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Elementary Music, Management

Going Back to Teaching After a Really Rough Day

And I mean like a really rough day. Really, really rough day.

This is my first year teaching. And man, it has been a year. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I intend for this to be uplifting, but I have been yelled at, cussed out, ignored, hit, and downright disrespected. I have some children that for the life of me NEVER sit down. I mean, spend the whole hour walking around my room touching my instruments. (Although I found out yesterday that they do it in everyone’s rooms, not just mine.)

We are not quite finished (still 22 days left), but we are getting down to the wire. Teachers are ready for summer (at least I am!). Students are ready for summer. And with that, comes some crazy.

And depending on your school, it might be a lot of crazy.

It might have already been pretty crazy, but now it is getting even worse.

Some days just drain all the energy out of you.

Then the next day, you are expected to go back to school.

How do you go to school the day after you were cussed out by a 10 year old? How do you approach that? How do you give your kids your best teaching self when you don’t feel like yourself?

I definitely do not claim to have all of the answers (and any input in the comments would be appreciated!), but here are some things that I (personally) have found help me out when it is the day (or the afternoon) after something really ridiculous happens.

Going back to Teaching after a Really Rough Day. Some tips for what to do the day after something bad happened, or when you feel defeated. What do you do? Becca's Music Room

Get Some Rest

This starts the night before (AKA the really really rough day). You need to destress. Whether that means taking a bath, reading a book, or just laying on the couch eating Taco Bell, do it. I know that this may be hard depending on if you have stuff to do or kids at home, but try your best. Put the kids in front of Moana and go use that hour and a half to take care of yourself.

I find that painting is a really great stress reliever. I paint a lot (so much so that I am about to open an Etsy shop), and it really helps keep my mind at ease. It is really great to take some time to just calm down and make something creative. (If you’re new to this, try abstract art. Anything goes!)

You can find more destressing activities in this post.



Take Some Time for You

This is more for the morning. In the morning, don’t just roll out of bed and throw some clothes on. Take a few minutes to enjoy yourself before going to school. That could mean reading your Bible, sitting on Pinterest, doing yoga, etc. It may just mean that you drink your coffee really slowly in the silence.

This will help get your mind right before you go to school. If you can take care of yourself, then you can take care of the children.

You can read more about morning routines in this post.

 

Pick Something Easy

Now, I know that most schools are sticklers for your lesson plans. But if it better to pick something easier on you than struggle all day. See if there is anything in your lesson plans that can be extended, shortened, or altered.

For example, I had a rough day a few weeks ago. It was a Wednesday. For the next two days, I was basically drained. My older students were learning a song and then getting on the keyboards. I shortened the song part (they still learned it, I just went a little faster) and put the extra time into their keyboard time (I always do half lesson and half playing for fun). I didn’t have to change my lesson plans, I just made it a little bit easier on myself.

If you feel like you just cannot do whatever your lesson plans say, then go ahead and reprint them just in case of an observation. And make sure what you replace it with is still going with the same standards.

For really easy lessons, I like this game or this movie.

You can read about backup plans in the music room here.

Going back to Teaching after a Really Rough Day. Some tips for what to do the day after something bad happened, or when you feel defeated. What do you do? Becca's Music Room



Remember….

Always remember that if a kid totally freaks outs, it is a rough day for them too. And they are still reeling from it too. What is traumatic for us is traumatic for them.

If a kid is having a rough enough day that they are screaming or they are walking out of the classroom or banging on instruments or whatever, then they are going to be upset as well. And although you may not ever want to see them again, you have to. So, make sure there is a consequence and then let it go.

It’s hard. I know. But you have to let it go.

That doesn’t mean there’s no consequence. That doesn’t mean you don’t learn from it. But it means that you do not continually punish them for something that they have already paid the price for.

 

So those are my tips for going back to school after a really hard day. Have you ever had these feelings? How do you deal with them? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to subscribe!

Happy teaching!



Going back to Teaching after a Really Rough Day. Some tips for what to do the day after something bad happened, or when you feel defeated. What do you do? Becca's Music Room


Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Free K-2 Music Lesson: A Train Jazz Lesson

All month, I have been sharing Jazz resources with you (since April is Jazz month!). I shared ideas for incorporating jazz and a jazz lesson on the song Blue Skies (which includes scarves!). This week I have another jazz lesson on the song A Train.

Now, if it is not April, do not panic. Jazz is great to teach all year long, and can be used to incorporate many different aspects of music—pitch, steady beat, instruments, mood, etc.

This lesson has some steady beat, but the bulk or it is actually making up lyrics for a writing connection. Because as we all know, incorporating academics is very important. I did this lesson with K-2, but you can definitely tier it up and use it with older students. Free K-2 Music Lesson: A Train Jazz Lesson. This lesson uses the Ella Fitzgerald and has a writing component! Becca's Music Room

A Train Jazz Lesson

Focus: I can keep a steady beat while listening to Jazz. I can make up my own lyrics based on the song A Train. Materials:

Free K-2 Music Lesson: A Train Jazz Lesson. This lesson uses the Ella Fitzgerald and has a writing component! Becca's Music Room Procedure:

  • I started this lesson with a review of the song Blue Skies from the week before (which you can read in this lesson). Students kept the steady beat, moved their hands up and down with the contour of the melody on the chorus, and pretended to play each instrument during the solos.
  • Tell them: We’re going to listen to another jazz song. This one is a little bit different, because at the beginning, they use instruments to sound like something that is not an instrument. If you think you have figured it out, give me a quiet thumbs up.
  • Have students close their eyes and listen to the beginning. I always have them close their eyes because than they are not concerned with their neighbors. Be prepared, some of them will start laughing, because it is funny.
  • Ask: What did that sound like? (Keep letting them guess until they guess train) It sounds like a train! They use a drum to sound like the tracks, and a trumpet to sound like the whistle. What do you think the song will be about? Let’s see where we are going on the train…
  • Allow students to listen to the rest of the song, and determine where the train is taking them (to Harlem).

  • Tell them: This song is like a map. It is giving people directions to Harlem. Harlem is a place in New York where people would gather and write songs, write stories, make paintings, and do other artsy things.
  • You can do the next part as a class or individually (or in small groups!). Have students come up with three directions to get to Harlem—the sillier the better! I put things on the board like “Go over….” And let them fill in the blanks. With some classes, I had three people pick and we wrote them on the board as class lyrics. Some classes have better writing skills, so they got to make up their own.
  • Have students write their three directions and then “That’s how we get to Harlem!” on the bottom.
  • Have students illustrate their map. Make sure they show all of the directions.
Free K-2 Music Lesson: A Train Jazz Lesson. This lesson uses the Ella Fitzgerald and has a writing component! Becca's Music Room
Here is an example of one of my kids’ map!
  • Put on some Jazz music while you finish up!
  • Have students share their maps with their classmates.

  PS– Here is a really great video of Duke Ellington’s band playing the song!

And there you have it! This was a hit (even though I made them write) with all of my classes. And for those who cannot handle pencils and clipboards (yes, I have those classes and if you need some help with them you can read here), we came up with lyrics and then we just danced in our seats to the music.

What is your favorite jazz song or lesson? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

 

Free K-2 Music Lesson: A Train Jazz Lesson. This lesson uses the Ella Fitzgerald and has a writing component! Becca's Music Room

Elementary Music, Lessons

Tips for Incorporating Social Studies in the Elementary Music Class

As music teachers, most of us try to incorporate different subjects into our classroom. Some of us may even have administrators that ask us to do this. I would do this regardless, but my administrators have expressed that they would like to see this as well. In school, social studies was one of my favorite subjects. I have always loved history and different cultures.

Even before I became a teacher, I knew that I would want to incorporate as much social studies as possible into the curriculum.

Throughout this year, I would say I have done ok with that. I definitely haven’t added it in as much as I would like, but I have used it some. I admit, I have been concerned with the new teacher I-want-to-teach-everything-everyday issue. I keep thinking I want them to sing every day and move every day and read every day and play music every day and incorporate other academics…. And that is a lot of stuff. I am trying, and hopefully I will be able to add more next year.

Anyway, here are some super easy tips on ways to incorporate social studies (history, geography, and different cultures) into your classroom. Most of them are little things you can add into most lessons without very much effort.

Check out a music-science lesson here and a math lesson here!

Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.



Keep a Map

This is something I installed at the beginning of the year and I love it. All year, I add songs to our map to show where everything is from. And every time we learn a new song, I show the kids where we live and where the song is from on the map. I also allow them to ask a few questions, because maps make kids super curious. (“What’s that big purple one? It’s huge!” “Why is England so small?”)

I have caught kids staring at it while getting into line, because it is a cool thing. I color code it so that each grade has a different color.

I printed mine off of the internet, but I couldn’t get the quality very good. I am planning to buy this one off of Amazon.

Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.
This map is up all year. I add names of songs as we learn them.



Use Music from Different Countries

Most of us do this without thinking, but think about it. Especially with older kids, tell them where the song is from or what kind of music it is. Add in one or two fun facts about the country or the culture.

It doesn’t have to be long, just one or two little things.

Even if you don’t go with different countries, you can show them different styles of music too. I have a really fun music styles bingo that you can do once they have learned about it. Find it here.

Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.
Bubble map about things we learned about Ireland during our St. Patrick’s Day lesson.



Embrace the Holidays

Black History Month. St. Patrick’s Day. Mardi Gras. Hanukkah. Christmas. Hispanic Heritage Month.

All of these provide easy opportunity for teaching about different cultures. Pick some lessons that go along with what holiday is coming up. Explore traditions in different countries.

 

Use different instruments

I observed a teacher this year that had an instrument of the day. Each one provided an opportunity to talk about different cultures. When I was there, she was showing the claves, so they talked about where they come from and what the claves are like. Then students who did a good job throughout the lesson were able to play them for a minutes or two.

This is a really great calming down activity, and if you are reinforcing the song or dance from the lesson, it is even better.

I just got some castanets like these!

Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.



Composer of the Month

This is a little more on the history side—composer of the month. This is something I have not tried but I have seen other teachers doing. Each month they pick a composer, and then use some of the composers’ music in the lessons. That doesn’t mean that that is all you do, put a portion of it. You can take some time to talk about the time period and the composers’ life—again, they do not need a big long lecture, just some quick facts.

Try to pick people you were going to pick anyway. You can use their music for movement routines (like this one) or for listening activities (like this one). For younger kids, it is a good idea to have a calm down activity so that they are not totally crazy when you release them into the hallway. I have found that just having them close their eyes and “move to the music” is a really great way to accomplish this.

Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.
Example of a chart on a country.



Show the country

This is my favorite thing to do. Whenever we talk about a different country, I show them where it is on the map, and then I google it and show them photos. It requires no set up at all. For St. Patrick’s Day, I typed in “Ireland” and showed them pictures of the landscape, the flag, the map, etc. Then we look at the pictures and talk about them. It’s super quick, and they will be amazed by it.

I find this is good because it makes it come to life. You can say that we are learning about a country called Ireland, but it may as well be Narnia if they cannot at least see pictures of it. Once they see pictures of the country and maybe the people, it becomes a real place to them.

 

So those are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate social studies in the classroom! I did not include any sort of country study or videos or books, but all of those are also great ways to include social studies in the classroom.

How do you incorporate social studies? How do you incorporate other academics? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe!



Incorporating Social Studies in the elementary music room. Some practical ways to use social studies with the lessons you are already doing in your classes! Becca's Music Room.



Uncategorized

Morning Routines for Teachers

We all know that our students need routines. We spend the first few weeks of school going over routines—how to line up, how to get supplies, how to turn in work, etc. (You can read about some routines in my classroom here) But sometimes we forget that we need routines in our own lives. I think this is especially true in the mornings—if we start our morning off with a good morning routine, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

It is important to remain consistent, especially as we are wrapping up the school year. I know all too well how easy it is to continually hit the snooze alarm, throw on some clothes, and make coffee at school.

Resist the urge. I am talking to myself—Becca, resist the urge.

We are at the post-spring break, testing, and crazy part of the year. Maybe it is different for you, but for me, it is getting harder and harder to get up and start my day well. But I will say, the days that I give in and sleep late and don’t take care of myself tend to be the days that don’t go so well.

So I am practicing having better control over myself and my habits. This morning routine has been the same for me all year. I adjusted a little bit since last year to allow me to get to school earlier (I prefer to get to school early rather than stay late).

Of course, you may have totally different needs that I do. I don’t have any kids. I do have two dogs to take care of in the morning, but I do not have to worry about people other than my husband.

So this is my routine, with a few suggestions for you: Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

5:30 Wake up, wash face

I would really suggest waking up early. It is so much better to have time in the morning to geet everything done. You don’t have to wake up at the same time as I do, but adjust the time based on when you need to leave.

As soon as I get up, I go the bathroom and wash my face. I read recently that you really don’t need to wash your face every morning, but I honestly just love the way it feels to have a clean face in the morning. Then I put on face lotion.

I use these (click on the pictures to see better):

Morning Routine Tip #1: If you are not used to getting up early, do it gradually. One week, try waking up ten minutes earlier. Next week, ten minutes earlier than that until you get to where you want to be.

5:45 Walk the dogs

So… I have to walk my dogs in the morning. This is obviously not something that everyone has to do, but I do. But in 48 days, we are moving, and we will have a fenced in yard. I will just open the door and set them free! I cannot wait.

5:55 Yoga or hair

So this alternates. Once every four days, I curl my hair. After that, I just pin my hair up when I am showering. Yes, you may think that’s gross, but it is truly the best for my hair. I use a Aussie hair insurance to smooth and protect my hair, and a wand to curl my hair (check it out here), and it takes of 15 minutes. And I have a lot of hair. And stays for four days.

On the other days, I do yoga. This makes my body feel ready for the day, and helps me feel mentally ready for the day.

Morning Routine #2: Do something for you. We spend the whole day worrying about our students, and it is vitally important to have some time for yourself. Whether that is reading, spending five minutes sipping on coffee in silence, petting your dog, whatever. Take a few minutes for yourself before you spend the whole day worrying about other people.

6:15 Read Bible

This is for obvious reasons, but the same kind of thing. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself. Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

6:30 Breakfast and lunch

At this point, I get mine and my husband’s breakfasts and lunches ready. I try to keep them really simple. He generally takes salads (we buy the salad kits) and something like crackers. I take fruit and yogurt or pretzels. All things we can just throw in a bag and go. For breakfast, I eat oatmeal and he eats a smoothie. And of course, I drink coffee. Morning Tip #3: Keep your breakfast easy.

6:45 Actually getting ready

After all of that, I spend all of fifteen minutes getting ready. I do my makeup (usually a little over 5 minutes. By the way, if you want to keep your make up looking good all day, I would suggest this primer. And using this on your eyebrows is a game changer—it is a super easy and quick thing to do and makes all of the difference.) Then I get my clothes on.

I find the best way to do this is to pick my outfits for the week the week before—I just pick out five things on Thursday or Friday and just put them together in my closet. This eliminates all of the I-don’t-know-what-to-wear issues.

It used to take me forever to pick out clothes, and now I do not. It takes all of five minutes each week and saves my tons of time. And although I curl my hair first, I don’t actually do my hair until after I put my clothes on because it never fails that it will pull all of my bobby pins out of my hair. And I eat my breakfast while I do these things.

7:00 Drive to work

I leave at seven and I drink my coffee on the way to work.

So there you have it—my morning routine and my 3 best tips for your morning routine. Remember, if your morning routine isn’t working, then change it. And keep changing until you get it where you would like.

Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz

What is your morning routine like? How do you use your morning routine to get ready for your students? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Morning Routines for Teachers plus some of my favorite beauty products! Tips for preparing yourself for those kids! Becca's Music Room.

3-5, Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Free Music Lesson: Blue Skies Jazz Lesson

As you may know (or you read in my post about Jazz lessons here), April is Jazz month! I actually just finished a unit on jazz (yes, my planning should have been better), but this allows me to share some of my jazz lessons with you. This one is one of my favorites from the year, based on the song Blue Skies.

I used this with kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. This lesson uses the song Blue Skies to incorporate singing, movement, instruments, and improvisation.

And yes, I used scarves.

Because if you cannot tell from this post or this post… or this post…. I LOVE scarves.

They are fun, they integrate movements, and you can use them as incentives. What could be better?

Now, this was actually two lessons for my students, but I will put it all here and you can make it one or two (or three if you want). Free Music Lesson: Blue Skies Jazz Lesson. Jazz lesson including singing, dancing, improvising, scarves, and instruments! Becca's Music Room.

Blue Skies Jazz Lesson

Focus: I can sing, move, and improvise to jazz music. Materials: You can click on these affiliated links to see them in Amazon.

Procedure:

  • Tell the students that we are going to learn a new style of music, called jazz music. Jazz music started in the United States when people from different cultures mixed their music together.
  • Listen to Blue Skies. You can do steady beat motions (snapping to the back beat is great for this), or have students close their eyes and “move how the music sounds” (I talk more in detail about this in this post).
  • Ask the students: If we have Blue Skies, what do you think that means? Are we happy or sad?
  • Teach them the chorus for Blue Skies by rote. While doing this, have the students move their hands up when your voices go up and down when it goes down.
  • Practice the chorus with the recording.
  • Listen to the song again, this time doing steady beat motions (patting shoulders, marching in place, swaying, etc.) until the chorus. At the chorus, stop and move hands up and down to trace the melody (my students like to pretend they are holding a paintbrush and we are painting the melody).
  • Do this activity again, but use scarves this time—because scarves make everything better!

Free Music Lesson: Blue Skies Jazz Lesson. Jazz lesson including singing, dancing, improvising, scarves, and instruments! Becca's Music Room.

  • Have students get a handheld percussion item, like tambourines (we just got these from Donor’s Choose and they are awesome!).
  • Have students keep the beat on their instrument on the verses and move their “paintbrush” up and down on the chorus. You could also have them move their tambourines up and down for a fun effect.
  • About halfway through, stop the music and talk about improvisation. Tell them this is something that happens in jazz a lot, where we make up our own music. Does this mean we are just as loud as possible? No. This means we try to think about what will sound cool and do that.
  • Play the song and allow students to improvise to the song. Walk around the room and listen and encourage those who do not need a little extra support.
  • Closing: Ask students what words they would use to describe the song. Was it fast or slow? Was it loud or soft? Legato or staccato? What kind of instruments do you hear? See what they come up with.

So that is my Blue Skies jazz lesson! I broke it into two by stopping after the scarves on the first day. On the second day, we reviewed the chorus, danced to the song, and then added in the instruments.

The kids loved it. So much so, that I may try it with some of my older students too. I am playing around with a parachute routine for it… So make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything! You can also click here to view a lot of lesson ideas on my Pinterest page.

Happy Jazz month!

Free Music Lesson: Blue Skies Jazz Lesson. Jazz lesson including singing, dancing, improvising, scarves, and instruments! Becca's Music Room.

Children's Church, Management

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church

I’m not going to lie, dealing with behaviors in church is really tough. It’s not school, and it’s only a few hours (maybe only one!) a week—so there’s no time for bad behaviors, right?

Wrong.

Other people think that church kids should be the best kids.

Also wrong.

Now, I am not saying you will for sure have difficulties. But there may be a few students who need a little extra push to help them behave appropriately.

Remember, children’s church/Sunday school is all about preparing students for their future—you want them to grow firmly in God. You can’t do that if they are yelling and screaming and rolling on the floor.

Now, hopefully, that will never happen to you. But to be honest, I have had a few who did that—do that.

And if you do too, I am here to tell you it may get better. I have two in my mind that learned a lot and got a lot better as time went on. One of them is older, and not in Children’s Church anymore. The other one still is. He still has his days, but as a whole, it has gotten much better.

So here are some tips for dealing with difficult behaviors in church. I have some other behavior management posts that you can read like this one. The others are centered on teaching music, but the concepts are all the same.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



Talk to the Parents

This may seem like a “no duh” kids of thing, but it is so important. If parents don’t know what is going on, they cannot help. They have to be on board in order to help difficult behaviors in church get better.

I will admit, I was scared of this for a long time. I did not want to talk to parents. Because seriously, who wants to tell a parent that their kids was being ridiculous?

But once I did, it really helped.

I stand at the door at the end of class—that way I guard both people coming in and going out. It also means that I get a chance to talk to all of the parents. With some of my more spirited children, I give an update every week—good or bad.

One more time: good or bad.

You don’t want it to always be bad. Don’t lie, but if a child was better than last week, tell them that. Especially if you talked to them last week and the news was not good.

Remember, you and the parents are on the same side. You both want little Johnny (I don’t have any Johnny’s at church) to grow up and love Jesus and be an awesome person. I tend to use “Johnny was having a tough time today. He did xyz…. I really hope next week we can do better.”

Avoid saying things like “He ALWAYS gets out of his seat…. She NEVER listens to me.” We are not interested in always or never. We are interested in the behavior today. And remember, it’s the behavior we are addressing, not the child themselves.



Have Clear Expectations and Consequences

This is harder in a Sunday School or Children’s Church environment. You don’t want it to feel like school. you also tend to have more students moving in and out.

But if kids don’t know that something is wrong, they won’t know not to do it.

Now, I am not saying that if you get a new kid you should immediately plunge into a long explanation of what is ok/not ok. But as things come up, mention them.

For example, I take my kids to the bathroom half way through church every week. This gives them a mental break, and also has almost completely eliminated the “I have to go to the bathroom!” conversation. Every time we go, I’ll say, “We’re going to take a bathroom break. This is the only bathroom break you will get, so you need to go now. We are not running down the hallway. Please use whisper voices, so we don’t disturb other people having church. Two people in the bathroom at a time.”

Now, if I have only the kids I have had since they were two, then I’ll shorten it. But the idea being—they now know what to do. There is no excuse to not do what you are supposed to do. If I hadn’t said those things, they would run, they would talk loudly, there would be 12 people in the bathroom, etc. but since they now know what to do, it eliminates the ambiguity.

And although you think something is obviously not allowed, that does not always mean the child does.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



Give Them Something to Work for

If you have never heard of PBIS, you need to look it up! It is all about getting students to do what they are supposed to by rewarding them.

This could be with food, with praise, with games, with special privileges, etc.

For a while, we would write all of the students’ names on the board. If someone was doing a good job, we would give them a point. Whoever had the most points would get to be it first in a game or we would pass out snack in that order. Whatever little reward it was, it helped. Class Dojo is an online version of this, which would be great if you tend to have the same groups of kids each week.

You can also do it as whole class. For example, if the whole class can earn three points, then we will play a game or go outside. They want to get the reward, and they will work for it.

On a crazy day, it also helps if you just walk around and hand out a piece of candy or one cheerio or goldfish (I know a lot of teachers that buy these large boxes off Amazon and they last forever). Don’t even stop, just hand one out and keep talking. The other kids will figure out what you want by looking at the child who is doing what they are supposed to.

I did this the other day with jellybeans. I didn’t say a word, I just handed a jellybean to a kid who was sitting nicely and listening.  A few minutes later, I handed out another. You have never seen kids sit that nicely. And seriously, it only cost me 15 jellybeans. (I actually just gave them the ones I didn’t like out of my pack…)

These are also a cheap option.

You can use some of the ideas from this post as well.



Save the Best for Last

This goes along with the last one. One of my favorite ways to control behaviors in church (and at school, for that matter) is to have a built in reward. This could be anything they like—dancing, games, crafts, etc. whatever really fun thing you are going to do (once more, that you are already going to do), do it at the end.

That ways you can remind them the whole time.

You have to listen to the lesson to play our really fun game.

You have to participate if you are going to do our songs.

I am looking for people who are going to be able to dance today.

Oh good, so-and-so looks like he wants to go outside. I can tell because he is sitting still with his eyes on me. He’s not talking or messing with people.

Try it and see the children transform before your eyes.

Note: if you do this and a child really doesn’t earn it, you need to follow through on it. Give them plenty of chances, but in the end if they cannot get themselves together, then they do not need to have the reward. They can sit and watch while you play a game.

You have to follow through. The kids notice whether you do or not. And if a child has bad behaviors in church the whole time and still get the reward, they will continue their behavior. And the others will look at that and think they don’t need to bother behaving well either.



Remember that They are Kids

I do not mean this in an excuse kind of way. It should not be “Oh, well Johnny was dong flips and broke the door, but he’s just a kid.”

No.

I mean, you have to remember what kids are like. They are energetic, they like fun, and they like to talk. Build in some time where that can happen. Build in time for dancing to get energy out. Plan for them to play games. Maybe give them talking time during a craft or have a break in the middle so that they can get do that (because their attention spans are very small).

Never use the excuse that they are just kids, but do remember that when you are planning your lessons.

You can read more about finding building your lessons around different ways to keep kids engaged here.

You can check out this book for more information and ideas:

 

So those are my best tips for controlling bad behaviors in church! It is no magic wand, but just some things to help you get through your day.

How do you handle bad behaviors in church? Let us know in the comments!



Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



 

3-5, Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz

If you cannot tell from other posts, I love to teach students about different kinds of music. I think that music teachers have a unique job in that we can show the students the similarities and differences between different cultures. Music is a great way to integrate different cultures. I spent some time teaching my students about jazz this year, and am sharing some of those lessons—along with some other ideas—with you.

If you want to incorporate different kinds of music, jazz is a good starting place. It is different enough from what most students listen to that it is new, but close enough to popular music that they don’t think it is totally weird.

Here are just a few ideas for how to incorporate jazz music into your music class!

PS—These are great for Black History Month, but you should know that April is Jazz month! And of course, you can just do it anytime.

And if you want to incorporate other styles, here are some ideas for opera!

Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz. Free music lessons to help teach jazz in elementary music. Great for Black History Month or Jazz month. Becca's Music Room.



Backbeat

Jazz is all about the back beat. Practice keeping the steady backbeat first by using movements, then with instruments. I found that tambourines provide a similar sound to the cymbal on the drum set.

By the way– I just got these tambourines in my classroom (from Donor’s Choose!). They are super cute– they are the ones in the pictures above.

Improvising

There are a few ways to do this.

With younger students, I used the song “Blue Skies”. They kept the backbeat with the tambourines. About half way through, we talked about improvising, and I allowed them to try it. We talked about trying to make it sound cool instead of just making tons of noise.

With older students, you could start there, and then go further. On xylophones, you can do question and answer improvising—you improvise for eight beats with the music, then they improvise for 8 beats. Don’t forget to make the xylophones pentatonic.

You can also practice scatting! Have students listen to a song that has scatting in it. Talk about what scatting is. Decide on a syllable and note, and have students come up with their own rhythms. (For example, you can have students use the syllable “do” on middle C. This way they only have to come up with the rhythms.) Once they have that down, you can open it up to different syllables. (Don’t forget to model for them.)

Also read: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Five Little Monkeys (with Math and Reading!)



Instrument study

Jazz songs are great for instruments, because the instruments often take turns improvising! Talk about the types of instruments that you hear in jazz music, and show them pictures (if you can bring some in, even better!). Show them how to play the instruments.

While listening to the music, have the students pretend to play each of the instruments they hear.

Bonus: for an assessment, you could have students hold up cards that say what each of the instruments are.

 

Scarf movements with melody

I did this with the Blue Skies song too. Teach the students the chorus, and have them move their scarves up when the melody does up and down when the melody goes down.

For the verses, you can have them follow you with movements or make up their own!

Read more above listening lessons with scarves here and get YOUR scarves here!

 

Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz. Free music lessons to help teach jazz in elementary music. Great for Black History Month or Jazz month. Becca's Music Room.



A Train

This song is about directions to get to Harlem. Have the students listen to the song, and tell what directions are said (take the A train). Have students come up with their own directions on how to get to Harlem, and draw a map that shows it. The more ridiculous, the more fun! My favorite one said that we had to go over the Great Wall of China.

 

What a Wonderful World

Talk to students about Louis Armstrong, and how he was a really important jazz composer. Tell them a little bit about his life. Have them listen to the song What a Wonderful World. Have students make up actions for the song—you could have one group make up actions for the first verse, another group for the second, so on and so forth.

Ask students what you think a wonderful world would look like. Have them draw a picture and write a few sentences about their own wonderful world.

Also read: Phrases for Classroom Management in the Music Room

Books about Jazz

Books are always a really great way to teach about music– and include reading lessons as well.

Miles the Crocodile is a really cute book about jazz. Here are two books about jazz you can read to the kids. Click on the pictures to see them.

So there are some ideas for Jazz music! How do you incorporate jazz music? And how what styles of music do you like to incorporate?

Happy Teaching!



Music Lesson Ideas: Jazz. Free music lessons to help teach jazz in elementary music. Great for Black History Month or Jazz month. Becca's Music Room.



Children's Church, Lessons

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus’ Forgiveness

I know you are thinking– interactive object lesson? Is that a thing? Well, it is today. This is one of the best lessons that I was able to do with my kids to help them learn about Jesus’ forgiveness in a fun way. It is super simple and very effective. It is easily adjusted depending on students’ age. The only thing I am going to say is that you need really good erasers like these.

Also read: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

Jesus’ Forgiveness

 

Materials:

 

Bible verses:

1 John 1:9 Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

Procedure:

  • Have students draw a large heart on their paper. If you’d prefer, you can print out large hearts instead.
  • Ask the students if the heart is pure. Since it is clean, the answer is yes.
  • Tell them, sometimes even when you are trying to do a good job, we mess up anyway. What is a way that we may mess up?
  • Once a student tells you a sin, tell them that sin clouds up your heart. Write the sin on the heart (big!) and have the students do the same.
  • Ask the students what might happen after that. True to connect all of the sins. For example, if the first sin they offer is stealing, then tell them you might lie to cover it up because you don’t want them to know. Then write the next sin on your heart and have students do the same.
  • Repeat these steps until the heart is full of bad things.
  • Now ask them, do you think that Jesus still loves you even with this? (Yes!) But do you think he can live in your heart with all of that stuff? (No.)
  • We need Jesus’ forgiveness sometimes. Can someone tell me what forgiveness is? How do we get it?
  • Read 1 John 1:9
Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.
It should look similar to this when finished with the “sins” part, but with whatever sins your students come up with.

Also read: Free Church Object Lesson for Putting God First

  • Ask them “So what do we need to do to be forgiven?” Once they say that you need to admit it and ask for it, ask them, “Why do you think that you need to say it out loud?” (Because we don’t want to hide that it happened. We have to admit it so that we are being honest.)
  • What else do you think would be a good thing to do? Guide them until they answer that you should talk to the people that you wronged.
  • Go through each of the sins on the heart and “make it right” by talking to the person you wronged, making it right, and asking for Jesus’ forgiveness. Each time, erase the sin from the heart. Have the students do this as well. (This is why you need good erasers like these!)
  • Once it is clean, ask the students if they will think it will sty like that forever. (No.)
  • Tell them: It’s probably not going to stay pure forever. Even if you try hard, you will probably mess up every once and a while. The important thing is that we try to do our best to be like Christ, and that we ask for forgiveness when we mess up—and quickly after! We don’t want to end up filling our heart with sins, because then we will have a lot of stuff to fix.
  • Give the students a few minutes (play a quick worship song) and ask them to think about something they may need to ask forgiveness for, and to pray for it. At the end, pray a general prayer over them that they will learn from this lesson and try to keep their hearts pure.

There we have it! If you need some more things to do, you can check out My Kids’ Favorite Church Games or my Pinterest page to find things to do.

There you go! What is our favorite object lesson about Jesus forgiveness? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

 

Elementary Music, Management

Routines You Need in the Music Room

All teachers know that classroom management is essential for learning. This is very true in the music room—without classroom management, how can you play instruments or do dances? An essential part of classroom management are routines. Routines keep things orderly. And if students do them enough, they will be so second nature that you do not even have to help (or at least that is the end goal—we may get there one day!).

Honestly, even though it is March, not all of my classes are to the autopilot stage yet. There are a lot of factors that go into that fact, but honestly, I think a lot of it is that some classes just don’t care. I think this because I have a lot of classes that can do all of the routines we will talk about without any help.

So what kind of routines do you need? This will be different for every class and every school. you have to think about things that students do often in your classroom. These would the very basics:

  • Entering the room
  • Exiting the room
  • Getting supplies
  • Bathroom/water/tissue/etc
  • Movement in the classroom

Now, you may have more routines than this. You may have centers movement, turning in work, dealing with instruments, etc. These would be the very basics of routines in the music room.

Again, these will all be different depending on your classroom. We all have different classrooms with different students and different set ups. We all have different “crazy tolerances”. (AKA how much we are willing to let students wiggle or sit strangely, etc.) All of these things affect how you do your routines.

I am going to let you know my routines, as well as ways that I have seen other teachers do it. If you have anything to add, please leave it in the comments!

And don’t forget to subscribe!

Also read: Phrases for Classroom Management in the Music Room

Routines You Need in the Music Room. You need each of these routines to ensure a smooth music class! Becca's Music Room



Routine #1: Entering the Room

I will admit, this is one that my students and I have not totally figured out yet. Now, my kids have assigned seats (and if yours don’t, fix it quick!), so they come inside and sit on their assigned dots. They know (and I tell them every single day) that if they come in quietly and quickly, they will get a class point (you can read more about that here).

For people who do not have assigned seats, I have seen other teachers that brought the line inside and made a circle, keeping the same order. They held hands just to make sure it looked good and then they sat down.

I have also seen where they sat in assigned seats, but the teacher had music playing that they were listening to immediately. This is something that I have not done, but am going to try. I’ll let you know how it goes!



Routine #2: Exiting the Room

Again, depending on how you have students set up, this will change. My students have assigned “dots” that they sit on. We skip some rows so that they have space, so I have students on green dots, purple dots, red dots, and “brown dots” (carpet squares). To line up, I have the green dots stand and walk towards the door. Then the purple dots stand and walk away from the door so that they can go down the green row. Red and brown follow. This has worked very well for me.

Line order? You may ask. I always tell them we will get in Mrs. Davis’ line order first. Then I count down from ten to give them time to get into their line order.

Note: Some classes have had problems getting into their line order, so I just say that their teacher can do it in the hallway if they want to.

Also read: Keys to Classroom Management in the Music Room

Routines You Need in the Music Room. You need each of these routines to ensure a smooth music class! Becca's Music Room

Routine #3: Getting Supplies

This one is so important! Especially if you have a lot of supplies to get in a day. Try to make it as streamlined as possible.

For example, if we are coloring, then I put the paper, clipboards, and crayons right next to each other. This way it is easier to get all of the things.

I do this by rows as well. I tell them I am looking for a row sitting criss cross applesauce and quiet to pick. Once I pick a row, they stand up, stay in the same order and come up front. Then the walk around to the other side and go down their row. This way, no one walks through the carpet (AKA less likely to step on a hand). They should all still be in the order the sit in when they get back.

If you have tables or have students in groups, you could have students pass out the supplies. You could have them pass the supplies down the line until they get to the end. But there must be a system.

And if you do have that sort of system, I would definitely get these organizers.

Use the same system for picking up the supplies as well.



Routine #4: Bathroom/Water/Tissue/Etc

That is very vague, I know.

This routine is for all of the extra stuff. Are you going to let the students go to the bathroom during class? Do you have a sign out sheet? Do they ask you? Can they just get up and get tissue?

In my class, I like to minimize movement as much as possible. I do not like students walking around if I don’t know where they are going, so I require students to raise their hand to ask for these things. Even tissue. Especially because a lot of them like to go to blow their nose or go to the bathroom when they are bored. And they like to intentionally walk past people to talk to them. Yes, that’s a thing.

I only do bathroom as an emergency, and I tell them if they go they will not get a ticket (PBIS—same as a Dojo Point) because we are not supposed to go during music. This deters most of the kids who are just trying to play.

With blowing noses, I will let them but only one at a time so they don’t talk. Again, they have to raise their hands.

And I don’t do water unless someone seems like they are dying.

Note: if we have a really active day, like dancing or parachute, then I will usually play a video at the end and let them get water one at a time.

A lot of people use hand signs so that the teacher knows without calling on someone what they want. I do not. If you do, let me know how it works.

Another idea that I like but have not tried is having students write their name and destination on a dry erase board stuck to the door like this.

Also read: Free 3-5 Music Lesson: Extra Beat, Take a Seat

 

Routine #5: Movement in the Classroom

This is also a vague name for a routine. Essentially, what will students do the rest of the time? Like if you have to move from one activity to the next.

Again, this totally depends on your activities and what is going on.

A big on is centers.

If you are moving from one center to the next, what do you do?

I indicate the end of centers by playing a rhythm and having them clap it to me. (This requires them to put down anything in their hands.) Then I say “1, 2, 3, 4 put everything down, get off the floor AND FREEZE!” Students clean up their stations and stand. I always make them point to the next station to make sure they know where they are going. Then I say, “5, 6, 7, 8, hurry don’t be late.” And they go to the next station.

This took a few times of doing it before students really got this down, but now it is like second nature.

Also, I did not make that up. I got it from my mentor during student teaching and I have no clue where she got it from.

For pretty much any other movement, I call students by row. And I always tell them I am looking for the row that is sitting the nicest.



So those are the main routines for the music room! Of course, there are quite a few other routines that are not as major. Again, everything is going to depend on your students, your lessons, and your room. And of course, your “crazy tolerance”. (I totally made that term up, by the way.)

Subscribe and check out my Pinterest page for more classroom management and music lesson ideas!

What are your favorite routines in the music room? Feel free to share your routines in the comments!

Happy teaching!



Routines You Need in the Music Room. You need each of these routines to ensure a smooth music class! Becca's Music Room



Children's Church, Lessons

Best Easter Sunday Activities for Church

I am going to be honest, I used to struggle with Easter Sunday activities so much. I never knew what lesson to do. The kids are all hyped up on sugar. It’s just kind of ridiculous.

I know you are probably sitting there thinking, Becca—you talk about Jesus raising form the dead. Easter Sunday activities are so easy.

Yes.

However.

At least at my church, most of them can tell the story of Jesus raising from the dead about as well as I can. They hear it in Sunday School, on Wednesdays, from their parents, from me, etc. You may recall I have a similar issue on Christmas (you can find one of my solutions here).

Anyway, I don’t want to tell them the exact same thing that they already know. So I try to find different ways to do the job. So here are four of my favorite Easter Sunday activities to help tell the story of Jesus raising from the dead— for kids who know the story very, very well.

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room

Let’s Put it in Order

This is actually a new one I am trying this year.

Have students tell you different parts of the Easter story. Ask them what they know. Make sure they do not have any questions. Make sure they hit all of the points that you are using in the game.

Before class, write parts of the Easter story on pieces of paper with the Bible verses where it occurred on them. (You are going to want to use all four of the Gospels so that students can’t just use the numbers to put them in order.) Have students put all of the pieces in the order that they occurred.

Have students work in groups. If you have mixed age groups (like I do) make sure that you pair younger students with older students so that it will be more even. Someone in the group needs to be able to read. You could also do it without the references and just tell them that everything is in John. Or Matthew. Or whichever one you pick.

Also read: Free Church Lesson for Putting God First

Resurrection Rolls

This is pretty much the most wonderful object lesson EVER. One of my friends found it years ago and wanted to do it, and we have used it every single year since. You can find the original here.

Basically, you use a marshmallow (the big ones! I use these) to represent Jesus (because he is pure). Tell the students that he died for their sins. When he died, they put a bunch of stuff on his body so it would smell better.

Roll the marshmallow in melted butter and then in cinnamon-sugar mix. They put his body in a tomb, so you wrap it up in a crescent roll. Make sure it is sealed tight. Put the rolls in the oven (with a teenager to watch them!) until cooked. Have students bite into them and ask them what they find—the marshmallow will be gone. Because Jesus conquered the grave and rose again.

Just be careful because they might say, “He melted!”

Tip: Use aluminum foil on the pans so that it doesn’t stick to them. Trust me, when the marshmallow gets stuck to the pan, there is no getting it off.

The other article has all of the details (it’s where I found it!), so give it a read before you do it.

Bible Verse Egg Hunt

Have students hunt for Easter eggs. (Click the picture above or here to get them at a decent price on Amazon) In each one, put a Bible verse.

Depending on the group, the verses could be about different things. I have done this with verses about love, verses about the Easter story, etc. This year we are going to read prophesies of Christ—so verses that predict Jesus or that predict him dying and raising again. Have students hunt for the eggs.

Have each student read their verse out loud (you can write it on there or have them find it in their Bibles) and talk about what it means.

I am going with prophesies this year because I want the students to see the God knew exactly what was going to happen and had a plan the whole time. That is the main goal for this year.

Here is the one I am using. It is not the prettiest, but it does the trick! (You do not have to use all of the verses): Prophesies of Christ

Also read: My Kid’s Favorite Church Games

Egg Hunt

And of course, you can always just do an egg hunt. Not as educational, but it is fun.

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room

 

So those are my top four! We will be doing at least three of them this year (I am not sure about the normal egg hunt).

Of course, we always spend some extra time dancing to help us burn off the energy of the morning’s candy!

Don’t forget to subscribe or follow my Pinterest page for more posts!

What are your favorite Easter Sunday activities? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room