My Kindergarten through fifth grade benchmarks are FINALLY finished!! (sorry about the wait!!) …..for now 🙂 I say this because I want to revisit them in January to re-evaluate and then again each year to update them as my students become more proficient.

This was certainly a journey, as I wanted to be thoughtful in my decisions. I only see my kids once a week for 30 minutes, so my time is limited. I did my best in creating a list in each grade level that I think will be attainable. This becomes very clear when you notice that my 4th and 5th grade benchmarks are exactly the same! As you know, this is only my second full year at this school and I wanted to give my students time to catch up.

As you can imagine, my timeline for teaching notation is different than practically everyone else. I don’t like piecemealing it where kids only learn quarters and eighths ~ then you add a note each year. I like teaching them as pieces of a whole ~ where kids can see that these notes are related to each other. This gives them a framework to learn from, rather than a series of isolated notes. (which helps them later on when the concepts get harder)

I also don’t think we should tackle rests until kids have a firm understanding of the “sound side” of a note. …and when you see kids so little, I don’t think they are ready until second grade.

Having said all of this, I did put in quarters and eighths in kinder at the end of the year and quarter rests in first grade, also at the end of the year, to satisfy the standards. I still may ignore it. We’ll see.

Take a look ~ see what you think! You can read my benchmarks HERE!

Now that I knew what I wanted to teach, I needed to keep track of it! So I devised a lesson sheet to help me:

  • keep track of the benchmarks I was hitting,
  • give kids opportunities to learn a concept physically, aurally and visually,
  • make sure they were creating something every class
  • decide if a song was a “learning song” or an “art song” and to include both
  • choose a listening song that touched on a benchmark I was teaching that day
  • choose a wrap up

Something interesting happened when I started to think about the “wrap up”. Because I see my kids so infrequently, it was important to me that they leave my room with at least one thing they could remember. …and that one thing needed to be the main concept of the day.

For instance, today my kinders were talking about the steady beat, my first graders were talking about The Ballad of John Henry and my third graders created “Hot Cross Buns” in Note Knacks. This is what I wrote on the board as their wrap ups:

It has been working beautifully! It keeps our classes focused and they are retaining information better from one week to the next!

I will let you know my thoughts on all of this, as the year progresses! However, I would love to hear your thoughts and what you teach when! Please comment below!