Generating good will in your middle school students-Classroom Management Tip

Don't we all like to be recognized for our good work?

Middle School children are no different.

They can make your life awesome, or they can make it awful.

It's up to us.

Recently, one of my chorus students came up to me and said, "Mr. X will not let us sneeze in our class.  He is so mean."


If we tell a middle school child he or she cannot sneeze in class, they are going to sneeze 10 times more just to work our nerves.  Or maybe they won't sneeze...maybe they will make some other noise and "pass it around".  

It'll get ugly really fast.

So, when they get obnoxious, and they will...after all, they are 12...I try to either handle it with humor, use proximity or talk one-on-one to the child who is clearly in need of attention from his peers and/or me to help move toward behavior resolutions...which I'll discuss in a future blog post.  

We need the children in our corner.  

One of the ways I work to generate good will from my students is to send THEM good will.

I use to communicate with my students via their cell phones.  Twice a month, I send notices to them called "Shout outs".
I list the names of the children to whom I want to give a "shout out" so that I can congratulate them on good deeds, hard work or other things I viewed as exceptional recently. 

The kids love it, and it means the world to them.  

The kids who don't receive a shout out begin striving to receive one, and the good karma snowballs.

Here is a small sample:

Shout outs for this week in Chorus….

Eli Wiederholt and Spencer Payne

You earned my greatest respect this week when you did the right thing. I know the right thing wasn’t easy for you to do, but you did it.  I noticed and so will others in your future.  When we sing on March 22, know that I appreciate you.   It wasn’t convenient…but it was right.   I always respected you.  Now, I respect you even more. 

Anna Albright:

For reaching for your potential and for not being afraid to put your self on the line. 

Hanna B.

Second shout out in a row because you represented the entire HMS chorus today with professionalism when you sang for the rising 6th graders.  You impacted the future of the HMS chorus with your passion, talent and dedication.  The fifth graders who watched will want to be you.  At the same time, you performed callbacks and you came 100% prepared…all while sick with a cold…and not making excuses.  Just doing it.  That’s the real stuff.  Thank you.  Can’t wait to see where the universe takes you.

…and to all 45 of you who prepared callbacks and sacrificed time and energy to get ready.  Keep shooting for your goals.

Have a great weekend.

For more classroom management ideas, go to the search bar of my blog and type "Classroom management".  You can do the same on my YouTube Channel.

Have a great week!

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To Audition or not to Audition?

I recently answered this question on a choral music forum, and I wanted to share it here!

I have just taken a new middle school choral position. The previous teacher resigned in October, and there has been a series of subs in between. I know the previous teacher didn't hold auditions for 7th and 8th grade chorus. The school is grades 6-8. I am interested in how other people have handled auditions for middle school chorus. As far as I know, the administration is not the reason no auditions were held in the past. I am hoping it can be a recruitment tool, because I have found in other settings that raising the bar with an audition (even if pretty much everyone is accepted) can increase the appeal of the ensemble.
I look forward to your responses.
Amalie Hinson

Hi Amalie!

Many people audition their middle school students and have super programs.  It's an individual decision for sure.  In my own program, I've opted not to audition students to enter my program.  I have found that many students in this age group are very nervous to sing alone, but they are often very enthusiastic about being a part of a large group performing ensemble.  I have also found that the best recruiting tool is to make choir an enjoyable place to be.  We have to laugh with them.  We have to give them structure.  We have to share our passion with them.  They will see it and respond to it.  For example, I love musical theater, so each year, we do a musical theater revue that is our major fund-raiser for the year.  I audition the kids for that show, but it is completely voluntary.  it's awesome to see children who've never auditioned for anything overcome their fear.

Wishing you the best of luck as you embark on your new journey!



Since I began sharing the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners in 2013, I've gotten many emails, videos and messages about how the program has helped teachers succeed and enjoy teaching this subject to their beginners.  

I treasure each one, and I appreciate the time you take to send them, and I appreciate your purchase.

Many of you have requested that I offer an easily printable document that includes only the sight singing examples that you can hand to your children.

It's here!

This product is the perfect supplement to S-Cubed for teachers who:
*Have already purchased The Complete S-Cubed of the Original S-Cubed Series.   
*Do not have a Smart Board and need to hand documents to your children or if your Smart Board bulb blows!
*Or if you prefer to hand documents to your children some of the time.
*Need to save paper!   Each document includes all of the sight singing examples for that particular lesson.
*Need to save time!  Who doesn't?!  Some of you have shared that you created something like this for yourself since I hadn't offered it before.

Well, it's here and it's super affordable!  

The product includes a "Student" version and a separate "Teacher" version.  The "Student" version includes the written guidance I shared in the original power points.  The "Teacher" version includes the same written guidance as the "Student" version, but it also includes the reminders I wrote for the teachers on the sight singing examples in the original power points.

This product is intended only for people who've purchase the original series.  If you haven't purchased the original series, do not buy this.  It will be a waste of your money.

I hope this supplemental product makes your life easier!

Thanks for being an S-Cubed user!  Please keep spreading the word about S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners to your peers and colleagues using social media and "old school" word of mouth!

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