It is important to celebrate student success in your elementary music classroom. This post includes some great ideas for you to begin implementing today. And the best part is they cost nothing and they require NO extra preparation. Read on.
Celebrate REAL Successes
While it is important to celebrate student success in your classroom, the successes should be REAL. Students will see through false praise and that does not do anyone any good. There should be plenty of REAL successful moments in your classroom. Recognize and build on those moments.
Celebrate with Dance Moves or Signals
It doesn’t have to become a big classroom production to celebrate student success in your music classroom. Use FUN, simple, no fuss, ways to identify quality student performance. Consider using simple signs or signals, or dance moves to recognize extraordinary performance or improved performance. Consider using the following.
- Raise the roof
- Around the world
- Round of Applause
- Silent Cheer
- “Wooooo Hooooo!”
- Clap in sign language*
*To clap in sign language, place open hands at head level with palms facing forward. Quickly shimmy hands, turning at the wrist. (Think jazz hands.)
Celebrate Student Success with Spontaneous Classroom Performances
Another way to celebrate quality performance is to present a spontaneous classroom performance. When students are performing a particular piece well, invite someone in to hear a performance of this piece right then and there. Invite the principal, secretary, classroom teacher, custodian, or the next class. With teacher permission, I have often kept a class a few minutes longer. I seat the incoming class and then the previous class performs for them. This not only builds the confidence of the performing group, it inspires the listening group.
Perform a “Radio Concert”
Schools are BUSY places and sometimes no one can come to your classroom to listen. Sometimes the classroom teacher is on a strict schedule and cannot stay even a couple minutes longer. If that is the case, try presenting a “radio concert” during class.
The first time I sprung this one on our school secretary, she was VERY surprised. But, after that, she enjoyed the occasional radio concerts. She said it would break up and brighten her day.
So, what is a RADIO CONCERT? When students were ready to perform, I simply pushed the button on the intercom and we performed for the secretary in the office. I would announce the group and the name of our piece, just like on the radio. The secretary would clap and praise the group through the intercom. The kids LOVE it and there couldn’t be a simpler way to share our performances.
Radio Concert Resources
While songs can work for radio concerts, instrumental activities really excel with this type of audio-only performance. Recorder songs, Orff arrangements, ukulele pieces, anything instrumental works well for radio concerts. The kids are so excited when they master a song, they want to share it immediately. The radio concert gives you an instant venue. No tickets necessary!
Take Your Show on the Road
Or, take your show “on the road.” If the performance does not involve cumbersome instruments, the song would be a candidate for taking on the road. Give your “audience” a quick call and make sure it is a good time before starting out with your entire class. Consider performing for office staff, a kindergarten or first grade class, the nurse, the custodian, or the cooks. My favorite performances have been for our cooks. Every year, my kindergarten classes would do the “Turkey Tango” for the cooks. They loved it!
Document and Celebrate Student Success by Making a Video
Another way to celebrate and document student success is by making a video. I always kept a tripod in easy reach in my closet. When students were doing a FABULOUS job on a favorite piece, I would pull out my tripod and make a quick video. I would immediately plug in my little Flip camera and students would get to view themselves.
I am a bit of a perfectionist, so we would almost always end up making two takes of the video. (Never do more than two. This is a celebration of student success. It is NOT a professional video.) Then the students would watch both performances and vote on which one to upload to my school website.
I have often used these videos at student-led conferences. I would make QR codes for each grade level so parents could easily find their videos. Then families would scan the code and see their child performing right on their phone. I had a few iPads in my classroom for families without a smart phone. Now, that is multitasking!
Note: We have had students at our school that were not able to have their image posted online. In that case, I would arrange those students to the side of the group in an area nearby, but off screen. I called these kids the “radio stars.” They performed with the group just as if they were on screen.
Recognizing Student Achievement Increases Student Participation
When you celebrate student success, you not only increase their confidence, you increase student motivation and participation as well. Students can see the fruits of their labor. Check out this blog post for more Tips to Involve ALL Students ALL the Time.
Celebrate Student Success Many Different Ways
Mix it up! Choose different ways to celebrate student success. The important thing is that students build confidence and skills through these mini-performances. One of my students said it best, “It is so nice to have something like this to make me feel special.”
Do you have more simple ways to celebrate student success? Leave a comment.