Let your students MOVE as much as possible
I use a combination of familiar folk dances, familiar Move It videos, and then I add in a few Just Dance Kids videos from YouTube. I would suggest viewing the videos beforehand to make sure they are appropriate for your student population.
Create a CHALLENGE for your students
Take this time to review favorites from this year and years past with your students. You know you enjoy listening to your favorite “oldies,” and your students will, too! Create a Google Form or a simple worksheet for your students to fill out prior to their last class to give you time to prepare. I create a 24 Song Challenge for my students each year. If they can complete all 24 songs, then they can have some type of reward when they leave my class that day. Included in the challenge were songs from previous performances, pop songs my students enjoy (that are school appropriate of course), songs with movements, and simple songs and fingerplays for my primary students.
Play a review GAME or two with your students
There are so many games available now to review music concepts. Play a game of Rhythm Bingo, Movement Bingo, or Instrument Bingo. Play a team competition game like Rhythm TicTacToe. I am fortunate to have access to Quaver Music. My students enjoy competing in individual challenges such as Staff Champion or Instrument Crane where they are timed and given a number correct at the end. They always want to beat the highest class score. Each student can be on an ipad at the same time, and it keeps everyone busy. If you do not have multiple devices, students could trade off in rounds. To help with differentiation, you could combine the scores of multiple children or have each class compete with each other.
I do not know why, but my students love to help clean my room! My own child will gladly help clean my music room, but do not ask her to clean her own bedroom! I know it might not be possible in every school, however you could ask students to sort your instruments. Hey, it is a game! I have students go through markers and sort out the ones that are almost dry. Sort through the pencils and place ones without erasers in one pile, ones that are halfway gone in another, ones that have bite marks (you know you have some!) or are broken in another. Ask a few responsible students to help take down your bulletin boards and other posters on your walls if you are required to do that. I have even asked students to help break down my xylophones and dust them well. Ask students to help organize your music library. In doing so, they may find books they want to read or songs they might want to sing in the future. On your own, clean out your desk, file cabinets, closets, etc. If you have not used something this year, it might be time to toss it!
PLAN for next year
If you have not done so already, take time to reflect on your lessons this past year. What worked well? Is there a way to improve lessons that did not go as planned? Have you found something new that you want to include next year? Do you need to plan ahead for programs and performance dates? Start now so you can enjoy your summer. Make your lists, outline unit plans, request budget items if you can while the money is available, work out the kinks that you had this year.
BONUS TIP! RELAX!
Please try your best not to think about the next school year during the summer. Absolutely use the time for professional development opportunities while your mind is fresh, but try not to plan or worry. You worked hard this year, and you deserve the time away!
What other tips would you give to music teachers at the end of the school year? Leave a comment below to join the conversation, or email me at [email protected] – I would love to hear from you!