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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
Welcome to my classroom!
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.
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.
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.
They love it.
Standards and I can statements are in sheet protectors. The clothes pins have thumbtacks glued onto the back of them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Side of my 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!
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.
Here is my desk area. Yes, my desk is crooked. It was waxed to the floor crooked and I can’t get it up.
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!
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.
The back wall
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.
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.
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.
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.
8 thoughts on “Elementary Music Classroom Tour”
You. Are. Awesome. I LOVE your music word board. I call them “fancy” too, but SO need to add some shmancy! Thank you for sharing ALL your great ideas!
Thank you so much! I always say that when I am talking to kids, so I thought it would be good to put up. Like I’ll say, “We say ta when we see it, but the fancy shmancy music word is quarter note.” The kids respond well to the concept. So glad you liked it!
Hey, would love your opinion – I used to teach early childhood (ages 2-Kinders) and am now moving into 1st & 2nd grade (& will eventually do the older grades again too). Instead of ta’s, ti-ti’s, etc. I had my preschoolers saying “note” for quarter notes, “ha-alf” for half (obviously!), “quick-quick” for eighth notes and “w-h-o-l-e.” What I liked about it is the kids (even two year olds!) actually learn what the ‘real’ note names are, but I’m wondering how this would translate with older kids and eventually more complex rhythm patterns. Thoughts?! Thanks!
Honestly, that is really cool. I have never heard of those, but I love the idea. I think that you could use those just fine for 1st and 2nd grade. I might switch them once they are older (I’m thinking that sixteenth notes would be complicated), but you don’t have to. I think as long as they are reading the rhythm correctly, what they say is not a huge deal. But kids can learn multiple words for rhythms. My students learned “pizza rhythms” a few years ago, where they did pizza for eighth notes and cheese for quarter, and so on. It’s been two years and they still say it! But they still say ta and titi too. You could even have them read it as “note note ha-lf”, then “Ta ta taaaa”, then just clapping and not saying anything. That is totally up to you, but I think you could totally use those same words! Thanks for sharing, and I hope that helps a little bit!
Take a look at the Takadimi Rhythm System. I’ve been using it the last few years and love it. The system works for little ones all the way up through college!
Another option is for quarter notes: walk; 8ths: trot-ting; 16ths: run-ning run-ning; half notes: stomp-ah; dotted half: stomp-ah-dot; whole: stay-2-3-4
I definitely would not want the movement words to be the only thing kids know for rhythm, but that could be a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!
Wish I had your size room! Question: Could you post a version of your expectations rhythms so all the smaller writing is visible? I really like your idea! Thanks.
Yes, I will put that up! It is not the absolute prettiest, but it is just a few little reminders about each of the expectations. I’ll let you know when it is up!