Saturday, August 12, 2017

4 Time Saving Hacks for Lesson Planning


I am one of those teachers who has to have a lesson plan. Yes I've had to "wing it" from time to time but I'm truly at my best when I have a plan.

Over the years, I have spent WAY too much time planning. Hours, days even thinking and rethinking. Finally I figured out how to create a good lesson plan in far less time and then have some time for other things.

I fill in the blanks! Yep it's that easy. Here's what I do.

1) use a template - include all the things I want to cover in every lesson, ie. rhythm, listening, singing

2) plug in my material, ie. songs I want to sing, rhythm, composer I want the kids to study

3) choose an music making activity - I love K&D GamePlan,
 I don't use all of their material but they have wonderful activities.
You could use music series texts or activities that you learned at a PD - just make sure YOU enjoy it. That energy will translate to your students. And... you might be teaching the lesson a few times so make sure you like it! 😉

4) look forward to having fun in your class without the stress of worrying what to do next. You know what you are going to do, you know what materials you'll want to use, etc.

I put all of my elements (songs, rhythm, etc.) into a Smart Notebook file and the lesson practically runs itself. (FLASH: More about the Smartboard in Music in another blog post.)

Here is an example of my template and how I fill it in.


They say....repetition, repetition, repetition...AND they are right. I choose a song (usually about the time of year or season) and we sing it for the whole month (3-4 times). By the 3rd or 4th time, the kids have heard it enough to sing it. I choose songs from Music K-8 magazine and I show the lyrics on the screen as a powerpoint.

I focus on a couple of rhythm patterns for each grade level and we practice them every class! I have an 8 measure rhythm example that includes several patterns that the grade level is working on. Yes, we say/clap it at each lesson for a month. Remember... repetition.

Then we do a music activity. Maybe we play recorders or boomwhackers or bar instruments or dance or ... something else. This is where I plug in a GamePlan activity.

Finally we do some listening to our monthly Musician in the Spotlight.

My kids LOVE this part of the lesson. I mix up the musicians with a different genre each month, ie. jazz, pop, soul, orchestral (what non-music folks might call "classical"), etc.

At the end of class, we do some rewards and housekeeping and the kids leave.

That's it! Easy-peasy. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Here's to less time doing lesson planning and more time doing what YOU want to do!

Happy honking!

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