Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Icecream Sandwich

We all know that the more listening activities, or the more opportunities that we give our students to be more "aurally aware", the more successful they will be at singing on pitch.  They'll also be more critical listeners, not only with their own singing, but with the singing of those around them.

For example, my 5th graders, as they work on the National Anthem (oh isn't it just LOVELY for younger voices - sarcasm) for a September 11th-related activity, I've encouraged them to use the "ice-cream" sandwich as they listen and evaluate their own singing and the singing of others in their class.  We used a similar structure in voice class during college.  I've demonstrated how to use this and the students have used it on me.  They've also used it on partners in their immediate vicinity.  This week, they'll use it with volunteers or small groups who sing alone for the class.  This really seems to make sense to them, and they like the balance of complimenting their friends but also giving their friends something to work on.

For the top "cookie" the student who is giving the sandwich gives the student receiving the sandwich a "compliment" - for example, "I could really understand your diction on the song."
For the ice-cream, the student who is giving the sandwich is a little "cold"; they must give the student receiving the sandwich a "critique" - something they need to work on - for example, "Your pitch was a little under at "and the rocket's red glare."
For the bottom "cookie", the student gives their friend another compliment.

I'm looking forward to having the students use this tool all year, especially during recorder playing when I'm constantly asking them to evaluate others.

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