While this can be time consuming it is totally worth it. It not only helps you organize the students and keep the behavior students away from each other but it also helps you with getting to know everyone's name. I don't know about you, but I see 300+ students a week and getting to know their name becomes challenging! I use the iPad app "Smart Seat", to help me create my seating charts. I don't know what I would do without it!
Smart Seat allows you to create seating charts that can include a picture of the student and their name! You can e-mail the seating charts to yourself and print them out (This is even great for when you have a substitute!) Not only can you create seating charts but the app also allows you to take attendance (you can mark a student present, absent, tardy) and then randomly select students to answer questions or come up to the board. This is a great technique because each student has to be focused and paying attention because they could be called on anytime. After it selects a student, that student stays yellow and it will not select that student again until you restart it. If a child is absent it will not choose that student. The app recently was updated and now you can create random groups! You choose the number of groups you want and the app creates the groups for you.
I have found this to be extremely helpful. Creating a routine in your class helps students understand what is expected during your class and it provides a structure to what you will be doing.
My Class Routine:
1. I begin every class with Singing attendance. I sing to each student ("Hello Sally"- s m s m) and they respond back ("Hello Mrs. Banas"- ss ml s m). In kindergarten we sing a hello song all together and then later in the year do singing attendance but sing hello to Panda instead. Panda is our school mascot!
2. Next we sing our Learning Target song and go over the learning target for that day. (Check it out below!)
4. Class ends with lining up using our lining up cards followed by our Goodbye song.
All students love being rewarded for doing their very best work especially my K-2 graders! At my previous schools I used my SING card idea where students could earn "SING" cards during music class and at the end of class they would put their name on it and put it in their classes drawer. At the end of the month we would have a drawing and students who got picked won a prize. The more "SING" cards in the drawer with your name on it the better your chance. While this was a great idea and worked for some kids it became very challenging. Some kids never won, and I was running out of money for prizes! So I came up with another idea that was an incentive program for the ENTIRE class.
I now use Rockin' Good Behavior. Every class begins music with 4 music notes and each classroom has their own music staff. They can lose notes throughout the class time based on their behavior. At the end of class after we sing our Goodbye song we look at the board where the 4 notes are to see how many we earned. If the class had 3-4 notes, their note on their staff moved up 1 line or space. If they had 1-2 notes left, their note on their staff stayed the same. If they had 0 notes left, their note on their staff moved down 1 line or space. When a class gets to the top line of the staff they earn a "Free Day" in music. At the beginning of the year I choose the free day and it's usually a game or activity that reinforces concepts we have learned or are learning at the time. Towards the end of the year I begin to let students choose and vote for their free day.
This classroom incentive has been great and allows students to work as a team because they are earning the free day together!
Sometimes there are students who have a hard time and may not be having the best day in music. I only see students twice a week for 30 minutes so I never like having a student sit out, but there are times when students can be extremely distracting to others or not safe and this is where my "Rest" Area comes into play. If I have a student who is misbehaving I will send them to the Rest Area, which is in a place in the room separated from any main activities we may be doing during class. I tell students that while they're in the Rest Area they have to go over the 5 classroom rules (on a bulletin board) and think about how they can do a better job the next time they participate in class. I usually only have them stay in the Rest Area for a couple of minutes unless I see they need more time.
Having this extra area in the classroom is a great tool to give a student time to cool down or to just take a break and to gather their thoughts so they can make better choices next time they join the group.
This I think is the MOST important thing to remember. When setting rules and expectations, students need time to practice the skills you are expecting them to do. At the beginning of the year, really take time to explain your expectations and give the students a chance to practice them. While this may take a couple of class periods and can get repetitive, you'll be happy you did it in the middle of the school year.
After longer breaks (winter break and spring break), review the rules and expectations again with them. I usually take the first class or two after break to go over the rules again and practice them again because they will forget. By reviewing the rules you are reinforcing the behaviors you expect from them.
Finally, stay consistent. Whatever rules you expect them to follow, be consistent. Always have the same rewards or consequences for behavior. If you see students are having a hard time lining up at the end of class, go back and review. If students have to take time out of their music class to practice lining up I can almost guarantee they will remember to do it better next time!
I hope you found these dazzling discipline ideas helpful! Thanks for reading!