Any elementary music teacher will tell you that it’s difficult to create singing assessments for hundreds of children, which is why I’ve been a fan of the iDoceo app for ten years. The app feels as though it was made for music teachers, and I believe the price ($12.99 at the time of publication) is well worth it. iDoceo can do so much, but today, I’m focusing on its use for assessment. To do that, I’m using a fantastic song called Ducks and Geese. This song can be used to assess singing so and mi, quarter and barred eighth notes, or musical form. This time, we’ll be looking at how to assess solo singing.
DUCKS AND GEESE GAME
- Students stand in a circle with joined hands. They are the “ducks” and “geese”. One student, the “farmer”, stands in the middle of the circle and is blindfolded.
- The “farmer” will sing the call and the “ducks” and “geese” will sing the response.
- The “ducks” and “geese” have to work together and move their circle around without breaking in order to keep the “farmer” from tagging anyone in the circle. If they break the circle at any time, they lose.
- If the “farmer” tags someone, that person then becomes the next “farmer”, and the game continues.
- Keep playing the game until each student has had a chance to be the “farmer”. A quick way to accomplish this is to split the class into multiple circles after they’ve had a few trial runs of the game as a whole class.
- If you prefer an activity that’s less active, you could have the students sit in circle, and have the “farmer” sing the call using a puppet or small stuffed animal, while the rest of the class sings the response. As many music teachers have discovered, students are often more willing to sing alone when they are inhabiting a character, such as a puppet.
SINGING ASSESSMENTS USING IDOCEO
When it comes to assessing students, I’m all on board with Feierabend’s non-negotiable, “any response is the right response”, particularly in second grade and below. If you’d like to learn more about the excellent reasoning behind this belief, you can listen to John and Missy’s podcast on this topic HERE.
Rubrics are an excellent tool if you plan to formally assess your students’ singing skills. iDoceo makes it easy to store and use rubrics for all of your classes. I’ve created an example class to show you what that looks like. My rubric is simple, but you can get as complex as you want, with multiple rows and columns. You have the option of searching publicly available rubrics, importing rubrics, and exporting rubrics you’ve made to share with team members. To learn more about rubrics and everything else you can do on iDoceo, check out their YouTube Channel HERE.
As you can see, my cat, Dr. Watson aced his singing assessment. He used his singing voice to clearly and repeatedly communicate that his food dish was empty.
The Ducks and Geese song gives soloists multiple opportunities to showcase their singing voice and gives the rest of the class plenty of practice time too! Depending on how you structure your class time, you could easily assess your students in one or two class sessions.