Thursday, October 09, 2014

Figuring out Kindergarteners

I'm going to have to come up with some new strategies for kindergarten choir because the group I have this year is very, very different. For one thing, I have more boys than girls, for a change. But it's not the usual gender breakdown in behavior. Normally, the girls are the ones who are eager to please and want to participate and like all the music stuff, while the boys just want to make noise and run around. In this group, the kids who are most interested in actually doing the choir things are boys, along with one girl, and it's mostly the girls who don't care and would rather just be talking or clinging to the teen helpers, though there's one boy with a really bad attitude and a lot of sass. I have music-related activities that are "boy-friendly" because they're more about action that have been good about getting the reluctant boys involved in the past, but most of my boys this year are totally okay with the regular choir stuff. They like singing, they like learning about music, and they pay attention well enough to have the answers to any questions I ask. So now I need to come up with "girl-friendly" things to lure in the reluctant ones, and I'm not even sure what that is, aside from maybe Frozen singalongs.

And while I'm not a big fan of the totally pink "girls" toy aisle, when it comes to teaching children that age, there really are huge gender differences. They may have been socialized that way by parents rather than it being inborn, but I have to deal with what I get, and I've found that boys tend to be kinetic learners -- they need activity to make something stick. Girls generally can just listen and learn or talk about it and figure it out that way, and they then get bored with the kinetic stuff because they already know it from the talking part. Most of the girls I've got now just don't want to do anything, while half the boys are right there from the beginning and love it all and want to make sure I can see that they know it. The nice thing with this group is that everything seems to take twice as long as I plan it to take (when they like something, they want to do it again), which means that instead of running out of activities, I run out of time. It's always better to run out of time than scramble for something else to do.

But now that I have that out of the way for another week, I can focus on revisions. I've done the brainstorming, so it's time to actually start making the changes.

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