Reviewing Expectations and Setting Goals in the New YearDec 14, 2021
We are used to hearing that January is a fresh start. Many people even make resolutions about what they will do differently as the calendar changes. We are also encouraged to focus on what habits we can change to make those resolutions come true. All of these things are great ideas for our classrooms, too!
During my training in Responsive Classroom, January was referred to as “re-month”. A chance to revisit, refocus and review all of your classroom expectations and set new goals for the learning that is still to come this year. We spend so much time doing this within the first six weeks of school, but just like us, our students cannot possibly learn everything there is to know without continued practice. Think about it: How many years have you had a similar resolution for yourself? I like to think that all that practice I have done year after year has gotten me that much closer to my goal! Taking the time to explicitly reteach expectations with your students will save you time in the long run and help you reach the goals you have for your students, and the goals they have for themselves within your music classroom.
Here are some fun and engaging ways you can use to reteach classroom procedures when students return from winter break:
Make it memorable!
There are some activities that students beg to do over and over again! If you introduced your classroom expectations in a way that kids love, try them again! Make sure to provide opportunities to reflect on what it looks, sounds and feels like to be a member of the classroom community while you try those favorite activities again.
Make it active!
To mix things up a bit, you can try a scoot activity. If you haven’t heard of a scoot activity before, it is a fun way to review or reinforce any concept. The idea is to get students up and moving by placing questions on cards around the room. Students move from one card to another answering the questions on the cards. This could be done by having students move freely from question to question or you can use recorded or live music to signal when students should head to the next question.
Here is a video explanation and example for what this type of activity might look and sound like:
You could include open ended questions with many possibilities for answers like “What is important when we are using instruments?”, “What does a good teacher/student look like?” or “What does it look like to line up at the end of music?” The answers students provide can be used to help review expectations for the music room.
Make it musical!
Since students have been taught all of the procedures in your classroom before, make them the experts! Students can work alone or in groups to brainstorm all of the expectations they can think of around the procedures for:
- Entering the classroom
- Getting out supplies
- Using instruments
- Leaving the classroom
You get the idea! Once students have brainstormed their list, they can start to create rhyming couplets, or two lines of verse that follow the same meter and are joined by a rhyme.
Here are some examples of rhymes my fourth and fifth students created to review schoolwide expectations:
Want to include technology? Students could use your favorite music creation program to compose their own beat to perform their rap!
Make it fun!
You do not want to make “re-month” repetitive to the point where students are not engaging in the learning so instead make it a game! You could create a Scatter Find Game like this by creating cards describing the different procedures in your classroom. As you, the teacher, reads a clue, students can then work to find the procedure that is being described. You could use a “Find Someone You Know” activity like this. Or even, create your own review game using one of the PowerPoint templates from popular game shows on T.V. found here.
You are what makes your classroom community a success! It is important to take the time to reflect on what you need, too. Are the classroom procedures you taught at the beginning of the year working? How could they work better? How could things be changed to make your classroom run more smoothly? What are your goals for the rest of the year? “Re-month” does not mean you have to repeat things that are not working for you…or even just reteach in January! It can happen anytime during the year that you feel like your classroom community needs to reset and build new habits.