Our March Webinar Teacher Feature starred Alief ISD’s Fine Arts Facilitator Michelle Lopez. Michelle shared some incredible tips for classroom management! Whether you see 50 students at a time or only ten, classroom management is an important tool in minimizing behavioral problems and maximizing learning opportunities!
Here are a few of my classroom management tips:
Structure, Structure, Structure!
Students need and thrive on structure! They function much better if they know what to expect. Structure can range from how they hold instruments when they aren’t playing them to having a signal that tells them to stop talking.
Students need expectations in order to be successful in whatever they are doing. In my classroom, I have certain expectations when it comes to properly holding an instrument and
tapping out rhythms with their fingers or rhythm sticks. Set high expectations for your students, and help them believe in themselves to achieve it. If your expectations are too low, then they will lose motivation and have nothing to strive towards.
Click below to see Michelle coaching her students on proper handling of rhythm sticks. She sets her large class of students up for success by setting clear expectations for this potentially chaotic process.
Transitions are key
I like to play fun, catchy songs like Quaver Music’s “Lines and Spaces” that get stuck in the students’ heads when transitioning. The best part about using transition songs is that students think it’s just for fun, but really you’re planting an ear worm for something you’re either currently covering in class or are going to soon.
Naming the walls, such as the “keyboard wall” or “rhythm wall,” in your classroom is another handy transition tip. This allows students to quickly turn their attention to another part of the room, if necessary. For example, if I have a student that is having trouble focusing, then I tell them to face the wall they’re closest to so I can move closer to them. This allows me to be only an arms length away–making it easier to keep their attention and prevent any misbehavior.
Our job is to INSTILL the love of music into our students. If we don’t make it fun, who will? We need to get to know our students and bring things into our lessons that reach them. For example, one of my favorite warm up activities is Quaver’s Tic-Qac-Toe. This game challenges students to read simple rhythm patterns at different tempos. I even like to have the students select the backtrack we use for our rhythm challenges.
Since rhythm challenges are my favorite activity, I had to see if Quaver was up to the challenge! If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our rap rhythm challenge from the webinar–we even got into character!