Every Saturday I go to my classroom and file stacks of papers, put things away, and bring home a towering pile of worksheets to grade. People are often surprised to learn that I grade a lot of papers. They say, "You have worksheets in music class?!" Almost every day, my beginning classes complete a short bell-work assignment which helps me check for understanding. After a recent assignment which reviewed basics about note-reading, I was able to identify a few students from each class who did not understand how the staff works. Our school offers a 25 minute flex time each day where students can go to any teacher to get help or make up missed work. I had each of my struggling students come to me during one of these flex times and was able to re-teach note-reading basics. Even though I don't love grading papers, I feel the worksheets help students improve basic music skills and it is important to identify students who need extra help.
There is one worksheet that I don't mind grading. Several weeks ago I posted about playing tests and included a picture of a goal sheet/reflection paper that students complete after every playing test. I love reading these papers! They give me insight into how students feel in my class. I learn if they are preparing for tests and I learn about their struggles and goals. I can then tailor lessons to help students and I can offer encouragement to specific students. Reading the reflection papers motivate me to be a better teacher. Students want to do well and when I see how hard they are working it helps me work hard for them to help them succeed. Since using these reflection papers, I feel my students are achieving higher test scores and taking ownership for their progress. Here's one I just randomly pulled from my tower of papers...pretty cool, huh?