Friday, January 8, 2016


It's a Fermat Friday and I've linked up with some other music teachers to bring you some tips and tricks you can use in your classroom. Just click on the links at the end of the blog or this pic and it will take you to some great articles.

Feeling tangled up? Stressed? Overworked? Sick?  Hmmm... and still have to get to the classroom?
It happens to all of us--the demands of the music teacher are seldom acknowledged by our "Core"education peers.  Teaching 7-9 classes per day, teaching 7 different grade levels, remembering 500-1000 student names, needs and interests, setting up instruments and equipment, moving, dancing, singing..and that's just the tip of the ice berg. 
But there are some great activities that can help music teachers find a balance in their teaching day.            
I call mine "Mr. Stretch". He comes out whenever I need to do some TEAM BUILDING, or THERAPY, or LISTENING activities.

These are my Chorus students. They are a group of 3rd to 6th graders who come one time a week and sing together. We put on 2 shows per year. Since they come from multiple grades, they don't really know each other. I like to do a couple of Team Building activities with them with Mr. Stretch.

Everyone finds a place on the band. Then I ask the students to step back as far as they can and stretch the band. Then I call out a grade level to let go of the band. Soon there's just a few students holding on and trying not to let it go. Then I start a discussion that focuses on how each chorus member is important to the group and without everyone participating we have gaps in our ability to perform well.

 We also get SILLY! I will have the students hold on to a color in the band so that no one is in between colors. Then I will ask the blue group to pull towards the middle and the other color groups to try to hold firm in their place. There's a lot of pulling and tugging--but the students get how important it is to work together from these activities. 
Another thing I do with Mr. Stretch is to have them all lay down and relax. There's a lot of giggling that goes on with this activity. I play some soothing music and ask them to hold very still. Of course not everyone can do this--and the band bounces. Then I start a discussion asking them how they feel when they are trying to focus and relax and someone else is being silly...This is a great way to talk about how we affect others through our feelings, performance and actions-especially in a performing group.

With my younger students I'll have them hold on to Mr. Stretch and march around the circle to Sousa marching music. We might sit in a circle holding Mr. Stretch and show the Steady Beat by bouncing the band. I'll also have them use the band to show HIGH and LOW. They especially like this one. I encourage them to really stretch up high and then go all the way down low. A good story to use for this activity it "The Three Bears". I might play a xylophone or the piano and have them hold the stretch band high or low depending on what they hear. Students love to show FAST and SLOW too. 
Stretchy Band Circle 

Overall, Mr. Stretch has helped me keep calm and teach quote an over used phrase. But it's really true. I find that Mr. Stretch helps all of us calm down, work together and be nice. What a wonderful way to spend the day! 

STRETCH BAND LINK: I am in no way affiliated with this company but want to provide you with links to resources as a service. 

If you have a stretch band, what are some ways you use it in your classroom?


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