I don’t know about you, but I dread returning Monday morning after the holiday break. Over the year’s I’ve accumulated some teacher tips that I think are essential for a smooth start to the New Year- Here’s some of my January back to school teaching tips.
WHAT ARE MY BACK TO SCHOOL TEACHING TIPS?
Some things to consider!
Ok- It’s not the students-It’s not the teachers-It’s not the job-It’s me freaking out whether or not I’ll REALLY be ready for the whole first day. Yes, I have my power point ready with all my lessons! Yes, I have my lessons planned! Yes, I cleaned up all the Christmas and Holiday decorations! And, Yes, I have my snowman decor out–it’s just that first day trepidation of churning 150 students or more through my doors the first day back, knowing what’s lies ahead between now and the next break and it all get’s into one pile in my head and I do get a bit stressed out about it.
Maybe this isn’t you at all–maybe you don’t worry about anything! Hurrah!
If you do have some trepidation-for whatever reason-here are some teacher tips to help you out.
TEACHING TIP #1 SMILE AND MAKE THEM FEEL WELCOME
On the other hand, it’s tough for teachers too. Although I try to memorize all of my students names, I need to refresh my memory too!
One thing that helps me is to be vigilant about singing our hello song at the beginning of class and then singing everyone’s names again. This helps me and then to re-connect. I take my chart with me and walk around the room and look at them as I sing their name. I tell them I want to make sure I’ve got them all right here in my brain. They smile and this helps them feel safe again in my room and welcome. I’ll also get out my winter puppets to help me.
Moreover, here’s a blog post I wrote about singing and playing names games. There’s also a FREE RESOURCE! “Play Name Games for Music Class Back to School Fun”
And, you can use puppets in your classroom to build relationships and teach concepts. Read more about how I use puppets here: “Why I Use Puppets in Music Class”.
TEACHING TIP #2 REVIEW RULES AND PROCEDURES
Although you’ve been teaching your students for half a school year, they’ve been gone for over a week. So you may need to review the rules and procedures.
Check out this easy to learn fun song that my students sing about personal space. I just pull this out for a review once in a while.
It goes to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”:
- Keep your hands, feet and words to yourself! Clap, Clap (repeat)
If you want to be NICE then follow this ADVICE.
Keep your hands, feet and words to yourself! Clap, Clap
- By the way, you’ll find this easy to sing song on the Sing Play Create YouTube Channel. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE while you’re there!
In addition, I go to my rules board and point out as I review the rules.
SOME MORE THINGS TO CONSIDER
Maybe students can sing the rules!
Let’s sing about “Respect?”
Check out this original song “Respect” that I wrote to help students understand and show respect.
TEACHING TIP # 3 PLAY A GAME
For example, one easy way to keep the mood fun and keep students engaged is to play a game. Here’s one I play with my upper elementary students.
Ideally, I like to play some kind of game with my older students and give them a chance to share a bit about their holiday vacation.
So, I made up some fun snow themed games. Or, Here’s a simple one you can use with a bean bag or a ball.
DIRECTIONS TO PLAY THE GAME:
Have everyone sit in a circle.
Explain that everyone is going to get a turn to share something about their vacation. Ask students to come up with an idea that describes their favorite activity in 1 or 2 words. See the examples below.
Pat the steady beat on your knees.
Teacher begins with the bean bag.
Where do you go?
What do you do?
When you’re at home and not at school?
- Toss the bean bag to someone at the end of the chant. That person gives a 1 or 2 word answer.
- Here’s some fun examples:
- Video Games
- Working out
Try to keep playing the game until everyone has had a turn.
TEACHING TIP # 4 IT’S OK TO GO SLOW
On the other hand, most of all I think it’s important to connect with students again by making them feel like they want to come to the music room. You may feel a bit scattered or wishing you were still home in your P.J.’s, but if you do these things-then it will help you too get back into the swing of teaching.
In other words, it’s okay to go slow, or take your time getting through that first round of lessons again. Playing the games, singing a song and reviewing rules will give everyone a chance to get back into the “groove” of music class.
Looking for the January Music Class Free Resources?
Here’s hoping you glide right back into teaching in January!
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