“Joey hit me.”
“I have to go the bathroom.”
“I never get a turn!”
*A child taps on a xylophone while the teacher gives directions*
Teaching music can bring so much joy to our hearts. Truly. Let’s be honest, however. There are some days when the choir of tattletales and disruptions can get the best of us. Without utilizing mindfulness in the classroom, it is easy to get caught up in the challenges of our craft. We spend the day putting out fires and can forget why it is we do what we do.
The opposite of being in that state of distraction is mindfulness. Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, focused on where we are and what we are doing. Letting energy and attention be caught up by wandering thoughts and distractions can produce a feeling of being overwhelmed and a level of stress that is unhelpful in dealing with what is going on around us. Though mindfulness is often associated with meditative moments, it can also be a state of relaxed readiness that helps produce clear, unreactive thinking – very useful in the daily stresses of teaching and re-acting to a myriad of unpredictable events.
Music teachers are particularly vulnerable to the lack of mindfulness, simplybecause there is so much going on in a classroom where movement, talking and extraneous noise-making are part of the creative process. By achieving more mindfulness in the classroom, music teachers can enjoy more of the sounds that make our souls sing.
“I’ve got it!”
“You can be my partner.”
“This is awesome!”
*Children giggle in pure delight while learning a folk dance*
Using the Behavior Management Cycle can provide a structure for reaching that state of mindfulness. The Behavior Management Cycle is a method of managing behavior using 3 simple steps. This system was developed by the Academy of Urban School Leadership in Chicago and used in classrooms around the country. There are many great management systems available. Ultimately, each teacher must decide how to best utilize his/her unique talents and personality. I have used the Behavior Management Cycle in 100% poverty, urban schools for the past 6 years. It works for me. Most days. You may already have a system in place that works for you. Likely, we pick and choose parts of behavior management systems that fit our strengths. Ultimately this will lead to your own unique approach that is true for you. Kids respond to authenticity. If you do not have a system in place, I encourage you to try out the Behavior Management Cycle so you have a starting point for gaining more control, peace, and joy in your classroom.
Take a look at the following benefits of utilizing the Behavior Management Cycle in the classroom:
Sound good? Yes! Follow 3 simple steps in the Behavior Management Cycle to bring this magic to your classroom. Here is an easy way to remember it: BMC = GNC.
THE BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT CYCLE (BMC)
BMC STEP #1: GIVE CLEAR DIRECTIONS
A template for giving clear directions sounds like this….
Or…Want to get your kids to the xylophones? Here is how it may sound.
Ready to practice? Choose one of the following scenarios from your classroom to practice.
BMC PRACTICE SCENARIOS
Note! My school uses voice levels to specifically describe the volume expectation for students’ voices. Try incorporating voice levels into your directions.
0 = Silent
1 = Whisper
2 = Small Group
3 = Presentation Voice
4 = Outside Voice
Example of clear directions using voice levels:
BMC STEP #2: NARRATE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR
A template for narrating positive behavior may sound like this….
Let’s practice step #2. Choose another practice scenario below and imagine what the students would be doing. Act as if you just gave the directions.
BMC PRACTICE SCENARIOS
Now, look for the first child doing something right and speak to the behavior. It’s amazing what happens when you focus your attention on what is going well. Oh, life lessons! Even in the midst of chaos, there is at least one child following the directions. Notice that child. Give a compliment before immediately turning your attention to students that are off task. I try to narrate at least 3 behaviors that are on task before jumping to consequences.
Example statements, noticing behaviors that are on task
BMC STEP #3: CONSEQUENCES
The following lists are ideas on how to administer a variety of consequences…
MS. STACK’S CONSEQUENCES SENTENCE STARTERS…
MS. STACK’S PRIVATE CONFERENCE WITH A STUDENT SENTENCE STARTERS
MS. STACK’S POST TIME-OUT SENTENCES STARTERS
OTHER TIPS & TRICKS:
Ultimately, the 3 simple steps of the Behavior Management Cycle can help to simplify your approach to managing behavior and put the joy back in making music!
Try it! BMC = GNC! Go get it!
If you already have a system that works well for you, please let us know! Respond with your ideas and follow the chat associated with this article.
Nicely written, Laura!! Thank you for the clear teaching!
Nice job Laura Stack, so well written! Love your teaching style, and it truly shows in their performance!
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