Elementary Music Classroom Management Tips. Elementary songs, games, activities, procedures, routines for effective classroom management.
I’ve always felt it important to use music and movement materials that help students learn the rules and procedures right on the first day of class.
So my elementary music classroom management tips will be centered on ways to teach your procedures, rules and expectations using songs, games, movement activities.
Basically, how to make it FUN on the FIRST DAY!
I want MY STUDENTS to be able to easily understand and follow the classroom rules.
So why not use music and movement activities to teach classroom management expectations?
I KNOW they’ll learn them better when we PRACTICE at least THREE TIMES the very first day!
Honestly, I KNOW they’ll remember the rules and procedures better if the “see, feel, do” during our time together.
ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TIPS
What are some of the most important classroom management procedures?
READ THIS POST FOR MORE IDEAS
I’ll share some of the things I’ve done in my classroom to help you get some ideas for your classroom.
The MAIN POINT is to have your own PROCEDURES for everything.
You’ll gain the respect of your peers and your students, and your classes will run more smoothly.
ENTERING AND EXITING THE MUSIC ROOM TIPS
Entering and exiting the music room procedures will vary from teacher to teacher as well as school to school. I have tried different ways to have my students come into the room.
One year I had students stand in rows-other years in a circle. But I used these procedures throughout my career.
I play music as the students come into the room. That’s because there is not “break” between classes. The exiting class is lined up outside the door. The incoming class walks around the circle until I stop the music.
Kindergarten students sing and move to “Following the leader” as they walk around the circle.
This song is part of the MUSIC TEACHER ESSENTIALS BASIC RESOURCE.
I have the music looped so that it keeps playing until I’m ready to sing the hello song.
I use google slides that are projected with the video or song lyrics and music for them to follow along.
I like everyone to participate as much as they can in the action! Moving and singing right away in music class.
No one sits down until I sing their names, and when I sing the names, everyone echo sings the name back to me. (Later I have the students sing their own names as a solo).
We begin class with a hello song, then I sing names. The older students can sing “not here” for absent students. No talking, no interruptions- get the hello song and names done as quickly as possible.
After I sing the name, they can sit down.
WHY PROCEDURES HELP WITH CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
This set of procedures are a greeting, a way of connecting, roll taking, vocal warm up all in ONE!
My students are creative about the way they sit down too! Some do a dance move as they sit down- that’s okay just as long as we can keep going.
Sometimes I play piano, sometimes a drum or other instrument. I mix it up during different parts of the year-keeping everyone on their toes!
READ THIS POST FOR MORE ACTIVITIES: MY FAVORITE BACK TO SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
ORGANIZING THE STUDENTS
I personally use the sit spots in my room. I like the vibrant colors and the flexibility to make a circle for my Kindergarteners to follow. I don’t have chairs in my room. There isn’t enough space and I find I just keep moving them around all year- so I ditched them.
I even teach guitar and ukulele with students sitting on the floor. Though, some of the more physically mature students really do need a chair.
I give them the option to grab one from the Band room before class starts if they want to use it. They also put them away.
I am BIG on personal responsibility in the upper grades.
For the younger students I have a couple of games I play to help them learn their spot number.
These activities are part of the MUSIC CLASS ESSENTIALS SONGS AND GAMES BUNDLE
I highly recommend this for the beginning teacher.
MUSIC ESSENTIALS BUNDLE SONGS, GAMES, ACTIVITIES TEACHER KIT
ROLL AND RECORDS
I wrote numbers on the sit spots so that the students could learn their numbers.
Then I add the names to the seating chart (which is also where I keep their points/assessments).
I have one seat chart for each class.
I organize my charts in folders, one for each day of the school week. Monday….so forth.
This is where I keep IEP’s and notes about my students too! (No one else looks at my folders)
It’s easy for a substitute to find it and have the names for the classes and the IEP information. If you need a planner, you can check out the Music Essentials planner.
MUSIC CLASS RULES
I don’t have much talking going on in my classroom unless it’s “organized”. I really value the time that students have to learn music. I keep my lessons going and give opportunities to “talk” as parts of the lesson and activities.
Remember, these are general guidelines I use especially at the beginning of the school year.
I like to encourage no bathroom breaks-but it doesn’t always work.
Have a silent signal students can give you and then have a pass they need to take with them. If you only make 2 passes, then only 2 students can go at a time.
Try to make it be for emergencies only.
WORK HARD AND BE NICE
Encourage kindness, fairness, respect for all learners in your classroom.
I have a MUSIC CLASS RULES BOARD with the rules on it.
I ask my third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students to make up raps or chants using the rules. I give them instruments once they’ve got the words and the rhythms written down.
Next, they play their rhythm chants for each other.
USE THIS FREEBIE RHYTHM WORKSHEETS for this activity in your classroom.
EXITING THE MUSIC ROOM
You’ll want to have a lining up procedure for students to exit the classroom.
You may like a song you can sing like this one that’s sung to the tune of “Mulberry Bush”
This is the way we line up, line up, line up.
This is the way we line up when music class is over.
Or a poem “Line up line up quietly, quiet as a mouse can be”.
I’ve used puppets during the first 2 weeks of school to sing these songs and teach them to the students. I’ve also video taped myself singing them and showing the video to the students.
That way I can use the video, a puppet, the posters, and the actions to teach the rules through a variety of ways.
You’ll definitely want to show students where to line up and if you want them to be quiet or not?
I use a sit spot to mark the spot where I want students to line up.
READ THIS POST FOR MORE SONGS AND GAMES BACK TO SCHOOL SONGS AND ACTIVITIES
You may want to consider some “music teacher” traditions that you do when students leave music class. I use the “pinky” wave for kindergarten and first grader to let them know that I love them, but they can’t jump their line and run up and hug me right now.
In essence it means, “I see you and I want to stop and chat, but, you are on the way to lunch and I have another class right now, so follow the directions of your teacher.”
HUG TO GET CALM
Students wrap their arms around themselves and give themselves a great big hug.
Make a big bubble gum bubble in their mouth. Be sure to breathe through the nose.
DOUBLE THUMBS UP
Students give me and their teacher a double thumbs up as they leave the room. This shows the teacher and me they did great!
SITTING DOWN STANDING UP
Although I don’t use these actions for students to sit down and stand up exclusively all year long, I do teach them at the beginning of the school year.
That way when I need them-I’ve already shown students what these hand signs mean.
I raise my hands up and wave them down-
I practice this with my students a lot at the beginning of the year.
I like to use hand signals for directions instead of talking. My students respond really well to them.
PLAY A GAME
I play a game with the hand signs. I do the actions FAST and SLOW to try to trick them to see if they can keep up with me standing and sitting.
I try to make these teaching moments FUN! And, you can TOO!
Share that you don’t want them to miss music class and encourage them and their teacher to take bathroom breaks before coming to class.
Sing Play Create has many songs for lining up, for getting quiet, for sitting down, and for learning names.
My favorite sitting down song is “Criss-cross applesauce, hands in my lap. 1-2-3-4 I can clap!” Students have always responded positively to this short song or chant. Here’s a version of this song on our YouTube Channel.
PASSING OUT INSTRUMENTS
In addition to all the other procedures, you’ll want to come up with some kind of system for passing out instruments.
When I’ve had rows in my room, I’ve had row leaders that got the buckets and passed out things to their row.
You can organize your students into groups after the first couple of weeks when you know them a little better.
Students love to help, and it builds a sense of community when you are all working together to get an activity going.
So to make all this magic happen, I use classroom management chants, songs, games and visuals in my classroom.
I have found that my students respond more positively to these types of directions than reading a list of rules from a power point.
And it helps BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THE FIRST DAY!
GET THE MUSIC CLASS ESSENTIALS BUNDLE HERE
MAKE it FUN!
If you want some more ideas, READ this post where I talk about how to build relationships on the very first day of class.
Here are three key ingredients to building relationships during the first weeks of school.
You’ll find that it’s easy to SMILE when you have structure, planning and routines in place in your classroom.
ESTABLISH A GREETING ACTIVITY
I love to use hello songs at the beginning of class.
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.
LEARN STUDENT NAMES
Here are some tips from the blog post Elementary Music BTS Name Games and Activities
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 helps with relationships as well as management.
As a music teacher, I don’t want to spend all day disciplining my students, I want to make music with them.
That’s why I created these songs and chants and they are a POWER resource for any teacher.
If you like singing and chanting, then you’ll love the MUSIC ESSENTIALS MATERIALS.
And, when you invest in learning these songs and chants, you’ll be able to use them in your classroom forever.
BULLETIN BOARD EDGING
I like to use bright colors that coordinate with each other on the walls and on the floors. I also don’t like to change the decor every year. Just SOME of the posters, but not EVERYTHING! Using the borders and the sit spots as the basis for the color scheme.
If you’re looking for a first day lesson plan, check out this blog post:
The MOST important thing is to HAVE A PLAN!
FINAL CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TIP
Create a Google Slides presentation with your first day activities. Insert the slides, the audio files, organize the order and be READY for the first day.
I make a presentation for EACH GRADE LEVEL for the first month of school.
I only see them one time a week, so I am going to use this presentation to teach, practice and assess if they know what I’m doing.
As I progress through the first month, I add in the first music activities like “Engine, Engine No. 9” Beat and Rhythm activity with my Kindergarten classes. That usually happens in the third week.
I want you to know that here at Sing Play Create we’re working to bring you interactive effective resources you can easily use in your classroom.
I want you to be successful in your music teaching career.
My goal is to help you with blog posts, reels, YouTube videos, and Freebies to support your music teaching journey.
I hope that these tips help you with your elementary music classroom management.
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Please check out the Sing Play Create YouTube Channel with over 100 videos of activities.
Thanks for reading!