Have you been wondering how to implement music centers with Kindergarten? In this blog post, I'm detailing five strategies for starting centers, or stations, in your Kindergarten music lessons.
Kindergarten can be a challenging grade to teach, so you may be hesitant to try music centers with Kindergarteners. The good news is, Kindergarteners are typically pretty comfortable doing stations, as this is a very common model in the Kindergarten general classroom. Here are five strategies for implementing music centers or stations with Kindergarteners, so that you and your students feel successful! (And keep reading for free center materials for four voices!)
#1: Start with a smaller number of centers
If Kindergarteners have never done centers in your music room, instead of starting with four centers (which is how many people normally structure centers), you might start with three. This allows you to be able to monitor the centers more easily, and you only have three centers to explain instead of four. This can also work better if you have shorter lessons with Kindergarteners.
#2: Start with familiar activities
This is a good strategy for any grade level, but especially with Kindergarten. When choosing your centers, it's really helpful to choose centers your students are very comfortable with. For example, my Kindergartners have lots of practice with tracking rhythm while singing or speaking songs or chants, so this was an easy center for me to explain. Here is a picture of my tracking sheets, which can be found in this set:
If you choose activities students haven't done previously, Kindergarteners especially will struggle to do the center successfully, or may need a lot of assistance.
#3: Spread out the centers over two lessons
I have my Kindergarteners for only 25 minutes a lesson this year. When I first tried centers with them this year, I realized that 25 minutes wasn't long enough to do all three centers, after having a bit of a whole group lesson and then explaining the centers. Because of this, I split up the centers lesson over two lessons, so the students did the first two centers in the first lesson and the last center in the second lesson. Students did well remembering which center they hadn't done (but if you are worried about this, you can make a note of who did which center.) In the second lesson, we only spent 10 or so minutes on centers, since there was only one center to do.
#4: Do not anchor yourself at any center
Sometimes with centers, I'll anchor myself at one center, so I can help students to complete that center one on one (especially if the center is a bit tricky) or so that I can assess. However, this isn't always successful with Kindergarten, as students from other centers may need your help or have a question at some point. I'd leave yourself open to circulate in the room and monitor all centers.
#5: Use an instrument center
Kindergarteners LOVE to play instruments…so having an instrument center will get students very excited! Here are some pictures of a center I've done for beat and for rhythm:
For this visual, if students are practicing steady beat, they go to the gathering drum and play the beat while saying “Bee Bee.” Students do this in a small group, and they are very engaged!
Looking for more materials for Kindergarten music centers? Check out these:
Want free materials for four voices with Kindergarten? Sign up to download three centers for four voices!
I hope this has been helpful as you consider how to do music stations with Kindergarteners. Happy teaching!