Expectations and Procedures in the Middle School Music Classroom

We are in our fourth week of school, which I can honestly say is amazing. Being able to start the year out with my own expectations and procedures is a Godsend. My kids know exactly what I want and how I want it done, which allows me to have more freedom to try new things, which is a benefit for them.

Since school has started, I have made a few parent phone calls regarding behavior. Each one starts with, “Your child is not in trouble, I am letting you know the behaviors I am seeing that create a red flag and I would like to talk about them so you know what is going on.” Each parent I have initiated contact with using this phrase has been overwhelmingly supportive because they see that I want to help their child, not just pick on them or embarrass them in class. This philosophy has helped me SO MUCH as far as discipline because, luckily, the parents have squelched most of the issues from home.

As predicted, I have changed some of my procedures. Bell work has been thrown by the wayside, (I was afraid that would happen), but I am working to get my act together. I had a very good friend of mine come in and clinic my choirs yesterday and he called me out for not doing certain things (i.e. teaching solfege, the devil’s syllables! Just kidding.), which is helpful for me to hear from a music colleague what is going well and not going well. Music is one of those things that you hear repeatedly and eventually you hear what you want to hear, not what is actually happening. A fresh set of ears is always appreciated to pick up on things that maybe I don’t hear or have glossed over. Thanks to Alex Spence to working with my babies!

My wonderful friend, and fellow #MusicEdCat, Alex Spence, performing a gorgeous piece in Hebrew for my Show Choir!

My wonderful friend, and fellow #MusicEdCat, Alex Spence, performing a gorgeous piece in Hebrew for my Show Choir!

A few other random things that I have adapted for my classroom would be the IKEA table and magazine holders, seen at the front of my room. I purchased these items for under $20 and I am able to organize music for 6 choirs, right in front of my podium. I have a music librarian in each class (kids apply for classroom jobs, see below), which helps me keep the music organized and looking nice.

I have chosen my classroom jobs, which are positions given by application to hard-working students to reward them for wanting to go the extra mile. My jobs are:

-Music Librarian (sort and file music)

-Equipment Relocation Engineer (helps move chairs, pianos and other equipment, especially for concerts)

-Stage Managers (for concerts)

-Welcome Wagon (helps visitors, subs and new students find their way around the room)

-Absent Student Assistant (picks up work for absent students and takes it to the office)

Kids basically fight over who gets to help me, which is FANTASTIC. I also have a student aide that helps me with various tasks, which is appreciated when I have pep club and choir things to be copied and taken to other teachers. If I could hire a sky writer to say ” XXXX Student is AWESOME”, I would. He is seriously the best.

There’s always something new going on at school that I want to write posts about, but by the time I get home I always forget. I promise to write more!

Keep on keepin’ on, #EdCats!