Ugh! or Yay! It’s back to school and I’ve got some easy games and songs you can play with your students during those first few weeks. You’ll want to stock up on hello songs, name games and easy rule chants to make those first few classes as fun as possible. And, you can help students learn all the procedures too with a song or a game. Keep reading for some ideas and free resources to help you plan your Back to School Activities, Songs, Games and Chants.
I want to learn all of my students’ names and I want to build a classroom community. Singing hello songs that include singing student names will help me learn them faster. Seriously! Singing songs is a great way to help students transition into music class, build classroom community and teach a music concept too! Playing games is a positive way to help students transition going back to school.
Why Sing Hello Songs?
There are tons of different hello songs you can use in your music classroom. You can even use chants. Add in some clapping, stamping, snapping–and you’ve got a hit with your students from the get-go. You will have them on your team the whole year if you use the whole BRAIN in your classroom activities.
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I use songs and chants for classroom management, rewards, transitions and routines for everything in my classroom.
I think that singing a rule or procedure “goes down” way tastier than….hey- isn’t that a Mary Poppins song?
It may be old fashioned- but it still works! “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the more delightful way!”
Why Play Games?
Building a classroom community at the beginning of the year is such an important part of the elementary music teacher’s teachers job. As music teachers, we’re busy coming up with curriculum materials and lesson plans for 7 or more grade levels, but if you can organize and prepare a set of hello songs, procedures, and name games or chants, you’ll find that the rest of the lesson time will go much more smoothly with a solid foundation.
Students need consistency!
Students need repetition!
I’m hoping that you take some time from preparing bulletin boards, packets, lesson plans and organizing the classroom, and put it into creating your standard set of hello songs and name games.
If you’re looking for hello songs and name games, you’ll want to check out my MUSIC CLASS ESSENTIALS- BASIC
MUSIC CLASS ESSENTIALS BASIC BUNDLE HERE
Ok- so you need some hello songs and name games-right?
BACK TO SCHOOL NAME GAME
Just today I made a new game up for students to learn each other’s names. All you need is 1 bean bag. As soon as I pull out a bean bag everyone is excited. And when I say we’re going to play a game–you’d think we’d all won the lottery!
Here are the directions-
All the students are standing. I tell the students that I’m going to call out someone’s name and then I’m going to toss the bean bag to them. Then that person has to call out someone else’s name and then toss the bean bag. After they toss–they sit down. This is a great game to play during the first few weeks of school. You can play it for 5-7 minutes of class for the first month of school and then you’ll know everyone’s names. BTW- if students don’t know each other’s names, I help them out.
Try this Free Resource!
BACK TO SCHOOL RULE GAME
Play this game to help teach all of your back to school music classroom rules.
Sit in a circle.
Pat knees on the beat.
Begin chanting: (8 beats total)
“These are the rules, these are the rules, these are the rules in the music room.”
Say each rule. Ask students to echo you.
Rule #1: Raise your hand to talk.
Rule #2 Keep your hands’ feet and words to yourself.
Rule #3 Do Your Best!
Rule #4 Participate with a Positive Attitude.
Rule #5 Respect the music room instruments.
After you go through each rule, have students pat the beat BUT- you’re going to need a bean bag or a ball!
Repeat the chant “These are the rules….” Then call out a Rule #? or Letter is you use the word MUSIC for your rules.
Toss the ball/beanbag to a student as you call out the rule #. That student will then have to say the rule.
Back to School Song ”
“Keep Your Hands, Feet, and Words to Yourself”
BACK TO SCHOOL PROCEDURE ACTIVITY
Working with preschool or kindergartners? If you’ve got them in a circle already then you’re halfway there!
Now grab a scarf and motion to the students to follow the leader. Help them as needed. Choose 1 student in the circle to be first and follow you closely. Explain to the student who is last that their job is to make sure the end of the line doesn’t get lost.
Ask the leader to follow you. As I walk around the circle I sing; “We’re following the leader, leader, leader, we’re following the leader in a line.” I tip-toe and sing; “My hands and feet are quiet, quiet, quiet, my hands and feet are quiet in the line.” I then stop where I want to have my students line up at the end of class.
I wait for everyone to be quiet.
I will use some of my line up chants or quiet down chants to help students learn to be quiet.
Then I teach students the “silent thank you” and class is over.
SIGN LANGUAGE FOR THANK YOU
Try learning some new LINE UP CHANTS every year to add to your teaching bag of tricks.
ere’s my post using silent signals and transitions for classroom procedures.
Grab this FREEBIE:
LINE UP AND MANNERS POSTERS FREE Resource from my TpT store.
BACK TO SCHOOL CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Silent signals are a great way to establish communication in the music classroom. When you ask a question, have students respond with their thumbs. This blog post has some quick and easy ideas to get you started.
After teaching, I play a game to see if my students can do it.
Tell them you’re going to ask some questions and you want them to respond with a silent signal.
Play this game to help teach all of your music classroom rules.
think it’s important to give students the opportunities to say “no”. That way you communicate that you respect their choices.
What’s something that your students did that’s awesome?
Have everyone compliment the students who are first to clean up, sings or plays especially well, or who was the extra kind that day.
I use these to have students show me how they feel about their own work in class.
“Show me one of these 3 choices; Did you play the entire melody? Did you play some of the notes in the melody? Did you struggle to play the melody?”
If you use this strategy with your students, then you can help the ones who are struggling. And, you empower everyone to do their best and give an honest assessment of their efforts.
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Be positive! Give your students a positive boost as they walk out the door.
Try this Free Wrist Bands and Ticket Resource
Back to school success is NOT all about classroom procedures, rules, seat charts, and bulletin boards- it’s about making students feel welcome and part of a community of learners.
Singing Hello Songs, Playing Games and Doing activities = SUCCESS.
Looking for some songs and activities? Try these Free Resources from the Sing Play Create TpT Store.
MORE BACK TO SCHOOL ACTIVITY IDEAS:
MORE SING PLAY CREATE RESOURCES:
ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM SONGS
ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM BRAIN BREAKS, GAMES, SONGS, AND CHANTS
FOR THE MUSIC CLASSROOM:
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