Star students in the music room

Star students in the music room: A positive classroom management system for your music lessons

Looking for a great way to keep students engaged and focused during music class? Today, I'm writing my first blog post in a series about classroom management in the music room. This post will be about one of my favorite strategies: star students in the music room!

So why choose a star student?

I've used this strategy my entire career, and every year, I've seen students get so excited about the possibility of being chosen. Students also like to cheer each other on! It can be a great way to point out specific behavior too, like “I'm choosing Tyler because he participated so much today,” or “I'm choosing Kendra because she was so helpful.”

What is a star student?

A star student, in my classroom, is a student who has showcased exemplary behavior during music class. Perhaps this child was participating quite a bit, or was singing his/her best, or was helping another child. This child is chosen at the end of the class, and is given some kind of reward…more on that in a minute!

How does it work?

At the end of every music class, I choose two star students. When I had my students more often, I did one star student at the end of class, but now that I see them once every five days, I switched to two.
Those two children come up to my SMART board and spin a spinner, which looks like this:

Star students in the music room: A positive classroom management system for your music lessons

You can make a spinner like this in SMART Notebook, by searching “spinner.” I've also created a file by searching “dice” and inserting an interactive die. Or if you don't have a SMART board, you could use a foam die and assign rewards to numbers.

For K-1, my rewards are:

  • Star student pencil
  • Sticker
  • Play an instrument (I allow them 5 seconds to play whatever instrument they want–just not my recorder!)
  • Prize box (see the picture below)
  • Your choice (students choose from any of the above choices)
For grades 2-5, my rewards are:
  • Play an instrument
  • Prize box
  • Sit by a friend
  • Special seat (students can choose any of my flexible seating to sit on for the entire class, in the next class)
  • Karaoke (see info below)
  • Your choice
Here is a picture of my prize box. I fill it with goodies from the Target party section:
Karaoke Reward? What's that?
This is a new reward I'm trying this year, and so far, I (and the kids) love it! I have a list of four school-appropriate pop songs with links to YouTube videos. The child who spins and gets karaoke tells me in the next music class that they got karaoke. Then, I leave about three minutes at the end of that class. The star student from the previous class chooses the song title, and then everyone gets to sing along with the karaoke track! It's like a whole class reward, with the star student choosing the title. The kids often cheer with excitement when someone spins and gets karaoke!
Thinking you want to try it out? Download the file for free here. You can view it like a slideshow by going to “view,” then “full screen.”
Does it take a lot of time?
Besides the karaoke reward, I can get star student done in a minute or less. I leave one minute at the end of class to choose star students and give the rewards. I write a star next to that child's name, and try to choose everyone in the class before circling around a second time…although if the last child on the list is not showcasing great behavior, I won't choose him/her until he/she does.Star student is a great way to reward students and get them excited. I think it's important to have a positive system in place, so students are honored for what they do well!Make sure to check out my blog each week, as I write about more classroom management strategies for your music room!Do you use star student? Feel free to comment below, and happy teaching!

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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