Questions and Answers

Hello Friends,

I’ve received a number of questions that, in my opinion derserve a detailed answer.  For example, the post on “The Magic Flute” was the result of a question asked by Elaine.  So, from time to time I’ll have a post that addresses specific questions.  Kind of like a “Dear Jane” column.  Please add comments with ideas that have worked for you!

From Emily, regarding my classroom behavior incentive:  This involved some inexpensive prizes from the dollar store.  The full system can be found at

“This sounds like a great idea that would work well in a few of my classes. My concern is that I would like to target one class in a grade level–I don’t have the same behavior problems in other classes. (i.e. one out of four classes in fourth grade would benefit). Have you had this situation before? How have you handled it?”

Hi Emily,
Right now I sort of have that situation in first grade. 3 of my 4 first grades need a behavior incentive. Because there are already so many that do, I figured I’d do it with the 4th class, just because they’d be sure to hear about it and want to know why they didn’t get to pick from the prize bin. In your case, you could try just not saying anything in your other classes. Maybe they won’t pick up on it and even ask. But if they do, you could do something like reward their already good behavior with a “kids’ choice” day once a quarter, when they could choose the activities for the class. You could diplomatically tell them that some classes just need a little extra instruction in the manners department, but that they are already so mature and well behaved that you didn’t feel they need it. And in appreciation for a job consistently well done, they get to choose the class activities. It would probably be a good idea to have a few minutes during the previous class period when they could make a list of favorite activities and prioritize which ones they’d like to make sure they get to. I’ve been amazed at some of the things my kids have wanted to do. Sometimes the 5th graders go all the way back to first grade activities!

From Jen:

Hi there!! I just loved reading your warmups and I plan on trying them with my classes! I like your “everyday and always” targets – I have one question. I’ve got some boys who don’t want to sing in their head voice and don’t want to sing loud. Anything I can do to persuade them to change their mind?
Thanks for your great ideas!

Hi Jen,
I’ve tried 2 things…sometimes they work, sometimes not, but they’re worth a try.
1. Explain to them that until their voices change, that’s how it’s supposed to sound. It’s not a girl voice…it’s a child voice.

2. Play some Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, BeeGees….maybe even Michael Jackson. Tell them that even men use their head voice, it’s just called “falsetto” after their voices change. Then, maybe you can find a Beach Boys song or something for them. The Musick-8 Warm up that I do with the primaries would do just fine for them, and has some of that doowop style falsetto in it.

Other ideas…..

3.  Have a contest between them and you; challenge them to sing higher than you do. (But only if you think they can take the challenge without getting silly.

4.  Record them.  If you tell them ahead of time that you want a quality recording, (especially if you plan to do something  with it, like play it on morning announcements or something,) I’ve found that they really do try to do their best.  I record with my iPhone and email the recordings to myself so I can play them through my computer.

Thanks so much for reading and responding, everyone!  :0)



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