If you’ve been a teacher of young children’s classes you’ll know one very important thing: you always need have a lesson plan. Of course, that is if you want to end the day in a stress free fashion!
A lesson plan doesn’t have to be complex, in fact experienced teachers can almost do it without even writing it down, however they do always have something ready and a lesson plan in their head or on paper.
In our area of music there are a few tips that make elementary classes much more fun, both for the students and the teacher.
1. Do a variety of activities
You know the old saying: “Too much of a good thing…” – well in teaching there is never a more true statement! Even if the children love a particular game or song they will eventually lose interest in it, so make sure you stop while they are still liking it and move onto a new one.
2.Each segment should be short and to the point
Short 5-10 minute activities are always best, depending on what you are doing of course. For example if you are doing a choir/singing type lesson you will want to do one or two songs, then break it up with perhaps some rhythm work or percussion instruments then come back and do songs again and perhaps some movement at the end.
3. Do something unexpected every now and then!
Its definitely a good thing to keep the students guessing about what they might expect next! You should always keep some stability of course, but you may wish to break it up by heading out to the playground for a lesson with some games, or visiting another class to sing them a song. If you do this every now and then and it works for you students might start really loving your classes!
4. Keep them guessing with surprises!
Young children especially love getting a surprise! Get your students inspired by having a reward for the best singer one class, then the most well behaved the next! Incentive schemes always work, but mix it with surprises and you’ll find they’ll respond even better.
Don’t call it “work” – its a “game”!
Any activity will be more fun if you approach it like you would approach playing a game! So for example if you’re going to do some theory, just say: “Lets go and do some games on the board over here.” You’ll be amazed at the difference one small change to the way you describe it makes!
Always have plenty of “spares” up your sleeve!
As a teacher you always need to plan more activities than you’ll ever need for every lesson. You can always have a bunch of simple music theory worksheets copied and ready if you need them, and learn a couple of songs that you know will work every time.