A Music Teacher’s Top 3 End of the Year Survival Tips
As the end of the year approaches, I know we are all going on “survival mode” while trying to wrap up concepts. I wanted to provide you with three things you can do to help your year-end smoothly and with little behavior disruptions.
Tip #1: Don’t Change Your Procedures
One approach I use is to not change any routines or procedures (as much as possible). I know that at the end of the year most schools begin to play more than any other time of the year. Children take field trips, there is field day, and water day, and bubble day and “keep the kids entertained and safe” day. This often interrupts the rotation schedule. When the children are with you, keep making music as much as you can. Emphasize routines like instrument rules, procedures, singing posture, expectations for games, lining up to leave to go back to class. Whatever you normally do, keep doing it. The less we change, the less the children change. When you relax routine and procedure, the children sense it and begin to unravel. Remember, the school year is ending, not their time as your music student. The children will be in your room next year and they need to understand that nothing is going to change.
Tip #2: Wait To Bring Down Your Décor
Another tip to help end the year smoothly is to keep your decorations up as long as possible. There is something about a beautifully set up room that entices children to focus and learn. When the decorations come down and the children see things being put away, they internalize that the school year is ending and that they can begin to undecorated their behavior. If you can leave your posters up and slowly put things away, I suggest you leave your decorations as the last thing to come down.
Tip #3: Give Them A Preview
The last approach I use is to try to focus on the next grade level. Give the children a taste of what next year will bring. Show the third graders a recorder and let them listen to recorder consorts and become excited about their new fourth grade instrument. Talk to Kindergarteners about playing the “big kid” instruments when you put them on the Orff instruments. Make the transition from exploration to performing the steady beat a rite of passage that “the older kids do”.
Extra Tip: This is not the time of year to bring out new games or new centers. Repetition is best so that the children can focus on both learning and behavior. Bring out their favorites that they have been begging to do again!
Remember, it is only the time in the school year coming to an end, not the end of the children’s time with you. Enforce rules, procedures, and consequences all the way until the last day of school so that the children learn that in this environment, in this space, these are their limitations. Children adapt to the environment and limitations placed upon them and our rooms are no different. Use the fact that we aren’t leaving their lives the following school year to your advantage and keep making music! I hope these tips have helped a little bit. As always, if you have any questions just ask Analisa @ firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy End of the Year!