Category Archives: Classroom Management

Summer Reading for Music Teachers

iBooks List

We have been creating iBooks versions of some of our favorite books.  You can project iBooks for your students from your iPad.  If students love the So-mi storybooks, they can get them at home.  The following is a list of the iBooks from Themes that are available.
 

Action Songs Children Love 1 https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1426029074
Recorder Resource Student Book https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1365835536
1. So-me Goes Missing https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1420678863
2. So-me and the Spider https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1420684226
3. So-me Meets the Boss https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1420760899
4. So-me… Oh and Romeo https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1420774870
5. So-me at the Pole https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421424313
6. So-me in Space https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421479405
7. So-me and the Dance https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421481424
8. So-me and his Secret https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421490839
9. So-me Goes to the Party https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421485904
10. So-me and the Monster https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421488195
11. So-me Finds ‘Dough’ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421492086
12. So-me and the Princess https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1421495093

 
Summer Reading for Music Teachers

There’s been a thread on the Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook about how to help a child who is profoundly deaf.  I think it would be inspiring and very probably give us good teaching ideas to read Evelyn Glennie’s autobiography.  Evelyn Glennie is the British percussionist who has had an amazing career despite being profoundly deaf.  LINK to “GOOD VIBRATIONS” BY Evelyn Glennie.

Good Books for Teachers

I’ve borrowed this list from Reader’s Digest – Inspiring Books for Teachers
https://www.rd.com/culture/inspiring-books-for-teachers/

‘1.  Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56’

If you’ve ever doubted the impact a single teacher can have on a group of children, you need to read this book. For more than 30 years, author Rafe Esquith was a fifth-grade teacher at Hobart Elementary in central Los Angeles, one of the most impoverished school districts in the country. In this book, Esquith shares his techniques for building trust, respect, and passion for education among his students—techniques that have not only earned him numerous awards and international recognition, but have helped droves of students succeed beyond expectation.
 

‘2.  The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them’

Published in 1999, this book is a collection of writings by the students of Erin Gruwell, a then 23-year-old new teacher at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, California, who was assigned a class of so-called “unteachable” students who were trapped by gang violence and racial tension. To reach them, she assigned literature they could relate to, brought in speakers who could engage them, and gave each of them a blank composition notebook where they could share, anonymously, their thoughts and experiences. Despite the odds against them, all 150 of her students graduated from high school, and some went onto college and established rewarding careers. The book also spawned a 2007 movie, Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank.
 
 

‘3. The First Days of School’

New and veteran teachers alike sing the praises of this book by education experts Harry K. and Rosemary T. Wong, now in its fourth edition. Revered by thousands of school districts and in hundreds of countries, this book walks teachers through proven strategies for classroom management and organization that can be applied to students in any grade, from preschool through college. As the title suggests, the book reinforces the idea that the methods teachers establish during the first days of school will define whether they fail or succeed, and can help teach even the most experienced educators a few new tricks.
 

‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’

Whether you’re dealing with five-year-old kids or 30-year-old adult learners, teaching is, at its core, a people profession. Considered one of the most influential self-help books ever published, this book is widely praised by teachers across the country. Published in 1936 by American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie, the book provides a series of simple yet effective strategies for improving one’s self-confidence, developing leadership skills, and reducing the cycle of stress.
 

‘The Hidden Lives of Learners’

This book, which is the result of four decades of research by New Zealand Emeritus Professor and author Graham Nuthall, investigates the three powerful aspects that dictate a student success: teacher-student interaction, peer influence, and a student’s personal home life. His research into how low-ability students can learn as well as high-ability students is nothing short of groundbreaking, and has major implications when it comes to the vexation of standardized testing and education reform.

‘Outliers: The Story of Success’

This best-selling book by esteemed journalist Malcolm Gladwell will resonate with anyone who wants to understand how people ultimately achieve greatness. In the book, Gladwell investigates numerous factors that contribute to extreme levels of success, such as that achieved by professional athletes, influential business people, and celebrities. The book explores how factors like birth month, practice, culture and hidden advantages can shape the lives of extraordinary individuals who excel beyond any reasonable understanding. \\
 

‘I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban’ 

In modernized counties, we sometimes forget that for many children around the world, education is not a right—it’s a privilege. Perhaps no one understands that more than Malala Yousafzai, who, at age 15, was shot point-blank in the head by the Taliban, simply because she wanted to attend school. Miraculously, she survived, and went on to become a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a powerful voice for girls’ education. This inspiring memoir, which she penned in 2013 with British journalist Christina Lamb, highlights the strength of a family’s love and reminds readers of the never-ceasing power of education.
 

‘What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World’ 

In 2002, former teacher Taylor Mali crafted a poem called “What Teachers Make.” He had written the poem in response to a condescending lawyer who had asked him, “Be honest. What do you make?” The poem went viral on social media, and is the basis for this witty and inspiring book of the same name. Through a series of anecdotes and poems, Mali shares his experiences as a classroom teacher and helps to remind teachers why their job is so important.
 

‘Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Their Students by Their Brains’

This book by teacher-turned-author LouAnne Johnson considered by some educators as one of the most influential strategy guides even written for teachers. In it, Johnson, who is best known for her book My Posse Don’t Do Homework (renamed Dangerous Minds after it spawned the movie in 1995), shares her honest and effective methods for improving classroom management, engaging students, and advancing critical thinking.
 

‘Today I Made a Difference: A Collection of Inspirational Stories from America’s Top Educators’

This collection of stories, compiled by editor Joseph Underwood, serves to answer two essential questions: why teachers teach, and why they decided to make teaching a career, despite the low pay and long hours. The book is based on the real-life stories of all 28 of Disney’s 2004 Teacher of the Year Nominees, and will inspire new and experienced teachers alike with its honest, inspiring and refreshing look at the obstacles teachers overcome on a daily basis.
 
 

Taming the Anthill 

This is one of my favorite books on teaching elementary music.  Here’s an excerpt from “Taming the Anthill” by Jean Spanko to give you some fun reading to do this summer.
 
Taming the Anthill, by Jean Spanko
If you’ve never read this book, you should.  If you have read it, read it again. It’s been around for a while, but the experiences of this teacher who got thrown into Junior High General Music will speak to you, whether you’re a brand new teacher, or have been teaching 30 years.
Click to Link to Canadian Site               Download Book from US SITE
 

Chapter 3 –  LISTENING OVERVIEW 

I Heard That Before
 
IT’S BORING!
 
Beethoven was a musical genius whose music touches our very souls. Yet eight out of ten junior high/ middle-schoolers will tell you that his music is boring. Why? The answer is complex, but it probably is influenced
by all the stuff muddling around in kids’ heads.
“I’ll bet everyone notices my nose.”
“I’ll just die if dad makes me get my hair cut.”
“I wonder if we’ll beat Hillside today?”
“I’m starved. Oh yuk, this is pizza-dog day.”
Some texts suggest making the initial presentation of a listening lesson an uninterrupted playing of the music. I did. I also referred a jabbing match, confiscated enough cosmetics to start my own discount store, and watched helplessly as The Flying Dutchman Overture lost to the fidgets. Bad idea.
It’s unfair to yell at your students for not listening properly if you don’t help them learn how to listen. Test yourself first. Play a recording of an unfamiliar piece in a style you are not terribly fond of. See how long you can sit perfectly still and concentrate. How long before your mind drifts and your body needs to move? Divide that by five and you’ll be close to the attention span of your students.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CASUAL LISTENING

On the first day you plan to present a listening lesson, have some music playing at a moderate volume as the class comes in. Anything middle-of-the-road will do. You’ll hear a few questions or remarks, but play deaf. Later in the period, when you’re ready to begin the listening lesson, ask a few questions about the music.
“Did it have a synthesizer bass or an electric guitar bass?”
“Can you hum the melody?”
“What instruments were featured?”
 
Let them sweat for a few seconds then announce that they were listening correctly; they were listening casually. The music was just a background for whatever they chose to do–visit, get out books or look out the
window. Ask the class to give examples of situations in which they listen casually. (Talk on the phone, do homework, ride in the car, shop at the mall.) Does it matter what song plays on the radio as you have your teeth worked on? Not really. Casual listening is barely listening at all. It is more a sound blanket to make us feel OK.
 

MOOD LISTENING

“Can you think of some situations where the music is designed to get us in a specifi c mood or feeling?”
 
Answers may come a bit slowly, but before long your list will include TV shows, movies, dancing, skating, maybe even church! We may not know it, but we are listening more carefully to this kind of “mood” music. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t get the variety of feelings we do from these activities.
 
Now it’s time to ask:
“What are some of the things music can do to give us different feelings as we watch TV, dance or attend a church or temple service?” Make a list of the answers for later use. Don’t announce it, but make your list in categories such as tone color, dynamics and tempo. Demonstrate mood
listening/feeling/responding by playing a march. Tell students to “let your
fingers do the marching–on your desk, not on your neighbor, thank you.” After a half minute of this tell them, “Let an arm and a foot join in.” Then, “Let’s see if your whole body can follow the beat.” Lead a spirited single fi le march around the room. (Be prepared to escort the fi rst few students out of their seats.) As the march nears the end lead students back to their seats. Follow with a discussion about why this was good march music.
 

CONCENTRATED LISTENING

We can also listen to music to enjoy it all by itself. Just listen. (This will come as a revelation to a few.)
Listen to what?
Start simply, no Beethoven yet. Name a Top 40 song and ask the kids to write as many of the lyrics as they can remember. (Offer a plus to any kid who brings in the complete lyrics the next day.) Next, play the fi rst verse
and chorus of the song and watch the concentration as they scribble away!
Here’s another approach. Play an excerpt from Tomorrow from the musical Annie. Ask the kids to count the number of times “tomorrow” is sung.
“That’s not very musical,” you say. True. We’re taking it in very small steps. But look what’s next.
 
Play Tomorrow again. Ask students to draw the melodic contour of each “tomorrow” they hear. (Show them how.) When the excerpt is over, ask them which “tomorrows” have the same shape and which ones are
different. Ask if the difference was caused by the pitch or the rhythm or both. Now we’re getting somewhere.
 
Here are a few follow-up projects to go with your introduction of casual, mood and concentrated listening.

Casual

Carry a note pad around with you for one day. Make a list of every casual listening event that happens. Note the approximate length of each event.

Mood

Choose two events that will have mood music. Give examples of how the music helped you to have the specific feelings or moods you had.

Concentrated

Listen to two radio stations you do not usually listen to–fifteen minutes each. List the names of the stations, the names of the pieces and the style of each (country, gospel, classical, rock, pop or jazz, for example).
Give three reasons you think the pieces are in the styles you say they are.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

• Make your first listening session thirty seconds long. Have students time it.
• Keep the focus on musical sounds. A little historical perspective goes a long way in junior high.
• Make the “pleasure connection.” Connect listening sessions to a recall of pleasant and familiar feelings
whenever possible:
“I heard one of those on MTV last night.”
“That bass line goes just like the one in . . . .”
“They play that on the TV-5 weather. What is it?”
“It sounds like Star Wars but not quite. What’s different?”
• Do a few selections in depth. A big attraction of pop music is its familiarity. If Sam listened to Mozart as often as he does Van Halen, Mozart wouldn’t sound a bit strange. Choose a few quality pieces and use them several times each, with differing focus. By the end of the term these selections will be settled in.
• Beware of overload. When the papers start rattling, the desks begin to squeak and the noise level crescendos, stop! Don’t preach your favorite sermon, just stop. Switch to some other activity and resolve to make the next listening lesson shorter and clearer.
• Avoid the rock versus classical debate like the plague. You’ll lose. When they’re ready, the debate is one of preference for and comparison between rock and classical (or gospel or country or anything).
• Troubleshoot your disasters. Be honest. Had it been a rotten day anyway? Were you fully prepared or did the class have a chance to get distracted while you hunted for the record or sent Jane dashing to the office to run off worksheets? Junior high/middle-schoolers are little noted for their unmerited respect of the teaching profession. If you ask for trouble, they’ll give it to you! You can fool some of the people some of the time, but never an anthill full of seventh or eighth graders

COMING UP

The next three chapters feature examples of concentrated listening preparation and listening projects focused on tone color, form, and style.
 
Download Taming the Ant Hill in Canada           USA – Taming the Ant Hill
 
 
What are you reading this summer – share your favorite books for music teachers at Musicplay Teachers Facebook Group!

Get Kids Moving, Learning, Behaving

July 24-25, 2017 – Artie and Denise Workshop #8 in Las Vegas, NV
REGISTER online!  USA teachers .                 Canadian Teachers

Get Kids Moving, Learning, Behaving
Music teachers have always known that movement is an essential part of our music classes.  Dalcroze Eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement. (as is common in Orff and Kodaly approaches)  In this article, I’m going to give examples of music to teach concepts, and movement to “get the wiggles out.”   Kids today have a much harder time staying focussed and attention spans are really short.  Giving kids in your music classes a quick movement break is great for moving to the beat AND great for getting the wiggles out.  As the countdown to the end of the school year progresses, behavior worsens.  A fast paced music lesson, with frequent movement breaks to wear them out, will help to manage the behaviors in your classroom.

Researcher Terrence Dwyer is one of many who have conducted multiple studies suggesting that exercise supports success in school. His research found that exercise improves classroom behavior and academic performance (Dwyer, Sallis, Blizzard, Lazarus, & Dean, 2001).  An excellent article – Move Your Body, Grow Your Brain – is found here:  https://www.edutopia.org/blog/move-body-grow-brain-donna-wilson.

A very quick exercise that can help focus your students is Superbrain Yoga. In research doing this simple exercise improved test scores of ADHD children by more than 20%.  It takes about 3 minutes of class time – a small amount of time if it will help your students to pay attention! Find Info Here

 In Musicplay, there are many movement activities.  I added many new movement activities to Musicplay for Kindergarten in the 2013 revision.  (Updated lessons are online at www.musicplayonline.com.  If you have a pre-2013 version, send a photo of your guide and I can send you the new guide as a PDF.  email denise@musicplay.ca)

 Movement Activity 1 – Move and Stop     (Musicplay for Kindergarten)
Objective: beat/no beat, same/different, quiet/loud, fast/slow
This is an example of a movement activity to teach concepts.  In this movement activity, the students will explore moving when the teacher plays the woodblock or drum. When the teacher stops playing, the students stop and freeze. Tell the students, “Make your feet do what the drum plays. When the drum stops, you stop.” Each pause should be a different length. Students love the anticipation that builds while they wait for you to play a new pattern. Ask the students to tell you when there is a beat and when there is no beat. Mix up the patterns. Sometimes play the same pattern twice. Vary the length of the patterns. Play the patterns at different tempos. Try playing with different dynamic levels and observe if the students respond with movement to show the different dynamics. Repeat this activity frequently. Later, try playing a piece of instrumental music and have students move when you play it, and stop when you pause.

The Jig Jig Jiggles is a great movement break and is great for reinforcing steady beat, and for teaching about fermata.


I got the jig jig jig jig jiggles. I got the jig jig jig jig jiggles.
My momma and my daddy want me to be still….. But I love the jig jiggles and I always will!
I got the wig wig wig wig wiggles. I got the wig wig wig wig wiggles
My momma and my daddy want me to be still….. But I love the wig wiggles and I always
Ooo feeling fine.  I can’t get the jiggles out of my mind.
Oo oo feeling fine.  I love the jig jiggles, do them all the time.

I got the hop hop hop hop hoppin. I got the hop hop hop hop hoppin.
My momma and my daddy want me to be still….. But I love the hop hoppin and I always will!
I got the bop bop bop bop boppin. I got the bop bop bop bop boppin.
My momma and my daddy want me to be still….. But I love the bop boppin and I always will!
Ooo feeling fine.  I can’t get the jiggles out of my mind.
Oo oo feeling fine.  I love the jig jiggles, do them all the time

WATCH a MOVIE of Jig Jig Jiggles
Source: Primary Dances and Singing Games – available as print book/CD or download .

  USA Site:            CANADA Site
(This song will be posted to musicplayonline.com as part of Musicplay PreK)

MUSICPLAYONLINE.COM – NEW MOVEMENT SONGS
There are some new movement songs at www.musicplayonline.com
Musicplay PreK Pt 1 – #6
SHAKE IT TOGETHER
Shake and shake and shake it together.  3x
Everybody shake!  Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo doo doo.
2.  Jump and jump and jump it together, 3x
Everybody jump!     Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo doo doo.
3.  Twist and twist and twist it together, 3x
Everybody twist.    Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo doo doo.
4.  Hop and hop and hop it together, 3x
Everybody hop!     Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo, Doo doo doo doo doo.

 

WATCH a MOVIE of SHAKE IT

There are some great movement songs for older students in Musicplay!    Some of my favorites:

Musicplay 3 #37 We Come From Pluto.   (Also in Action Songs Children Love Vol. 2)
Musicplay 4 – # 6  Chester   (Also in Action Songs Children Love Vol. 3)
Musicplay 4 – #35 My Bonnie    (Also in Action Songs Children Love Vol. 3)
Musicplay 5 – #95 We Love to Sing. (Also in Action Songs Children Love Vol. 2)
Musicplay 6 – #76 A Ram Sam Sam  (Also in Action Songs Children Love Vol. 3)        ACTION Song Download – USA site         Canada site – Action Songs

 Movement Songs Children Love is an old favorite collection of movement songs. – some of the songs are in Musicplay – if you don’t have Musicplay, this is a collection you’ll love!  One Green Jellybean is a great song for Easter.
Source: Movement Songs Children Love – available as print book/CD or download           USA Site:                CANADA Site:  

 Movement to Classical Music
Listening 1 #29 – play the Copycat Game or lead the students in different ways to keep the beat.
– a kids demo is available at www.musicplayonline.com “Keep Beat Kids”
Listening 1 #36 Gigue – there is a kids demo of the Copycat Game
Listening 1 #37 Gigue – there is a kids demo of the Copycat Game
There are many movement activities in the Listening Resource Kits (and the online site) that will get the kids exercising, keeping a beat, and helping their brains grow!

 Moving to music is an essential part of your music classes.  Use movement breaks to help the kids maintain focus and to wear them out enough that they’ll sit and listen for you.

The online resource is www.musicplayonline.com
Create an account and get one month free!

Current subscribers – To thank you for subscribing, we are going to give you an extra month on every one year subscription!  (online renewals only)  When you’re ready to renew your yearly subscription, email denise@musicplay.ca for your discount code.

  New at www.musicplayonline.com .
*  Beat/Rhythm Activities for Gr. K-1-2!   Coming soon, beat/rhythm for Gr. 3.  
* Did you know we have an EXTRA Listening section?  Go to Listening on the left menu.  Select the Extra tab.  There are instrument demo movies, So-me Storybook movies (all 12 stories!) and for band teacher, movies explaining how to care for your instrument.

New activities are being posted every week at    www.musicplayonline.com

Bullying in the Music Room

March 11, 2017 Musicplay Newsletter

Bullying in the Music Classroom

In 2013 one of my former students (now married with 3 children) found me on Facebook and friended me.  She wrote:

Hi Mrs. Gagne,

I wanted to wish you a merry Christmas and many blessings this new year! As another year closes I often reflect and I wanted you to know, that I have often thought of you through these years!

Going to school was extremely hard on me in ________, with the non stop bullying, however I really feel your music class was the one happy place I had, where I felt I belonged…this was due to you! Your strength of character always was inspiring, and I still remember the day that I was pulled from band class to,have my hair inspected for lice because of some unkind remarks…but what I remember most is how you later went to my social class and let my class have it for being so unkind….you were the first person/peer at ________ school whoever stood up for me! It’s a kindness that I have always appreciated and taught me a great deal about the kind of person I wished to be!

I thank you ever so much for that gift!   All my best,      M___________

To be honest, this incident happened more than 20 years ago, and I don’t remember it as well as my student did, but I’m so glad that I helped, and that what I did was the right response for her.

Last week, a friend who is a wonderful, involved, loving mother, lost her 13 year old daughter to depression.  In my teaching career I lost a beautiful, talented grade 12 student to depression, brought on by bullying.  I’m not an expert, but I’m trying to put some thoughts together with some ideas of what we as music teachers can do to prevent these terrible tragedies.

Suggestions:

Hand Holding:  I have a video of a preschool class making a circle, where one child didn’t want to hold the hands of the child next to them.  Yes, this starts in preschool.  In this class, I stopped them and said, “It’s really nice to hold hands in the circle with anyone who asks you.  It isn’t nice when we’re making a circle in music class to say no.”  Sometimes, I  position myself, to hold hands with the child that may be rejected by the other children.

Choosing Partners:  When you play clapping games or games with a partner, before you play, talk to the students about the right way to ask someone to be a partner, and what the right response is.  I talk about how in a school I might not be best friends with a colleague, but if invited to work with them on a committee, I accept graciously.  Practice inviting and accepting partners with your students before there is a problem.  This is a real world skill, and in the music classroom we have many opportunities to work on it.  I often position myself, to be partners with the child that may be rejected by the other children. (or as a discipline strategy with children who are not participating appropriately in a game)

Mean Comments:  Sometimes you’ll hear a child say something about another student that is mean.  I was unhappy about things that I heard my older grandson saying about his younger brother.  I made this poster and it’s on the fridge in their house.  I’ve told them, that they’re going to have to make a copy of it if I hear mean comments.

Joanie C wrote to add another suggestion:  Another thing I do is when we are doing mixer dances, before we start I let the kids know that everyone has to have a partner, and no one can say “no” to someone who asks them to dance.  Additionally, I let them know that for every refrain where we are choosing partners, everyone will be choosing new partners each time.  So there are no friends that are forever together and excluding others, there are no bullies who are saying “don’t dance with him/her”, and the opposite, if someone is dancing with a student they don’t feel comfortable with, it is only for one refrain and then they will move on to others.  These are the rules, no exceptions, and I always end up seeing kids who supposedly don’t get along with each other dancing and laughing together.   Sometimes breaking down the bullying has to be very directed!

The following suggestions are adapted from https://blog.ed.gov/2012/04/top-5-ways-educators-can-stop-bullies/ with my additional comments.

1. Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

Establish a culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students. . Set a tone of respect in the classroom.  The three specific suggestions above all will contribute to providing a safe, supportive environment in your music room.

2. Manage Classrooms to Prevent Bullying.   Develop rules with students so they set their own climate of respect and responsibility, and reinforce the rules by making expectations clear and keeping requests simple, direct and specific.  I love my Music Room Rules Posters that lay out the expectations clearly, in a musical way, and that make such a great lesson and bulletin board.

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.

Music Rules Poster Pack and lesson:

Canadian Site

USA teachers

Process

1.  Have the students read the rhythms.

2. Read the  words in rhythm.

3.  divide the class into 2 groups – one reads the rules, the other does the ostinato

4.  Give the students a suggested body percussion to go with the first line.

For example:  stomp stomp stomp stomp  pat pat pat pat pat pat pat

5.  Read the second line and have students each create a body percussion pattern for it.  Keep a beat on a woodblock or a drum and have them do the line four times, working out a body percussion.  Divide the class in half and have one have perform and the other half of the class watch.  The watchers should choose several performances that they like.  As a class choose one body percussion pattern to use for the second line.  Switch roles for the third and fourth lines.

6.  Choose instruments to play the ostinato.

7.  Decide on a form for performance

For example:

– drum and say the ostinato 2x as an intro

– ostinato continues while chant is performed 2x     – end with the ostinato 2x dim.

3. Stop Bullying on the Spot.    Intervene immediately. It’s OK to get another adult to help. Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately, and don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.  In instances of bullying, don’t make the victim feel victimized again, by using peer mediation.

4. Find Out What Happened.    Get the facts, keep all the children involved separate, listen without blaming and don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.

Finding out what happened can be really difficult.  I had an incident in a middle school band class.  It happened while my back was turned, and although I was 99.9% certain who had assaulted the student, I didn’t see it, and the other students wouldn’t talk.  The principal wouldn’t follow through.  I felt he should have got some of the other kids in the class alone in his office and asked them directly – I figured they’d cave and give up the name of the bully.  He didn’t take the time to do this.  In the end, all I could do was watch the bully really closely in my classes until the end of the school year.  It never happened again, but I felt very frustrated that the the student who’d physically hurt another child got away with it.

5. Support the Kids Involved.  All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying—can be affected. It is important to support all kids involved to make sure the bullying doesn’t continue and effects can be minimized.

Every child has the right to be respected, included and feel safe in school.  As music teachers, who often teach every child in the school, we are in a unique place to promote inclusion of all and create a safe and supportive environment for students.

LINK to subscribe to the Musicplay newsletter

Resources for the Elementary Music Teacher – Canadian Site

Resources for the Elementary Music Teacher – American Site

Artie and Denise Summer Symposium – July 25-26, 2017 in Las Vegas!

This is the 8th annual – and we’ll be joined by Thom Borden, for an amazing 2 days of workshops!

Canadian Teachers registration for Artie and Denise

American and Overseas Teachers – Registration for Artie and Denise

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