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Middle School Technology Project

Band Jeopardy

Background Information:
The students have just finished their band assessment and are now moving away from
that music and into newer music that requires new skills. I will be working out of their method
book, ​Essential Elements for Band​, to teach some of these new skills like counting dotted
rhythms, counting eighth note rests, using the register key for clarinets, etc.

Process:
Using Google Slides, I created a Jeopardy game for the 6th grade classes to play. In this
game, I included five categories: rhythms, symbols, method book, terms, and note names. In the
rhythms category, I included rhythmic clapping exercises from their method book. In the
symbols category, I used pictures of symbols such as stacattos, fermatas, and crescendos and
asked students to name the symbol and explain what it means/does. In the method book category,
students were asked to perform music from their method books either as a full team or in pairs.
In the terms category, I asked students to define terms such as forte, duet, and moderato. Finally,
in the note names category, I asked students to name notes in both treble and bass clef.
I split the class into two groups for the game and allowed them to pick their own, school
appropriate, team names. They were then given an explanation of the rules which were that at
each turn, the team was to send one team representative to select their question/challenge. The
representative could then recieve help from their team to answer the question/complete the
challenge. They were also allowed to use their method book to search for definitions or symbol
names. If the team was unable to do complete their turn, the other team would have the chance to
try to earn the points. If I had to speak to any member of the team about being disrespectful or
disruptive, the entire team would lose 100 points. I also explained the difficulty of the different
point values to the students. As the point values went up, the questions/challenges became more
difficult. The 100 level questions/challenges were from the beginning of the method book but the
500 level came from pages they had not yet learned in the method book.
The game lasted for two class periods per class and seemed to be a very engaging and
beneficial way of reviewing fundamental concepts and also introducing the upcoming topics.
The students seemed to appreciate the game and found it a much more enjoyable alternative to
just reading from the method book.

Why?:
In order to play the new music they will be receiving for their spring concert, the students
will need to learn many new skills that can be taught from their method book. Before moving on
to these new things however, it is important to review some of the other fundamental skills that
have been taught prior to assessment. Some of these skills they had not worked on in weeks
because they were not directly applicable to their assessment music so many students had
forgotten about them. For example, they were so used to the notes used in their assessment music
that many of them had lost some of their quick note recognition/sight reading skills. There were
also certain rhythms that they had difficulties with because they were not present in their
assessment music. I made sure to include a lot of the concepts that I found they had already gone
over in the method book but had not needed to apply to assessment into the Jeopardy game. They
did still remember many of the ideas but they also struggled with some which allowed me to take
note of what I would need to review in greater depth within the next classes. I also included
several of the concepts that were commented on by the judges at assessment. For example, every
judge mentioned that the group needed to work on holding out their phrases for four measures
rather than two. This is something I was able to address through the songs in the method book
that were used in the Jeopardy game. The game also introduced the students to some of the
newer concepts that we would begin to explore soon. I decided to create the Jeopardy game after
I had heard many students complaining that they would have to go back to the method book after
assessment was over. I realized that many of the students had a negative outlook on fundamental
work in the method book but I wanted them to actually enjoy their review so I created the game.
Reflection:
As I created the game, I knew that there were two possible outcomes for how this class
would end up. The students would either love the game or they wouldn’t buy into it and be
uninterested. I was hoping they would love it but with middle schoolers, it is difficult to find the
line of what they find fun and what they are “too cool” for anymore. Luckily the students did
love the game and were highly engaged throughout the entire class.
As the students entered the class, I had a slide projected on the screen that simply said
“Band Jeopardy.” Immediately, the students seemed excited because it was something that they
had not expected. I was relieved to see that this was indeed something they would enjoy
participating in. As I began playing the game with the classes, I realized that it would be useful
to have the entire class try out the playing/clapping exercises after the current playing team has
had their chance to try it, whether they received the points or not. This allowed for all the
students to be learning together rather than just in teams.
The students enjoyed the game so much that they asked to continue it during the next
class. We had only gotten through half of the questions/challenges so I agreed to continue during
the next class since it was an educational and beneficial game. What I quickly realized, however,
was that most of the playing/clapping examples had already been used during the first class so
most of what was left was symbol identification and term definitions. This did not make for as
exciting and engaging of a game as I had the first day. I tried to remedy the situation by finding
exercises in the method book to correlate with the different symbols and terms so that there was
still something to play and apply the knowledge too. This helped the class become more
interested and on task.
While I was able to find a way to make the second class more interesting, I think that if I
were to do this lesson again, I would keep the game to only one class. The students did enjoy
both days but I think a lot of the excitement and novelty had worn off by the second day. I would
have also included the exercises that correlated with the terms and symbols in the game rather
than coming up with them on the spot as the game progressed. Despite these changes that I
would make in the future, I did really enjoy the lesson and feel like the students gained a lot from
it as well.