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7 Types of Lesson Plans to Start Your New Year with a Bang

Jan 17, 2023 | Music Teacher Activities, Tips and Tricks for Music Teachers, Tips for First Year Music Teachers

7 Types of Lesson Plans to Start Your New Year with a Bang

Well, it’s 2023, the beginning of a brand new year. For you, in your music teacher life, it’s really just the midway point. So why does it feel like you should review, restart, and revamp at the beginning of a new year? Society tells us that this is the time of year to take stock and make changes, that’s why. The beginning of a new year can be a great time to do some thinking about the past 6 months and make some changes.

That’s why today, I’m going to share 7 types of lesson plans that help you do just that . . . AND help you combat the crazy and exhaustion of the first few weeks back and get back into the groove.

  1. Review transitions and procedures with a fun, no brainer activity (no one has to use their brain including you). Set up your least-used instruments and do an echo play to your students’ favorite pop music. Check out an example here.
  2. Icebreakers are a super fun way to get back into the groove while your students are still learning. Think movement meet & greets, hand clapping games, fold dances . . . anything that gets your kiddos moving and getting reacquainted. Check out this fun movement meet & greet that goes along with my storybook lesson for All are Welcome. Click the title of the book to get the free lesson plan, along with 2 other awesome lesson plans.
  3. Form lessons are another easy way to review and regroup. Pick your favorite classical piece, or even a pop song that your kiddos love, and talk about the form. Next add some instruments or some movement manipulatives like bouncy balls or scarves. Two of my favorites are The William Tell Overture and The Theme from Star Wars.
  4. All play around the circle is a great way to review mallet skills and rhythm reading. Set up your Orff instruments (glockenspiels, metallophones, and xylophones) and some non-pitched percussion in a circle. Students will be switching, so be sure to set them up so that they get to play a new instrument each time they move. For example, wood block, glockenspiel, shaker, xylophone, metallophone, temple blocks, etc. Put on some music that has a good beat. Use your rhythm cards and have your students echo or read the rhythms.
  5. Review the last skill you worked on before the winter break in a new way. For example, if you were working on meter, bring out the bouncy balls and use them to bounce on the strong beat and toss on the weak beats. If you were working on note values, get out your squishies and your note flash cards. Put on some music and have students pull their squishie for the amount of beats each note represents.
  6. Do a movement activity that teaches a music skill. For example, if you’re working on dynamics, and easy way to reinforce loud and soft is to stomp on the loud parts of the music and tip toe on the soft parts. Another way to reinforce dynamic skills is to get out your scarves, parachute, or streamers and come up with a big movement using that manipulative for loud and a small movement for soft.
  7. Use body percussion or hand games to help you review a skill or work on a new one. These types of games are perfect for teaching meter. You can create body percussion or a hand game that uses a loud body percussion on the strong beat and a softer body percussion on the weak beats.

The beginning of the new year can be a challenging time, because students may not be ready to listen and learn. And let’s be honest, you may not be quite ready to jump back in either. That’s why using some fun activities that teach skills but are also fun for your students and easy to teach can be the perfect way to get back into the groove. Need more great tips like these? Join my private Facebook Group, The Music Teacher Group.

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