Friday, March 10, 2017
Building Rapport in the Music Room
I have gone back to the basics recently to help continue to build that rapport with my students, and maybe help build their character in the process.
1. Greet students at the door. Be sure you are present as they enter and say hello to EACH student! This can go a long way for students knowing they are loved. Maybe even make a secret handshake with each class - or even those students you know need something extra. Also be sure to say bye when they leave! Give high-fives, smiles, etc.
2. Board-work. This is not your typical board-work though. My students have to travel from the main building to my "modular" classroom so they end up arriving at slightly different times from each other. As upper grades walk in, I have a grid on the board with numbers in each box. Sometimes students are to write their name in a box, then randomly pick another number and think of a compliment to give that person. Other times they have to answer a question in a box. Questions include- "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "What is your favorite music to listen to" "What is your favorite subject in school?" "How can you change the world for the better?" and more. I always answer the questions as well. While often this is not inherently musical, I have noticed that students love to tell me about themselves- their hopes and dreams- and then they are more focused during class after having time to just talk and share. Even if it's only 3 minutes at the beginning of class, we are learning more about each other and having fun. Check out more ideas in my "30 Day Happy Teaching Challenge" In the Classroom FUN section.
3. Musical Warm-ups. With younger grades, I often sing the questions that I would ask the older kids as part of our musical warm-up. I only ask a few each week, but keep the same question until all have been asked.
4. Paying attention to students interests and adding them to class. This could mean sight-reading a pop-song you know students like with known pitches, reading rhythms with video game or movie character names (Batman for ti-ti, Thor for ta, etc.), writing parodies of pop songs, or adding technology into lessons. Today, we even changed the words of "Canoe Song" To be about John Cena and Lebron James. I just made sure they kept the rhythm EXACTLY the same- which was a challenge for them! isleoftune.com, incredibox.com, and even the use of robots, like dash or ozobots, can hook those kids who are super techy. Using these websites- I set parameters so students are still working on concepts we are working on in class.
5. Read stories and listen to music that can spark some awesome discussion about kids interests, taking care of each other, and even big topics like bullying, self-esteem, and following your dreams. If a big discussion starts, let it happen! Sometimes we get so caught up in teaching our content, we miss out on these awesome teaching and discussion moments! Some great choices are: Don't Laugh at Me, or songs from I am BullyProof Music.
6. Send home notes/ emails/ post cards. Kids LOVE getting snail mail! I love sending positive notes home to students when they have done something awesome in class. I get post cards with our mascot and keep them on my desk so that I am ready to write one at all times. I also love to hand out "brag tags" directly to students when they are super singers, helpers, or are just being awesome in another way.
7. Post what you are reading and ask kids what their favorites are! Reading is how I recharge after a long day and it is so fun to read favorite books of students. It helps me get to know them better and they love seeing me post their favorites on my "What I am Reading" board. Get one here (It is an editable powerpoint file with a few different colors to choose from!) I even had a kid last year recommend a book a week before Spring Break started (and I knew I would be on maternity leave after Spring Break) and he was so excited about it, he brought his own copy for me to read. OF COURSE I read it and brought it back by the time the week was up!