This year we are so happy to be able to offer our students 4 different encores: Library/Media Center, Music, Physical Education, and Art.
All of our kindergarten and first grade students get two, 25 minute sessions of each class, every week. On Fridays, the four encore teachers have created a center-based compilation of learning targets in the gym. We call it FUN FRIDAY. In this space, students can rotate through centers that help to reinforce standards that have been introduced during class time throughout the week and school year. This time is also perfect for us teachers to assess growth for individual students.
In music class there have already been many highlights! Our kindergartners have been focusing on keeping the beat and learning our musical opposites: high and low, fast and slow, long and short, and soft and loud. They have also been busy learning how to hold and play the rhythm instruments properly. students have been able to use triangles, rhythm sticks, hand drums, tambourines, maracas and even xylophones!
The instrument that seems to get the most positive reaction from both kindergarten and first grade is our new set of cardio drums! These were purchased through a grant awarded by the Cedar Springs Education Foundation last spring. Each student is able to use real drum sticks to play rhythms on cardio balls! This is a super fun way that they are able to show growth in reading and playing rhythms. We also choreograph fun songs using the cardio drums. Students can show that they can keep the beat and recognize musical form through dancing and playing on the drums. We did a routine to “Monster Mash,” and “Adam’s Family,” at Halloween time, and “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” right before break. The drums have proven to be fun, educational, and a great work out! Wow, our first graders sure are becoming talented musicians! It is wonderful to hear so many of our students enjoy singing with beautiful voices as we play singing games, create fun movements to songs, and explore all of the opportunities music brings to our lives. First graders are becoming wonderful rhythm readers. As they advance, I’ve even had to create a new assessment rubric because so many students are ready to move on! We assess rhythms using the cardio drums and rhythm sticks. Some students are even able to hear a melody and then write the rhythmic patterns!
We are very happy to be able to provide students with the opportunity to explore lifelong passions that they may develop through their experiences with music, art, physical education, and library. We know that in our encore classes, they are learning social skills, developing problem solving strategies, learning to express themselves, getting opportunities to explore and discover, and so much more!
Cedar Trails Elementary Music