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May 16, 2015

Teaching Tips on How to Survive the Last Few Weeks of School


I've been reading a lot of posts and blogs about classroom management problems and solutions.
A lot depends on your principal, the other teachers and the expectations of parents and the community. It's left to you to make decisions in your classroom how to fulfill those expectations and keep students engaged and learning. How to do this?  As I read some of the posts and problems, I came to understand that there are several contributing factors that create a "gap" in a teacher's abilities in classroom management. One is that developing classroom management skills isn't necessarily one of the top priorities of Music Education programs, or education programs in general. Two, classroom management skills come naturally to some people. Three; life experience, personality and desire all contribute to "successful" classroom management.
There are a multitude of situations that might make it seem difficult for teachers to have or implement classroom management skills:
Maybe you're a first year teacher trying to keep her head above water with lesson plans and curriculum?
Maybe you're burned out?
Image result for FRAZZLED TEACHER PICMaybe you're teaching students who live in a different socio-economic or even culturally different environment than your personal  experience?
Maybe you have students this year who present challenges like you've never had before.
Maybe you just don't know what to do?
Maybe your teaching situation has changed dramatically--you're teaching on a stage, a hallway, or more students than ever?
Maybe you are unprepared for the task of creating a good classroom management plan?
There are a lot of reasons that classroom management techniques and skills may fall through the cracks. Most of all, I think teachers need to be true to themselves and be comfortable with whatever plan they implement.
While this may be doesn't have to stick--YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CHANGE!
Image result for TEACHERS
 So here are 5 GENERAL IDEAS I’ve come up with that I think will work with pretty much any “plan” or situation.

BE FAIR-make rules that are specific and easy to understand. "Be Quiet" is nice, but does it mean all the time?  "Line up Quietly" works better.
BE FIRM-Not rigid, but stick to your consequences and apply them to all. Yes, even that cute 3rd grade girl who always does everything right. If students blurt out and shout and the consequence is to write about it-then make them do it.
BE COOL- Keep calm, be true to your best self. When a 6th grader says, "and who gives you the authority to tell me what to do?" and begins to leave the classroom--don't holler, panic--get the rest of the class sitting down quietly and get to the phone for help. Confronting this student probably won't solve the problem.
BE CLEAR-students need specific goals and directions. As adults we've conquered the skills we're asking students to learn. Begin with 2 note composition before students right a whole song.
BE KIND-I think we can be kind when we stick to our consequences. We don't need to be angry or bothered.

These are tough things to do daily--when we're tired, or sick ourselves, but if we are consistent in our actions we gain the respect we need for good classroom management.

Image result for happy teachersI think the best advice I can give is this; Be true to who you are, accept your limitations and embrace new ideas-take a risk and try something new.  

Here are some links to sites that can give you some concrete tips, examples and more in-depth help.

The more I teach the more I believe that games and activities contribute to great classroom management. Here are a couple of products that I've made that work for any classroom:

                            Classroom Games- Team Building, Brain Breaks, Special Needs
                                          GAMES IN A FLASH #2 *Brain Breaks *End of Year *Build Comm
                                                         Music Class Songs, Chants, Games, Lesson Plans, Rules, Pri


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