How to Use Movement in Elementary Music to Empower Kids

Movement in music can be more than a stress reliever, a brain break, a way to experience another culture, or other very worthy objectives. It can also be a way to empower ALL kids through positive interaction with the teacher.

I was scrolling social media and saw this quote.

“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.”

Wes Angelozzi

It reminded me of a technique I learned as a teacher that provided deep and meaningful connections to my students.

Let them know what you notice!

I wanted kinders and first graders to move (step, skip, float) to changing music examples.

DURING or AFTER their movement I would say,

Continue reading “How to Use Movement in Elementary Music to Empower Kids”

How To Use Music Activities To Teach And Reinforce Classroom Expectations

Breaking down a classroom activity by procedures will make your lesson more effective. When activities fail, many times it’s because a classroom routine or process is missing. I spent twice as much planning time on HOW to teach than WHAT to teach.

Continue reading “How To Use Music Activities To Teach And Reinforce Classroom Expectations”

The Jumping Game Easy Brain Break Activity For Your Classroom

You need to have several “tricks” to pull out of your back pocket when kids need to have a break, to expend some energy, to divert attention from something else going on in the room (a potential meltdown for ex.), to prepare them for a high-concentration activity, or when you the teacher need to have a mental break yourself.

And so, the Jumping Game was born!

  • Stand in a circle
  • Play a song with a good beat (see Spotify playlist below)
  • T stands on the outside of the circle and taps a child on the shoulder.
  • That child goes into the middle and begins to jump
  • Prepare kids for the jumping game by talking about how they can be creative by using feet together, feet apart, 1 and 2-foot jumping/hopping, use of arms, bending knees, turning as you jump, etc.
  • Everyone in the circle imitates the leader in the middle
  • T occasionally comments about some of the fine points of the jumper. “Ooh, did you see how they alternated bending their elbows as they jumped?”
  • Tap the next child in the circle after about 10 seconds, continuing to make your way around the circle.
  • In a class of 25, this gave the class about 4 minutes of jumping.
Continue reading “The Jumping Game Easy Brain Break Activity For Your Classroom”

How to Use Effective Seating Arrangements in Music

An elementary music classroom seating arrangement in columns and rows.

Effective seating arrangements in music are a keystone to effective classroom management. It makes transitions quicker so less time for distractions and off-task behavior.

Let’s look at some possibilities.

Take the survey!

Current Seating Poll Results (as of July 2023)

Continue reading “How to Use Effective Seating Arrangements in Music”

Classroom Management Tips For a Successful Classroom

Here are some classroom management ideas (routines and expectations) that worked for me in my teaching. I didn’t use all of them with every class except for Teaching Expectations. The other ideas were used as I needed them. I’d see a deficit and try to fill it with a game, story, or activity that helped the class learn a new behavior.

On This Page

Continue reading “Classroom Management Tips For a Successful Classroom”


How do you take Essential Agreements that work great for regular homeroom classrooms, work for special area classes such as music? Find out the simple mind-shift to creating relevant, music-related agreements for multiple grades.

Writing essential agreements for K-5 music classrooms that are relevant and actually make sense.

I always hated it when an administrator told us at the beginning of the year to have our class create essential agreements.

It made sense for the classroom teachers because they had, uh, ONE class. But really, what are music teachers going to do with multiple grade levels and sections within a grade level? Post 30 Essential Agreement posters around the room?

I’d make an attempt to do it with each class and homogenize it into one poster but then I kept thinking it was false and homogenized and served no purpose. EVERYBODY comes up with essentially the same things-be kind, be respectful, be safe, be responsible, be patient, be caring, etc.

Continue reading “How to make BE KIND, BE SAFE, BE RESPECTFUL Musical”

Once Upon a Time…

Are you baffled at classroom management for your young students in kindergarten and first grade? Sometimes engaging and getting the attention of your primary students is as simple as telling a story. Here are some tips and tricks that are rooted in culture and sociology.

Learn a classroom management technique for your young students that involves storytelling.
Classroom Management Through Storytelling

How to Mesmerize the Young Ones

You’ve tried your attention clap rhythm or your “Class,” “Yes,” or your LOUD voice, and there’s still chaos. Two little ones are turned toward each other deep in conversation, another is lying on their back, one is taking the bar on the nearby xylophone and slowly lifting, lowering, lifting, lowering. There are three that are looking back at you (bless them) and the rest…are not.

I was reading the article, “How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger”, and this paragraph stood out.

For thousands of years, the Inuit have relied on an ancient tool with an ingenious twist: “We use storytelling to discipline,” Jaw says.

Continue reading “Once Upon a Time…”