Piper and Young present their Dollar Store Differentiation workshop

BW grads Piper and Young present affordable music classroom centers activities at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference.

Music education grads design, present popular 'Dollar Store' educational activities

May 18, 2017

Piper and Young present their Dollar Store Differentiation workshopBW music education graduates Kristy Piper '00 and Theresa Young '00 presented a successful session at last year’s Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Professional Conference and are set to present this year at conferences in Indiana and Pennsylvania on their idea of "Dollar Store Differentiation."

Piper and Young met at BW, but went their separate ways after graduation to teach in the Brunswick City School District and Hamilton City School District respectively. After losing touch, the two started running into each other at music teachers’ conferences and eventually got the idea that they should start presenting.

Dollar Store Differentiation

Creating "dollar store" centers.Learning centers – activities using manipulatives that help children develop cognitive concepts in a way that’s enjoyable to them – were something that always interested Piper and Young. The idea for "Dollar Store Differentiation" was to modify the centers to fit a music classroom, and then shop at dollar stores and yard sales to create them within an affordable budget.

One such center is "Variable Vegetable Trays," which focuses on sorting. A teacher labels a vegetable tray's large divided sections with categories, such as instrument families. Students are then given index cards with pictures of orchestral instruments and told to sort them into the correct sections. This method can then be modified to teach different musical concepts such as rhythms, types of notes and treble clef notes.

Dollar Store Girls

Manipulative example

The best part is, students love it! "They think that they are playing games all class, but they are practicing music concepts that we have learned in previous classes," Piper noted. "Another added bonus is that if I have a substitute for my classes, the students can participate in a centers day."

After their initial presentation at OMEA, Piper recalls that "People kept coming up to us and asking if we were the 'Dollar Store Girls' and telling us how much they loved our presentation."

Yellow Jackets for Life

BW taught Piper and Young to be lifelong learners. Piper attributes their preparedness to the training they received at BW, with professors who encouraged them to carefully develop ideas and think of every little detail possible.

Being a Yellow Jacket also prepared them to get up in front of a room of music educators and present their ideas. "BW was, and continues to be, an inspiration to us," Piper said, "We are proud Yellow Jackets for Life."

Learn more about Piper and Young’s idea at their Facebook page Dollar Store Differentiation.