New Year’s Resolutions: A Classroom Perspective

The closer and closer we get to January 1, the more and more we hear…”What is your New Year’s Resolution?” Personally, I have never put too much thought into a resolution, opting for a simple, generic answer with the common theme of just “being better.”

But this year, I began to think of resolutions from a classroom perspective. What goals could I set for myself (and also my students) before I head back for the second half of the school year next week? This is not as easy as the idea had originally sounded, and naturally I began to think of the progress from the first half of the year as a place to start.

For the sake of a quicker read, I’ll jump right to just two of the “resolutions” I came up with. I’m going to treat this as a working list…I’m sure there will be additions and revisions as we move towards spring and the end of the year!

1. Make the most of every minute.

At the elementary level, I only see my students for a short amount of time every week. So often the beginning and the end of the class are “wasted” in transition…walking into the room, finding a place to sit, lining up at the door…the list goes on. How can I make the most of every second of time in the music room, while still providing individualized education for every child? Brainstorming strategies for this goal is at the top of my list!

2. Put a greater emphasis on the experiences and ideas of the students.

It is clear that the figurative “key” that will “open” our students to musical discovery is linking to personal experience. Many of my classes begin with students begging to tell me a story. What if this story links perfectly to a song or story we are focusing on in class that day? If so, this child will inevitably pay more attention, simply because it relates to something he or she already cares deeply about. I challenge myself to be open to these personal stories and how they can be a vehicle to the engagement of every child.

How about you? What are your resolutions for the music classroom?

Comment below or on Facebook and let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

We look forward to a 2015 filled with the joy and play of Orff Schulwerk!

Justin Caithaml

Justin Caithaml teaches 7-12 Choral Music at Midview Local Schools in Lorain County, Ohio. He completed his Orff-Schulwerk Certification at Baldwin Wallace University, Villanova University, and University of the Arts. Caithaml recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baldwin Wallace University, and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of SMART360, an organization dedicated to strengthening elementary students' reading fluency, social skills, and cultural diversity through a creative musical experience. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

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