Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last Year's Incentive Program: Earning Composer Cards

I'm astounded to realize that it's been over a year since I posted here. I guess I was busier than I realized! Two part-time jobs, a middle school-aged daughter, and too much responsibility with organizations I belong to caught up with me, especially when I started to add more frequent trips out of town to visit with my parents. So, I've cleared out some space in my life, and I hope to get back to writing regularly here. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with the online piano teaching world!

Last year, I created a practice incentive program for my students that was fun, and a bit different. The students earned composer cards for various accomplishments. It was a bit like collecting baseball cards. Each student worked to earn a full collection of 40 cards, and once they succeeded, they got a $5 gift certificate to a local frozen yogurt shop. Here's how it worked:

For cards, I used the composer cards from Layton Music Games and Resources. There are over 40 free printable cards here with pictures of composers on one side and quick facts on the other. If nothing else, all of my students learned how to pronounce their names this year!

At the beginning of the year, each student chose a composer to make a poster about, and I featured a different student's poster on my bulletin board every few weeks. I made it a point to find a piece (simplified if necessary) by that composer for the student to learn.

Unfortunately, my incentive did require me to have a set of 40 cards printed and cut apart for each individual student. That's awfully time-consuming if you have a large number of students and no minions to do your grunt work. However, if you have a moderate  number of students and an 11-year-old daughter (aka minion), it's a bit easier. (wink)

My students bring a 3-ring binder to their lessons. Plastic baseball card sleeves provide a great way to keep up with the card collection.

This incentive worked quite well, and seemed to appeal across a wide variety of ages. Let me know if you try it!


Kristi said...

I like this idea, just curious about the length to complete the incentive. Did your students take most of the school year to earn all 40 cards?

Laura Lowe said...

Hi, Kristi,
Some of my students earned all of their cards by the end of January, and others finished by the skin of their teeth at the end of the year! You can always offer an extra incentive to those who finish earlier.