On my lesson plan, I organize each activity chronologically, with a note next to each activity of the approximate time that each activity will begin.  I usually watch the clock pretty closely as I teach and try to stay on schedule.  If an activity takes longer or shorter than I anticipated, I adjust the next activity accordingly.  I also plan an “if time” activity in case it’s needed.  It’s important to be flexible!

Enjoy this excellent how-to description of how one teacher, Joy Morin, plans her group classes.

How I Lesson Plan for Group Classes

I’ve had a few requests lately from readers regarding more info about what kind of activities I do with my Homeschool Music Classes and Piano Readiness classes, so I thought it might first be a good idea to first give you a peek into how I lesson plan for group classes.  Although I don’t lesson plan for teaching private lessons, I do always make a plan for group classes.

At each class, we begin and end with a “Hello Song” and “Goodbye Song.”  Students like having this routine, and they are very good at reminding me about the songs if I forget about them!  I have the students tap the beat on their knees (as we sit cross-legged on our carpet squares) while we sing.  That way, I can tell if they are engaged even if they aren’t singing all the lyrics for one reason or another.

When I lesson plan the evening before the next day’s class, I try to include the following things: 

  • Some kind of worksheet or written activity that they can take home and show their parents or hang on the fridge.
  • At least one kind of movement activity.   I believe that the best way to develop a good sense of rhythm in students is through movement-related activities.  Including movement activities in classes is strategic also because young children can’t sit still for very long.  I find it’s best to do a movement activity right before the worksheet time so they can get their wiggles out!
  • At least one activity using the piano.  I use silent keyboards and other props/games to learn various pre-piano concepts away from the piano, but I also make it a priority to let them use the actual piano because 1) that’s the whole point: nurturing a desire to make beautiful sounds at the piano; and 2) they love it so much!

On my lesson plan, I organize each activity chronologically, with a note next to each activity of the approximate time that each activity will begin.  I usually watch the clock pretty closely as I teach and try to stay on schedule.  If an activity takes longer or shorter than I anticipated, I adjust the next activity accordingly.  I also plan an “if time” activity in case it’s needed.  It’s important to be flexible!

At the end of the lesson plan, I compile a list of needed materials, so that I can easily gather them the next day before class and put everything in a basket.

Since the Homeschool Music class is intended to be a more academic class (versus the focus on music-making and pre-piano skills of the Piano Readiness Class), we are studying a composer each week.  I let them color a coloring page of the composer while I read a simple biography.  Then we listen to a famous composition and complete a worksheet that I create about the composition.

Here’s a screenshot of a lesson plan from last October, complete with all the elements mentioned above (click the image to enlarge, and then hit esc. to exit from viewing the image):

Printables mentioned in this lesson plan: the Rainy Rhythm game, the Musical Instruments Workbook, and the Musical Alphabet cards.

That pretty much sums up my method of lesson planning.  If you have questions or your own tips about lesson planning, share them in the comments!

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