Every day in your classroom you are busy! How can you possibly add in anything more, you are flat chat now?
How can you add extra discussions, curiosity, new thinking and new experiences into your daily teaching?
Yes, it is possible. Check these easy ideas to add layers into your day and get your students excited, motivated and thinking!
First Thing in the Morning
Three ‘layers’ to add.
As your students enter the room first thing in the morning have music playing. Expose students to lots of different music styles. e.g. classical, rock, folk, jazz, relaxation.
Write a message that explains the music style, the composer.
Eg The music you hear this week was composed by a man called Mozart who lived over 200 years ago. He wrote over 600 pieces of music.
You have google at your fingertips to locate a few facts to write up. Why not have the first few students who arrive at school do a google and record a few quick facts about the type of music playing, the composer or the singer?
You might trigger a new interest in a student who wants to find out more.
Students are introduced to a variety of music they may never have heard before.
Music creates an atmosphere depending on what you play – lively/calming.
Allow students to organise the week’s music that must include a variety of styles and composers.
Playing classical or relaxation music softly in the classroom as students are working adds another layer.
2. The Good Morning Greeting:
Here’s a great way to start the day with every student. Start a routine where each student must come and say good morning to you every morning as they enter the room. Teaches a social grace and both you and your students will feel terrific after the greetings are exchanged.
As each student comes in to the classroom in the morning they either:
1. Call out ‘good morning’ to you and you respond.
2. Put away their bag, come to find you and say good morning and you respond.
You will need to tell the students that this is expected every day. Remind them during the Morning Meeting (Teacher’s Messages Time) and thank those who did remember (Thank you Time).
Having the students say good morning to you first puts the onus on them to make an effort and be in control of the first greeting of the day. It’s such a highlight when a student bounds in and calls out good morning to you or even enters calmly and quietly and calls out the greeting, or comes over to greet you. It will give you such a lift first thing in the morning.
Your responses might include: a return greeting, a question, a compliment – it’s a great time to compliment them on something positive they have done the day before or continue to do everyday. Gives them a boost first thing in the morning.
Gosh you make me feel great when you come over to greet me.
Thanks for the effort you put in yesterday during maths. I noticed how you gave your friend some tips too.
How’s the family?
Using this idea will contribute to the relationships you build every day with your students and make you and your students feel great!
3. The Curiosity Space:
Have something interesting to see, read or discuss – generate curiosity and discussions.
If you have a spare table or top of a low book shelf place items of interest for students to observe, question and begin a discussion. It’s a great place for students to gather in the morning.
Adding extra layers opens many windows of opportunities to involve students in a variety of new experiences and thinking. Check the strategy – The Good Morning Greetings Board for more ideas.
Any lesson or experience during the day is an opportunity to ‘layer’ in extra ideas.
Stories: I was playing Canon D by Patchabell while Year 3 students were working. One student wanted to know what the beautiful music was. I told him some information about the music and he asked me to write down the name.
I returned to the class a few weeks later and the student came to see me.
Mrs Cotter, you know that music you told me about, I am learning to play it on the piano.
What an absolute buzz that gave me!
A Year 4 student in my class came from a difficult family background. Matthew was a very angry and frustrated young person. He would take himself to the CD player, put on some relaxation music then lie on the floor and get his work done. He told me it made him feel good and he felt calm.
What do you do to add layers into your classroom? Send in your ideas anytime. I am happy to share them via the TWAF Newsletter or Facebook page. firstname.lastname@example.org