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  • Writer's pictureJanis Aston

Ripped from the classroom!

The 2020-21 School Year

In the spring of 2020, teachers around the globe were torn from their classrooms with no warning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am writing this in the summer of 2020.

The 2020-21 school year promises to be one of the most challenging ever.

No one, at this point, even knows what going back to school will look like. As of today, only one school district in the country has started (mid-July?!?) back in the building and that is in my own state. Many school districts have already been considering cancelling music, art, and PE classes. Many are beginning online or a combination of online and in-building. Every night I watch the news and am amazed at the new challenges teachers are facing. The unknown. The inner turmoil, fears, and struggles to know what to do.

What can you do?


You may find yourself in the position of having to convince those who make the decisions that music MUST be included in the curriculum! I hope your school district continues to realize the importance, now more than ever, of arts education.

Music and Art have been two things that have held us together throughout uncertain times. Be prepared to defend your position. One of many research articles includes this from the National Association of Music Education (NAfME)—Twenty Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools.

Be Flexible

No matter what you are told to do, hopefully it's better than being told you do not have a job. If you are told you will not be teaching music, but, instead, you will be teaching a kindergarten class? Well, for me, that would have been a fate worse than others, but I probably would have complied. Make lemonade out of these crazy lemons!

Teaching on a Cart

You may be on a cart. That's OK too. That is better than no music at all. Be a team player. Be pro-active and advocate what is best for your students.

How to teach when rolling a cart, room to room.

  • Keep it simple.

  • Lesson Plans—Keep a well-organized Lesson Plan Notebook. Do not depend on being able to use an online curriculum that requires projector, screen. Set-up from room to room will eat into your instructional time! Check out my affordable Unit 1—Nine weeks of sequential, standards-based lesson plans, K-5, including INDEX of online resources, songs, method books, and MUCH MORE!.

  • Roll Book—For assessing, taking roll as you did if you were in your classroom.

  • Playlist. Prepare your weekly Playlist for your iPhone, iPod, or other device with remote.

  • Bluetooth speaker. These are reasonable and have a high quality of sound.

  • Room Arrangement. Enlist students to move desks/chairs out of the way while listening/moving to music. If possible. It may not be possible, so prepare for that, too.

  • Rules, expectations, and consequences. Introduce your plan during the first class.

Movement in the Classroom

Plan lots of movement activities that can also be experienced independently. The students have been sitting in a confined space for a long time. They will need to MOVE. LOTS!!

  • Dances that are line dances or free form instead of circles and/or with partners, well-spaced using markers on the floor or desks in the classroom teacher's room as spacing guides.

  • Weave in and around desks. Circle desks. Tap desks with pencils to the beat.

  • Stand, sit.

  • Movement activities where students can remain apart from others.

  • Songs with motions.

Movement in the Virtual Classroom

Moving while in online music class!

Very important!! You can do the same things listed above. Students stand, sit, march, etc. Watch carefully to be sure everyone is engaged. Encourage them to participate. They will enjoy watching the others in their class. Because of the sound delays and not being synched, you will need to mute the children.

Remember, parent(s)/guardians are key to successful online experiences with younger children. Develop relationships with families during this stressful time. Let them know you care and are there for them!

Listening Activities

Older students will respond well to listening and analyzing. Younger students will comply for much shorter amounts of time if guided and the listening selections and activities are age-appropriate.

Suggestions that will work in the 2020-21 music class, virtual or in-classroom—

Other Suggestions for Survival

Join groups on Facebook where you can find support and helpful discussion instead of whining and complaining. Be positive. Everyone is dealing with issues now and needs encouragement.

Our lives may never be the same again. And that's alright. But we want to be sure that music is a part of whatever changes come our way!

I care because you matter!

Contact me if you need help with anything!

Click on the little envelope at the

top or bottom of this page and

you will receive a set of Rule posters FREE!!

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