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How about an Ensemble Skills Rubric for Assessment?

-Teacher Susan Kirkland


LOVE this idea which can apply to any test...

Teacher Julie Arsenault

This year, I changed my assessments by adding a piece of paper at the end, asking, 'What else do you know about the topic, that I didn’t ask you?'

Another teacher suggested this idea online about a year ago – I wish I could remember who it was! – and I thought, 'BOOM. I want to do this.'

Answering this question is completely optional and when students show more understanding on the sheet than they did on their assessment, I’ll point it out to them. Sometimes I’ll write, 'The learning wasn’t shown in your assessment, but I can see you do know this from what you wrote at the end.'

Afterward, I’ll follow up with them about how to recognize and answer test questions asked in different ways. Clearly, in cases like this, they understand the material but aren’t able to formulate an answer in response to the way I posed the question. I’ll point out to them that while it’s great that they’ve shown me their learning, they won’t always have a chance to answer assessment questions in an open-ended way, and I want them to succeed when they encounter assessment-style questions in the future.

I love what this change has done. This strategy has made my assessments more inclusive. It helps me communicate to my students: "When I assess your understanding, I’m looking for what you DO know."

Inclusive Language & Gender Identity

Resources-Mario Licata

Mario Licata is the Special Needs Music Educator for the Bernards Township School District.  He is a Master Teacher.  I had the privilege of  observing Mario as he taught two classes daily in the Choir Room.  Passionate.  Fierce.  Driven.  He taught his students Composers, Periods of Music; Genres; Drumming, Guitar...Those kids received/receive an amazingly thorough education in his class.  Every Friday was Jeopardy! and their retention of his material was impressive.  Music played as they entered and exited the room.  What a treasure he is to that school district.  

Here is a list of some of the resources he uses in class.  It's quite the collection.  

WORDS OF INSPIRATION note to self • Mark Lawley

• realize that it really is the journey where the gold is found - not in trophies and awards.

• lean into painful situations with parents and students - this is merely an opportunity to grow and know.

• embrace discipline as a chance to teach what is good, right and honorable.

• consider students’ perspectives more, it is the path to effective teaching...

• icebreakers are not a waste of time - any chance to build community and belonging should be embraced.

• Take judges comments - administrators evaluations to heart - they are trying to help!

• it’s ok to enjoy yourself and not take yourself so seriously.

• provide opportunities for students to build each other up - this is the bridge to positive life ready graduates.

• speak the truth in love - and be relentless in finding ways to say it - in love.

• look for the good in everyone - it’s there and if you wait long enough they will show it to you!

• apologies are a small price to pay for peace - and always ask what you can do to make things better.

• practice “there YOU are” philosophy more - this spreads love so generously and frees others to do the same.

• choose to inspire over demanding.

• share more about what they should learn from each piece & why we sing it in context of lyrical implications & their music education.

• choose ritardando over accelerando.

• choose piano over forte.

• choose calmato over agitato.

• choose smiles and silence - spread joy in generous helpings.

• let your mercy be new every morning for yourself - then offer it generously to others.

Dear Students auditioning for Choir/the Musical, etc:                                                             (Add'l beautiful words of wisdom from Mark Lawley)

We want to place you in the choir/part you most want!  Your audition may have been impeded by nerves which wouldn’t allow your true voice to be heard. Please know that we know that!  We’ve heard you sing in class and believe it or not, we can hear your true voice through your cold, nerves and fear.

You are taken very seriously.  We wring our hands, worry - and toss and turn hoping to get the choirs/musical put together in the best way for all.  We talk about the audition, you, your past, your future - tone color - attendance - intonation - grades - range - work ethic - sight reading ability - attitude - and how we can give you an opportunity to help you grow.  You are not a number.  We see.  We hear.  We care, about YOU!

Do NOT take “no” for an answer if we are unable to place you where you would most like to be.  Keep working - keep trying - keep refining - voices don’t fully mature until you’re in your twenties - so please hear our hearts when we say - THE BEST IS YET TO COME!  You’re going to sing higher - more freely with greater ease and flexibility - and with greater vitality and beauty!

As a singer your body IS your instrument - you haven’t finished growing physically yet and neither has your truest most beautiful voice!  So be full of courage and hope - we are excited to hear you develop, grow and become.

Now, one last thought.  We are all responsible for the power of presence that we bring into every room we enter.  So take time to bring your best self to the rehearsal room every single day.  This cannot happen by simply deciding.  The daily choices that we make about what we listen to, read, think about - can help us grow a sweet soul.  As we all move toward growing our hearts and walking in kindness - we will become better and sweeter at influencing the atmosphere with goodness.  

Know thyself. Love thyself. Then love others....

With great care,

Your Choir Directors

How about an A CAPPELLA Bracket? 

YouTube links are embedded in the slide.

(courtesy of FB: Terri Hamilton)


A Brief History of American Song

Join us as we explore important events and people in the history and evolution of American Song! 

Each video will be accompanied with ideas for activities for virtual and face-to-face lessons! (Great for Choir, Music History, and Music Appreciation) 



Choir Warmups.pdf

How about JEOPARDY?

JeopardyLabs allows you to create a customized jeopardy template without PowerPoint. The games you make can be played online from anywhere in the world. Building your own jeopardy template easy. Just use our simple editor to get your game up and running.