Being Positive with our Middle School Children

Last week, when I was observed by the first year teacher that I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, she mentioned something to me.  She said, "I noticed that you only publicly recognize positive behaviors in the students.  Why is that?"

I teach 84 children in a classroom at one time, that is why!  :)

But seriously....I thought about that.  What had I done that day?

That day, I remembered saying things like:  "Great tall mouth position Sarah!", "Wonderful posture, Niko!" and a few other things.  I did it because, right next to Niko was a child using terrible posture for singing, and next to Sarah was a child who was barely opening her mouth! Immediately, the children next to them improved!  Works like a charm.

 I use the positive reinforcement to help get other children on task.  I carefully reward them with praise.  It is one of my major classroom management techniques...and with 320 total students in my program, I need a lot of things in my bag of tricks.

I also use stickers with the children.  I prefer that my students come into the room, sit down and immediately begin working silently on their short, quick, written warm up activity.  When I see them doing it, I walk over and place a sticker on their paper.  Three stickers=a free Starburst!  I usually focus on giving a sticker to a child who is sitting next to another child who isn't doing what he is supposed to do.  I don't say anything negative to the child who isn't doing the right thing.  I just reward the right behaviors.

If I need to have a negative conversation with a child, I do it once everyone is gone.  I always want to maintain their dignity.  

Everyone wants to feel valued.  Always.  

We all deserve it!

It works for me!  If you aren't doing it, give it a try.  It feels good for the teacher.  It encourages students to do the right thing.

I just posted Lesson 13 in my Sight Singing program!  Check it out!  Share it with your friends who teach choral music.  

Thanks for your support!  Have a great weekend!



  1. Hello!

    I've been checking out your blog and TPT Sight-Singing materials. You've talked in a few posts about 'bell-ringer' activities, written work they do at the beginning of each class period. Is there more information about that in the S-Cubed course? How does the organization work with all of that written work each day - do you grade it all? I'm also interested about how you grade your students and the organization behind it all. Sorry for so many questions, I just finished my third year of teaching and my first year doing 7th and 8th grade choir so I'm finding all of your information extremely helpful!

    Thank you for any more information you have to share - it is MUCH appreciated! :)

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