July 31, 2013

Using Music in the Classroom- Part 7

As someone who absolutely LOVES music, I just naturally brought it into the classroom with me. Through trial and error, I figured out a couple of fun ways that music could play a big role in making my classroom successful. I'll be sharing 8 of those ways over the next few weeks. Feel free to subscribe to my feed or follow by email (in the sidebar) so you don't miss any of them!

#7: Create smooth transitions.

Have you ever had that feeling like you are herding cats? That your day would be so much more productive if it didn't take your class ten minutes to transition from math to science or science to reading?

I certainly have. I hate to admit the large number of days that I felt our schedule was getting crunched and I took that pressure out on the kids by trying to rush them from one thing to another (and getting frustrated with them if they moved slower than I'd prefer). 

One easy fix for this would be to use music to signal the end of the one activity and the beginning of another. This works best when it is used with a routine change that you make every day. For example, we always did our reading lesson first, then math, so I would have used it during the transition from reading to math. 

Find a short, fun song that lasts for however long you want the transition to last for. As you announce that we will be ending one activity and moving onto another, start playing the song. Let the kids know what supplies they need to get out and where they need to be (ie- their desk, the carpet, etc) by the end of the song. Practice this transition a few times during the first day of school to get the kids used to the timing of the song.

As your class starts to hear the same song over and over, they will get used to hearing the cues in the song that signal that it is almost done. That way, they will know they only have a few seconds left without you being the one to rush them. 

Another version of this idea is to sing a song that transitions the kids. When I student taught in second grade, the teacher would always start to sing a 'good morning' song after the announcements were over. She'd walk around and tap kids on the head as they all sang the song. When they were tapped, they would walk over to the carpet and find a seat, singing the whole time. By the end of the song, the entire class was sitting on the carpet ready for the lesson to begin. The beauty of this was that she didn't have to give one command or reprimand one child for not listening. They already knew what to do when they heard the song. 

Check out the rest of the series 8 ways to use music in your classroom:

#1: Start the day off in a calm way
#2: Clean your room in 3 minutes
#3: As a free and easy reward
#4: To lower your stress
#5: To keep the room quiet
#6: To Teach a set of facts
#7: Create smooth transitions
#8: Grab students' attention without yelling

How do you use music in your classroom?

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