Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to Create Smoother Transitions in Your Music Class

 Hello Teachers,

Smooth transitions can be tricky for many teachers, so I'm sharing some of the tricks that I've used to create smoother transitions with my music classes.

Establish Classroom Routines: I’ve noticed that students respond to consistent routines to help them move from one activity to another.  For example, you can establish a musical game time as soon as your class is done with their board work or singing time. Your class will look forward to game time as a reward for doing well during their singing time or board work.  If they don’t listen during board work they lose a game you have planned for them. They will quickly learn they need to get their work done before they are allowed to play the game. You just need to remind them that there is a game coming next and they will usually want to finish their music work in order to play the game. (k-6th grades)

Using Games For Transitions
Use Transition Songs: I have my class move to a circle or spread out around the room to play different music games. I will tell my class to sing a simple song that they all know while they are transitioning into their new places. Singing a song will help them stay focused on singing instead of talking to everyone around them as they move about the room to a new place. I change the transition song frequently so I can use the songs as board work for rhythm or note practice. (k-6th grades)

Using Drums For Transitions
 Use Instruments: I try to use Orff instruments or other percussion instruments for every class as a way to help students transition smoothly to the next activity. We use drums to work on our rhythms. Playing drums is one of their favorite things to do and most of the time they will do anything to get to play the drums.  So I use them as a reward for students that are working hard on their board work and songs. (k-6th)

Get a Line-Up Makeover: I always end my class with a circle game. My class will stay in the circle after the game is done. Then I have them sing a short song as they move around the circle. I pick one child, who leads the rest of the class in follow-the-leader-style to the door to form a straight line. I have the line leaders go to the front of the line. We had a fire drill and the other teachers couldn’t believe how fast I could get kindergarteners to line up and move out the door. This works like a charm. If you email me, I will send you the easy line-up song that I use with my K-2nd graders.
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