Are you already writing up your lesson plans for the 15-16 school year? I know how stressful this time of year can be, so in this post, you will find an easy method for having a stellar lesson!
As you are reading this post, I want you to imagine this huge churning cauldron (not that we want the mindset of filling empty vessels, but rather an ever-changing environment with which we have great responsibility). With each new ingredient, the color may change, or the consistency and that may give you a hint as to where to go next for an optimal potion (i.e. – follow the needs and curiosities of your students for optimal learning).
- Hook – (Did you get my hook there? Oh, the cauldron is a good hook isn’t it?) As with any great book, movie, or story, your lesson should have a hook to draw in your students. This is where you should really get your creative juices flowing to create a memorable lesson and a conducive environment for learning and critical thinking. Remember to find connections between the hook and the lesson at hand Here are a few easy to apply hooks:
- A quote that you/the students read once class starts
- A piece of music that you stretch to at the beginning of class
- Ear Training exercises from pop songs that you play as students are walking in and then teach at the start of class (LOVE THIS!)
- Hangman on the board that spells out something to do with your lesson (fill it in as the lesson progresses & students make small achievements)
- Emotion is so important in learning that one philosopher refers to it as an “on-off” switch (Vail, 2002) and Sylwester notes that emotion drives attention which of course, drives learning and understanding (1994). I’m not saying that you need to make your students cry (please don’t!), but I think it is important for the students to feel during music class. Really, where else do they get to feel?
- Humor is another way to grab the attention of your students and keep them coming back time after time! I once had a band director who told to worst jokes ever but we couldn’t wait to get to his class just to see what his next corny joke would be. He would often use it as a reward if we did something really well. Loved it!
- Chunking & Repetition
- How often do you hear a teacher ask students to do 20 different things immediately after they stopped them? And then the students make all of the same mistakes they made before.
- Instead, remember to break down your rehearsal/lesson into manageable chunks. And just when you think they’ve got it, do it one more time just to be sure!
- And then you can move on.
- Moderate-Fast Pacing
- Slow paced environments make me CRAZY! Rev up your lesson and rev up your numbers! Believe me, students really enjoy the fast-paced class! Engagement will also improve.
- BOREDOM is the quickest way to lose your students!
- Here are a few quick ways to improve your pacing:
- Time yourself (I’m not kidding!) – how long do you spend talking? Less talking = more learning most of the time.
- Challenge yourself to get more done in this lesson than you did in the previous one and tell the students. Kids of all ages love a good challenge!
- Try a “Silent Day” (no talking, but definitely making music still) sometime where you only communicate through writing on the board, modeling, and motions. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish without talking!
- Variety of Learning Styles Met
- Okay, remember good old Howard Gardner? Well, he meant it when he said that students have multiple intelligences. Consider what intelligences your lesson is meeting.
- I’m not saying that you have to meet all 7 intelligences in every single lesson, but aim for 3 different learners each time, and remember that students usually have bits and pieces of each intelligence. So you can reach many of the students with just 3 different intelligences!
- End with Success
- Please please please, if you do nothing else, try to end on a positive note! It could be just about anything, but make sure the students feel successful at the end of your class, ready to come back for more!
- End with a run-through of their favorite excerpt/song
- End with a measure that they sound amazing on!
- If they finally got something down, end with that!
- And play an upbeat fun song as they are leaving so they associate your class with positive emotions!
You have been a brilliant reader today! thank you so much for reading through my entire post. I know that you will have a wonderful lesson any day now! (See how I did that? Positive ending right here!)