Building a Portfolio Using the Quaver’s K-5 Curriculum

  I’ve met many Quaver teachers over the past few years. We’ve talked a lot about the program and how awesome a tool it is. From the interactive whiteboard activities to the episodes and more. Quaver is a swiss army knife for music educators. its got everything you need in one package. The one thing that has come up though is the assessments. People get concerned about what Quaver has labeled as assessments because they are just bubble sheet answer quizzes and start to believe it is a plug and play sort of curriculum needing no prior music educator know how. My defense to this is only a trained music educator can use this program, why? because they know how to teach it properly, they know how to sing it, they know how to direct the activities and organize it in a manner that would be beneficial to their specific classroom. They also know how to assess it, the assessments in the curriculum are decent but they are not all I use and should not be the only thing educators use with this curriculum. I observe, I ask questions, I have students build products, it’s all a part of how a music classroom runs. This week I’m going to give a suggestion on how to get creative with assessing your students using the curriculum.

  Screenshot 2014-05-09 10.19.01

It starts with building a digital portfolio. A portfolio is a goal-driven, organised collection of artifacts and reflections that demonstrate growth or expansion of knowledge and skills over time. It is a collection of videos, audio clips, documents, and projects that reflect on a students’ learning and show they have mastered the objectives for the year. In my school we have a technology digital portfolio designed to hold 5-6 artifacts per year of the child’s school to show they have mastered certain technology skills. I have music educator colleagues and friends who have their students keep digital portfolios in music to show growth and mastery of their instruments and subjects taught in music class. If you would like information about Music e-portfolios check out my friend Sarah Mayer’s website:

   So how can you do this in class with the Quaver Music Curriculum? With the younger kids you can do this by class, with video taping, scanning in papers and taking pictures you can show growth of each student in just one stored place. With the older students, having them keep their own would allow it to be used even after they leave you to the middle and higher schools. My schools use the OneDrive feature in Microsoft Office’s 365, you can also use programs such as Dropbox and the more popular Evernote (Sarah and her Portfolio partner in crime Stephanie Sanders use this one.)


  Here’s an example of how to get started:

  •  Find out the overall learning objectives for the year. If you go solely by the Quaver Music curriculum check out lesson 35 at the end of each grade level. The end of the year assessment in that lesson is a great snap shot at what the students should know by the end of the year. Write down the most important learning objectives.

Screenshot 2014-05-09 10.18.27

  • Take the top 5 or 6 from those learning objectives to focus on for your artifacts.
  •  Now, take each artifact and next to it write down a way to assess mastery of that objective. Examples could be:
  1.   Video tape student performing song to assess rhythm, movement, etc.
  2.    Audio record students (individually or group) to assess pitch matching, 2 part singing, solfedge.
  3.   If there is a worksheet for the lesson, have the students complete it. You can scan in the work after to put in the portfolios.
  4.  Work for projects in the curriculum such as the 4th grade Rap unit or the 5th grade Commercial project can be put into the portfolio.
  • Once you have a list of everything that will be in the portfolio, add any rubrics you will need (because we all know administrators love data and numbers, having rubrics to back up grades will help)
  • Now that you have a list built, after you teach every important subject on your list make sure to add an artifact into the portfolio. By the end of the year you will have amazing Quavertastic collections of work showing how your student grew musically throughout the year (or years, start now! I wonder how amazing the portfolio would be if you started in Kindergarten and followed through with them all the way to fifth grade!)

           Portfolios show growth, they take the focus away from teaching to a bubble test and show students are actually getting it (lets face it, I have students who get it but cannot demonstrate on a written quiz or test. Portfolios are another option for those kids). If you have the QK-5 there are more ways than one to prove your students are learning. It just takes a smart and creative music educator to do it.

Hey! Are you on Twitter? I want to start a new hashtag meant just for awesome Quaver Teachers. Start using the hashtag #Quavermusicchat and let’s get connected!


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