Tuesday, August 15, 2017

First Five Minutes of Class

Schedules, shmedules. They can be our best friends or our worst enemies.  My schedule has changed this year; where once I had 2 grade levels a day and taught 3 third grades in a row, then 3 second grades in a row, I now am back to 5 or 6 grade levels a day. Thankfully I do have 5 minutes between, but we all know how quickly that will be eaten up by changing out materials, re-setting the room, dealing with behavior issues and teachers who are late to pick up students.

Here are a few ideas to help in those times of transitions.

1.   Rhythm of the Day 

Display rhythm of the day - use a 4 or 8 beat rhythm; could be related to new song or review material.  Students memorize it- whisper to a friend or clap it , patsch knees, etc .  Throughout the class, at various times, say "Rhythm of the Day" and students perform it back using body percussion. Prize/bragging rights/acknowledgement to first person who recognizes it from a song.

2.   Picture It

This is a great idea from my friend Laurie S. I am using it this year for sure!
Music (or video of music) playing as students enter, one of the following four pictures displayed as they are entering the room. Laurie keeps the pictures on a music stand outside her classroom, as students enter they notice which of the cards is displayed.  This could be a "turn and talk"/"think/pair/share" or could be used as a journaling activity if you use writing journals.
Globe - Listen for Location. Where is the music from? What languages are spoken/sung? How do the people use this music in their lives?

Style - What genre of music are they hearing? What kind of sounds and instruments are used?  What is the mood of the music?


? - Solve the Mystery - Is it a capella, is it the star spangled banner, do you hear a certain rhythm, what are the dynamics, etc.


Instruments - What instruments are being heard?  What family of instruments do they belong to. What kinds of materials do they use?




3.  Figure/Reconfigure


Sing a familiar song – Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday, Old MacDonald, etc.  Clap and sing it.  Figure out the rhythm and re-create the rhythm.  Create first couple measures of favorite songs.  Write out measures on white boards then mix up the measures.  Can you sing it?

4.  Brain Dance

My friend Debbie does this with her students at the beginning of each class and has the students offer music suggestions (of course she screens them for inappropriate lyrics before playing) to play.
Brain Dance is a full body/brain warm up exercise. Developed by Anne Green Gilbert, Brain Dance uses eight developmental movement patterns that healthy human beings naturally move through in the first year of life. Cycling through these patterns at any age, while sitting or standing, has been found to be beneficial in reorganizing our central nervous system.  Students can perform the brain dance in a chair, on the floor or standing. This dance can be done to any song to fit your schedule.  You will want to check out Anne Green Gilbert's site here.
Here is a visual you can use with your students. Initially, I do the movements, once learned, two students at a time lead the Brain Dance.


Here are more specific examples for each movement listed above:
Start by taking a couple of deep breathes.
Squeeze, pat, and brush all over your body.
Make a big shape and then a smaller one. Repeat a couple of times.
Wiggle all over, make sure to move your spine.
Move your upper half.
Move your lower half.
Move the left side of your body.
Move the right side of your body.
Use your eyes to track your hand up, down, right, and left.
Bring your right elbow to your left knee, then your left elbow to your right knee.
Lean over and swing between your legs.
Spin in a circle. Repeat the other way.

Hello songs, review songs, Songs of the Month etc. are also good ways to establish routines at the beginning of class. Hope you enjoyed these!







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