I’m sharing some interactive elementary music name games and activities to kick off the start of a new school year. I hope you’ll find some fresh ideas to make this year the best.
The first day of class in elementary music class is an important one.
I know you’ll need at least 4-5 different grade level activities ready to go. You’ll need procedures, room décor and energy too!
I’ve been there and done that! With over 20 years’ experience in the classroom, I’m hoping you can gain some insight as to how important that first day of class will be for you and your students.
ELEMENTARY MUSIC NAME GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
And, I’m hoping that my back to school elementary music class tips help you be successful.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THE FIRST DAY
Here are four key ingredients to building relationships during the first weeks of school.
- ESTABLISH A GREETING ACTIVITY
- LEARN STUDENT NAMES
- BUILD CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
Sing Play Create offers resources that support all three of these needs.
You may want to look at our MUSIC ESSENTIALS series with materials for each of these important ingredients to successful teaching.
And there are FREE ACTIVITIES in the Sing Play Create Library that will help you too!
Don’t laugh- but I practice in the mirror to help me learn how my face feels when I’m smiling! And I understand that teachers are adults with real lives and sometimes it might be hard to “smile” all the time.
It’s true- life is hard sometimes! I can only share my perspective of over 30 years working with children that smiling will help EVERYONE get through it a little easier.
There’s a time and a place to “worry” or express our own emotions. The classroom isn’t that place.
There are so many resources available to help anyone figure out what’s going on and how to deal with life issues.
So when I say SMILE- I’m not saying to ignore yourself for the job, but I am saying that SELF-CARE and POSITIVITY will help you SMILE in your classroom.
It is a big responsibility and there will be days when it’s harder to do.
That’s why I’m really big on ROUTINES, STRUCTURE and PLANNING.
So here are some ideas to get you started!
ESTABLISH A GREETING ACTIVITY
You can find many of our HELLO SONGS on our YOUTUBE CHANNEL too!
My favorite one is “Everybody Say Hello” with body percussion. Getting everyone to say hello as well as play some body percussion patterns will help students adjust to school, feel welcome in your classroom and keep hands and voices busy.
Kids will be singing and moving and waving hello to everyone!
Then you can play a game to help the kids and you connect with each other and learn names.
This blog post has more ideas!
MUSIC CLASS SONGS
This is the song I use for Kindergarten. It’s especially useful at the beginning of the year. I’ve found that the children respond well to the movements.
The movements are easy to do and help the children focus their attention on singing and moving. It also helps them strengthen connections between verbal skills and gross motor muscle movement. These connections help them be better readers.
Another important thing about this song is that the students sing a sequence of actions. They learn the order of the actions in the songs. This helps them with sequencing in reading too.
Students who are shy may not do the actions. They may watch everyone else, but that’s okay! The students who are more kinesthetically or verbally inclined will easily pick up the song lyrics and movements and be good models for those students.
Singing the same song each class time with my Kindergarteners also helps them feel safe and comfortable. They can come into the room with confidence because they know what to do in music class.
Structure, repetition, and engagement help them adjust to kindergarten, to coming to music class and learning overall.
You as a music teacher can help support them by incorporating core songs and activities into your curriculum.
Later in the year they really get into the actions and get creative! I also will break away from the video and have them sing it to guitar or ukulele or piano.
That way I can change the tempo and have some fun with the actions.
- CLAP- FAST
- PAT-SUPER FAST
Those are some ideas of ways to use this song to also support music concepts.
I use a different hello song for each grade level.
Honestly, I do this because I didn’t want to sing the same song all day to every class all week long.
Differentiating the song also gives me opportunities to teach different concepts too.
FIRST GRADE HELLO SONG
SECOND GRADE HELLO SONG
THIRD GRADE HELLO SONG
FOURTH GRADE (5TH/6TH)
(This song is not available on YouTube) The song is a round and meant to be sung acapella.
HELLO SONGS FOR ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASS
These resources are available in our SHOP!
Music Class Hello Song: “This is the Way We Say Hello” Video, Mp3 Tracks$4.50
Music Class Hello Song: “Hello My Good Friends” Video, Mp3 Tracks$4.50
Music Class Hello Song: “Hello, Hello How Are You?” Video Mp3 Tracks$4.50
Music Class Hello Song: “Good Morning To You” (Afternoon) Video Mp3$4.50
Music Class Hello Song: “Hello, Hello Good Morning to You” Video, Mp3 Tracks$4.50
Music Class Hello Song Bundle: Songs, Videos, Mp3 Tracks$17.50
Music Class Kodaly Lesson: “Hello” Song and Game$3.50
TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS STORE
No matter what, you want to find something you enjoy doing with the children. You may prefer a chant or instrument activity to singing songs. The important point is to have a routine in your classroom.
PLAY NAME GAMES
Learning student names as soon as possible is a key ingredient to teacher success and building relationships.
After we sing our hello song, I then sing all the student names on “so-mi”.
In kindergarten I ask the students to wave to the class when I sing their name.
In the older graders, I ask them to echo me.
Not only are we learning names, but we are building classroom community.
I do this for every class all year long.
- It never gets old.
- The students love it.
- The principal loves it.
It helps with relationships as well as management. When I sing a name and it means that I “see” you.
Mix it up! I sing at the piano, walk around with the ukulele, clap their names, stomp and clap their names and use solfege and xylophones too!
Differentiate and connect with music concepts. I may sing the same song, and sing their names every class time but I differentiate on the presentation. Use a drum, a xylophone, a recorder, a ukulele, a guitar!
This method supports integrating music concepts with classroom management too!
By doing this activity, I am covering so many teaching needs! I learn the names, I build relationships, I have classroom management using a simple song and singing game.
As you can see, there are many ways to accomplish the goals of learning student names. What will you do?
BUILD CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
So far, I’ve shared a couple of ways to build classroom community within the first five minutes of class.
But there are many ways to achieve this outcome.
Playing games is another way to build community.
Most of the children will want to play games. Some won’t-
Hopefully, you’ll find a way to get them to participate, but if not-that’s okay too! I don’t feel it’s necessary to “make” anyone play the games. I want them to join in when they are ready. This is especially true with the younger students.
I do expect them to not ruin the fun for the other students though, so I’ll talk to them about watching, or I make them my helper (assistant music teacher) for the day.
Drawing them closer to me helps them feel safe and gives them confidence to try the activities.
NAME GAMES FOR CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
Name games are a fun way to build classroom community.
I like mine to include a musical element too.
Name games can be as easy as students patting the beat on their knees and going around the circle chanting names.
For a musical twist, use some DYNAMICS CARDS that can be held up or projected.
Here’s how to play this game!
Everyone sits in a circle.
Everyone pat’s the beat. Teacher may use a music track or a drum beat to keep the game going.
Sing Play Create Instrumental Background tracks on Spotify and for sale in the Shop and the TpT Store.
These tracks are great to use for activities where you want some music, but not singing.
DIRECTIONS TO THE GAME
- Teacher will begin. Pat 4 times in between each student. Everyone echoes the name.
- 1-2-3-4 name- (echo)
- 1-2-3-4 name-(echo) continue around the circle until everyone is done.
- Then change the TEMPO or the DYNAMICS the second time around. Choose only one thing to change. Model what you want and practice a couple of times before going around the entire circle.
Keep it going, keep focused, have fun!
Not only are you learning names, but you’re getting a sense of student behaviors, how the class works together and the students are getting to know you too.
Just think! The students are getting to know that you can have FUN while PLAYING MUSIC GAMES.
For some more game ideas read this post: TEN WAYS TO USE BALLS IN MUSIC CLASS
NAME GAMES IN OUR SHOP
NAME GAMES ON TPT
BACK TO SCHOOL ELEMENTARY MUSIC SUCCESS
Success in the classroom includes so many things. This post is just about creating a positive and welcoming environment where students want to come to make music.
Do you like to use Google Slides? Then you’ll want to get this FREE GOOGLE SLIDES PLANNER where you can put all of your First Day activities into slides for each grade and have them ready for the big day!
Create a series of slides with your presentations or YouTube videos. I edited my copy to make a version for each grade level where I put their activities for the first quarter. This way you’ll have all of your elementary music name games and activities in one place.
So how will you start your school year?
- ESTABLISH A GREETING ACTIVITY
- LEARN STUDENT NAMES
- BUILD CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
Hopefully this post gives you some ideas to make your school year successful.
Here at Sing Play Create we’re working to bring you interactive resources you can easily use in your classroom.
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Thanks for reading!