We all know that using flash cards with music students can be a very useful revision tool for students of all ages. However there are challenges. Often music teachers have different ability levels in their classes so while some students may find the activity fun and useful, others may have already covered the work and can be finding the same activity really boring. Also it can be a challenge to keep coming up with new and varied ideas so the activity doesn’t become too repetitive.
The trick to being able to implement flash cards successfully in the classroom is to be able to address such issues. So here are 5 steps to keep in mind to make flashcards a success in your classroom:
1. Be innovative and creative in your approach to flashcards!
Don’t be afraid to try something new out. If any flashcard game doesn’t work the first time, be flexible enough to try it again and change it if you need to. Flashcards can be used from the elementary stages right up to exam students. It can be as simple as having a flashcard treasure hunt for the early stages and then when students are older they can become a useful “time trial “part of the lesson where they are revising musical terms and other knowledge against their own personal best time.
2. Keep games age appropriate by customizing each activity to the cognitive abilities of the students.
This one is really obvious, but sometimes it can be so easy to pitch the activity way beyond or below the ability levels of our students. Sometimes also, a game that sounds really weak to us as teachers can be so much fun for the kids. If you know the game called “Giants Castle” from my lifesavers e-book, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Children love this game and ask for it over and over again, but it’s just so simple,and it’s so pitched at the 5 year old level!
3. Have a complete set of cards available for quick classroom fillers and rewards.
By using the Ultimate Flashcard System, you can print out as many sets or copies as you need. You can keep a set for each game and for every class in a folder or you could have the complete set in a designated place in your music room- the choice is yours.
4. Have handy extra sets of cards available for student self-instruction during classroom downtime.
All you would need for this is a flashcard box in the classroom. When students finish their work early, simply get them to play a favourite flashcard game individually or in small groups or revise known concepts by flipping the cards.
5. Share Your Ideas and Encourage Feedback
Often some of the best ideas come from students. Encourage them to come up with their own games and ideas and you’ll be surprised on the variety of games you’ll get. Also by writing a comment on this blog you’ll be able to trade ideas with other music educators. Just fill in your idea in the comment box below and you’ll have an instant platform to discuss music strategies, games, and new activities.