Elementary Music, Organization

What is a Standards Based Music Classroom?

I recently posted my classroom tour video and blog post (you can check out the video here or the blog post here). I also posted pictures on my Instagram account. Throughout all of this, I got a lot of questions about different areas in my room. Some of those questions included:

  • Why do you have standards and I can statements up?
  • Do you have to use anchor charts?
  • You HAVE to have interactive bulletin boards?
  • What the heck is a data wall?

And more.

Now, the short answer to these and other similar questions is that I have these things because I am told that I have to have these things in order to comply with my district’s standards based classroom requirement.

So what exactly is a standards based classroom?

Standards based classrooms have two different components– they have a classroom component and also a lesson component. We will get into both of those down below.

Now, you may not need to have a standards based classroom. I understand that this blog post will not resonate with everyone. But when I was told that I had to have a standards based classroom, and that what I previously had did not cut it, I could not find ANYONE talking about a standards based classroom in music. So here I am, talking about a standards based classroom in music. So that you will not be totally lost.

I am basing this post off of what I have learned about in Georgia. You may have different requirements in a different state.

Along with this blog post, I am putting up a FREE standards based classroom checklist in my free resource library. To get access, you will need to sign up here so that you can get the password. I will also send you exclusive tips, tricks, and lesson round ups each week to help you even more!

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room

What is the point of a Standards Based Classroom?

A standards based classroom is just a fancy way to say that you are focusing your instruction, as well as your decor, on the standards. This way, you are focused on what you are teaching, and your classroom reflects that. Students should know what they are learning, have examples of it (in anchor chart or student work form), and be able to reference materials. They should also know where they stand in relation with the standards (how well they are doing) without making them feel singled out.

Confused yet?

Don’t worry. We will get into the nitty gritty right now.

What are the components of a standards based classroom?

Standards, I Can Statements, Schedules

Standards, I can statements, and schedules are probably the first things that popped into your mind when I said standards based classroom. For every lesson, you should have your standards posted. This shows the kids what you are working on. You should also have I Can statements or Essential Questions posted– this is basically the main theme of your lesson. If students are going to learn ONE thing, then what would it be?

I actually find these really hard, because in music, our standards are things like “singing” and “playing instrument” and “moving to music” and “describing music” and I’m like… we are doing all of those things.

For the purpose of your standards based classroom, just pick one that is your MAIN focus.

You should also have a schedule up, so that your students at least know how much time they have in your classroom. To have a perfect standards based classroom, you should really have a schedule for each class, but I have a funky schedule, and I finally convinced our academic coaches that that was not going to word for me.

Examples

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is examples. Students need to know what to do and how to do it. There are a few different ways that you should show your examples in your classroom.

A word wall is necessary, of course. This is just a dedicated bulletin board space with vocabulary words. I have seen people order them by alphabet or by concept. The main difference between a standards based classroom and a normal classroom, however, is that the words go up AS YOU LEARN THEM. So your word wall should not be full the first week of school. If you noticed in my classroom tour, mine is nearly empty, because the first week of school, we were reviewing. Each lesson, I add more and more to the word wall (If I remember……)

Secondly, you have anchor charts. Anchor charts are basically posters that you print or make that show students what to do or how to do it. Ideally, anchor charts are made with your class and are specific. Teaching music, however, that is not always a possibility (because I am not making five different anchor charts for first grade). So you can make them, or you can even get student input into what to put on them. I sometime laminate my anchor charts so that I can do them with the students with expo markers.

Student work should also be up in or outside of your room. It should be graded, and have commentary as to whether or not the students met the standard. Yes, I am aware that that is a lot. I did not come up with this, I am just relaying messages.

Working Areas

In a standards based classroom, there should be spaces for students to work independently, in groups, or in partners. Now, to be honest, my students just sit on the floor.

But technically, that qualifies. We have assigned seats for independent work, I separate them to different carpets for group work, and partners sit around the room.

SoI wouldn’t stress about this one– just think through if your room is conducive to all of those things.

Side note: Someone posted on Instagram asking if it was ok to put students into rows instead of the groups they had the students in currently. She said they were way too chatty. The answer to that is YES. When you decide where students will sit, think about what message that sends to them. If you have them at tables looking at each other, it sends the message that they should collaborate– it does not send the message that they should sit quietly and look at the teacher. If you want them to sit quietly and look at the teacher, then they need to be facing wherever you normally are.

Anyway.

Data Walls

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Data walls are probably the least helpful thing in music, if we are being honest.

Standards based classrooms have data walls so that students know where they are in terms of the standards…. AKA, how are they doing on the standardized tests. Yeah. Don’t get me started.

In my county, we don’t take any standardized tests for music (yay!), so this has been a challenge. Through the years, I have talked with my (4) different academic coaches to come up with different ideas that would be conducive to having 750 students. Here are a few things I have tried:

  • An “I can keep a steady beat” or “I can use my singing voice” chart. I just wrote teacher’s names on pieces of paper, and as my kindergarteners showed these skills, I added their names to it.
  • Recorder karate– or piano karate or whatever. I just printed out some charts from PowerSchool and checked off different skills as my fourth graders passed their piano tests.
  • Pie charts: I do give pretests/posttests in my class (but I make them myself). At the beginning of the year, I print out pie charts that show the percentage of the students in the class that are approaching/meeting/exceeding standards. Hypothetically, I update this mid way through the year but… that has never actually happened..

This year, I think I am going to try a modified version of the pie charts. I will get back to you if that works out.

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room

Standards Based Classroom Lessons

We are not going to go super deep into the lessons in a standards based classroom, we will talk a bit about it. The components include:

  • Opening: During the opening, the teacher should introduce the standards and the learning targets, and help students access prior knowledge.
  • Transition: Guided student practice of the concept.
  • Work session: Students work independently or with a small group. Teacher monitors, assists, and assesses students.
  • Closing: Formally or informally assesses students. Summarizes progress.

That is a lot of educational words.

I music, that might look totally different than in other classes. Let’s have an example. Let’s say we are working on quarter note and barred eighth notes in first grade. A practice lesson might look like this:

  • Opening: Students sing the song Tick Tock and perform actions with a partner (this would be the “hook”). Afterward, the teacher reminds students of ta and titi. They talk about how ta is one sound and titi is two sounds. The teacher “figures out” the rhythm for the first line of the song, then asks students to assist in figuring out the rhythm of the rest of the song.
  • Transition: Students get popsicle sticks. The teacher shows how they can use popsicle sticks to make ta and titi. They practice making rhythms from the song along with the teacher.
  • Work session: Students work independently or with a small group to figure out the rhythms of another song they are working on with their popsicle sticks. The teacher walks around and assists if needed.
  • Closing: Teacher could dictate rhythms for the students to notate with their sticks. Alternatively, they could fill out an exit ticket in which they write the rhythms of a song on the paper for the teacher to assess.

Not so scary, right?

Now, again, I would not stress too much about this for music class. In music, we are always working on multiple things, so it is not as conducive to having one thing. But throughout your units, make sure that you are following this model– even if it happens on four different lessons.

Need some more info? I got mine from the GA Department of Education. It talks about standards based lessons here.

Do you have to have a Standards Based Classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Are you being asked to have a Standards Based Classroom-- in music?! When I was first told this was required of me, I had no idea how to create a standards based classroom for my elementary music room. I am sharing all of the tips and tricks and things that should be on the wall of a SBC. Becca's Music Room
Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Organization

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days

I am going to be very honest– classroom decor is not my jam. Seriously. If you have ever heard my rant about bulletin boards, then you may have guessed that much. It’s not that I don’t want my elementary music classroom to be cute– it’s that to be cute, it takes some time and effort and money. And, frankly, I don’t have a lot of any of those things to go around.

So for the past two years, my room has been fine. It’s been bright, colorful, clean, and somewhat organized (as long as it’s not December or May….). If you are curious about previous years, you can look at my 2018 classroom tour here. This year, the specials team was supposed to come up with a theme, and we chose “Around the World in 180 Days” annnnd I totally ran with it.

Thus my new classroom was born.

There are a bunch of things that I updated from last year, and I made all of my word walls cards and solfege ladders and other things so they all match.

Annnnd they are all available on TPT here!

If you would prefer to watch a video, you can check out the YouTube video version below.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Front of Classroom

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Let’s start this elementary music tour with the front of my classroom. My students sit on the dot carpets (you can see them here), so this is the view they have the majority of the time.

On my white board, I have a world map that comes down, and also a projector screen. One or both of those are down 90% of the time.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

This little area is on the right right when you walk in. It is kind of sectioned off by the piano. It houses my word wall, mallets, some books, some instruments, and some decorations.

I use the mailboxes for storing hand outs and written work that has not been done yet. I also stick books we are using that week in there. Here is a similar mailbox set up, and here is one that is much prettier and a little cheaper.

I find the globe very helpful for helping kids understand how far away things are from us.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here is a better look at my word wall. I have rhythms on the left, words that I don’t spend whole lessons on on the right (like tempo and audiate and improvise), and in the middle I add words we are learning. Because this is the beginning of the year, we are really just reviewing. You can get my word wall here. The background has maps on them (do you sense a theme?).

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is my table and my expectations corner. This year, I am trying to keep this table as clean as possible. Some things that are always on it include my new staff whiteboard (Yay! No more drawing them on the board! Here is a similar one.), my chimes which I use to quiet kids down, my yellow and red cards for classroom management (I talk briefly about that here, but will go into more depth soon, so make sure you are subscribed!), and my envelope system.

The blue paper and the numbers next to it are the class points. I use the magnets to show the points, and then write down how many a class got under their grade number. We try to earn points so that we can play a game on Friday.

You can get that border here.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here is a closer view of my expectations board. It has the rules, the consequences, and a reminder to SLANT. I will go more in depth this this later on.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

I like to have my name somewhere where students can easily see it, because they forget sometimes, and I don’t want them to be embarrassed. This world is from the Target Dollar Spot, and I wrote my name in script.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

On the right side of my board is what I dub my centers bookshelf. It has all of the stuff I use in centers throughout the week, and things I use often like clipboards, whiteboards, markers, pencils, etc. I love having that portable whit board, because my white board is usually hard to see with the projector screen down (I believe this is the same one, I just never put the ledge on the bottom of mine).

Solfege cards are available here.

That sign is from Etsy, but it was a gift so I’m not sure where it came from.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Here’s a better look at the bookshelf. The box to the left of it is full of boxes of crayons.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

On top, I keep bass boomwhackers, a globe pillow, chalkboard that I always forget to write on, pencils, pointers, and turn in basket.

And yes, the labels are peeling off of the cups. I am working on replacing them.

The basket came with a whole set from Home Goods. There are actually two stacked on each other. The top is where students turn in any and all paperwork. If we are working on a project and do not finish, then I put the papers in the bottom box so that we can use them another day.

The pointers are from the Dollar Spot, and you can get an assortment of them here. I really like the stars because I call them my fairy wands. The bin is from the Hobby Lobby clearance rack.

Desk Area

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

We are not going super deep into my desk area, because it is not very impressive. But. On the side I have this bookshelf that I made to use as a nightstand in college (Interested in a tutorial? Let me know down below!). The top has my books on it, and the bottom has TE’s and some of my curriculum resources. On top, I keep me “to-do” basket. This is where I put papers to grade, permission slips, etc.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Beside my desk, I have another bookshelf. This one has CD’s, more of my books, scrap paper, bingo games, and more stuff like that. On top is a sort of command central. I have markers and colored pencils for anchor charts, binders, hole punch, bluetooth speaker, etc. The drawers have things I need but not often like Command hooks and batteries. The magazine racks are very helpful. One has anything that I may need to copy (originals of worksheets, extra paper, etc), and the right side has notebooks and flyers and things I don’t want to lose.

Piano Area

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

Next up is the keyboard lab. It is pretty simple. It has keyboards.

The colored boards on top are some of my DIY bulletin boards. They are currently empty, but that will change soon. I am making them into piano, ukulele, and guitar boards, but we haven’t learned them yet. I am going to add them as we go.

On the left is my data wall. Yes, I have to have a data wall. Once all classes have taken their pretests, I will be able to post data. I usually do percentage of the class that is on grade level, above grade level, or below grade level as a pie chart. If you need more info, let me know.

The background of the data wall is just a poster board from Target. It was about 50 cents. I would not suggest ordering online, because you would not want it to bend. The yellow border is Bordette. I got it off of Amazon. You can get it here.

Back of Music Classroom

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

I used to hate the back of my classroom, but with my recent updates, it is my favorite part!

In addition to that, I have a map on the wall. It is from the Target Dollar Spot. It is hot glued to this poster board because the stickies that came with it did not stick to the felt, but did stick to the wall.

Under that is a poster. You can’t see it well, but it says. “We sing songs from all around the world”, and has names of songs we have done along with the country they are from (if I can find it!) and clipart of the continent.

I also have my instrument bunting! This is one of my favorites! On the right is instruments of the orchestra (with the name of the family it is in), and on the left is classroom instruments. This banner is decorative, but also functional, and adds a nice splash of color.

You do not have to use both, and you can choose which instruments to use in order to make it the size that you want.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

In the back, I have my Focus Walls. Focus Walls are basically where I put things that are relevant to the lessons I am teaching this week. I have my standards, I Can Statements, mini anchor charts, and a running list of songs that we know.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room

This is the last section of my classroom. These shelves have instruments (does anyone have good hand bell lessons?!?), coffee can drums for Kidstix, textbooks that barely get used, a few suitcases for decoration, and a cabinet full of stuff. This has mostly school supplies– paper, glue sticks, scissors, etc. I hot glued clothespins to the outside to hang anchor charts on it.

So that’s it! I want my classroom to be pretty, but mostly I want it functional and to feel fairly clean. I try not to put too many things on the walls, and use my bookshelves to keep things organized.

You can see last year’s classroom here, or get the Map Decor Bundle on TPT here!

Want to get free resources? Sign up for the FREE resource library– all you do is put your email in, and you have access to all of the resources in the library (including quizzes, powerpoint, beat charts, rhythm cards, lyric sheets, and more!)– and new resources are added monthly! Sign up here!

Do you have a classroom theme? Colors? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Elementary Music Classroom Tour: Around the World in 180 Days. World map/country themed music classroom decor. Simple classroom decorating and organizing ideas for general music class. Becca's Music Room
Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Organization

Elementary Music Classroom Tour

Oh classroom tours…. how I love them.

But yet, there never seem to be enough classroom tours when it comes to music teachers.

Guys– I want to see your classrooms!

I figure that others must feel how I do to, so I am doing a classroom tour today! Now, it is not 100% clean (we’ve already had 7 days of school!) or 100% matching and gorgeous, but it is pretty good.

My classroom is huge. Really and truly, I am so spoiled by how big my classroom is. I have a general theme of blue-orange-yellow. I guess that’s a color scheme, and not a theme, but still.

Honestly, I don’t like to spend too much money on my classroom. I spent some last year and hardly any this year. I am slowly finding ways to make everything match a little bit better without breaking the bank.

And my back wall needs some serious help (like a paint job), so if you have ideas, let me know!

Also read: Easy-Peasy Differentiation in the Music Room

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Simple storage and organization from an elementary music teacher-- everything is cheap and easy to do! Becca's Music Room.



 

Welcome to my classroom!

 

Front section

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This is the very front of my classroom, where the board is. Students sit on the dotted carpets. I LOVE them. You can get them here. OR you can get sit spots, which are significantly cheaper.

And I have a whole blog post on that cart, which I LOVE! Buy it here, or read the article here.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This is immediately to the right of the board. I have my piano, word wall, standards, and I can statements. I always keep my djembe within reach, because I love it.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This is a close up of the table in the front. I got this chalkboard super on sale at Hobby Lobby. The buckets were Easter baskets my grandma gave us one year.

The blue one holds papers and pencils. In my fourth and fifth grade classes, when I see students listening, following directions, participating, etc, I tell them to “Go put your name in the envelope”. They come up and write their name on a paper and put it in the envelope with their grade level on it. On Friday, I pull out three names, and they get to go to the treasure box. Works like a charm.

The pink one has sticky notes. At the end of class, I have a few students write what they learned on sticky notes. There is a picture of where they put it further down. (Keep reading!)

Scarves and a few xylophones are stored under the table.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

They love it.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Standards and I can statements are in sheet protectors. The clothes pins have thumbtacks glued onto the back of them.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

On the left is my main classroom management tool. Each class earns up to five class points during a lesson. The points are represented by the owl magnets being put on the blue paper in a sheet protector (seriously, I use these for everything!) and is taped up. At the end of class I record the number on the sheets of paper (in sheet protectors!) above. They try to earn game time on Fridays. 20 points gets you 10 minutes of game time and 25 earns you 20 minutes.

We use music games they already know so I don’t have to teach them.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

I’ve been using my wind chimes to help students get quiet (although I really want this handheld one!). In my younger classes, they raise their hand as soon as they hear it. In 2nd grade on, they wait until it stops ringing, then raise their hands. This requires them to be really quiet to hear it. If they do it right, they get a point for it.

I got the idea from this post, which is a godsend for chatty classes. Seriously. It is for classroom teachers, but you can transfer a ton of the ideas.

 

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Expectations poster. On the first day, I play a rhythm and have students guess which one I am referring to. After that, we sometimes clap and chant the expectations at the beginning of class.

 

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Manipulatives! This is my bookshelf for all things centers. I eventually want to get some kind of file folder system, but this is ok for now. See those orange boxes in the middle? They are shoe boxes covered in fabric (with hot glue!). This has been my #1 way of coordinating my classroom without breaking the bank. The yellow tub was at my house. The blue ones were in an old science classroom. I have bass boomwhackers in the black home depot 5 gallon bucket.

Also here: white boards, markers, rhythm cards, treble clef battleship (read about it here), dominotes, clipboards (from a Donor’s Choose project), etc.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

These are just some fun things in the corner of my room– a Mahler poster, owl poster, Mozart and his family, people playing sackbuts (if you didn’t pay attention in music history, those are medieval trombones), and a picture of my college choir. These are all things that were in my house and we didn’t want post-moving.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Behind my piano is most of my smaller instrument storage. You see more shoeboxes– and paper boxes!– covered in fabric. I haven’t finished them all, but it is some. I also keep my copies of choir music on the shelf so it is easy to find.

All those can drums and drum sticks are for my Artie Almieda stick stations. If you don’t have those– you should. Check out the book here!

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Another view of my word wall. I call music vocabulary fancy shmancy music words.

For example, loud is a word, but forte is a fancy schmancy music word. So I wanted to include that.

Also, I totally color code grade bands. K-1 is orange (white here, because orange would not show up on the background), 2-3 is yellow, and 4-5 is blue.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Simple storage and organization from an elementary music teacher-- everything is cheap and easy to do! Becca's Music Room.



Side of my room

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

These are new additions this year– owls playing instruments! They are so fun. Owls are our school’s mascot. And you would be surprised how many of my students have asked who painted these, and then are surprised when I say I did.

If you want some mascots playing instruments paintings, head over to my Etsy shop!

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Close ups.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

More instrument storage. These jazz posters are the ones that come from the NAFME magazines. The blue cups with mallets were super on sale at Hobby Lobby (I think I paid $2 a piece for them). These are just a few of my Orff instruments. Most are in my closets. The bottom is full of textbooks. I don’t really use them to have students do activities out of them, but I do use a ton of the folk songs out of them. They have a wide array of songs in them. The ocean drums are super cool.

One day I’m going to spray paint all of my milk crates to match.

The suitcases don’t hold anything at the moment (but that might change).

And do you see that there are FOUR sets of handbells in this picture?! I have more in my closet. I don’t know who ordered all these handbells, but I have a lot. And no idea what to do with them.

If anyone has fun handbell resources, let me know in the comments!

And yes, those are music note curtains on my windows.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Simple storage and organization from an elementary music teacher-- everything is cheap and easy to do! Becca's Music Room.



Desk area

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

Here is my desk area. Yes, my desk is crooked. It was waxed to the floor crooked and I can’t get it up.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

On top of one of my filing cabinets is my sub plans. I keep this binder standing up so that it is visible. Everything for my emergency sub plans is behind it, with some extra resources (books, papers, CDs) in the little magazine holder. You can download the template for free here!

 

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This bookshelf has most of my things that I use a lot– paper, hole puncher ( this is seriously one of my most useful gadgets ever), CDs, kid books, bingo, etc. My lesson books are in a closet.

The containers are really awesome here. I have a wire basket on the shelf, and one on my desk. They are from Office Depot. The one on my desk is my “to do”, and the one on the bookshelf is my “to put away”. The magazine holders are from Target dollar spot las year. One is for copies (anything that needs to be copied gets put in there, along with paper so I don’t forget it), and the other is for things I use everyday– clipboard and notebook. In between is my seating charts.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Simple storage and organization from an elementary music teacher-- everything is cheap and easy to do! Becca's Music Room.



The back wall

 

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.Does anyone else have to have a standards based classroom? We do.

Part of that is my focus wall, where we put anchor charts and stuff we are working on. These bulletin boards are just foam with fabric hot glued onto them and ribbons hot glued onto them.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room. Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

The 4-5 one is not posted, because it fell off the wall.

All these doors are closets (I know– I am so spoiled!) The signs say “Audience 1”, “Audience 2”, and so forth. This is my time out system, because when you are in the audience, you are watching and not participating.

I don’t actually plan to have 5 kids in time out at the same time, but it is so much easier to say “Go to audience 2”, than to say “Go sit against a door”. I’ve even had kids this week say, “Which one?” when I asked them to go to the audience. It is just a lot less confusing.

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This is my data wall– another part of my “standards based classroom”. It is empty, because school just started. It will have graphs of pie charts to show the percentage of students that have mastered the standards in each class.

In addition, on my door I am going to put “I can use my singing voice!” and “I can keep a steady beat!” for the kindergarteners.

 

Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Becca's Music Room.

This is my keyboard area. I do use the keyboards, although I am still working on the best way to use them. The kids love them though. I have some instrument posters on the back (that are intentionally crooked, because I’d never be able to get them all straight). This wall really needs something different…. suggestions?

Also read: Phrases for Classroom Management in the Music Room

And that’s my classroom! Thank you for sticking with me until the end! If you have questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

Happy teaching!



Elementary Music Classroom Tour. Simple storage and organization from an elementary music teacher-- everything is cheap and easy to do! Becca's Music Room.

 



 

 

Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Lessons, Organization

Backup Lessons for when the Plan is not Working

We’ve all been there. At least…. I hope it is not just me! Sometimes, the lesson plan that we want to do is not going to happen. So it is a good idea to have a backup plan. Or two. Or three.

This has happened to me on a few occasions.

There was the time that I showed up at school to find a bunch of fans in my room, and no one could tell me what was going on. (The room flooded, by the way. You can read the lessons I did during that time here.)

There was the time that I went to a meeting twenty minutes before my first class to find out that they were testing in the room next to mine. Which means I could not make noise. And my lesson plan was really, really loud.

I’ve had supplies that didn’t get laminated on time, days that I ended up with extra students and didn’t have enough stuff, days that I found out just beforehand that the counselor needed to spend half of my class talking to kids.

And sometimes, you are sick or tired or just plain cannot make it happen.

And, of course, there are days that my students are just way too crazy for the lesson at hand.

So there will be two main parts to this post: backup ideas for when the lesson doesn’t work out, and what to do so that you do not get in trouble (hopefully) for not following your lesson plan.

Also read: Really Specific Classroom Management Systems for the Music Room

Backup Lessons for When the Plan is not working-- Because sometimes, it just is not going to happen. Ideas that you can use with all of your grades. Keep a few in your back pocket to help you out on teaching days that are difficult. (As opposed to the easy ones?) Becca's Music Room



Backup Idea #1: A Game You Know Really Well

Preferably one that does not require a lot of supplies.

And bonus points if the kids have played it before so you don’t have to teach it to them.

This option is great if your class just has way too much energy, or if you don’t have a lot of time to get things together.

Everyone has those singing games that they have done so many times that they no longer need to think very hard about them.

You know what your versions are. Some ideas are:



Backup Idea #2: Read a Book

Reading a music book is really great if you need the students to calm down. Music books are great, because there are so many of them. There are a ton of extension opportunities that go along with them!

One of my favorite short-notice no-prep ideas is to read through the book straight through once. Read it a second time and make up some movements to go along with it (especially if you read this book—I like to have the kids pretend to play each instrument). After that, I have the students color a picture based on the book.

Super easy. Super simple.

I also leave this for subs quite often.

There are other fancier things that you can do—games, worksheets, lessons, etc.

Here are some of my favorite books. Click on the picture to read the description on Amazon.


Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Opera Stories

Backup Idea #3: Coloring

One of my favorite lessons is to listen to a song and color.

This is also great for a sub.

Have the students listen to a song. You can pick whatever song you want. Listen once just listening. Listen again, and tell the students to think about what it reminds them of. Give them paper and crayons and let them go to town. Play it a few more times so they don’t forget it.

The older students do better with this, and really enjoy it. For some reason, I didn’t think that all of my students would be so into it, but they were.

You could also do coloring sheets based on songs or units that you are doing. There are a ton of Teachers Pay Teachers stuff for free or cheap.



Backup Idea #4: Watch a Movie

When all else fails, just watch a movie.

I always feel like this is cheating, but it is not.

One more time, watching a movie is not cheating!

Just make sure it has to do with music.

Here are some of my favorite options. Again, click on the link to see the Amazon description.

Backup Lessons for When the Plan is not working-- Because sometimes, it just is not going to happen. Ideas that you can use with all of your grades. Keep a few in your back pocket to help you out on teaching days that are difficult. (As opposed to the easy ones?) Becca's Music Room

Now… what if the principal walks in?

This is always a fear for all teachers. It always cracks me up when I go to trainings and they talk about how you need to be flexible. Because that’s true… but when you get an observation mid-backup lesson, what do you do?

Well, officially, you should always be on lesson plan. Some principals are such sticklers for this that there is nothing I can tell you that will help.

But since we already discussed that that is not always possible… what do you do?

 

Explain the Situation

Let the admiistrators know that you are not doing what your plan is. Tell them why—don’t make excuses, but they should know that you are not just being lazy (hopefully).



Put in a Sticky Note

If you know ahead of time that you will be changing your lesson, stick a sticky note on top of your lesson plan binder, or add a note to your lesson plan if they are turned in online. This way, they can see that even though you changed your mind, you still had a plan.

The last thing you want is to not have a plan.

You could also shoot an email or tell them if you see them.

I knew I had an observation coming up when I found out that I could not make any noise, so I just told the assistant principal that. If she had walked in, then she would have understood.

Also read: Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning

Add a Clause

I ALWAYS add this to the bottom of my lesson plans.

“If the class’ behavior is not good enough, the teacher will differentiate the lesson by …… If students are still having trouble being successful, the teacher will put on a music-related video.”

I also add an extra activity at the end, just in case there’s extra time at the end.

I fill in the dots with whatever my backup plan is… singing game, coloring, etc.

 

What is your favorite backup plan? Let us know what you do in the comments!

Backup Lessons for When the Plan is not working-- Because sometimes, it just is not going to happen. Ideas that you can use with all of your grades. Keep a few in your back pocket to help you out on teaching days that are difficult. (As opposed to the easy ones?) Becca's Music Room



Please follow and like us:
error
Organization

2018 Goals for the New Year

I am a huge fan of having goals. I have goals for everything: goals for the day, for the week, for the month, for the year…. Etc. As we get closer to the New Year, I have been thinking about my 2018 goals.

My 2018 goals are in quite a few categories: school, home, blog, reading, and other.

Like I said, I love goals!

Because if you don’t have goals, how do you know where you are going? What do you work towards? It’s like going to the grocery store without a list—what will you buy?

So here are my 2018 goals. Feel free to steal any that you want for yourself or your classroom or your blog!

2018 Goals for the New Year. Goals for teaching, blogging, home, and more! Feel free to use any of them for your New Year's Resolutions! Becca's Music Room

School Goals:

My goals for the school year were basically just to survive. Now that I am halfway through and no one (including me!) has died, I think we can get a little more in depth.

I want my younger students to learn rhythm really well. They are doing a pretty good job so far, but I want to keep them going. (You can check out the first rhythm lesson we did here.)

I want my older students to learn to read melodies. They do not know this at all… I am going to use my keyboards as an incentive to read music, because they ask me al of the time if they can play the keyboards. So if anyone has good ideas about how to teach class keyboard effectively, please let me know!

I want to do centers about once a month, at least with my older students.

I need to organize my room! If you read this post or this post, then you know that my room was flooded and all of my stuff got moved out of my room and back in again. Since I got moved back in, I have been busy with field trips and concerts and just generally not wanting to get things where they need to go. I would like to finish the cleaning up.



Home Goals:

Move into our new house. This one is definitely happening, but it is nice to know at least one of my goals will definitely happen!

Decorate the new house. This will be a bigger feat than just moving in. decorating everything and furnishing everything will take all year.

Keep the new house organized. I like everything organized, but I have a bad habit of getting lazy with the house when I get busy with everything else. This year I am going to keep things organized! Or at least I am going to try…

Read about keeping organized here.

 

Blog Goals:

I just started my blog in October. I did it mostly for myself, without expecting people to actually read it…. So far, I think it has been successful! I am not sure how to gauge “success” with a brand new blog, but I am pleased so far.

Make $100. I really need to make $60 by October. That’s how much I paid for everything, and I believe I need to pay it again in October! (In case you were wondering, so far I have made $1.40. Whoo hoo! I make money from affiliate links (if you click on an Amazon link and then buy anything, I get a commission. Also, I have ads. I get paid both for views and clicks.)

Write 2 posts per week. So far I have been good for this, but I want it to continue! I post on Mondays and Thursdays.

50 subscribers. I currently have 3. I want to get my email list going… at the moment I don’t know how to work the email list yet… I’m going to figure it out this year.

You may want to read Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching



Reading Goals:

Read more non-fiction. There are some awesome facts about reading non-fiction books like how the average millionaire reads one non fiction book per month and how reading a non fiction book about your field every month will make you an expert in 7 years. So I would like to read some more non-fiction books.

You can see everything I’m reading in my 2018 Reading Challenge.

Music Goals:

I want to play my cello! I got a cello a few years ago and have played it in my spare time (ha!) for fun, but I still am not quite decent.

Work on my piano skills. Over the summer, I would like to take piano lessons to help me get better, because you can never be too good at piano.

Check out Five Steps to Dominating Your Choir Music

 

Other Goals:

Open an Etsy shop. I love to paint, and my paintings are starting to take up too much room… So I thought I would open an Etsy shop and see if I can get any sold. I am not expecting overnight success or to become a millionaire or anything, but I like painting and this way I have an excuse to paint a lot.

 

So that is all of my 2018 goals! I believe they are all achievable with a little effort. Having all of my 2018 goals in place will help me to get there!

 

What are your 2018 goals? Anything similar? Totally different? Any advice? Let me know what your 2018 goals are in the comments!

2018 Goals for the New Year. Goals for teaching, blogging, home, and more! Feel free to use any of them for your New Year's Resolutions! Becca's Music Room



Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Organization

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning

Lesson planning. AKA the bane of most teachers’ existence.

I cannot wait until I have taught for a while, so that I will have more lesson ideas. Sometimes I feel so stuck for fun lesson ideas, and it seems to take me forever to write a lesson.

Because I sometimes find it difficult, I have implemented a lesson planning schedule to help keep me on track. This is one of the biggest reasons I am able to get all of my planning done on time and keep my stress levels down! Lesson planning with this schedule keeps me organized.

And we all know that being organized is one of the most important aspects of being a good teacher.

You can check out my other organization posts here. Subscribe for more—I will be continuing this series for a while!

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning. Schedule and tips so that your lesson plans are turned in on time! Help stay organized no matter what you teach: elementary school, middle school, high school, art, music, or pe! Becca's Music Room



Schedule to make lesson planning easy

Tuesday- Think about lesson planning.

Yes, I have a day dedicated to thinking about lesson planning. This helps because it gives me plenty of time to think things through. Sometimes, I will not have any ideas in the morning, and as the day goes on, I come up with something great. I usually just write down the ideas on Tuesday.

For example, this week my list says “Carol of the Bells Orff, Pentatonix listen, Christmas sing along. Listen to winter, talk about winter, sock skating to beat, hot potato with jingle bells.”

Not exactly what you would want to put in your lesson plans for your principal to see…. But it works for me.

Wednesday- Write lesson plans

Our template is long and clunky and ridiculous, so this takes a while. Always make your lesson plans detailed enough to prove to your principal that you know what you are talking about.

They especially like to see “content specific” words. Even if they don’t know what they mean, seeing them in your lesson plans makes them think you know what they mean. Things like dynamics, tempo, quarter notes, etc.

Thursday- Gather materials

This means printing materials, making materials, finding them, etc. I love doing this on Thursday, because our lesson plans are due on Thursday at 5. This means most teachers are just starting to think about their lesson plans, and I have free range of the copier. Friday and Monday, it is packed.

Also, since our lesson plans are due on Thursday, planning to do them on Wednesday ensures that I have them done on time. If I cannot get it done on Wednesday, I have a whole entire other day to work on it.

If I planned to do it on Thursday and couldn’t, then I would be in a bind.

Friday- get everything ready

Pull out the materials, get them all set to go.

 

You will notice I didn’t put anything on Monday. This is because with new lessons, I like to have some time to tweak it and not worry about anything else.

Free Music Lesson: Bizet Scarf Routine



Some general lesson planning tips:

Make a series

If you don’t know what to do, pick an instrument and go with it. Or pick a theme. This does wonders because it limits the amount of lessons available.

For example, you could spend a month on Kidsticks Stations. Or recorder. Or whatever.

You could do a musical month, a keyboard unit, a ballet unit, opera unit, etc.

(Click on these pictures to go to the Amazon page)

Embrace the holidays

Teachers love holidays because they make things different!

You can extend Christmas for a whole month. Same with Thanksgiving and Halloween. Also, Hispanic Heritage month and Black History month are great for lesson planning as well.

If you pencil all of those in, there won’t be many days left!

Here is a Halloween lesson: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Rhythm

Combine grades

This is one of my favorite tricks. I honestly only plan two lessons a week—one for K-2 and one for 3-5. This works well with our schedule and really reduces stress. It is worth it if just for the materials—you only have to get out one set of instraments, or two. Not six.

I think ideally K-1, 2-3, 4-5 would be the best groupings, standards-wise. This does not go well with our schedule at all, but I may try it anyway and see how it goes.

I promise you are not an awful teacher for doing this. I believe it really helps you to do your best because you have time to work out all of the kinks, and you are not constantly trying to think of what your lessons are.

Now, if you have been teaching for 20 years, you probably know your lessons well enough that having 6 different ones isn’t an issue. But for us newbies, it is very helpful.

Have some carryover

When I am really put together, I do this very well. What I mean is that you use a piece of your next lesson in this week’s. Or you use a piece of last week’s lesson in this week’s.

For example, I taught my kids Al Citron a few months ago. We learned the song at the end of one lesson and then we played the passing game the next time. They sang so much better because they knew it better! It was fantastic.

Another time, we learned a circle dance to a Ringshout song as a Musical Explorers lesson. We used it as a warm up the next week.

Sometimes it is tricky or not possible, but if you can do this, it really helps! It allows time for the song or lesson to really sink into their heads.

Lesson Ideas: Creative Movement with Scarves

Find a Curriculum

I cannot sing the praises of the Game Plan Curriculum enough. K-8 is also a really great one. Both are fun, having singing and instrument playing, and get the kids to read music well.

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form

What is your lesson planning technique? How does it keep you organized? Any tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Becca

Tips for Keeping on Top of Lesson Planning. Schedule and tips so that your lesson plans are turned in on time! Help stay organized no matter what you teach: elementary school, middle school, high school, art, music, or pe! Becca's Music Room



Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Organization

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher

Teachers have a lot of things to do: lesson plans, grading, concert, PTA meetings, field trips, copies…. And that does not even include teaching the kids! Factor in personal life and non-work related commitments and staying organized can be a nightmare. I, personally, have to juggle work, choir, keeping up with the house and dogs, and church commitments on a normal week.

The best way to get it all done? Get organized!

Without organization, there is no way that you could possibly stay on top of everything.

We all know those teachers who are not organized. You know, the ones that are copying things during lunch the day they need it, never remember when staff meetings or PTA meetings are, are always late to duty, etc. Their class’ behavior usually reflects the poor planning.

Don’t be that teacher.

Be the teacher that gets stuff done…. On time! The teacher that doesn’t have to change their lesson plans because the copier is down again. Get organized!

Over the next few months (yes, months, because I didn’t want to completely quit with lesson plan ideas and other posts), I will be doing a series about staying organized as a teacher. I started two weeks ago with a post about my favorite classroom purchase and how it keeps me organized (check it out here). Subscribe in the sidebar or down below to keep up to date on the next posts! Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, all linked up above this article.

And without further ado… My favorite tools for staying organized as a teacher!

 Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.

Clipboard with Writing Pad

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.

I love this clipboard.

I picked it up on a whim (because it was cute, of course), and could not be happier with it.

Why do I love this clipboard and think it helps me stay organized?

It has a notepad and a pocket inside of it. So I can clip paper to the front, and I can also write on the inside and keep my pencil or pen in the pocket.

I use this clipboard mostly for meetings and professional development. I put the agenda or ticket for professional development on the front, and then I take notes on the inside. I also use it if I am walking around the school and making list of things I need to do or remember or lesson ideas.

Plus, it is cute and inexpensive.

If you like any of these, click on the picture to go to the Amazon page!

Also: Lesson Ideas: Creative Movement with Scarves

Days of the Week Notepad

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.
This is my true, messy, crazy to-do list. You can see the random notes I have written, like lesson ideas and how many copies I need of each paper. This is real life!

This was a gift from my (wonderful!) mentor teacher during student teaching. I have never met anyone who makes as many lists as I do! We were both constantly writing things down, scheduling things, etc. But we mostly wrote on random pieces of paper, which is ineffective. Because after we wrote them, we would lose them.

Anyway, for graduation she got me a notepad with all of the days of the week on it. I. love. It.

I keep it on my desk and make it specifically for my school to-dos.

Every Monday morning, I sit down and write in the things I know I have to do—write lesson plans, attend meetings, etc. Then I go through and add in the other things that I need to do—write emails, make letters, practice the accompaniment for a piece of music, etc. At the end of the day, if I have something I need to do that I have not, I put it on the next day’s list.

This could also work if you have a planner with decent weekly spreads, but I like to keep this on my desk and have only school related things on it, so that it is easier to distinguish what needs to happen at school v. at home.

Also: Free K-2 Lesson: Animal Form

Planner/Calendar

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.

And just one planner or calendar. I am the worst about wanting to keep my home and school life in separate places, but resist the urge! Get one planner.

Once you get the planner, write in all of the school things you need to know—grades due, holidays, concerts, etc. Then add in all of the personal things that you have consistently—church obligations, social obligations, etc.

Then keep adding.

Everything.

Keep everything in your planner. I mean it.

Even though you have many different things going on, you only have one life. You should only have on planner.

Because I am obsessive, mine is color coded—I use green for school, purple for choir, red for my husband (dates or days when he works late), blue for my social life (ha!), etc. This way even though everything is together, I can still see what is specifically for what parts of my life.

You don’t have to do that much, if you are not as crazy as I am.

But you do need a planner.

I have this one with a different cover, and I love it! I also use these pens (and only these) for my planner. Clip to purchase!

Also: Questions to Ask Yourself when the Class is Off the Chain



Seating Charts

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.

If you see every student in the school like I do, you are probably thinking I am crazy. But really, a few minutes per class at the beginning of the school year makes a world of difference! Especially if you see every student in the school.

Why is it more important if you see all of the students in the school?

Not only do you need it to keep yourself organized, but it will help you learn the names.

I have 750 students. That is a lot of students. If I remember one or two out of a class in the hallway, I am impressed with myself. But if I have a seating chart, then I know all of the names.

Knowing the students’ names changes everything. I promise. Try it.

How do you keep track of all of those kids’ names? Seating Charts!

I keep mine in binders with dividers between each day of the week. I keep a schedule in the front so that I can remember who I have each day, and if I unexpectedly have a sub, then they can find the class as well.

Each day, I take the days’ seating charts and put them on this clipboard. It opens up so that I can store pads of paper for notes or other things inside of it.

Here is a similar clipboard (although cooler because mine does not have a separate pencil place) and binder. Looking for seating charts? Teachers Pay Teachers has a ton of options here.

Also: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Rolling Cart

Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.
A picture of my cart, post a month of traveling nonsense. It’s quite messy.

And I keep my clipboard with my seating charts on my cart!

I seriously love my cart. It holds everything that I need on a daily basis, so that I can find everything I need. I keep my seating charts on the top. I also keep hall passes, nurse passes, a tambourine, pencils, my stuffed owl, and a bunch of stickers on the cart.

And yes, all of those things are very important.

Check out my full review of my cart here.


Need help getting organizational products? Check out my post on Donor’s Choose and see if you can get them donated! Also, check out what lessons I did while on the cart for a month.

Those are my top items to keep my life organized! What do you use to keep organized? I would love to know! Tell me in the comments!

 



Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher. Becca's Music Room. Being organized is key to being a succcessful teacher, whether you teach music, elementary school, middle, or high school.

Please follow and like us:
error
Children's Church, Management, Organization

How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Kids need structure.

All kids need structure. The less they seem to want it, the more they need it.

Structure is the key to running your Children’s Church (or Sunday School or Awanas or whatever) smoothly.

What I mean by that is that you need a plan. You need to have an idea of what you want to do when, so that you can manage time well and get everything done. You need to make a plan, and then follow it.

Think about how church normally runs. At my church, the order is always songs, offering, announcements, sermon, alter call. If we have baptisms or baby dedications, they are thrown into the “announcements” category. It is not always the same, but there is a plan. There is a structure.

Your Children’s Church needs that too!

I will never forget the first time I wrote on the board what we were doing for the day. I didn’t change the order we did. I didn’t add anything new. But the kids knew what was coming, so they were better prepared.

Now we just used the same structure every week, so I don’t write it down on the board, but they know what’s coming next.

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Children’s Church

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.

1. Think about what you want to do

Think in categories. Your activities may include (but are not limited to)

  • Lesson
  • Craft
  • Song or worship
  • Games
  • Coloring sheets
  • Bathroom break

In my class we do:

  1. Upbeat song and dance
  2. 2 games
  3. Bathroom break
  4. Worship
  5. Lesson
  6. Game/craft/time filler

2. Now give everything a time value

It may not always be the same, but give it an idea. Here’s mine:

  1. Upbeat song and dance (10 min)
  2. 2 games (25 min)
  3. Bathroom break (15 min)
  4. Worship (20 min)
  5. Lesson (20 min)
  6. Game/craft/time filler (however long until parents show up)

Now, this is not the whole story. Sometimes things take longer or shorter. Sometimes you have to stop and remind the kids about what is appropriate and not. But this is the basic idea of how I structure

I also made the decision to start my class late because a lot of people at my church come consistently late. It bugs me when I have to explain something for the fourth time because are straggling. So I give them a little bit of extra free time at the beginning and save myself the annoyance.

After you decide what you want to do, decide what is feasible. For example, I just put down my desired times, and then I added five minutes to “games”, “bathroom”, and “worship” because I realized that that was more truthful.

3. Change what you don’t like

Now is your time to change things. Prefer if one part was longer? Hate that something doesn’t’ take long enough? Always finishing early or late? Adjust the schedule!

Need some help getting students to behave? Check out my posts on classroom management here and here.

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Children’s Church

4. Keep track

Over the next few weeks, keep track of the time. Then write down how long you actually spend in every category. You may need to adjust it. You may also have to adjust it depending on the week. Remember, this is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. It’s not the end of the world if something is faster or shorter. Just remember, if you add five minutes to something, you also need to take it away somewhere else.

5. Set up the room to reflect the structure

Do you need separate places for different segments? If you are dancing, you will need a dancing place. For the lesson, do you want chairs? Do you want the kids to sit on the floor? If you do crafts, you will need tables for them.

These are just some things to think about. At the moment, I have chairs in the middle of the room with at least 6-8 feet from the chairs to the walls. This structure works for us, because we have de-emphasized crafts, and there is plenty of room around the chairs to play games. And if the game requires more space, we either push the chairs out of the way or we go outside.

In the past I have had three different “sections”. I had an empty space for dancing and games, two tables with chairs for crafts, and a cozy corner with a lot of pillows for the lesson time.

You may not always do the same thing, and you may not always need the same set up. But room set up is key to your structure.

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.
An example of room set up. There is a story place, dance/movie/game space, and tables for crafts. Excuse the Easter Egg hunt.

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.
Close up on the reading station. We were going for a tent-like feel for our Journey Through Genesis series.

6. Have a backup plan in place

This is to cover anything that goes wrong. If church suddenly runs half an hour longer than usual, what will you do? If your lesson is significantly shorter than anticipated, what do you do? If the person in charge of games doesn’t show up, what do you do? If you are supposed to go outside and it is raining, what do you do?

I suggest keeping a few extra activities handy. Good ideas include:

Having just a few ideas, even if they are not prepared, will help you in a pinch. Part of your structure is your back up plan.

Back up plans make us flexible.

So those are my steps to structuring Children’s Church (or Sunday School, or Awanas, or whatever). Having a structure or schedule in place will help the kids, but will also take a lot of the pressure off of you! If you know that you only need to come up with 20 minutes’ worth of lesson because your craft will take just as long, then you will be less stressed! And don’t forget your back up plan to really help you be less stressed!

Still not sure about your Christmas Program? Check out this post to help you decide what to do!

How do you structure your Children’s Church? Are there any points that I missed? Let me know in the comments! (Bonus: Put a picture of your Children’s Church or Sunday School room in the comments and let us know how it effects your class.)

Happy Teaching!

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.

 


Please follow and like us:
error
Elementary Music, Organization

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever!

As school starts, teachers purchase a lot of things for their classrooms. Some stock up on pencils, pens, crayons, and composition books. Some redecorate their classrooms.

I tried to spend a minimal amount of money. I think it is good practice to save as much money as possible in the classroom. Ten dollars here and five there adds up very quickly, especially after 30 years of teaching– which is how long you will be teaching if you plan on getting your retirement (at least in Georgia).

My rule is: Do not buy consumable things.

I don’t buy pencils. I don’t buy crayons. Because the kids destroy them, and they are gone quickly.

I may one day have different views. But as a new teacher (not getting paid for like two months after I start working), I was not willing to buy anything that would only last one class period.

I bought normal office things that I would have bought no matter where I was working: pencil cups, binders, magazine racks, etc.

I also stumbled across the. Best. Purchase. Ever.

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more!

A metal rolling cart.

That may not sound very exciting, but trust me, it is the bomb!

You may not have this problem, but I am THE WORST about setting things down and forgetting where I put them. Pencils, seating charts, books with the song we are singing this week, my tambourine… I pick them up, I put them down, and I cannot find them anywhere.

All of the time.

In comes my new rolling cart. It holds everything that I use on a normal day—and it moves! So if I need to stand in the back of the classroom while we watch a video, I can. I can put it in the front while I am talking. I can move it out-of-the-way when we are dancing.

Also: My First Experience with Donor’s Choose

This purchase has literally changed my life.

I do not lose things. When a student needs to go to the nurse, the pass and a pen are on my cart. When I need to double-check a student’s name on the clipboard, it is on my cart. When I need to jingle my tambourine to get the kids’ attention, it is on my cart (and yes, I do that). When I need my animal manipulatives for a fun form lesson, they are on the cart, or popsicle sticks to teach little kids about rhythm. (Check out my Animal Form lesson here and my Popsicle Rhythm lesson here.)

I probably sound ridiculous, but it has really changed my life. I am so much more organized. I do not lose time trying to find things that I set down on the table or on my desk or on the piano or on the… floor?

Granted, you could just use a table. But a rolling cart can move all around the classroom, and that makes life so much easier!

The cart really saved my life during the weeks that I was travelling to classrooms. There was a water leakage situation that resulted in me being spontaneously out of my classroom for a month. The first day, I was able to throw my crayons, paper, tambourines, CD player, and bingo game onto the rolling cart and roll it all around the school. Everything stayed together, I didn’t have a million bags to carry, and when I got to the classrooms, my stuff stayed together. I really do not know what I would have done for the month (!) without my rolling cart.

You can learn about the lesson I taught while traveling here.

So what do I keep on my cart?

It is not always the same. But here are the basic things:

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more

Top Shelf:

I try to keep this clutter free as possibly (if you had seen it before I picked up the 20 pencils and 10 confiscated toys, you would be laughing at that comment). The most important thing? Seating chart! I use a clipboard with storage underneath for extra information that is pertinent (mostly for subs). I keep seating charts in a binder like this, and clip the ones for the day onto the clipboard.

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more

Other items include:

  • Gotcha tickets (our school’s PBIS system)
  • Sticky notes for notes on clipboard or other teachers
  • Notepad which I sometimes write my lesson plans on
  • Anything I need for a day (usually Game Plan or this book) This week it is a yellow plastic thing we are using as a button for the game Button You Must Wander.

 

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more

Second Shelf:

  • Tambourine (used for getting students’ attention)
  • Nurse pass and hall pass
  • Owl Beanie Baby
  • Weird light-up rubber thing I toss to students when they answer questions
  • Pail with pencils, pens, markers, remote, etc.

 

 

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more

Bottom Shelf:

Still not convinced about the best classroom purchase ever?

Get it, and I promise it will become your favorite classroom purchase as well– unless you enjoy losing things.

Here it is in teal:

And in grey like mine:

 

What is your favorite classroom purchase? Let me know in the comments!

The Best Classroom Purchase Ever! Becca's Music Room. This cart is the answer to my prayers and what keeps me sane. I do not lose things since I bought it. Need more convincing? Read this article to find out more

 


Please follow and like us:
error