Sunday, January 31, 2016

FIVE STEPS TO CREATING and USING TRANSITIONS

                                   




















The kids have just finished playing the "roll the dice" game in their CENTER, but the other groups aren't ready to switch. What do you do?

You've wrapped up the lesson, finished the closure and you are waiting for the teacher who's stuck in a meeting. What do you do?

You're small specialized class-like keyboards or special needs groups, has two students who finished early. What do you do?

There's 100 kids on the stage and you're waiting for one more class.
What do you do?

These are just a few of the scenarios you might find yourself in as a Music Teacher. We are at the discretion of the CLOCK


and of the HOME ROOM TEACHER, among other things.  So I came up with FIVE things you can do to prepare for these ''TRANSITIONS".

1. CREATE A LIST OF ACTIVITIES
You may want to create a separate notebook with just these kinds of activities. It's a great resource to have handy for anytime. What if the power goes out? What if you're sick and can't do the regular lesson? What if your technology doesn't work? It's nice to have things lined up for these emergencies.

2. CREATE A WEEKLY or MONTHLY TRANSITION ACTIVITY THAT IS HANDY.
I just make up some phrases that go along with a theme in my classroom. When students came back from the Winter Break I put up these "New Year" hats for the four beats in a measure and some Winter Phrases. As students stand in line I'll ask them to figure out the rhythm of the words and how they'll fit into the four beats. Then I'll have a students come up and write the rhythms. I also use the board to test them on note names. Here, some 5th graders were testing each other. I have these cute foam note shapes that I purchased at the dollar store and glued magnets on to them. I like using the foam craft sheets because they last a while-and I get tired of cutting things out that are laminated. I leave this activity up all month and use it many different ways. I also have students create their own Winter Rhythm and write the words and the rhythms on the board.  

                                            
Here's simple chant I made up that's great for K-2nd graders.  After the students know it, I let someone else choose either actions or be the leader. It's quick, fast and takes no props. You can use it in a WHISPER VOICE, SINGING VOICE, OR CHANTING VOICE.

I also do a lot with Balls and Bean Bags. Just toss the bean bag to a student and have them play a rhythm. Then have them toss the bean bag to another student who plays it back. Keep passing it back and forth to you or to the other students. You could have them sing the song you are working on or show you so-mi. It can be anything. You can read more about the way I use Balls in my classroom in this post HERE:

3.  CREATE A PLAYLIST OF YOU TUBE VIDEOS, or MUSIC YOU CAN USE ON DEMAND.
 I have created several playlists that include; MULTI-CULTURAL MUSIC, CLEAN AND UPLIFTING MUSIC VIDEOS (The Piano Guys and Lindsay Sterling, Pentatonix), MOVEMENT ACTIVITIES based on Holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day, FAVORITE PERFORMANCES by Folk Singers and other "Styles" of Music, like CLASSICAL that will tie in nicely with my COMPOSER UNITS.  I like to have the playlist set up ahead of time and the way I will use them figured out too.  One way that I use CLASSICAL music is for STRETCHING and YOGA, or, QUIETING DOWN Music. You can find some great picture cards on teacherspayteachers SUPERHERO MOVEMENT CARDS FREEBIE.
                                  Brain Breaks
BRAIN BREAKS CARDS are great to have handy too. Here's a set I found on TeacherspayTeachers for FREE                
                                      Brain Breaks {Free}

I also love to use SIGN LANGUAGE in my teaching and the songs. Over the years I've learned quite a few words. When students are lined up,you could teach them one simple Sign. How about THANK YOU? It's super easy and that what I have my students say to me as they leave my room-silently. I tell them that the best way they can show me they had a great time in music class and show me respect, is to say Thank you silently. Patty Shakula is using very simple sign language and singing the words in this video-but it's a great start and the kids will respond nicely to it. Try learning one word at a time. 

4. CREATE A PROCEDURE FOR DOING THE ACTIVITIES.
Your students will respond better if you do the "same thing" at the "same time" in the "same way". When my students line up they walk around the circle on the dots and then stop on the orange dot that's close to the door. Then I have them give them the double thumbs up (which means they stayed on top of the world) and a silent thank you as they leave the room. I ask them to come in and exit my room quietly. Sometimes, due to my own brain fogginess, the clock or other circumstances, I've got them in line and we have more time. NOW WHAT?  I love doing these little chants, or easy movement activities with them and so I do take time to practice these in our line.
This is our classroom management chart.

This is our circle made of sit spots.
5.CREATE A BUCKET/BAG/BOX of READY TO USE GAME PROPS.
One thing that might help you is to have a container that holds ready made activities. You could just have a notebook with laminated picture cards of stretching poses, yoga poses, game ideas, chants and activities sitting on your board ledge or by the door. Or you could put things in a container, like a bean bag, ball, the pictures, cards and more. This bucket could also be an EMERGENCY SUB TUB!  Mine is in my filing cabinet with all kinds of CD's, Game Ideas and Printables.

No matter how you choose to organize or develop your own Music Transitions, you'll be soooo happy that you figured out some things to do while you are WAITING for the next thing.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE CHANT IN THE VIDEO ABOVE. IT'S A FREEBIE AT MY STORE:
                           BRAIN BREAK or ACTIVITY CHANT "FEEL THE BEAT"

FOR MORE IDEAS ON TRANSITIONS, Here are some other blog posts by me and other music teachers that might give you some ideas for activities or lessons.

LINDSAY'S KODALY INSPIRED CLASSROOM

IDEAS TO USE MUSIC AS A FORCE IN THE CLASSROOM

HELLO SONGS

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT IDEAS AND A FREEBIE

ACTIVITY SONGS FOR CLASSROOMS

If you are looking for more activities, I have made some fun products for Movement activities. This one is a VIDEO with MUSIC that you can just pop in and play for as long as you need. It has different levels of activity in it. MOVE YOUR BODY.  
                        BRAIN BREAK MOVEMENT ACTIVITY "MOVE YOUR BODY" MOVIE/VIDEO
AND A Great MATH and MUSIC Activity VIDEO with MUSIC: SCARF AND RIBBONS
                             BRAIN BREAK SCARF ACTIVITY *MOVIE/VIDEO *MATH*PATTERNS*SHA
Thanks for reading all about Transitions. I hope you'll share some of your favorites in the comments below!
Sandra




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