Reply To: Winning Them Back

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KBP this is a tough situation. I think that your analysis of the challenges facing you shows both insight and objectivity. For me the early hour would be the biggest challenge. I’d recommend alot of physical movement during rehearsal – as much as possible. Also I would recommend some way of rewarding those that are contributing, and something to withhold from those who are not contributing.
The most deadly thing in my classroom is me making general statements to the whole class about negative behaviours that are happinging with just a few. You probably allready know this – but it took me awhile to learn it.
Make sure that there is a reward piece in the folder – one or two that the students love to sing -and save it for the end of the class period.
Invite a handful of your elementary students to visit and watch the 7th graders perform – tell your 7th graders that you need their help showing the little ones just how things ought to be done.
Pounce on the first good thing that anyones says or does in any given rehearsal and make a big deal about how well they are doing, how much you appreciate what you are seeing or hearing.
I have not taught elementary school – but compare how you rehearse the older kids vs. the elementary students – and possibly consider playing up to the fact that these students are veterans.
Depending on the setting the same set of students will behave and perform very differently. Consider some activities – warm ups, or musical selections and make sure the student know that this or that piece of music – or classroom activity is only for them, and only suitable for them – because of their level of experience and age.
I hope this helps!
Alan Scott – Murray High School