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. That is, if you want to end the day in a positive frame of mind!
A lesson plan doesn’t have to be complex, and teachers who have been in the game a while can do it almost without thinking, however they always have to be prepared with something ready to do in their lessons.
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. Mix up the activities
There is a saying that goes “Too much of a good thing….”, and in teaching is is very apt! 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. Keep the activities short and sweet
Short 5-10 minute activities are always best, depending on what you are doing of course. In a general music/singing lesson at elementary level you would normally start with a song or two, break it up with some percussion or rhythm work and them move onto another song and maybe a game at the end.
3. Break up the routine with something unexpected!
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. Have a surprise around every corner
Young children especially love getting a surprise! You can mix up your rewards by suddenly picking out one student and giving them a reward for singing well or playing nicely. 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”!
You can call just about any activity a “game” and approach it as such, it’ll become much more fun! 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!
6.Keep plenty in reserve
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.
Hopefully some of these ideas will help you make your elementary music lesson plans fun and enjoyable for your students.