Help me with a meaninful slogan for a middle school classroom.
August 17, 2017 2:11 PM   Subscribe

For Reasons, staff at my school have been told that we must come up with a ritualized way to end each class before we dismiss kids- think a catchphrase like "return with honor," "be people of integrity" or "be well, do good work, and keep in touch." Help me come up with something.

This requirement has been presented as non-negotiable. I teach stringed instruments and love my kids and my subject; this feels a little arbitrary and non-genuine to me, but if I can come up with something that resonates with me and with the kids I am hoping I will be less frustrated. It can be simple like the ones above, or even a call and response with the students. It can be about my subject, or about learning or character. What have you got?
posted by charmedimsure to Education (75 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Be excellent to each other"
posted by ukdanae at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2017 [42 favorites]


Around my school, the saying was 'Make it a great day.'
posted by hydra77 at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Came here to say "be excellent to each other", but ukdanae must be me from the future. ;)
posted by heatherlogan at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


"Listen openly." I use it to refer to listening without trying to rebut, but to really take in what someone has to say, but it has connections to your music too.
posted by advicepig at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Don't step on downed power lines
posted by FergieBelle at 2:16 PM on August 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Abridged Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., perhaps?
"[There's only one rule that I know of, babies-'God damn it,] you've got to be kind.'”
posted by queseyo at 2:17 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


How about something derived from the Japanese concept of kaizen, often translated as "continuous improvement" but apparently actually closer to meaning "change for better"? It acknowledges that we never reach perfection, but can always be improving ourselves. Possibly a good philosophy for music students.
posted by heatherlogan at 2:17 PM on August 17, 2017


If you want to be a little passive-aggressive and poke back at the administration, while at the same using something that the kids will find arresting and memorable, you could use Vonnegut's "God damn it, you've got to be kind."
posted by contraption at 2:18 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Keep on keepin' on
posted by Fig at 2:18 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


queseyo beat me to it, but I have to say without the "God damn it" it's not worth quoting.
posted by contraption at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


For something that relates (ok, a little obliquely) to stringed instruments and doesn't seem tritely "inspirational" how about: "Have you ever really looked at your hands?"
posted by contraption at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


My daughter's school has a motto: "We are safe! We are respectful! We are responsible and kind!"
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think this would be a great thing to ask your students.
posted by gyusan at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2017 [10 favorites]


Everyone together now: "Credos shouted in unison are scary!"
posted by WCityMike at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2017 [48 favorites]


Make your own kind of music. (I only know it from the Mama Cass song, but am not sure who wrote it.)

Where words fail, music speaks. - Hans Christian Andersen

Music can change the world because it can change people. - Bono
posted by elphaba at 2:28 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


From Twelfth Night. "If music be the food of love, play on."
You say : "If music be the food of love..."
They shout: "Play on!"
posted by flourpot at 2:29 PM on August 17, 2017 [21 favorites]


A good piece of advice that is used to sign off the podcast Sawbones: "Don't drill a hole in your head!"

(I would avoid the My Brother, My Brother, and Me admonition to "kiss your dad square on the lips")
posted by dismas at 2:31 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Up, up, and away!
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:31 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Keep learning!

I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow(Monday, after the holiday, etc).
posted by theora55 at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


"don't stop the music!" maybe?
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:45 PM on August 17, 2017


"Knockers up!"
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:48 PM on August 17, 2017


"Da capo al fine!"
posted by clew at 2:50 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


As a beloved science teacher at my highschool used to say... "Be good. Be safe. Don't get arrested."
posted by Kicky at 3:05 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm flattered to be best-answered, but also keep in mind it may create problems for you office-politics-wise. If you go for it, go for it -- maybe they'll just exempt you from credos altogether. But if you have to pick one, I'd do the Twelfth Night quote flourpot suggested. It's a lovely sentiment.
posted by WCityMike at 3:12 PM on August 17, 2017


"All in all it's just another brick in the wall."
You: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Them: Practice!

But seriously:

"All music is beautiful"

"Be the music in your life and in others'"

"When in doubt, play it out."
posted by carmicha at 3:16 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm going to vote no on "Be excellent to each other" which has become kind of a banal cliche, often used in startup culture company statements.

I suggest "Just keep going".
posted by thelonius at 3:17 PM on August 17, 2017


My daughter's school does a call and response: the teacher says "dream big!" The kids reply "work hard!" It's pretty cheesy, but the kids seem to like it.
posted by gaspode at 3:30 PM on August 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


Teacher, "think big", students, "because you're thinking anyway".
posted by jennstra at 3:36 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Live long and prosper.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

The most important thing is never to stop questioning.

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Do or Do Not. There is no Try.

May the bridges you burn light your way.

When life gives you lemons, freeze them, and throw them at difficult people.

Don't worry if the glass is half empty or half full. The glass is refillable.

Be decisive. The road is paved with flat squirrels who couldn't make decisions.

If you don't like where you are, move. You're not a fence post.

Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.

Only dead fish go with the flow.

Don't every worry about being weird. Remember, you're a limited edition.

You can't make everybody happy. You're not pizza.

Renember. Always take your meds.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse.

Be open minded. Just don't let your brains fall out.

All generalizations are false. Including this one.

A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:37 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


"No matter where you go, there you are."
posted by radwolf76 at 3:37 PM on August 17, 2017


"Don't fret about it!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:56 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have no idea how you do this without sounding like a '50s news anchor, a cult leader, or wholly inauthentic. Good luck with that. In case your snark quota isn't filled:

"Come back with your bow - or on it."

"So long, and thanks for all the fish."

Or ... are there any simple messages you already drive yourself mad repeating every day, several times a day? The sort of thing your kids can parrot back to you by the end of the first month, eyes rolling dramatically?

Like: "Be kind, work hard, come back ready to play," but less ... nagging?
posted by verschollen at 4:07 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Your the music teacher...so it should naturally be tied to music.

(you) "All You Need Is..."
(kids) "Love!"
posted by artdrectr at 4:12 PM on August 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


From The Magic School Bus: "Time to take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"
posted by clawsoon at 4:17 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


I agree with gyusan - this would be an excellent thing to come up with jointly with the students. You could even introduce it with the appropriate amount of eye-rolling, but then tell the students that you guys can make the idea yours even if it's silly by all working together to come up with something that is meaningful to you. Maybe go in armed with a few suggestions to get the ball rolling, but I'm sure the kids will then take it from there. And if they come up with it themselves, it will feel less weird and stupid to do.
posted by forza at 4:37 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


"Just keep swimming."
posted by kindall at 4:43 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Be good, or be good at it."

Or ask them how to get to Carnegie Hall.
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:48 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Clear eyes. Full hearts. CAN'T LOSE!

*may already be taken by the phys ed teacher
posted by amanda at 4:50 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


Awake

Aware

ALIVE!
posted by Rash at 4:53 PM on August 17, 2017


Middle schoolers would probably like something funny, so I vote "so long" and "thanks for all the fish" as a call and response. (And if every teacher has to do this, they're going to be hearing trite things all day. Ugh.)

Another possibility: Don't forget to play. That would have a double meaning with your subject.

My grandkids were in hysterics when they were running around and I said, "It's all fun and games until somebody goes flying through a window." That became a big catchphrase for them.

Whatever you do, please not that horrid "suffering is optional" thing. You might as well say, "Don't be a bunch of babies."
posted by FencingGal at 4:56 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Virtuous catchphrases are only a problem if they're mocked by practice. If it's a simple principle that we carry out the complicated reification of -- well, that looks like how a lot of things get done.

so picking one with the students, one you and they can actually do, and living up to it; that's when earnestness is better than irony.
posted by clew at 4:59 PM on August 17, 2017


From my college choir professor, about the right way to make music: "Cool heads, warm hearts."
posted by clawsoon at 5:05 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Best-answered the one that made me laugh the most but that I can't actually use (don't worry! I have good judgment! Which I will not be allowed to use as freely in my teaching this year as I would like!)

I have no idea how you do this without sounding like a '50s news anchor, a cult leader, or wholly inauthentic.


Indeed. They will have 8 periods a day of this, and other similar things that are making me nutty. I have many feels about the program we are implementing but at the moment I am trying to figure out how to make it less onerous for me and something that I can at least pretend convincingly to buy into. This question has helped.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. CAN'T LOSE!

Ha- I made my beginners bow licenses last year and put a bow hand technique-based, "Round thumbs, straight bows, CAN'T LOSE" slogan on that as my own private little joke. I had forgotten about that.

Liking a lot of the answers here, afraid that by posting I will doom myself to no more answers but seriously, they are great, I am rolling them around in my head and I'd love to hear more.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:40 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Assuming that you expect them to be doing some practice outside of class, you could use some variation on 'only deliberate practice makes perfect'.

Is there a requirement that you use the same phrase for the year, or can you change it occasionally?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:53 PM on August 17, 2017


Could probably change it up a couple times without anybody noticing.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:56 PM on August 17, 2017


This might not work for a music teacher but my Friday send off is, sort of cornily said in a "Mom" voice - "I love you! Make good choices! Read a book!" They think it's funny. Embrace the cheese.
posted by raspberrE at 6:29 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


One of my old voice teacher's used to say, "Practice makes permanent." I've always liked that as a reminder that just practicing isn't enough - you have to practice the right way.

If you think about it, there probably is something that you remind your students of on a regular basis that you could work into a signoff slogan.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I knew a high school teacher in Portland who had kids say, "Just say no to sex, drugs, and Abercrombie & Finch."
posted by Knowyournuts at 6:40 PM on August 17, 2017


It can be about my subject, or about learning or character.

Always return your shopping cart.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:45 PM on August 17, 2017




B the change you want to C, or D.
posted by Oyéah at 6:57 PM on August 17, 2017


I would totally go with "Come back with your shield or on it!"

I might also try, "Remember kids, there's no crying in baseball."

("If music be the food of love, play on," is pretty good, though!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:00 PM on August 17, 2017


"Be kind and play in tune"
or just keep it simple: "Music and respect"
posted by daisystomper at 7:04 PM on August 17, 2017


Does it have to be words? If not, many everyone drums a beat or vocalizes a song snippet.
posted by Vaike at 7:25 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


See sharp or be flat!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:28 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Current social climate + typical middle school nonsense = "Be Kind to One Another"

Although I quite like the comment up thread of the call & response "dream big" and "work hatd".
posted by vignettist at 7:53 PM on August 17, 2017


"Have fun storming the castle!"
posted by the_blizz at 8:14 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


So it goes. - Vonnegut
posted by at at 8:25 PM on August 17, 2017


Encourage one another.
posted by cynicalidealist at 8:26 PM on August 17, 2017


Don't give them any context, just say, "Wear sunscreen!"
posted by Night_owl at 8:28 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


All knowledge is worth having.
posted by epj at 8:33 PM on August 17, 2017


I agree with the posters above - I think the kids need to work together on this. The reason it's meaningless and arbitrary to you is because you're being told to come up with something meaningful. It's kind of forced on you, so it feels empty and meaningless. It will be the same with them, unless you present it differently. They need to take ownership over it.

One idea to help make this meaningful (for yourself and for them) is using music as an in-road. Are there favorite quotes by musicians that you could post up, so when they come through the door, it's the first thing they see? And have them talk about which ones caught their attention, and say why?

If you number the quotes, you could do a poll, have them vote by writing their number, and then count them up after they leave. The suspense and surprise might capture their interest.

You could also use all the quotes that get voted on and change it each week. Each week is a new quote, and it carries some meaning for them because at some point their quote will get picked.

It's kind of like teaching them community and acceptance by giving them an opportunity to talk about and respect others' points of view, while giving each an opportunity to be heard. And they get to learn about music history, musicians they've never heard of, etc. Win-win.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:35 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Maybe a common music mnemonic.

CALL: Father Charles goes down and ends battle!
RESPONSE: Battle ends and down goes Charles's father!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:28 PM on August 17, 2017


So, you're teaching a music class. It might be fun to work with that!

Miles Davis said, "It's the next note that makes it good or bad."

Billie Preston said, "I don't have to sing it, I just have to play it. That's cool."

Aretha said, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me."

Joey Ramone said, "I like the idea of just being happy with me."

Brian Wilson said, "Be true to your school."

Beyonce said, "I woke up like this."

Diana Ross said, "Music is a part of my being."

Cher said you have to be willing to look foolish to be great. There is real wisdom there. She said many great things, actually!

Judy Garland said, "Always be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else."

Jimi Hendrix said, "Manic depression's a frustrated mess." jk jk jk

My point is not these quotes, buy rather that musicians might be a useful and fun resource.

Also agree that Vonnegut is a treasure trove.

And I feel that in this particular cultural-political moment, the best thing any teacher can do for students is impress upon them tolerance, dignity, kindness, and the celebration of difference. Even by way of catchphrases.
posted by kensington314 at 10:53 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Call: rap out shave and a haircut
Response: rap back two bits!

Alternatively

Goodbye all. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning. (PB ref)
posted by tilde at 4:06 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sure beats "get back in here, the bell does not dismiss you, I dismiss you!"

Serious:
Keep on doing the good things, everyone.
posted by freethefeet at 4:12 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine often signs off his social media posts with "Go be mighty."
posted by solotoro at 6:35 AM on August 18, 2017


Stay in tune

Don't get too high strung

Pluck it! (ok, that probably won't fly)

Find your forte

Live in harmony, not unison
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:25 AM on August 18, 2017


You: "Work it, make it, do it, makes us?"
Kids: "Harder! Better! Faster! Stronger!"
posted by milk white peacock at 7:42 AM on August 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


Go forth unafraid.
posted by valeries at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2017


Don't do "if music be the food of love, play on" as it continues
Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
posted by Hypatia at 9:16 PM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Choose kind.

(From R.J. Palacio's Wonder)
posted by TEA at 9:45 PM on August 18, 2017


I end every class with "thank you for listening," but I always secretly wish I had the gravitas to end with "I have spoken."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:43 PM on August 20, 2017


"Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something"
posted by kindall at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2017


I totally have a handmade black market poster of that on my wall (did change "sucking" to "being kinda bad" for purposes of educational propriety).
posted by charmedimsure at 1:20 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


« Older Looking to wander around some new blogs and sites   |   How real are described experiences to others? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.