Music Lab Task Cards UPDATE

With fall semester coming to a close, I thought I would give an update on how things have been going using the music lab task cards. So far I am thrilled with the results from using the lab cards. I have seen more engagement, staying on task, less “wasted” time and definitely a more purposeful lab session each week. Not to mention the HUGE time saver they have been. I can literally plan an entire month of lab activities quickly and easily.

While a couple of my students who have been with me for a long time weren’t initially thrilled with the idea (thinking it was going to be like school), they proved to me in their reflection cards that I made a great decision implementing this program during their music lab time. Yes kids, it is a GOOD thing to learn and review with a purpose.

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Every once in a while I will reward students with a “choice” week during their lab time so they can play their favorite app or activity.

ORGANIZING

I think the hardest decision for me was whether to print the physical cards or use them digitally (Side note: Included is a video tutorial on how to use them digitally if you decide to go that route). I opted to go ahead and print both the main task cards and the reflection cards. Originally I was planning on sticking the student reflection cards in their practice pouch but then I found this snap and store organizer and index card guides (affiliate links) on Amazon and it was just too perfect to pass up! Students just find the letter of their first name and grab their reflection cards, add the new cards for that day and return it to its place when they are done. fullsizerender-3

I bought another one that has all my task cards organized. When it’s time to plan, I just go through the set I want to focus on (I like to go by themes) choose the cards I want students to work on, put them on a separate ring and they are good to go.

fullsizerender-1I will continue to do it this way for the rest of the year and then re-evaluate. I am considering moving over to have my students do the reflection portion digitally for next year. The main reason is just to save on card stock and ink. I do enjoy reading the reflection cards and seeing students handwriting (of which they don’t have a lot of opportunities to do anymore). So time will tell what I ultimately decide to do.  But that is one of my favorite things about these cards is that I have those options.

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LOTS TO CHOOSE FROM!

You will find activities for the iPad, computer, videos, keyboard and more! Just to give you an idea of how many tasks you can choose from for lab time here is the theory task card set…

Now times that by 8 different sets to choose from!

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HOW SOME OTHER TEACHERS ARE USING THE CARDS

I have LOVED hearing how other teachers are using and implementing the task cards. It just proves that teachers are best at taking a resource and using it in the best way for their students.

Rosemarie is a traveling teacher. But that didn’t stop her from implementing lab time with her students. Using the task cards have made things so easy for her and her parents think she rocks! Here is Rosemarie’s teaching bag. Can you spot the music lab task cards?

My teaching bag
Used with permission

Rosemarie shares, “Jennifer’s music lab cards have been a wonderful addition to our studio! As a teacher, it is quick & easy to choose cards that best suit each student. Students love the regular time with apps, videos, & hands on activities whether that is during lesson time or during the week at home. Parents love seeing their child engaged in what they are learning & actually enjoying practicing the nuts & bolts behind great music. I would highly recommend these bundles to teachers just starting out a music lab or wanting to add something new to their existing labs.”

You can read all about her experience from her blog post here. (I highly recommend checking out her blog, The Unfinished Lesson especially if you are a traveling teacher too)

Tara decided to take the task cards and organize them by method level. Wow! What a great idea. While the initial work to do this took some time, she now has a method that works for her and her students in place.

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Picture used with permission

Valerie chose to laminate her cards. Don’t they look so pretty?

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Picture used with permission
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Picture used with permission

Valerie also created an inventory list so she can see at a glance what might work well with her weekly and monthly focuses.

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Picture used with permission

Valerie shared, “I purchased this bundle of music task lab cards in August and have been using them weekly with a variety of ages for three months now. They have been a huge success! A few of my favorite perks: this keeps a variety of resources from being forgotten by me, it greatly lowers my monthly and weekly prep time for labs, and the students have been loving the activities! Things run much more smoothly when I feel organized…and this resource has taken a load of stress off of me when it comes to lab-time planning and organization!!

Debbie

Debbie teams up with her 15 year old daughter (a drummer) to teach. Debbie teaches the lessons (voice and piano) using the keyboard lab and the piano. Her daughter, Kaitlynn works with them on their lab assignments. Debbie explains that they use the reflection questions and goals pretty loosely. Sometimes the student fills them out independently, sometimes they are done with the student and Kaitlynn, and sometimes Kaitlynn fills them out. They track everything in a personal lesson plan book.

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Picture used with permission
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Picture used with permission

I’m thrilled with Debbie’s response with the cards. She shares, “I think that this might be the best $ I have ever spent! Don’t get me wrong, I have spent hours reorganizing things the way they will fit in my studio and my overall plan but… the majority of the work and research is already done!! Jennifer- thank you so much for taking the time and energy to organize all of this!! When I average out the number of hours that you have saved me- I am very grateful!! Thank you for this resource- it is amazing!!” Debbie

Here is what a couple other teachers are saying about the lab cards so far…

I sent out my email about Lab Time on Saturday and today I had my first student complete her Lab Time card! She loved it!” Lizbeth

I am amazed you were able to find the time to focus on all the details. I am looking forward to incorporating your lab projects into my personal theory/ music history lab. Thanks for sharing. I have had a computer and listening area. Now I have added an iPad and apps. Both my students and I are excited for this addition. Super job.” Ethelyn

NEW TO MUSIC LAB TASK CARDS?

You will want to check out this Q and A post with answers to all your questions, plus some videos too!

HEADS UP!

The music lab task cards are updated quarterly. The updates are always free. The first update will be done early December. Right now the task cards include the early adapters surprise bonus files. Those bonus files will go away when I update so if you want to take advantage of them you will want to purchase the task cards and download them by Dec. 1st. If you already own the task cards but haven’t downloaded them to your computer yet, be sure you do by then.

Another important change if you currently own the task cards… Right now I have the task cards available as pdf and editable powerpoint files. I will be getting rid of the pdf file and instead will include instructions how to convert your powerpoint file (after you do any optional editing) to a pdf before printing. The information in each file is the same. The benefit of doing this is it will save A LOT on the file size which means if you purchase the bundle you won’t need to go to a separate drive to download. You will be able to download straight from TpT.

Lastly, don’t forget after you purchase, you will want to join us in the private Facebook group! Details on how to join will be in the download. It’s a great place to see what other ways teachers are using the task cards, tips, and overall support with music lab.

FLASH SALE!

If you are interested in the music lab task cards you will want to take advantage of the 3-day sale going on Thursday-Saturday, November 17-19th. The bundle is going to be your best value but they are available in individual sets as well if you want to purchase them a little at a time.

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