Let’s Go Outside

It’s that time of year for many, mental exhaustion season. Like, you know it’s time to call it quits for the day when you can no longer form words or full sentences. I may have experienced this yesterday while trying to end my work day, I pretty much had to push myself out the door. This was an often experience when I was in the classroom after spending a normal 100+ hours a week trying to keep my head above water. Teaching can be hard and being asked to pretty much have a superhero-sized workload most of the year is mentally taxing on anyone. We’ve had “self-care” drilled into our heads a lot recently as we’ve come out of the lockdown and pandemic, but what does that really look like? They can tell us to rest and relax until the cows come home, but self-care looks different for everyone. But, what’s one universal thing that works for pretty much everyone?


That’s right, go get your vitamin D and bring your students with you. I know schools with all the violence that has happened over the years sometimes have different rules based on the area of the country they are in, but make yourself familiar with those rules and find ways to bring your class outside when the sun is warm and lovely. Here are some ideas I did and some are collected from friends on what to do with your students for class outside during the spring before summer starts kicking into full gear.

  1. Drumming Circles and Games – I had a lot of auxiliary percussion instruments and Remo kid drums that students could use responsibly outside. Sometimes we just used rhythm or drumsticks. My favorite resources to use for these activities came from Kalini music, his books Together in Rhythm, The Amazing Jamnasium, and Drum Fun provided some great ideas and activities to do with students. More about his books can be found here, https://kalanimusic.com/products/books/
  2. Chalk Notation– I had a bucket of sidewalk chalk and permission from my principal and we go out and take up the blacktop on the playground and write measures of 4 beats. They then grab a partner and clap it together before adding more or going to the next free space and making another one. By the end of class, the whole blacktop is filled with music!
  3. Reading – Sitting outside under a tree and reading a story was sometimes the most relaxing. There are hundreds of books that are great for music class particularly (Freddie the Frog was one of my favorites.) A few more recommendations can be for on this post I made several years ago.
  4. Found Objects Performance– Give them 20 minutes and a whole area to find something they can play as an instrument and bring it back to the circle before time is up. After, treat it like a drum circle and get playing.
  5. Instrument Safari – This is a more in-depth experience to do with littles, directions can be found here, https://celticnovelist.com/2013/03/30/venturing-out-for-a-safari/ but you can also find this and more in my book found here, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/interactive-visual-ideas-for-musical-classroom-activities-9780190929862?cc=us&lang=en&

Just a quick trick, have a bucket or bag ready with all the necessities to head outside. I had one for outside, one for centers, etc. Here is a post I wrote a while back with some recommendations if you make a quick decision to head outside for class.

What are you going to do outside to end the school year?

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