The Texas Gulf Coast Orff Association presents 4 workshops every school year. The first one is this Saturday featuring Jim Solomon
For more information and workshop handouts please use this link.
October Is the Most Difficult Month…For Music Teachers, Parents and Academic Teachers Too
This is an article that we received from SOAR. It’s a good article that may help you right now. And SOAR has great materials. We use them to teach study skills. Read on
Are things getting a little “intense” in your classroom? Are your kids stressed out at home?
Last October, my daughter’s 1st grade teacher, Robert, sent an email update:
This week was something of a challenge. Tears and arguments cropped up on several occasions. By Thursday, I was fairly exhausted.
Then I suddenly remembered – it’s October! Holly and Jean (who taught at the school for 25+ years) always told us that October is the most difficult month. Children are testing boundaries both with their teachers and with each other – Jean always called it ‘shakedown’ month.
With that in mind, I entered Friday with a clear plan of action to make sure we finished the week on a really good note…
I never thought to name it. But, Holly and Jean are right… October is the most difficult month.
Reading Robert’s email, I felt a visceral reaction; I had experienced what he described. I could deeply relate to it. “Imagine if I was more aware of this ‘shakedown’ when I was in the classroom?” I thought. “I would have handled it better… for my students and myself.”
The Shakedown is not just a “first grade” thing. I taught ages 4-14 and always experienced The Shakedown. Both of my kids experience it. I remember feeling it as a student.
The stretch between the beginning of the school year and Thanksgiving is the looooooongest of the year. From there, the rest of the year is broken up with: holidays, winter breaks, spring breaks, and finally, the coveted summer vacation.
But, it’s difficult to return from summer and slide right into that long stretch to Thanksgiving. As Robert said, children (of all ages) are testing their boundaries. There’s more to it, too…
They are growing. They had a nice break over summer. And now, they’re being stretched. They are often in a new environment. Sometimes with new teachers and peers. They are facing new expectations. Learning new things.
In September (and perhaps some of August), they primarily observed all of this “newness.” In October, that “newness” starts to settle into their brain. Into their life.
Figuring out how all of this “new stuff” fits together is a lot of work! And they’ve been at it, non-stop, for several weeks. When school started, they went from 0-60! They’ve had no time to slow down.
It’s no wonder October is shakedown month!
There are several things you can do… each only takes a few minutes:
Recognize it. As Robert stated in his email, becoming aware of The Shakedown totally changed his perspective. He went from feeling fatigued to feeling energized. He created a plan of action and turned things around. Pretty cool!
Tell your students (or kids) about it. This past July, we attended our cousin’s gorgeous southern wedding in North Carolina. It was outdoors. Ceremony was at 3pm… with no shade. The temp was at least 100 (F), with 100% humidity. I don’t ever recall feeling so hot.
Two hours into the festivities, there was a moment when I suddenly realized, “Oh, wow… in a few hours, I will actually be able to shower at the hotel.” That sounds so obvious… now. But, in the (literal) heat of the moment, I had tunnel vision. All I could think about was the oppressive heat. As soon as I realized the heat wasn’t going to last forever, I literally felt better.
When you help your students (or children) recognize The Shakedown, they can reframe it. Like me at the wedding, they need help recognizing that it won’t last. And they can evaluate how they might handle it better.
Get your students in the Green Zone! This strategy is important throughout the year. But, it’s critical during The Shakedown.
Take a few minutes at the start of each class to help students settle in, relax, and feel comfortable. Perhaps you share a riddle, a funny joke, or a silly video (think “Sneezing Panda” or “Charlie Bit My Finger”). See our previous article about the Green Zone for more ideas. Anything you can do to help students lighten up a bit pays big dividends.
Move! Aerobic movement is the only natural way we can manufacture new brain chemicals. New brain chemicals reduce stress, give us more energy, and make us happier. Take a few minutes to do some jumping jacks in class. Take your class on a walk. Do something to generate a few new brain chemicals.
Take a meditation break. Students love having an opportunity to close their eyes for a few minutes. Play a guided meditation or talk them through some deep breathing exercises. A short break with eyes closed does for the brain what “restarting” does for a computer. A short reset can do wonders for settling effects of The Shakedown.
Emphasize the positive. October is the time when many students are deciding, “Should I keep trying? Or, is it time to give up?” This is the perfect time to introduce (or remind) students about their strengths!
I love teaching students about the Multiple Intelligences. Have your students take our Multiple Intelligences Quiz and discuss the results in class. What does this knowledge about themselves tell them about their abilities? About their future?
How can you, as their teacher, support and encourage their strengths? You have at least one student whose life will forever be changed by a conversation about the Multiple Intelligences. Yeah, I know you are buried in a mile of content standards. But this conversation is a major motivation boost; it will be worth the time you invest.
Hang in there. Finally, remember… this won’t last forever. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! 🙂
To our students’ success,
Susan Kruger, M.Ed.
Creator of SOAR
StudySkills.com. SOAR® Learning, Inc. 2640 Canoe Circle Pkwy #225 Lake Orion, Michigan 48360 United States 800-390-SOAR
This is from Kim Maloney you can visit her website http://www.music-teacher-resources.com
Visit her website and check out her resources and other information. There are some really good ideas there for teachers. Having the right tools and knowing how to use them makes the job easier, makes you more professional and yous students more successful.
This is DIY information that will help you repair your school Orff Xylophones and Metalophones. They could be of any brand, Sonor, Studio 49, Peripole Bergerault, Suzuki or others.
Xylophones and metalophones are an important part of a music education program at the elementary level (K-5). The instruments are expensive and often can be repaired yourself! I repaired these 4 instruments. Keep reading to see how.
Music is so powerful. I just went to hear Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire in concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands. A sold out show. Listening to the comments and watching people’s reactions to familiar songs and songs they love was tremendous. They would sing like no one was listening when there was a song with a beautiful melody and touching lyrics. They would dance and move like no one was watching to songs that were very groove oriented. Many smiles all around.
Let’s keep music education in our schools so children will have the skills to enjoy music deeply. And music classes help students increase literacy. Simply by doing what a good music program, taught by a caring, well-trained music teacher does on a daily basis.
Follow me on Twitter. @LarryShudra
I started my music education career teaching junior high band. Beginners through high school players. I have and currently teach people to play instruments. However it was not until I started teaching children to sing that I discovered a powerful teaching tool for brass players. Audiation. I think good brass players do this all the time and may not realize it. My good students do it. The children at my school do it. I often have to get them quiet! But I never specifically set out to have my brass students learn to use this technique as they performed music, sight-read music or struggled with a passage of music. Continue reading
I dare you to try drumming in your elementary music classes! I know some may scoff at the idea, but keep in mind that drumming fits in with Orff Schulwerk. Dr. John Feierabend talks about beatful, tuneful and artful. You can do it within Kodaly. But what if you get a child involved in music because of drumming who otherwise would not be? What if you helped a special needs child begin to learn to read or helped them learn to be independent and play music with other students for the first time? Will any of these challenges cause you to try drumming? Click Here Now.
Maybe you are concerned that you do not know how to go about it. Contact me. I would be happy to help you. Click Here Now.
Here is some more information that will help and inspire you to expand music education to reach and involve more people. Click Here Now.