1. I always say the words IN A MOMENT. This way students are cued into the idea that they are to sit and listen to the directions, THEN move.
2. Another favorite phrase to start directions with (which works really well for the littles) is "When I say the magic word that starts with G and ends with O and has no other letters in between you will _____" Kids always say "go?" and then I say "Yes, but when I say it you will _____" Any time you can add a magic word into a lesson students eat it up! After you give the directions, have a student repeat them back to you. Ask "What will you do when I say the magic word?"
3. Transitions in my room are BIG. Students are always doing a specific task when moving from one area to another in the room. Examples of active transitions from place to place include: singing, students singing while I am singing a partner song against them, students listening while I am clapping a pattern that they need to figure out, or pointing out a song written on the board that they need to SILENTLY figure out. If students do not do what is asked, we go back and try again. If they STILL do not move in the way that was asked, we might skip the next game.
4. If students are not following directions, they get the "choice" to either follow directions, or sit out of the game. If they choose to sit out, they know that an email or phone call home will be happening.
5. Each class has their own quiet signal that they listen for. For some reason they tend to listen better when they were allowed to come up with their quiet signal themselves. It is sometimes tricky to remember the quiet signal for each class, but I have a special helper that reminds me of their class signal when they walk in. Examples include:
Teacher: Turtles on 3
Students: 1 2 3 Turtles
Teacher: Go Go
Students: Power Rangers
What are your best easy-to-implement tips for giving directions in the music room?