Wednesday, September 5, 2012

how to walk into the room

disclaimer: this is a teacher-y post.

one thing i learned from both of my (awesome) cooperating teachers during student teaching is.... procedure, procedure, procedure.  and every good teacher i have ever seen has lots of procedures.  (why didn't they teach me this in college!?)

procedures for...
sharpening pencils
walking in
walking out
sitting down
standing up
passing papers
moving to the floor
writing your name

because when you have 25 6-year-olds in a room, well, you can imagine...

i have noticed there is a serious lack of music-teacher blogging going on, so maybe I'll somehow be able to use this to connect with others.  (i think media/tech + music teacher doesn't necessarily go together, understandably.)  hence, the teacher-y post.

so for teacher-y people who read this blog (or my mom who is kindly interested in everything i say - or at least pretends to be) I will describe some procedures I use in elementary music.

how about something basic like walking in the room? (oh yes, walking needs a procedure. haha

 K-2 enter in their straight line.  They walk their line through the room until everybody is in through the door.  I call people who look 'ready' to be in music class to go to their seat.  (I call them one by one.  This helps me learn names too!)  For the first SEVERAL music classes we watch each person or 2 walk to their seat and I point out all the right things they are doing (walking as opposed to running; walking around the chairs as opposed to moving chairs out of the way; not moving their seat out of it's spot in the row, etc...).  By now, all the kids have learned how I would like them to walk to their seats in my room.  It is safe and efficient.  Procedures mean minimal time-wasting.  Of course, this whole process sounds like it 'wastes' a lot of time, but in the long run, it is VERY beneficial.  It takes 5 minutes the 1st day of class when I have to learn their names and assign seats.  Other days it takes 2 minutes.  By the 6th or 7th week of school, it will take 30 seconds.  So worth it.

3-5  For the first few music classes, they did the same line procedure.  (one by one with me pointing out the way they should walk to their seat.)  This was to help me learn names, and because you just can't take for granted that they will enter your room like people (as opposed to crazy hyenas.)  In some classrooms, they are allowed to run to their seats, so I explain the first day the way I would like them to come to their seats in music every time.  If I see somebody do it wrong (by choice or accident), I simply say "the correct way to go to your seat is _______.  Please go back and try again."  After the few few music classes, we have 2 days where they stay in their line and I shorten the procedure to this: "please look around the room.  think about where your seat is.  when you walk to your seat, please be polite to those around you and careful not to mess up the beautiful rows of chairs.  give it a try."  and they all go at once.  this usually works out great and i shower them with praise.  for the next few class periods, i greet them in the hall, remind them of the walking-to-your-chair procedure and tell them they may head to their seat when they enter the room immediately.   Eventually, they can just come in and sit down the way I'd like them to.

step-by-step directions + practice, practice, practice = good procedure.

a 3rd grade teacher observed her kids stacking the chairs in my room to make room on the floor and said 'wow! that is a well oiled machine!"  she might as well have given me a christmas present :) that was HIGH praise :) it made my day!!

i love procedures.