Tag Archives: music class management

Engaging Activities for Gr. 4-6 Music Classes

Every music class is different. The song that might be the favorite of one class of Grade 4 students, another class might not like. If I introduce a song or activity and the students really dislike it, I’ll put it aside for another year.

What do I do with the (fortunately very rare) student who says that they don’t like music. Does every student like math? reading? art? Music is a required part of the curriculum, just like math, reading, and art. There are skills that they are expected to learn, even if it isn’t their favorite subject. As a teacher, I’m expected to write report cards, do outdoor supervision and attend staff meetings — even if those aren’t my favorite things to do. This is life.

What do you do with the kids who want to listen to pop songs and don’t want to sing folk songs? In language arts do the students read Archie comics? No – they read literature that has been selected because it’s “quality” literature. In music class will I teach pop songs? Sometimes, for a specific purpose, I will. But I would never teach just pop music, any more than I would feed a child junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Folk songs have survived for hundreds of years because there is something in them that is timeless and they teach us not just musical skills, but teach us about our past.

There are some games and actitivities that are always favorites! If you start the year with activities that the students really enjoy, you’ll have more success introducing new activities.
Find all of the singing games listed below at www.musicplayonline.com . There will be song videos AND there will be kids demo videos available to help you learn how to play the game.  Get more information on the Musicplay curriculum at http://musicplay.ca/.

 

Favorite Games
Musicplay 4
* Wake Me! Shake Me!  – create a B section
* Good Morning (#5) – what my students liked most about the game was introducing themselves
* Cut the Cake (#28) – every student I’ve ever taught loves chase games
* Sarasponda (39) – kids love the stick game, especially the toss
* Ma Ku Ay (#22) – kids love the stick game – they’d borrow rhythm sticks at recess to practice
* Pass the Pumpkin (26) – the challenge of doing the rhythm chain keeps kids engaged
* Stella Ella Olla (#34) – my students would play this game every music class from Sept – June! Loved it!
* Categories (#64) – this game took a few classes until they “caught on” but we’d often use it after that.
* My Bonnie (#35) – going up and down each time there’s a B is fun!

Musicplay 5
Concentration (#2)
Ickle Ockle (#8) – the song is simple, but the kids love the chase!
Four White Horses (#10) – the clap pattern is tricky to teach, but not really that hard and the kids like the challenge.
Button (#13) always engaging – they have to see if they can guess
Our Old Sow (#28) my students favorite game!
Green Sally Up (#33) – this is a clap game with a handshake. The creating was fun too!
Old Maid (#46) – fun stealing partners
Waddally Acha #88 – fun with the Boomwhackers

Musicplay 6
Dollar #19 – played like Button, it’s an engaging game
COFFEE #46 – try the tennis ball routine with the round – fun!
Hanky Panky #30 – this is played like Stella Ella Olla
Un Elephant #117 is the same kind of game with French words.

Creating Activities – Using the singing game song as a theme, have students create a B section.  If you have Orff instruments, teach the Orff arrangement, then have students improvise melodies using a tone set from the song as a B section.  If you don’t have Orff instruments, create ostinatos using ideas from the song and try song + ostinato.  Or, create word rhythms with ideas from the song, transfer to body percussion or unpitched instruments as an introduction/ending to the song or as a B section.  The Orff Source vol. 1-2-3 (or the Orff arrangements at musicplayonline.com) have many creating ideas for most of the singing games listed above.

Listening Activities
Listening Logs A teacher from St. Michael’s boy school once wrote and told me that her 5th grade classes favorite activity was to do listening logs. It wasn’t what I would expect, but it was this class’s favorite!
Cup Games – In the Listening Kits 3-4-5 (also listening section at musicplayonline) there are cup games. I like to teach one or two patterns, then have the students make up their own. The only patterns they can’t use are ones that they’ve learned somewhere else – has to be brand new!
Rhythm instrument play alongs – kids love to play rhythm instruments!
Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes – From Listening Fun book.
– kids loved this when we did the videotaping. They really liked all the tennis ball routines as well!

Favorite Songs
Musicplay 4:
This Little Light of Mine – this is familiar, so is easy to teach. I find a sing along song at the beginning of the school year gets the kids singing. It might be that it’s familiar, and they have confidence singing it.
Bats – Kids love the balloon sound effects in this song
Chester – Kids love the challenge of doing the actions as tempo increases
Scotland’s Burning – this is a round that is easy enough for your students to have success in 2 parts. I found adding the actions made it even more appealing.

Musicplay 5
Little Tommy Tinker (#3) – very successful round
Ronald McDonald #17 – fun action song
We Love to Sing #95 – great warmup – stand up each time you sing “We love to sing!”
Shalom #23 – great for Remembrance Day, we added sign language for part 1.
Jack was every Inch a Sailor – #14 – this is a fun folk song and easy to accompany with I and V chords.  There are lots of songs in Musicplay 5 that use just two chords – accompany with ukelele, guitars or . Boomwhackers!   There are too many favorites to list them all! Same with Musicplay 6 – lots of excellent choral pieces!

Activities
beat/rhythm with sticks – Yankee Doodle Stick Game in Musicplay 4 works well If you’ve found other favorite songs in 4-5-6 for doing beat/rhythm switch, please let me know!
Beat Boards – drumming along with pop songs. Get the students to create their own pop song playalongs!
Review note values: draw a whole, half, quarter, eighth on the board. Kids play what you point to.  Do this with a fun pop song in 4/4 time – Sugar Sugar works well. Try this with tennis balls!
Creating rhythm compositions – use the note squares that are in Musicplay 6, or give students a template and have them create their own rhythm compositions. Turn the composition into 2 or more parts by adding an ostinato or playing it as a canon.
Composing piggyback and raps – this unit is part of Musicplay 6. Rap tracks are on CD#4. If you haven’t tried this unit, copy the reproducibles (in the back of the binder worksheets 17-22) and get your kids creating rhythm compositions, verses, then piggyback songs, then raps and rhythm and blues songs.
Pop Song Assignment – Musicplay 6 pg 6-7
Guitar or Ukelele – Many of the songs in Musicplay can be accompanied with instruments. Musicplay 5 includes many songs that can be accompanied with just 1 or 2 chords.
1 chord minor #20, 21, 33,
1 chord major #6, 8, 24, 62,
I-V #2 Concentration, 3 Little Tommy, 10 Four White Horses, 15 Alabma Gal, 25 El Torojil, 26 He’s Got the Whole world, 27 Peace is FLowing, 28 Our Old Sow, 38 Winter is Here, 45 Early to Bed, 54 I’ve a Car, 75 Funga Alafia, 77 Old Woman, 79 John Kanaka, 89 Play that Rhythm, 91 Clementine, 92 I Let Her Go, 96 Boll Weevil .  If you don’t have guitars or ukeleles, you can accompany with Boomwhackers.

Create accompaniments for poems or simple songs: Use word highlights or ostinato to create accompaniments for poems or simple songs

Does music class have to be fun? Practicing scales on the piano or a trumpet isn’t something that I’d call “fun” but I know that I have to do the technique to improve my skills on my instrument. I think that students get a great deal of satisfaction from doing something well – singing well, accurately playing a part on their instrument, creating a movement that looks neat, learning to read a new rhythm. It’s not always “fun” – but it’s very satisfying – and that makes me want to keep doing an activity.

Coming Soon – Ideas for Earth Day!

 

Artie and Denise – in Dulles, VA .  July 17-18, 2018

Join Artie Almeida, Denise Gagne, and Katie Grace Miller for a 2 day elementary music conference that will give you a wealth of ideas and inspiration for teaching elementary music classes. Close to Dulles airport – -GREAT workshop and close to Washington DC for sightseeing! Workshop registration includes a one year subscription to musicplayonline.com – it’s like a free workshops!!!   Register: http://musicplay.ca/

 

Classroom Management Tips

One of the biggest challenges every teacher faces is classroom management.  Your most challenging class might be a kindergarten class with many behavior challenges or it might be a Grade 5 class with attitude.  In this newsletter, I’m sharing some tips that have helped me with classroom management.

  1. Seating Plan

Structure and routine can help children learn to behave appropriately in your classes.  One of the easiest ways to introduce routine is teach the children how to enter and exit your classroom and where they should sit. 

In my friends classroom, she assigns her students to one set of Wenger Flip Form risers.  She has 5 colors, so they know which color they are on, and dismisses them or directs them to activities by color.  The students with shakier behavior sit on the bottom of the riser.  They have to earn the right to move to the top row of the riser.

I like to sit my students on risers or on the floor.  I usually have 2 boys, then 2 girls.  If someone is causing issues, I’ll switch the pattern for that child to 1 boy – 1 girl. 

2. Make sure students know the rules – these are mine
Music Room Rules, Denise Gagne
Make good choices, always be responsible
Use good manners, be nice and be kind
Speak when acknowledged, always put your hand up
In the music room, always try your best
Care for the instruments and all of the equipment

I’ve made them into posters that you can put up in your room as a bulletin board and refer to often.  They are in the Teaching Aids section of our website.

Link to Canadian site:  http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=55
Link to US site:   http://shop.musicplaytext1.ihoststores.com/category.aspx?categoryID=64

Music Rules #3_Page_2

Music Rules #3_Page_3 Music Rules #3_Page_4

Music Rules #3_Page_5Music Rules #3_Page_6

3. Time Out
If you have many behavior problems in your school, you may need to designate a time out area.  If a behavior is disruptive enough to warrant a time out, have the student fill out a time-out reflection (older students) or for your youngest students, note the problem and have them draw a picture of what they should do the next time.  Copy it, keep a copy and send a copy home with students for parent’s signature.   I use a time out only when absolutely necessary – a last resort.  Most often, a gentle reminder is all that’s needed.  (I’ll post these in the Musicplay Teacher’s Group on Facebook – email denise@musicplay.ca if you don’t have Facebook)

Behavior graphics time out Behavior graphics time out2 Behavior graphics time out3

4. Learn names
It’s really hard to manage classroom behaviors if you don’t know all the students names. 

Beat Beat
Beat, beat, feel the beat.
Say hello to those you meet.

Teacher says:  Hello Jason. Students echo Hello Jason.  Say the names high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, speaking, whisper, shout, sing, sing the names using a variety of tone sets:  smsm or mrdd.  Don’t just use sol and mi.

Name games are included in Musicplay.
Musicplay 3 – Number Concentration
Musicplay 5 – Concentration
To find these games, visit our online resource:  www.musicplayonline.com

5. Quick Pace
Maintain a quick pace in your activities, and make sure to have movement activities to use between seated activities.  Engage the students – When students are engaged, they aren’t causing problems. When are students engaged?  When they are “doing!”   The teacher needs to remember to talk less and do more!

6. A quiet teacher has a quiet class
This was one of the truisms that Lois Choksy taught, and she was so wise.  If you try to talk over top of the noise level in your class, students won’t hear and you’ll lose your voice.  Wait for quiet to begin. 

When I play “Johnny Caught a Flea” (#37 Musicplay 2) or #96 Old Dog Full of Fleas (Musicplay 1) I have pretend conversations with the flea.  I call my flea Florence and she whispers in my ear.  I hold the flea up to my ear, then say, “Florence just said that this grade 2 class sang really well in tune – good work!”   “Florence says that ______ was listening really well. (insert name)

7.Praise the Positive  A pat on the back goes a lot further than a kick in the pants.  Catch someone in the class doing something right and make a positive comment.  It will often encourage the rest of the students to behave more responsibly.  I do this when we get out instruments and sing/play Play and Stop.  It works so well from preK – Grade 4 that I use this every time I get out instruments.  When we sing “stop” I praise the first child that I see who has stopped.

8. PLUS POINTS is a way to reinforce good behavior. In PLUS POINTS, you keep a score of when the students do something well.  If students do something poorly, erase a point. For example:  Students enter the room quietly and go to assigned seats. I’d say, “Well done 4B – you came in quietly and found your seats.  Point for you.” As the class continued, each time I’d observe them doing something well, they’d earn a point. However, if a child was talking when I was talking, erase a point.  

 You have to decide what the magic number is before they get a class PLUS POINT.  If you decide on 5 points, if a class gets to 5 points in one period, they get a PLUS point (+).  On my chart with all the classes listed, I’d mark a +.  

 When my classes reached 10 PLUS POINT days, they’d earn a game day.  On the game day, (or at the end of the period in which the game day was earned), we’d brainstorm the list of games or activities that they’d like to play:  singing games they really liked, Beat Boards, Orchestra Bingo, Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes (In the Hall of the Mountain King), Rhythm Dice, or Music Centers.  The Game Day is a reward, but there is still great learning going on.

Share your classroom management tips by commenting or share with us at www.facebook.com/musicplaycurriculum.  (If you’ve avoided facebook for privacy reasons, consider signing up with your first and middle name – your students will never find you!)

Be sure to visit www.musicplayonline.com – we’re taking the Musicplay K-6 curriculum online!  While the site is under construction it’s FREE to use!  (no credit card required)  We’ll eventually have all the Time Out behavior reflections posted on this site. 

Classroom Management

Music Classroom Management   We want music class to be something the kids look forward to, and it’s a very active learning environment.  How do you maintain the “fun” yet have your students behave in a way that allows for maximum learning.

I’d appreciate your suggestions and input!  Tips:

1. Engage the students – When students are engaged, they aren’t causing problems. When are students engaged?  When they are “doing!”   The teacher needs to remember to talk less and do more!

2.  Pacing – My lessons are fast paced.  When students have very little down time, there are far fewer behavior issues.

3. Barbara Coloroso says it so well:  “Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”

4. Praise the Positive  A pat on the back goes a lot further than a kick in the pants.  Catch someone in the class doing something right and make a positive comment.  It will often encourage the rest of the students to behave more responsibly.

5. Remind them about the Rules    Set your classroom rules early in the year and revisit them as needed throughout the school year.

Class rules - 5 Ps You Get What You Get

 

Rules Rhythms

6. If students don’t meet the expectations, have them reflect on their behavior.  Here are two sample reflection forms.

Behavior reflection

 

Bad Day in Music Class