He shared this article, 5 Things to Say to Your Class Every Day and challenged us to think about the things we are saying to our students. So below are the things I try to say, want to avoid saying, and things I need to say more often.
#1 - Compliments
Compliments go a long way with kids. They want to know that you are more than just their music teacher. You are a person and when you compliment them or notice new things about them, you are acknowledging that they are important people to you. I always try to take the time as kids are coming into my room to assess their moods, say "good morning" or "good afternoon", but going even farther to say "I like your shirt," "Did you get new shoes?" or "I like your new haircut!" can really brighten their day. I challenge you to find three kids to compliment on their way into your room every day.
#2 Avoid Escalating Bad Behavior
I have a hand full of kids who can easily be set off and a situation can go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds if not handled in just the right way. In some cases I have had to learn that it is not "my way or the highway," but I can keep things more calm in my room if I remove myself from the situation and give the student a moment to calm down, whether that is in my resting spot, out in the hall, or with another teacher.
I need to remember that sometimes there are just other things going on in these kids' lives that are contributing to these behaviors. I had a student who was really disruptive in class a few weeks ago. After class I pulled him aside and asked what was going on. He said he hadn't had breakfast that morning and he was late for school so he couldn't eat at school and he was just so hungry. I know this is a family that we always have to make sure the kids eat breakfast because they are not getting enough to eat at home. Instantly my attitude about the whole situation changed. I sent him to the nurse to get some crackers and he came to my room to apologize after school. Sometimes it is hard to remember it is not always a conflict with the student and myself, but that it could be something totally unrelated.
I want to try this week to celebrate the musician in each of my students. So often when a student sings or plays I don't make a big deal of it because it is just normal and second nature to my kids. Last week, my first graders were playing "Doggie Doggie" and one said, "____________ has a beautiful singing voice." I said "Wow! Yes she does!" I feel like it is so important to recognize the musician in every student to give them the courage to want to sing and play both with the class and alone.
I challenge you to listen to your teacher self. What do you like/don't like about the things you say to your students? What changes are you going to try to make?
A special treat for you- for Veteran's Day my entire store will be 15% off. My brother in law served in Iraq. I need to remember to take a moment today to thank him for volunteering for a job that I would be too scared to do. Make sure to thank a veteran today.
You can check out my newest games- Steal the Bacon. I learned about this game from Linda Wood, who posted it in the comments on my facebook page requesting that I make cards for the game.
The cards look like this:
Just print, cut down center, and laminate to last forever!
Set up: Set up two rows of chairs facing each other (like longways sets). Students are seated in chairs facing the row across from them. Each side is one team. Students number off the teams from opposite ends of the rows, so that each child knows their number. Rhythm pattern cards are scattered in between the rows allowing plenty of room to run. Teacher claps/says/or plays a rhythm pattern and then says a number. The students on both teams with that number run in to get the correct rhythm pattern; however, there is only one card for each pattern. They must get the correct rhythm pattern and get back to their seat before the other player can tag them. If tagged, the other player gets to “steal their bacon” and take the card back to their line. Continue until you clap/say all cards and then the cards for each team are counted. You can have some kind of reward if you choose to. Students whose numbers are not called cannot leave their seats. If a student leaves their seat to “help when their number is not called the other team automatically wins the “bacon”.
This game would be great for your upper elementary and even middle school kids- I've even made a few sets for older beginners! :)
I have sets for the following concepts and I'm working on more!
Or if you are interested in several concepts, you should check out the money-saving bundle:
I love how the internet connects us in this way to people all over the world! I'd love to see where you are reading this blog from. Comment below with where you teach!
Happy Veteran's Day,