Friday, June 26, 2015


Creating a classroom environment of respect and accountability requires procedures, plans, rewards and consequences in your classroom. I know from experience that the time I put into teaching these procedures is well worth the effort because then I can really focus on teaching and not managing. I teach my students to respond to my verbal or non-verbal cues through action. (I'll explain it more below). When students know how to respond to your directions it eliminates a lot of classroom chatter and keeps everyone focused and learning. Here's some ways I implement this strategy to help make my lessons run smoothly.


I downloaded these free and very cute Thumbs from Dancing Crayon Designs  (click on the link to get yours). They come in several skin colors and bright blue, green, yellow, pink and purple too. So fun! I made some posters for my classroom  and I use them all day long in my classes. I say to my students; "Would you rather talk in Music Class or Make Music?" They all say; "Make Music". Then I explain that when I ask questions we're going to use our hands to show our answers. Thumbs up, down and sideways work great for yes, no, maybe answers. Double thumb up can mean, "awesome". You can download a copy of these posters HERE.

I also use the Thumbs for my classroom management plan. You can learn more about that here: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT


How about when it's time to line up? What do you say? What do you do? What do your students do?
In my classroom I have my students stand in rows to sing our hello song. Then I sing each student's name and the class echoes. Then that student sits down. This is how I begin all of my classes K-4. During the lesson we'll move into a circle to do activities or games.
I usually have them come back to their numbers before the end of class to recap and calm down and get ready to leave the music room. I'll say something like this; "Three seconds to find your number." Or, "When the song is over be in your personal space." (I'll play a short song on the piano)Then it's time to line up. We  practice lining up for the first 4-5 lessons. In Kindergarten and First Grade I show my students exactly where they will go when it's time to line up. 

Since the students are in rows I teach them how to find a dot on the circle and to follow the leader around the room. The first person in line (whom I delegate) knows exactly where to stop and then the rest of the class lines up behind that student. We sing a little song as we march around the circle to practice this procedure.
This song is part of a bundle of Music Classroom Management songs, chants and activities that I made..
It's sung to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".

Here we go round the classroom, the classroom, the classroom.
Here we go round the classroom. When it's time to line up.

I use songs and chants to transition students from standing to sitting down. Use them to get the class quiet.
I wrote this simple song to help my students transition from activities to sitting down quietly.
"Criss-Cross Applesauce" is a Cute and Easy Song for students to learn. It's now at my TPT store.  teach the song at the beginning of the year. Repetition is critical to reinforcing skills. So we practice it a lot until they can do it comfortably on their own.
I play a game to teach my students this song.
I ask them to find a friend and to talk. I tell them that I'm going to begin the song and I want them to finish it as they walk to their assigned seats and sit down.  They love playing the game!  Sometimes I'll even tell them to go a little "crazy" and see if they can hear me start the song--I say I only want to begin it one time and I want to see who's listening to my voice and who is following directions.  
                                               Classroom Management Song to Sit Down "Criss-Cross Applesa

You'll like the 1-2-3-4 I can clap! and then SILENCE part of the song. Remember, singing helps students stay active and positive.
You can print or project the Color Sheet. Use for your Bulletin Board. Use the Black and White in a note for Subs or for students to color. Follow the link below to find this fun FREEBIE!

Overall, I think it's important to come up with your own strategies that will feel natural to you to do with your students. I can promise you that whatever you do, if you take the time to teach, repeat and praise them, they will respond in time. Be consistent, fair and nice and the students will want to learn from you. I can't think of a better thing to do during the day than to make music--can you?

Feel free to share your successes with your own strategies for keeping students focused and learning.

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