About 8 or 9 years ago (early 2000) after reading The Practice Revolution by Philip Johnston I was inspired to create practice kits for my students. When I first started doing them I used those small Tupperware type containers and we put them in their bag. But I noticed it was often forgotten about, so now I put everything in a pencil pouch that goes in front of their 3-ring binder.
I just put together 10 new practice kits/pouches for new students starting next week so I thought I would share a couple of pictures of what they look like and explain what goes in them.
Included in the practice kits/pouches is the following:
- A pencil
- A highlighter
- A small notepad
- Playing cards
- Practice cards for the “Ice cream” practice games
- Dice (for practice games)
- Game marker for practice board game (used a small eighth note eraser)
- 3 minute timer (for emergency practice days where there is ABSOLUTELY no time to practice) I stress this is for emergency only, should be used seldom and it should be there best focused practice time. It’s actually amazing what you can accomplish in 3 minutes when you are focused!
- Clothespin (this is can double as a finger strengthener- but be careful not to overuse and a music holder for those pesky pages that don’t want to stay open
- Candy! I usually put in smarties but I had these packages of whoppers on hand so I wanted to use those up first. Perfect for the 7 stages or 3 stages (shorter version) game.
As you can see I’m a real big advocate for practice games. Practice games are just another way for practice “goals”. It helps students focus on the task at hand, but by having a specific goal in mind while they are practicing. I try to encourage them to use games in their practicing as much as they can.
If you aren’t familiar with practice games, be sure to get The Practice Revolution. I would also highly recommend his other two books, Practiceopedia and Not Until You’ve Done Your Practice! (I would call this one a student version of The Practice Revolution)