Submitted by Suzanne Weaver, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Idea posted January 1, 2008

I use simple music composition for classroom management and a reward system. I prepare a bulletin board with one measure of music which I laminate and four quarter notes that can be velcroed to the staff.

The students earn one quarter note for each expectation that is met during the music lesson. For example, students must enter the music room orderly and immediately settle down for instruction. If that is accomplished, I will velcro one quarter to the staff. If the students were respectful of their teacher and classmates by maintaining their personal spaces and using polite language, they will earn another quarter note. If the students follow directions and classroom procedures (i.e. passing out instruments, textbooks, moving around), another quarter note is placed on the staff. If the students are actively participating, another note is earned. These are the expectations I use, but each teacher should adapt his/her own rules/expectations that work for their classroom.

Each week, the goal is to complete one measure of 4/4 music by earning four quarter notes. I use it as a reward system by making them earn six complete measures (six music lessons). If that is achieved, they have composed a song entitled, "Game Day." The entire class is rewarded with a day of games. If they earn all that they can each week, they end up having one game day every six weeks.

It teaches simple composition, makes the class work together, and hopefully ensures a positive learning environment.