The district I teach in requires all elementary students to turn in a monthly practice record. It’s a simplified version of a weekly practice record and progress report we used to use several years ago. I’ve had extremely mixed results and reactions from my students, and I’m guessing you may have experience the same thing.
Some students use the practice records exactly as they’re intended: Students keep truthful records of the number of minutes they’ve practiced, and the visualization of these numbers often motivates them to practice more. Many students totally blow off these practice records and have never turned one in. Other students are somewhere in the middle. I always get a kick out of seeing the practice records with outrageously high numbers turned in by students who can’t play their way out of a paper bag.
So what do we do about this? Do we let students get away with being dishonest (or maybe delusional!) about their report? Do we let students get away with not turning the sheets in every month?
By the way, I really like Ken‘s concept of outcome based practice rather than time based. I plan to revise the practice record format and add a few questions at the bottom of the sheet, like “What did you accomplish this month?” and “What are your musical goals for next month?”