What do I do with my middle school singers after the 10-15 minute S-Cubed sight singing lesson?

On Friday, I finished my first week of school.  I don't know about you, but the first week is exciting...and it is also exhausting!  I needed this quiet weekend to recover!  

I am humbled and excited that so many teachers are finding and using S-Cubed with their students.  I was extra excited when I received these pictures from Kelly Katherine Rainer.

She started the year off from the first day of school using the S-Cubed Complete Bundle Middle School Sight Singing System, and she took the time to write these comments about the program on August 15th:

Last year when I was a first year teacher, my main goal was to SURVIVE, but when it came to teaching sight-reading, I was sinking. I thought that the middle schoolers were going to be able to catch on fast like high schoolers could, but I was very wrong. I'm so glad that I found a method that progresses slowly and builds on the student's successes. Even more than the method, I like the philosophy surrounding it that people are allowed to make mistakes and that small steps toward a goal are praised. It also makes me feel less stressed teaching sight reading because I can see the kids understanding it. If you want a method that is fun, meaningful, and progressive, buy S Cubed! I will definitely help spread the word! I can't wait until you come out with something for the non-beginners!!

She made my day!

Later that same day, Wendi L. Bogard who posted this on the Facebook Group "I'm a Choir Director".

I played The Game with my middle school choirs today & they LOVED it! It went just like you said it would. I beat the 6th grade easily. Had to distract them but beat the 7th grade. Beat the 8th grade the first time. Played it again at the end of the hour. 2-2 tie. They did not sing the final forbidden pattern & the biggest cheer went up through the group! It was great!

Thank you both so much for those kind remarks. I've worked many hours on this program, and I am thrilled it is helping teachers.

I would love to see more pictures and videos from other folks!  I don't advertise in a traditional way, so I was very grateful for Wendy's endorsement on social media!

Kelly is doing what I do with S-Cubed.  I start from the very first day of school. I know many people who have begun the program in the middle of the school year and it also works in that setting, but I feel like there is an unwritten classroom management component that happens when you use this program.  ...sort of a side benefit...and that is very helpful when teaching middle school children.  

The philosophy of S-Cubed helps build positive relationships between the middle school students and their teacher. I have tried to share every secret I have learned about how I implement this program.  I made available the video teaching examples of me teaching my own students because I thought that teachers might learn much more than just sight singing techniques by watching them.

Right now, I am teaching my new beginners, and as I teach them, I am going right back into the PowerPoints and adding new YouTube teaching tip clips and cleaning up the PowerPoints.  I plan to continue to work to improve and streamline the program over the next two years because I want this to provide the best product possible to the consumer.   I am hoping people will find and use this program for years to come. Each time I modify the PowerPoints, I will send a notice via Teacherpayteacher's to all of the people who have bought that particular lesson or that group of bundles so that consumers can go back and download the upgraded product.

I have received many e-mails from teachers asking what it is that I do after 10 to 15 minute sight singing lesson. Here is that skinny on that...…

Before school each day, I create an announcement page on my active inspire software on my Promethean board. Once I finish my S-Cubed Sight Singing lesson each day, I immediately go into the announcements of the latest and most important information regarding due dates and concerts and auditions etc.  As soon as I finish going through the announcements, I launch into a 3 to 5 minute vocal warm-up. It always begins with some sort of physical awakening (massaging each other, for example,) followed by a focus exercise of some sort. For example I may ask the students to follow my physical movement. I will use the opportunity to do something silly at the end of the exercise in order to make people giggle. Then I do some breathing exercises of some sort. Then I launch into an a capella warm up.  I like warming up a cappella with my students because it makes them listen better.  Once I've done a few exercises, I have the students sing a short round so we can work on various elements of good choral singing using an easy song.  Then, for the rest of class, we work on repertoire for concerts.

I end the class with "starburst questions".   Usually, those questions are related to the sight singing lesson of the day and/or the concepts covered in the program music that day. I asked 3 to 5 questions, and I throw a starburst to the person who raised their hand and answered the question correctly. 

Class moves very quickly.  We work "bell to bell".  I rarely allow time for questions, but I encourage students to ask me questions after class as they leave the room.  Also, my students are encouraged to email me so that I can answer individual questions, and I always encourage them to come early in the morning for tutoring with me or peer-tutoring. This allows me to maximize learning time during class, and avoid stalls in the energy in the room.  

Fast paced wit clear objectives....that helps everything move, maximizes learning and minimizes class disruptions. 

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1 comment

  1. Hi, Dale,

    How do you prepare repertoire with your students before students are able to chaos through it on their own? Could you either share a list of what you do or a video of doing that kind of rehearsal with your younger groups? Thanks!