What if I told you that you could increase your classroom management success just by implementing one incredibly small change into the way you set up your lessons and your classroom.
You're listening to that music podcast with Bryson Tarbet, the curriculum designer and educational consultant behind that music teacher at the elementary music summit each week, Bryson and his guests will dive into the reality of being an elementary music teacher, and how music can truly be transformative in the lives of the students you serve. Show Notes and resources mentioned in this episode can be found at that music teacher.com.
This episode is brought to you by my free guide on better serving our students with disabilities in the music classroom. I firmly believe that our job as music educators is to help our students find the way in which they can be best musical. And when it comes to teaching students with disabilities most of us don't feel prepared to best serve these students. In this free guide. I'll share five ways to better serve the students with disabilities in your classroom, so that you can truly say that your classroom is for everyone. to grab your free guide head to that music teacher.com/disabilities again to grab your free PDF guide, including a foreword by Lauren Morrison kowski about why disability isn't a bad word, head on over to that music teacher.com/disabilities Hello, and welcome back to that music Podcast. Today we're going to be talking about how you can implement classroom zones in your physical classroom to increase the level of success for your students, especially when it comes to that classroom management aspect. At the elementary level, I often get questions about how we can improve our classroom management, especially for those students that might be a little fidgety, or they need more movement, or it feels like they can't really stay in one place for more than you know, just a few minutes. And I think that this is important for considering individual student needs. But also being aware of the age in which your students are, for instance, a kindergartener and a fourth grader are going to have very different levels of being able to focus in one spot on one activity for the first certain amount of time, just based on their maturity level and their developmental levels. One thing that I've implemented in my classroom that I've seen have a huge level of success is by implementing classroom zones. And what I mean by that I don't even I don't even use this language to my students, this is more kind of language for me, but is that I have areas in my classroom that we kind of rotate through during the lesson. Now, I'll be the first one to say that I have an incredibly amazing classroom, I'm very blessed. But you don't necessarily need to have this huge classroom to implement this classroom zone kind of approach. So when I say zones, I have a few zones in my classroom. So the main zone is kind of our home base. So when they come in the classroom, they come in and I have some sit spots set up in a circle. So when they come in, they have to see crisscross applesauce on a dot, that is our first zone is in a circle on a dot. And I'll be honest, it's not necessarily a circle, because we don't have the same amount of kids in every class. Let's do it basically, on the floor in the middle of the room on. Typically we start there, and we do some sort of gamer activity for a few minutes to kind of get them up, get them engaged, and then we will move to another classroom zone. So typically, we'll move either to my chalkboard or my whiteboard, which has my projector on it. So I might say are your students can you go ahead and sing the song, we were just singing and clap the rhythm. And can you move so that you can, you're sitting in front of my chalkboard and they do that now we're in our next zone, we're at the chalkboard. So at the chalkboard, we might be doing something like rhythmic or melodic activity, kind of like a mini lesson kind of sort of thing. But we're only going to stay there for a few minutes. Because I don't want to stay in this one zone for more than I need to. The younger the students are, the more frequently I want to change between zones because I want to give them not only the brain break of moving, I also want to give them the physical activity of moving from one place to the next kind of bookending a little bit of their focus. Typically from here, I'll have them transition over to our next zone, which is sitting in front of my chair for some sort of story or, or some other activity where they're kind of more like looking at me as I'm sitting down. So I'll have them give them some sort of transition activity. And then we'll move over to my reading nook zone or whatever in a column. So here I'll do my main greeting, I might have them do some echo pattern, some melodic and rhythmic things. And typically, this is where I also read a classroom book, especially for the younger kids. And it's also where I share my silly socks because I share my socks every day and the students get to share theirs with me. It's a great way to build community. But I do it here in this little reading zone. Now at this point, the students have been sitting for a little bit so I want to get them up doing something. So this might look completely different depending on the day. But usually it's having them do some sort of identification of a song that I'm going to sing on Lou or play on my recorder and it's a song that has a game that they know and that's going to get them up to going back to kind of our more or less our first film which is in the middle of a room, maybe in a circle or maybe we depending on how the game is set up. They might be able to do you know
Connect hands and make this request smaller than where the dots are. But again, we're moving every five minutes or so from one zone to the next. Now, obviously, depending on what we're doing, we might have to be a little bit longer and depending on the grade that might be more accessible to. But I really truly believe that the more we can kind of cycle through these different zones, we can set our kids up for success. And I'll be perfectly honest, is sometimes I have the kids move, even when there is no like logistical reason to, oftentimes, I could totally do the same lesson on my chalkboard or in front of my reading nook, or my whiteboard or even in the circle. But if I noticed that they're starting to get a little squirrely and they need a little move, I might just have them move kind of have a little bit of a break in the middle of that same activity just so they can move, just so they can kind of reset and restart their focus over a little bit. Even though we're still doing the same thing. And I didn't necessarily have it planned. But I've seen that can be really successful. depending on you know, the students who serve and what you see that they look like, they need someone to take a little bit of a detour here and talk about assigned seats, I will be perfectly honest, I don't use assigned seats whenever possible. One, I don't want to have to remember 1000 assigned seats. But two, I like to allow the students the opportunity to at least attempt to have their own agency and choose who they sit next to and where they sit and things like that. There are definitely classes that do have assigned spots that just couldn't handle it. Or maybe like, Hey, we're gonna try this out, we'll assign seats for a little bit. But you know, I would love to be able to give you the opportunity to choose them on their own.
But for the most part, even with kindergarten, I don't do assigned seats, I would rather them be able to focus on just walking over there than walking over and realizing that, you know, they have to be here next to this person in front of that person behind that person. And honestly, it creates a lot of opportunities, a lot less opportunities for me to have to say, Oh, is that your spot? I don't remember. Because the students don't have to remember another spot. So you might be sitting there saying, Bryson okay, you said you had this great room? How do I implement this in a small room? Or how do I implement this in a teacher's room because I'm on a cart. And the reality is, is the zones themselves, what they look like, don't matter as much as the opportunity for you to have multiple. For instance, if you're on a cart, it could be as simple as having them sit in their chairs, that's one zone, have them stand next to their desk, that's another zone, have them sit on their chair, sit on their desk, that's could be another zone, have them come over to the chalkboard or having them sit on a rug, if their teacher has a rug, however, it's set up giving them basically a change in scenery. And honestly, if they're on a cart, I might even suggest having them sit in somebody else's chair, or sit in, stand next to somebody else's desk, because they're likely going to be in that same spot a lot of the day. So give me another set of scenery, give them the opportunity to see and try and kind of be in a different part of the classroom next to different people and see what happens. I think that can be a great way to also allow for Zunes in a classroom that isn't necessarily one that you have the autonomy to setup. I know as someone with ADHD, I'm a little bias. But my brain works best when I'm able to adjust my environment more frequently than others. And I think we have a lot of students that are kind of in a similar boat, where if even if it's the same activity, if they're expected to be in the same spot for 15 minutes, they might struggle with a focus because well, what about over there? What's going on over there? Well, I wonder, you know, can I see what's over here from over here, and then we start to lose their focus a little bit. But beyond just the physical aspect of like, where they are in the room, giving them the opportunity to move from one space to the next can be a great way to reset kind of, again, a great way to allow the students the opportunity to feel like they're not just in this constant focus, focus, focus, but it gives them an opportunity to kind of let their focus down a little bit just as they walk in. I'm not saying let them do whatever they want. I love doing transitions. But there's a different level of focus between, you know, trying to dictate a rhythm on the board, then clapping and singing as they move to somewhere else. I know this might seem like a really small change. And the reality is, it kind of is. But I've seen it have such a high level of success and allowing my students to be focused more and be able to have more agency in the classroom, but also just kind of really takes control of a lot of those classroom management issues. Because we're being proactive, where we're making sure that students are able to move from one spot to the next, before they start to get to the point where they start to squirrel, it gets squirrely or jump around or start to you know, mess with the instruments on the shelf and things like that. We're giving them the opportunity to reset their focus when they need it most. And this might look different depending on the class depending on the grade depending on the student. But the reality is, is when we implement different classroom zones, we allow our students to be set up for success by giving them more opportunities to start fresh, even if it might not feel like if we're just moving from one activity to the next. Sometimes that might be all a student needs to be able to start over to be able to get out of a bad funk to be able to re apply themselves to the classroom and to be back in
The regulation that they need to be successful