Monday, March 21, 2016

More strategies for management

As my career has evolved, I have struggled with the issue of respect. I have found that it has deteriorated over the years. Many of my urban kids come into my class with a HUGE chip on their shoulders - acting out emotionally and physically. And even though I try to be sensitive, kind and gentle with them, there comes a time when you as the teacher have to move on. All those other darlings who ARE ready to learn are counting on you to teach them and engage them in the lesson. The exceptionally needy kids cannot get what they need from you in one music class. Or maybe ever....

Sometimes the kids who are most disrespectful are the most needy but... should they command all of your attention? Nope.

I have also been in a situation where my administration has been overwhelmed with other issues and cannot really support me. So what do you do? The disruptive ones cannot be sent to the principal's office. Or if you do send them, they are back before your class is over - ready to begin the disruption again.

I recommend a few choices.

1) hook up with a buddy teacher whose room is near yours. If you have a student who is acting out beyond the usual behavior and is truly disrupting the lesson, send the kid to the buddy teacher. Maybe you have a clipboard ready with a music word search or written activity. Of course be willing to reciprocate if your buddy teacher needs a break from one of his/her kids.

2) create a small separate space for a student to be removed from the group activity. Maybe it has a desk or a clipboard for writing. Make sure you can see him/her. Depending on the child, you could give them a writing assignment or just let them sit and chill out. Some kids need a music word search or puzzle to help them redirect their behavior. And do not worry if you implement different things for different kids - you want to be FAIR not EQUAL.

3) be in contact with parents. I resisted this for LONG time after an unpleasant experience. However this can be very motivating for kids. I recommend calling home for a good reason if possible FIRST. That way you have established a positive relationship with the parent - also the students will know that when you say you are going to call home - you mean it!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Management in the Music Room

So management is likely the most important part of my teaching day. If I do not have rituals and routines in place, no matter how great the kids are, there’s going to be chaos.

Over the past few years I have implemented the Whole Brain Teaching structure into my Music Room. Now I have not adapted ALL of their strategies but I have integrated the basics.

5 CLASS RULES: these pretty much cover EVERYTHING!

CLASS-YES: I sing all my “class”s and the kids echo back with “yes”.

TEACH-OKAY: Each student has a predetermined teaching partner who sits right next to him/her. We use this to re-teach (repeat) quick directions, short important points and the 3peat.

3PEAT: During the music history portion of the lesson, I create a 3peat: one sentence that captures an important fact about the composer, ie.  Bach wrote fancy rounds called fugues. This 3peat is spoken to the teaching partner 3 times.

SCOREBOARD: OH YEAH-OH NO (Mighty Groan) is basically a tally sheet. I have one I made for my Smartboard. The kids score a tally (Oh Yeah!) for doing something great and I score a tally (Oh No!) when they make poor choices. The object is to have more Oh Yeah’s than Oh No’s. These tallies are used to earn a few minutes of a highly desirable activity at the end of class. We are currently LOVING [Check out the Freebies on this site.]

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