Introduce academic subjects with a cheer!

Elementary classes spend a whole school year in the same room, studying one academic subject after another.  There is no natural transition time like in high school, so you have to create it yourself.  Break up the day by introducing your subjects with a cheer, song, rhyme, or fun little ritual.

Why a cheer?

  • Clear transition—a cheer lets students know when it’s time to switch from reading to math.
  • Quick break—taking the time to say a few rhyming words wakes students up.  Bonus points if your cheer involves movement.
  • Build enthusiasm—even long division is a little more fun if you give it a big buildup.

My students and I don’t have a cheer for every subject—that might be excessive.  However, we developed cheers for some of our favorite subjects and lessons.  Examples:

  • For a few years, I used a series of math lessons I created called “Macho Math.”  As you can imagine, our song was a variation on that Village People classic.   (“Macho, macho math!  Smart kids do..their macho math!”)
  • For one class, I created a grammar series called Go Go Grammar.  We began each lesson with a song I put to the tune of “Greased Lightning.”  (That song is a little too long and silly to reproduce here, but you get the idea.)
  • We created our own cheer to pep up a subject nobody really liked.  That cheer got us through the first half of the lesson each day.  Knowing we were almost there pulled us through the second half.

If you use cheers, start small and build up.  You want the process to happen naturally.  It’s nice if the students start making up their own cheers.  Try to vary the cheer/song styles.  That way, you please more students and avoid annoying some with a style they just don’t like.

Happy cheering!

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Posted in Academics,Classroom Management,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Dec 13, 2013


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