Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Music in the Classroom

I recently posted about the use of toys in the upper elementary classroom (Part One and Part Two), and in one of those posts, I mentioned the music I use for a review activity. I want to thank ATUE reader Julie L. for leaving a comment that inspired me to write a post about the music I use in my classroom! Julie, if you leave a comment here with your email address, I have a special surprise for you to thank you for your inspiration!

In my toy posts, I mentioned that when we do detective theme practice or review (when students are searching for something like adjectives in a sentence, etc.), I like to use The Pink Panther theme as our timer (as well as a Pink Panther for our mascot).


I have also used the Mission Impossible theme for other detective theme challenges (but I like to call it Mission POSSIBLE).
However, there are so many other songs I LOVE to use in the classroom. All of these songs are those that I have on CD or have purchased on iTunes for use within my classroom so I can save them and use them when needed. It's really worth it! Before iTunes, I would buy a whole CD for one or two songs. Now I can buy just those I want to use in my classroom!

Sometimes the music is the timer for the activity. Sometimes it is background music as we work. Sometimes it is chosen to suit the mood or theme. Sometimes it is used to rev up my students. I personally love music and can't imagine life without it, so it's only natural for me to infuse it into my lessons whenever possible! I usually like to pick songs with very few or no lyrics so it doesn't distract the students.

We have a popcorn theme when we practice pronouns, and when I try to have students identify the personal pronouns on a popcorn-themed sheet, I like to play "Popcorn" by Hot Butter as the timer.


Sometimes I even use the popcorn song when I am passing out my popcorn prompts. It is so much more fun to receive your prompt as the teacher hops around from desk to desk to the popcorn tune! Students can't wait for their turns to put their hands in the popcorn bag and pull out their prompts!
Aphex Twin covered the song "Popcorn," and I've used his version with my class once or twice. The kids seemed to love it! However, it made their old lady teacher a bit batty, so I stick to Hot Butter's older version!
I also do a race with the whole class to practice the pronouns (where the whole class competes as team against time), and I use music as our timer. I love the song "Busy Child" by The Crystal Method because it really motivates them to move quickly. Their toes are tapping and their eyes are wide with excitement as we do the race. The music DEFINITELY adds to the excitement. The song slows down and speeds up, and they always panic because they think the time is almost up in the slower parts. The part from 4:07 to about 4:55 is the most exciting every time I use it!
I also have created a review game called Long Train for my classroom. The review cards are on little train cars and it works like a Scoot game. I purposely put the questions on trains so I could use the song "Dark and Long" (Dark Train Mix) by Underworld. It's a trance track that was used in the movie Trainspotting. It's is definitely not distracting because of its repetitive melody with few lyrics ("Long train...Ride the train...") My students love it...and so do I! The beat picks up a little at around 3:05, but its "catchy monotony" is what makes it great background music.
When I use Carnival of the Animals by John Lithgow as a mentor text, I want students to hear the music that inspired this book. The always enjoy listening to "The Carnival of the Animals" (Le Carnaval des Animaux) by Camille Saint-Saens, especially if we are working independently on a project inspired by our mentor text.
I have so much more music to share with you,
so I will continue over on my blog, The Peanut Gallery,
with PART TWO HERE!

Stop over for a special
 FREE Gift Certificate Contest
that goes along with Part Two!

Until next time, happy teaching, friends!
You can find me here:

17 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting these ideas! While I have used Saint-Saens for setting the mood for writing, several of the others are new to me and I can't wait to check them out. And Pink Panther or MI would be GREAT to use for a variety of things... and I never even considered using them. Now I have lots of options. I just love when I get motivation from blog posts! Thanks again.

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, I am so glad you enjoyed this post and that it was able to give you some new ideas. Stop over at my blog tomorrow if you have a chance for many more musical ideas! :)

      Delete
  2. These are great songs for different purposes. I love the idea. I was wondering how you save your music so that you can access it when you want to use it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ursula! The songs I use are all those I have purchased on either CD or on iTunes, so I have them at the ready!

      Delete
  3. Very cool! I learned at an inservice this summer about using music to signal the starting of writer's workshop. They had to have all materials ready by the end of the song. Thanks for providing some great examples! I look forward to reading more on your blog :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea for using music as a timer, too! It can really calm them down, rev them up, prepare them...whatever we need it to do as long as it is used wisely. I can't imagine my classroom without music! I am glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for your comment, Joan!

      Delete
  4. Oh my word! Why has this never occurred to me? This is such a great idea - thank you for sharing.
    Marion
    MentoringintheMiddle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment, Marion! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

      Delete
  5. Oh my word! Why has this never occurred to me? This is such a great idea - thank you for sharing.
    Marion
    MentoringintheMiddle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment, Marion! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

      Delete
  6. Well what a "DUH" moment for me. I'm itchin' to use the pink panther music for "think" time. AWESOME!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I could give you a new idea to try! I hope your kiddos will love it! I know they will! :)

      Delete
    2. nice post here
      that picture above looks like one that was edited by a professional :)
      there are 2 blogs that i've found so far to be very helpful and have something interesting for me whenever i visit, this one and http://danieluyi.com
      Keep it up. I will be visiting again.

      Delete
  7. Mrs. S-

    Thanks for the great ideas. While I'm no longer a classroom teacher, I love to share ideas with teachers about using music in the classroom. You are obviously a master of the signal and timer song!

    By the way, if you are interested in lots of other ways to use music in the classroom, you can check out the book I co-authored with Rich Allen--The Rock 'N' Roll Classroom (Corwin 2012). It sounds like you are our kind of "rock 'n' roll" teacher.

    W. W. Wood

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks! I will definitely check out your book! Thanks for stopping by ATUE and for your kind comments. :)

      Delete
    2. I also will keep your site bookmarked and possibly get in touch with you for ideas for the follow-up book to The Rock 'N' Roll Classroom. I will soon be looking for stories of teachers who use music for learning (songs with content embedded in the lyrics). I don't know if you do any of that, but if so, I'd like to see some examples.

      W. W. Wood

      Delete
  8. I am a fervent believer in using songs in the classroom. In fact, I have been implementing songs in my Language Art's curriculum for years. This is my 23rd year in the classroom, and I've taught mainly juniors and seniors. Believe it or not, they LOVE it when music is used in the classroom, as much as elementary and middle school students. It all started when I was in my 5th or 6th year teaching, and I made up a silly "Subordinating Conjunction" song. To this day, I still have former students, who are either in college or have gone on to become teachers, themselves, who contact me often to get copies of my songs. There is a link on my blog where you can visit my classroom website, and since we are experimenting with the "flipped classroom" I recorded myself in my kitchen (You just have to hear the lyrics to understand why I did this in the "kitchen"..... ), and my students loved it last week. I now teach 8th grade language arts. I absolutely LOVE your idea to set the mood for students while they are searching for adjectives, etc. I will definitely bookmark this page and be back to try some of your ideas in the classroom. Visit my blogspot at http://ateachersdaze123.blogspot.com Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment! We appreciate your input!

-All Things Upper Elementary

Blogging tips