Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Day to Serve .... Feeding the Hungry


The governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland and the Mayor of Washington D.C. have called on everyone to join together for a Day to Serve - one day to organize or participate in a project to feed the hungry or clean up your neighborhood.  

In an ongoing effort to help my students work toward their practice goals, I’ve decided to donate one can of food for every 30 minutes of practice completed by my students for the week of September 21 - 28.   I'm going to encouraged parents to match my donation.  

Food donations will benefit the LINK foundation which serves hungry families in Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn, VA. 

Anyone is welcome to drop donations at Herndon Middle School on September 29th, between 9am - 2pm (901 Locust Street, Herndon, VA 20170).  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Become a Star!

I struggled with choosing my studio incentive program this year and was thrilled when Notable Music Studio blogged about her new 'A Star is Born' incentive program.  I really wanted this year's incentive to focus on practicing and this program does just that.  To learn more about this incentive program hop on over to Notable Music Studio.


My students are already working really hard toward their practice goals.  I love what a little motivation can do to help students progress.

I've adapted Sheryl's program just a bit.  Instead of awarding students with charms, once they complete each 'Star-Challenge,' I ordered these colored silicone bracelets that have 'A Start is Born' engraved in them (to go along with each big star).  Here's how I've  broken down each Star-Challenge:

  1. Behind the Scenes (technique) - To earn a purple bracelet, each student must complete an entire practice chart.  If you are interested to know about the technique charts that I use - visit All Things Cranky.  
  2.  A Star-Studded Staff (note ID) - Students who can pass off their flash cards within a minute will earn a yellow bracelet.  If students have already passed off their note cards, then I have them memorize their key signatures (including being able to draw the Circle of 5th under a minute).
  3.  Famous Celebrity Composers (composers) - I love getting ideas/materials from all of you wonderful bloggers!  I found these composer packets from Joy over at Color in My Piano.  I'm going to let my students earn a yellow bracelet for each lapbook they complete.  I hope Joy posts more (hint hint)! 
  4. 'Reel'y Great Rhythms (rhythm) - This category is still a work in progress.  Haven't figured out how I'm going to do this challenge quite yet.  Ideas? The award for completing it, however, will be a blue bracelet. 
  5. Lights, Camera, Action! (theory) - Students who complete half of their theory book will receive a red bracelet.  The theory books that I use are a bit long and take at least a year to complete, so I felt like completing half was quite a feat.  
A lot of my students have asked me what they earn when they get to the big gold star labeled 'You.'  I've tried to tell them that they become a star for completing the board. Perhaps another award is in the works for each individual who finishes?