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Re: Talk me out of "placements" this way
Many in my district are doing it exactly this way. You might get pushback on the pictures.
Good morning YB.
Talk me out of doing something. As everyone is struggling with, I've had another layer of difficulty thrown at me with beginners next year. My 6th grade admin is looking to change the schedule for that campus next year (we have a 5-6, 7-8, and HS campuses). The schedule would reduce band to one period for three classrooms (total seating capacity of 60 kids) and four staff members. I'm meeting with this person Monday to figure out how we keep band in two periods. We typically recruit between 100-120 kids a year.
One of the things that may come up with it is the requirement of putting kids in a schedule that their homeroom assignment is dependent on what instrument they play and thus determining when their band period is. In the past all 6th grade classes had a tutorial period followed by their SSR (sustained silent reading) 8th and 9th periods of the day, respectively.
I give you all of that information to then say that I may have to place students in instrument classes without actually having tested the kids on instruments. It's less than ideal and diverges from our typical procedure of testing all kids on all instruments.
So if that happens here is my plan. What I'm asking of you, the YB, is to find holes in it and help me fix it as much as possible.
Here are the steps, in order.
1. E-mail all 5th grade parents with interest/instrument choices survey from Google Forms (the district compiled a contact list from most parents at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown). This would tell me which students are interested in band and what instruments they are interested in. We presented the various instruments to the students back in the fall. I would include the US Army's beginner instrument video as well as some of the "Be a part of the band" videos in this link.
2. For the students who are interested in band, I'll create a classroom on Google Classroom.
3. Give a modified version of the Selmer Music Guidance Survey - shortened to approximately 25 questions and only the pitch and melody sections, NOT using the harmony or rhythm sections. This would be done through Google Classroom and using video uploads. The reason I would skip harmony and rhythm would be to reduce the length of the "quiz" from 20 minutes to 10 minutes.
4. For students who are interested in percussion, also have them do the rhythm section.
5. Have students upload a picture of their faces to help determine who may have a teardrop, full lips, etc.
From there, make determinations based on student interest in the particular instrument as well as their scores on the Selmer quiz.
Prior to hearing about the schedule change the plan was to spend the first week of school testing all 6th grade students then scheduling them after. But given that the 6th grade campus wants to change their schedule that is likely not going to be a possibility.
So, oh wise Yellow Board, should I scrap this idea or can it be improved to the point of usability?