This is not easy. It’s unfortunately more common with teachers out, and a sub shortage. So what can you do if you are facing 50-60 or MORE students all at once? Here are some ideas that will hopefully give you some help.
1. Crowd Control
First things first, the most difficult challenge with multiple classes is crowd control. First, a stable classroom management plan that you have in place should be reinforced before you get going. If you are in a different space, like the gym, because you have so many students, or if you’re just, you know, facing the fact that all of the students are saying, “Oh my gosh, we are together!! PARTY!”, here’s what you can do to manage that.
- Lay down the ground rules. Remind them that it’s possible to have fun and still remain in control of themselves.
- I am definitely not somebody who enjoys, likes, or uses external rewards for students but in certain situations, I’m not above it. If you want to offer an extra reward and you think it will help them remain in control, go for it!
2. If you are in the gym
- Folk Dances – often times, PE teachers do these too, so this would be a perfect thing to do with extra space!
- Stations – If for some reason you have the PE teacher, split with them and do half music stations, half PE stations. Splitting them up may save a lot of big crowd issues, and cut down on the drama. Stations may be hard to monitor if it’s only you.
- Add a musical element to a game that the PE teacher plays
- In a “dodgeball” type game, all students get a card. They can only get people out who have the same instrument family as themselves.
- Four Corners – Check out this blog post for directions
3. Use the equipment
If you are in the gym, this is a great chance to use some of the equipment that is available. Pitch Publications has some great Rhythm Basketball lessons. Use the basketballs, tennis balls, or even volleyballs if you need.
Alternatively, you could have students partner and take turns with the ball.
4. Embrace the calm
Things that involve staying in place:
- Composer/Musician lessons – listening, a worksheet, discussion with a partner.
- Coloring sheets like rhythm identification, reactions.
- My Music or Not games are great for big groups but easily done without a lot of pomp and circumstance. Playing in small teams might be an easier way to play with lots of students and have one student hold up the card.
5. Creative time
- Composing – let them have some creative time with parameters. Let them pick a partner from the other class and they’ll really enjoy the time!
- Let them create some body percussion
- Chrissy from Hutzel House of Music on TpT has a great parody writing activity
6. Go with the flow
This type of day is not going to be easy. This is not going to be the highlight of your week or a big learning day. And that’s okay.
I hope this has been helpful!