Questions:For all, not just Elementary teachers.

1. How do you remember all of the students names?  I have been teaching for five months and I am still having a hard time with this. Of course, learning the names of the “problem” children are easy, followed by learning the kids who always know the answers! but what about the kids who seem to fall in the gap.  Any pointers?

2. Does anyone have any suggestions on spring musicals for pre-k to 2nd?  Maybe something that won’t take forever to learn?

3. Dealing with parents, I have had to do this a few times with great success( for problems), but how do you get parents involved?  What kind of activities do you have them do for your music program?

4. If you have any other tips or questions just list them! I am sure others would like to read them and may have some answers as well 😀


6 responses

  1. 1. I would use seating charts for all classes, except Kindergarten, you might want to have them sit in alphabetical order to help there.
    2. I would look in the Spot light on Music books because they have good musicals and helpful ways to get your students to learn them.
    3. Sorry no advise

  2. You will be learning names forever. However, in an elementary school, it gets a little easier from year to year because your students remain basically the same. Playing a name game/ice breaker can be helpful, even to get some of those energy jitters out.
    Tossing a ball around the room, and each student has to repeat all the names of kids who’ve already gotten the ball, in order. And at the end, you try. You could start class once a week or even daily with some kind of short ice breaker that will help you learn their names.

    Last year I used the Spotlight on Music books with my Elems and i loved it. As far as programs, I didn’t do much. No help there.

    There are a lot of parents who want to be involved in their child’s school/education. You could do a monthly or quarterly newsletter to be sent to the homes of your students or to go home with their progress reports/report cards. Then as needs arise, you can address them in the newsletter and parents can contact you. You can also include in that newsletter students of the month.
    Do a parent night for K-2 and 3-5. See what kind of turn out you get. This is another place you can discuss with parents what kind of involvement they can have.
    I think that unless you have a specific need for parents to help with, you don’t really need the input…no one wants to waste their time or resources if there isn’t a need. If you need help with a program, you can ask for help building sets, or costume making.

  3. Hi Ashley! Glad you found my blog, and that I found yours!

    1. I’ve been teaching general music for 11 years, and names do get easier! I find that playing name games help. Also, with K-1, at the beginning of each music class, I sing greetings to four or five students (“Hello Amy” on s-m) and they sing back to me (“Hello Ms. Brown.”) I also do a introductory song after singing solos (“Here we are together”) and sing every child’s name (“with Tyler, and Timothy, and Jessica, and Tatum,” etc.) This definitely helps me remember all of their names.

    2. I prefer to create my own musicals. I find that most of the musicals out there are inaccessible, too difficult, and take too much time to teach. I like to find a book or a theme to base the musical around (“Where the Wild Things Are,” for example, or “Songs of the Sea”) and then I can choose all of the folk songs, dances, etc., I want to use. I choose some songs that the students already know from class, and some songs that are specifically for the musical.

    3. I do an informance and a musical at every grade level. It is lots of work, but worth it. For the informance, parents are invited into their child’s music class to see what a typical music lesson looks like. I print out a program that has explanations of what we are doing and why, but I also stop every few minutes and explain during the lesson. I try to end with something that the parents can join in on. This year, I reviewed the dance “Sneaky Snake” with my first graders, then invited parents to dance with us. Very fun!

    Hope this helps! Have a great week!

  4. 1. I use seating charts for all classes K-5. My seating chart is set up in a half circle so I can easily see each child and they can all see me. It also makes getting into a circle easier. I train the students to stand, grab hands of both people beside them, and then the two children on the ends slowly chug together until we have a complete circle. My seating charts have boxes for each child’s name, a number 1-30 for each child, and under the name are smaller boxes for me to mark grades quickly and easily. With kinders, it takes some practice for them to learn their assigned seats, but they can do it. We play games like singing a song and walking, hopping, skipping away from your number in a straight line, in a squiggle, backwards. Then singing again and doing it a different way to get back to their seats. Kids love being silly, so be creative. Then moving away and back to you seat with only one singing of the song. Also, using the seating chart, the first several weeks of school I purposely call on different students for answers or turns and try not to only call the ones whose names I know. I make an effort to say each child’s name at least once or twice during a class. I also take a picture of every class the first week of school and I put the picture on a page in my grade notebook with the students names written in order right on the picture. I can use this as a reference. Learning names DOES get easier the longer you teach. Once you have taught in a school for a few years, you realy only have to learn the kindergarteners and any new students that move in. If I could figure out how to put a PDF on here, I would give you my seating chart example here. Since I’m not sure if that’s possible, how about I will post a PDF of my seating charts on my visuals website ( and you can go there to look at it if you’re interested. It’s easier to understand what I’m talking about if you look at it. Hope this helps some. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment! I like your seating chart. I will definitely think about using it next year. Your blog is great. It is nice to see what other music educators are doing. Being a first year teacher I am always looking for ideas. Thanks for sharing yours.

  5. 1. I use seating charts similar to Liza’s above, and I make notecards for each and every student at my school. Yes, that takes a while, but after a Saturday in my pajamas making notecards, I use these to ensure everyone gets a turn at playing instruments (I only have a few, outside of recorders) and answering questions. It’s just a good way to learn everyone’s name and ensure that I’m not calling on the same student(s) every time because they’re the only ones that raise their hands.

    2. The “Seussical Jr.” musical in the 2nd grade book is really cute. I read the books as an intro to each song before learning them. 5 songs in all. It gets the kids exposed to some Dr. Seuss books that they might not have read before (Horton Hears a Who, McEligot’s Pool) and lets them use their imaginations when performing.

    3. Get parents to help you make props for your programs, or go sing at some of the parents employers with your chorus. You never know what professions the parents might have until you ask the students, or send out a letter to the parents asking for help.

    Good luck! It sounds like you’re doing a phenomenal job, and very creative! I’m definitely going to try out your recorder stations lesson! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: