August 25, 2016 by morningcamequickly
I have to admit that sticking to a routine in class is hard. Don’t you just want to get into the music making? Alas, some sort of order is going to add some sanity to your classroom and help to guide your students through class. While surprises and fun Friday’s are good, the regular routine is what is going to help make your classes successful each time. Trust me, I don’t overdo it, but this works for me and I hope you find a refreshing idea or validation in what you do!
Beginning of Class
When the bell rings to end a period, I set my online timer to six minutes. That is three minutes of class switching time and three minutes to get their Daily Board Work (DBW) done. (Daily Board Work a.k.a. Do Nows, Bell Ringers) Adding the DBW has been a great addition. It gives kids time to come in, put their junk down, get their folder, and answer some sort of musical activity. And they know, that by the time the timer goes off their paper needs to be turned in or it’s late. I’m using these 89 Music & Choir Do Now, Bell Ringers, Daily Board Activities – they have quite a variety so every class is not the same.
What do I do while they do this? I greet them at the door, take attendance, and talk to anyone I need to. It runs pretty smoothly. This routine gets them in, teaches or refreshes something, and the bell cut off tells them it’s time to move on.
Middle of Class
After the DBW is done, I usually move on to some sight singing or rhythm work and then warm ups. Then into the repertoire! How often do you start working on a song and find that instead of getting A, B, and C accomplished, you jump into A which leads to D and then your music making is on a different path! It happens and this is why I like to be flexible.
Let’s face it. Some days a song just bombs – for whatever reason – and you just have to scrap the plans and move on!
End of Class
My advice for the end of class is to never let kids pack up more than 90 seconds before the bell rings. Let them get their folders away, grab their backpacks, and stand by the door. Right now, at the beginning of the year, teach them that they don’t leave until the bell rings and you wave them out. My classroom is far away from everything else, so I always try to get them out on time so they aren’t late for the next class. They like this. It’s respectful to them and their time and to the next teacher.
There you have it, a little peek into what my class routine looks like. It’s nothing earth shattering, but it works. And, when you find something that works, tweak it and keep it going. Hope your class gets off to a great start too!