Wondering about activities you can do at the beginning of the school year in your music class? This time of the school year is quite tricky. Students are developing first impression and relationship with their teacher. At the same time they don’t have that much to work with as they have not developed repertoire or a set of skills yet. Teachers have to be quite creative at engaging the students while they are getting into school year.
Update: I just uploaded a free music beginning letter to the parents as well as a music lesson plan bundle. If they may be helpful to you check here! Otherwise, read on!
Here are some ideas for activities centered around:
- Getting to know your students
- Developing better relationships between the students
- Setting the base for team work
- Asserting classroom rules
Team building and Get to Know Each Other Activities:
As the students are walking into the clasrom they are given a sheet asking them about their favorite things (sport, spare time, pet, etc). Students are instructed to fill out the sheet but not to put their names on it. This is a great activity to fill out the “empty time” as the students are finding their way into the music classroom and waiting for the second bell.
The sheets are collected and then each student gets a sheet that belongs to someone else. They make a guess who that person may be. Then they have 2min. to go around the room, check to see if they got the right person and to find who the sheet belonged to if they were incorrect.
The firsrt students to find the right answer line up in front of te board. The first three win!
This is great activity fro students to get to know each other. They also have great fun with it because it gets them moving. The same activity may be used for teachers during the school year to brake the classroom pase, or for students to share their opinion after concerts.
As the students are walking in the classroom I like to give them something to do as they are waiting for the class to begin. Often I use that time to give them sheets with questions about themselves. Examples:
What do you family do together for fun? Do your parents support music?
These questions give me a great deal of information about the students in class and what situation they face at home. This activity is not shared with other students. It is more pesonal and it is just for me to get to know them better.
Students form teams of 3-5 and sit together with their teams. The teacher gives them a few questions (questions can be written on the board or typed). The students go around in a circle and each team membr needs to answer each question. This is a great activity for the stdents to start getting to know each other. The same activity can be repeated on a diferent day as the teams members switch. This way students get to interact with diferent students in class.
Learning to give positive feedback
Students need to learn the correct way to interact with each other when working together. This needs to be taught from the very beginning. I like giving students a very simple activity to work on at the beg. Slowly, over time, when we start working on more difficult things they feel more comfortable.
Students for teams of three. One student acts as student and the other two act like teachers. They could teach about bow hold, rhythms, parts of the instrument. etc. Students are given very specific instruction on how to lead the activity. The two “teachers” need to schedule the feedback as a “sandwitch”. The students needs to receive positive feedback, then ideas from improvemnt, then another positive comment.
Insisting on the “sandwich” feedback model gives students the structure they can use during the year. It also build better community by teaching them the proper way to interact when the need to be critical to one another.
Games Reinforcing Rules and procedures
Guess the rule
The teacher has a bag with small candy. Teacher asks students questions about students’ responsibility in a classroom. Examples: Where do you get your instrument? What assesories do you need along with your instrument? How long do you need to practice daily?
True or False
Teachers asks a question. If correct, the students need to raise their hand or do something silly.
Put a piece of duck tape on the floor making a line. The teacher makes a statement. If the statement applies to them the students need to step into the line. If not, then they step back. The same activity could be done while students move to one part of the room if they agree and the other if they dissagree. The teacher asks a student to take over and make the statements.
The statements can be related to their school year and getting a feel for what the students want to do. I have also used it for new classroom to get a feel of what they have been doing the previous year. This activity is good for older students. It helps the teacher get a feel for the students in class.
Introducing the Teacher through Music or Exploring Students Heritage Through Music
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