I once attended a workshop with Paula Crider where she was talking about how she got started in music education. She mentioned that she motivated her students with something she called Band Olympics. They were able to work on developing fundamental skills while competing to make it fun.
I feel like recorder can get boring for those who are still struggling with the basics so during the spring semester my 4th graders are going to start Recorder Olympics, an idea I adapted from Paula Crider's session.
During this unit, the students will complete certain events, ranging in difficultly. They are:
Note Name Relay (naming the notes from the staff in a timed event)
Long Tones (play any note for 16 counts)
Long Tone Low C (play low C without squeaks for 12 counts)
* Special Award* Longest Note Held with One Breath
Play a C scale pattern going up
C scale pattern going down
C scale up and down
Complete "Tricky Twisters" (7 total, see below)
Perform selected echoes
*Special Award* Fastest Tongue
Play a BAG song
Play a song from memory
Play a solo for the class
There is a wall in my room dedicated to keeping track of the events and who has completed what event. At the end of the semester, if a student has completed 1/3 of the events successfully, they have earned a bronze medal. If they complete 2/3 of the events, they have earned a silver medal and all events completed earns a gold medal.
Before Winter Break, we tested on playing a C scale pattern down. They students learned the pattern up but we have not tested on the entire scale (except for some over achievers). I created the Tricky Twisters (the name comes from "finger twisters" as I like to call them) to help get fingers and tongue coordinated while developing some muscle memory. I think this will especially help when using F natural and F sharp. Each set starts with half notes, then quarters and eighths.
Here is the link to the PDF. I uploaded it to Google Drive. Simply open and download.