Your classroom superpower

Featured on Monday 05 November, 2018

Find your superpower with

We recently had a request from a supply music teacher for singing games for middle school kids that could be disruptive. Here are five techniques that are very effective, along with five free resources (for a limited time). Number five is the most important - your superpower!

1. Sing from the start

From the first moment students enter your classroom let them know it is time to sing and learn. Start your lesson with a greeting song like Run on the Spot and Say "Hello" (free for a limited time). The second verse instructs kids how they are to sit and prepare to learn. There is also a lyric poster available for this one.

2. Speak less, do more

Don't let students use the transition from one lesson segment to another as an opportunity for mischief. These singing games can be played without getting into a special formation, so you can transition smoothly and swiftly.

Each time through I've Got a Car (free for a limited time) and Chester Have You Heard About Harry? you can leave out selected words until your class is "inner hearing" most of the song.

Do the opposite with One Man Went to Mow and accumulate the words and actions each time through. Your class will be having too much fun to get distracted!

3. Be relatable

Students are less likely to misbehave if they can relate to the teacher. Sitting circle games help because the teacher is at the same level as the students so it's easier to make eye contact. Sing Song Saya (free for a limited time) and Obwisana are great examples.

4. Segue in style

With all these singing games the trick is to move at a good pace and not get bogged down, moving from one to another smoothly and swiftly with minimal talking so kids don’t become bored.

To transition to a Circle game start walking in a circle singing the song and beckon children to follow you. To help children keep their hands to themselves, have them keep a 2 (or more) beat body ostinato, which you can lead by example rather than words. Then change the ostinato to keep the kids attention.

Once a circle is formed, sit down and continue singing with ostinato. Once your class knows the song, get up (indicating to the class to remain seated) and then proceed to mime out how the game is played while everyone continues singing. Try it with Charlie Over the Ocean (free for a limited time) and The Seven Steps.

5. Hone your super power

Knowing a student's name is your superpower! Suddenly they have a big incentive to do the right thing.

Try to learn every student's name, but concentrate first on those who need help staying on track. This also allows you to be proactive and pre-empt issues - for example, asking them to hold the flashcards etc.

Include a song to learn student's names in your lesson plan like Telephone Song (Hey Charlie), free for a limited time. Mix it up with Cookie Jar and Shoes of John so your students stay interested and you keep learning names.