Saturday, October 14, 2017

Moving Your Music Classroom?

The beginning of the year you set up your Music room just the way you want it.  It's organized and easy to maintain. You teach your students how to enter and exit in an orderly manner. Things are flowing the way you'd like and then...

there's a change in your space. It could be some kind of school construction or you could lose your room to a new section of first grade. This will require you to have a different space... now... just after you've gotten your students into a routine!

So... how do you set up a new space and keep similar routines? You realize that you cannot get everything in place before the classes start coming. The school schedule must go on. What can you make sure is ready before the kids arrive and what can you add little by little?

SET UP THE PHYSICAL SPACE the way you want. 

1)Are you setting up the seating in a semi-circle or in rows? Think about where you "present" most of your lessons: near the Smart board? next to your instruments? by the piano?

Do you have a "front" of the room where the students will face most of the time? If you use a rug or chairs or sit spots, decide where they work best and put them in place.

2) If your students bring their lunch boxes because they go right to lunch after your class, where should they put them? The special area teacher across from me has her students place their lunch boxes in a neat square (marked off by tape) in the hall outside the room. In the Music Room, I have a table and the kids put their lunch boxes under it.

Water bottles are commonplace in my school so I have a small area next to the table for them. I keep them separate so that a leaky water bottle does not get lunch bags wet. (Lesson learned from experience.)

3) Think about where you will set up your instruments (or at least store them).
Will your students move to this space or will you bring the instruments to them? If you teach different grade levels in a row, can your change what materials you are using easily or will you need to use the same stuff class after class (no matter what grade) because there is no time in your schedule to exchange materials?


After you've figured out how you are going to set up the physical space, think about how you will get your students in and out of the room. How will they move from the entrance to their place in the room? I use assigned seats for a few reasons: knowing where to sit creates better flow and less confusion. Now how will the kids exit your room? How will they gather their lunchboxes, etc?

Once you have your physical space and transition routines figured out, you can add your posters, silent teachers, etc. as time allows. Don't worry about getting that done right away unless you have the time.

The change in your Music Room will definitely affect your students. Most likely they will be taking it all in and not be as focused as usual. Go with the flow. Remind them of your classroom routines. Refocus them if necessary. It's almost like the first week of school all over again but they should respond more quickly.

Your classroom is a place where you spend ALOT of your time. Be thoughtful about how it will work FOR you.

If you have a topic you would like me to cover, please feel free to suggest it in the comments below.

Happy Honking! Ellen

This week's Musician in the Spotlight is country music superstar Tim McGraw. Be the first person to PM me on Facebook and I will send it to you for free! 

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