the students and for me. For the students, this helped some of my visual learners to be able to work out concepts on paper. I really like this part for me, because it helped me keep a focus for the week. As a teacher I was very cognizant in my teaching to make sure my students were learning what they needed to know to complete their weekly practice sheet.
2. The bottom part of the practice sheet was different than what I had done in the past. Previously, I asked students to write down how long they practiced each day, and then have their parents sign at the end of the week. The new system didn’t focus on how long students practiced. They would just put an “X” on any day that they practiced their guitar for 5 minutes or more and would then have their parents sign it.
SO – how did it go. My turn in rate, was MUCH higher this semester… and because of the objective focus at the top of the paper, my student achievement I felt was much higher.
It was a lot of work putting together practice sheets and grading them each week, but the results have me wanting to try it at least one more semester.
What do you do with your practice sheets? Suggestions? Things you like about this system? Things you don’t like? I would love your feedback!