*Richard Ashcroft (The Verve) lyrics
It's a really great assignment, actually, and as I know music theory (enough for grade 6), I'm able to help out. Last year, I got left the same assignment, and the 6s had a lot of trouble, so, having recognized that the students would require assistance, I guided them through the instructions of the assignment, whole-class. And, it was hard.
Fast forward a year later, and I find the same assignment on the teacher's desk. Yikes! But this year, I knew that I should go over the instructions, plus review key concepts with the student before they started the assignment. Alrighty, two minutes in, going strong, the kids are with me, someone has their hand up to inform me that they have already done this assignment. Okay, yeah right. I wasn't born yesterday. But she goes on with more detail... "the last supply teacher gave us the assignment, in fact, here it is!" Okay, but still, I figured, it must be different, so I look and it is the same and the EA pipes in that, yes, that is true, indeed. So, I am secretly so very pleased, and also a little put out for having no actual lesson, until I realize that we can do drama....
- 'Yes, Let's', a miming game: Their core teacher popped into the class, on his prep, I might add, to get a message to a particular student, and unbeknownst to him, he fit right into our game as he mimed his message. Of course, I drew attention to this, "Mr Dean is playing the game right!"
- 'Energy Balls', in which students pretend to be holding on to changing and moving balls of energy. It is an exercise in imagination, but I was loosing them, so I proclaimed it mental health music class, and gave the students a choice: read, do other work, draw, or they could work on a very hard halloween word search and maze worksheet that I had ready for extra-time fillers. Note: I warned them that the maze may not even have a solution so do not get frustrated because, well, just don't. One kid pipes up, all trying to be 'bad ass'... "what's this have to do with music?" to which I replied, honestly, "absolutely nothing. So, by all means, feel free to repeat the other assignment, if you'd like!" That was acceptable. Another student, who is accompanied by a super EA but she was out of the room for a moment, choose to do the maze, even though he was left the iPad to use (because he deals well with structure and, in this case, all pretence of structure was thrown out the window long ago), well, after several warnings that this was very hard and I wasn't even sure there was a solution, he took on the challenge and the EA came back in the room and was very pleased that her student was engaged and happy. It also pleased her that the rest of the students were enjoying a mental health break because she said that they had been working very hard for a long while and they could use a little down time.
One of the luxuries, I realize, of being (more than) "just" a supply teacher is being able to give them this 'relaxation' time... The demands of classroom teaching nowadays requires so much of one teacher - curriculum expectations, ministry/board demands, increased student needs, increased classroom sizes - it's often just too much for one human to handle, and it kills us, a little inside, each and every day that we don't get to spend enough time with each of our students; and the ones that justifiably need us more, get our attention more and the others suffer through, unchallenged... anyway...
- Make a Circle
- Shake My Sillies Out
- I Hear a Sound... FOCUSED LISTENING... rub your ears to let your brains know that it is time to listen! The idea behind this 'game' is twofold: First, it allows the children to transition from movement and focus on quite listening. Secondly, it is an effective way to develop listened skills. Hearing is innate, but listening is a skill that must be practised - a LOT - in order for the children to become good at it. I used the app shown below, but you could use any sound effect app, or real instruments or objects.
- VOCAL PLAY helps students develop their language skills and gain confidence in using their voices in many different ways. This read-aloud, How to Speak Moo, is an excellent exercise in developing these skills:
- Wild Things - The Learning Station
- Head to Toe Dance - The Learning Station
- Tappy Tappy - The Learning Station - A focused listening and vocal play story song.
- The Giving Song, Thanksgiving Feast (the Learning Station), See you later and See You Later, Alligator! (Super Simple Learning) - Follow the leader around the room and into line and out the door and back to the classroom (for a super duper transition back to class)...
What a super fun class! Sometimes, I just can't believe that I am lucky enough to call this is my job!!
In a spur-of-the-moment-get-the-class-under-control-act-of-desparation, I said, "Find a tile... it might be a blue one, or a brown one, or even one of the white ones... the only rule is that it cannot be next to another friend's tile.... name your square (mine is called, "Bob") and that is your square for the class."
Now, this is not a magical method by any means. The three running boys still ran, but because the others were each in their place, it avoided collisions, and gave the kids a 'base' spot to gravitate back towards. The naming provided ownership of their personal space.
Their behaviour was in no way surprising as they are only 3 and 4 years old, so what else would they, realistically, be doing? - New to kindergarten, some scared and anxious, nearing the end of the day and tired... poor little guys. Which reminds me of one poor friend whose picture of his family, that he had been clutching so hard, had crinkled and wrinkled right in half. He came to me crying and I quickly found some tape to fix his picture because that is what he needed right at that moment.
DIFFERENTIATION ON THE FLY IS THE ULTIMATE FLEXIBILITY! IT IS MY SUPER POWER!