Practice Kits/Pouches

Lesson resources, Practice

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.

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Included in the practice kits/pouches is the following:

  • A pencil
  • A highlighter
  • A small notepad
  • Flashcards
  • 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)

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  1. Alice

    Jennifer, What do you mean by 3 minute timer and where do you get them? Love the practice kit idea.

  2. foxxpianostudio

    The 3 minute timer is one of those sand timers that you turn over and the sand dissolves after 3 minutes. I order mine through Oriental Trading online.

  3. Susan

    The practice kit is a wonderful idea! Thankyou for sharing this 🙂

  4. Kelly

    Please explain more about the practice cards and playing cards that you refer to in your list…

  5. kelly

    Just went online to order the 3-minute timers only to be informed that Canadian orders cannot be shipped…anyway around this….even tried to phone and the answer said I can’t reach them from my area…

    • foxxpianostudio

      Is that with Oriental Trading Co? That’s too bad. I would probably just google for them online and see what you can find. I would bet someone else carries them as well. Are there any teacher supply store’s in your area? Maybe they would carry them?

  6. Judith Elliott

    What a great idea!!! I am just curious what exactly you expect student to highlight and also what do they use the notepad for?? I have also tried to locate the “Ice Cream” practice games – can you tell me what or where these may be found?

    You are so creative – thanks for the ideas.

    • foxxpianostudio

      Hi Judith,

      I tell my students the highlighter is a practice tool for drawing attention to something they are forgetting (dynamics etc…) or when they make the same mistakes over and over- to highlight them. The notepad is for the hangman and tic-tac-toe game. See the handout for those games in addition to the ice cream practice games at:

  7. Diane Conway

    I am giving the practice kits as the first achievement in a practice incentive and will add games for them at each additional level achieved. I ordered sand timers and large dice from oriental trading along with small stress balls (for me or them? LOL) and will include a pencil, sharpener, eraser. I will put one die in each kit for them to roll and see how many times they will practice the piece assigned. Should be lots of fun!

    • foxxpianostudio

      Great idea for an achievement prize! Do the students all seem to be excited to get one or do they know yet? Love the stress ball idea! 🙂

  8. Edda

    What’s the practice board game? I am so excited to do this for my students this Fall! I even started reading “The Practice Revolution.” Thank you so much!!

  9. Amy Chaplin

    Can you include a link to the 3-ringer zipper pouch you use? I’m looking for really cheap ones in bulk ($1 or less each) that are clear like this one and that have zippers (aren’t zip lock). I’m afraid though that some of the plastic ones that if they don’t have a metal reinforcement on the 3-rings may just tear off with typical student binder abuse. 🙂 Have they held up for you?

    • foxxpianostudio

      Hi Amy,

      I had got those at Walmart years ago and literally stocked up when I saw them. They were on clearance…

  10. Amy Chaplin

    I should specify – I like your ziplock – some I saw on amazon had no “handle” piece for zipping,

  11. Sarah Ehlers

    Hi Jennifer! This is probably going to seem like a stupid question…I am hoping to put some of these kits together to give to my students as prizes for successfully completing a practice incentive we are doing this month. I was wondering what you include as your “flashcards” in this kit? I’m assuming that means note naming flashcards, but I just wanted to check. If they’re not just note naming flashcards, what other kinds of things do you include with the flashcards? I have some ideas already, but I just thought I would check to see what you included. Thanks!

      • Sarah Ehlers

        Perfect! Thanks so much! I did see that there were the two types of cards and have planned accordingly. I’m excited for my students to start using these practice kits! 🙂


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