Thursday, May 5, 2011

teaching with music

the teacher wife has asked how we teach with music.  I wrote this reeeeaaaalllly long comment, and when I went to post it, it disappeared.  So I decided to write a post here instead.

I LOVE teaching with music.  But I've seen some rooms where the kids, and teacher are experiencing Dr. Jean overload.  I totally have Dr. Jean, and she's in my music rotation, but the majority of my kiddo cd's are songs that I like listening to, ones that when they come up on iPod shuffle don't get changed immediately...  I've included a list of these below.
When I had my first grade classroom, I would constantly play music.  I would have the lights dim, with lamps on, and quiet (usually classical) music on, it really set the atmosphere for a calm day, no one wants to start the day with super bright fluorescents.  This music would stay on until the announcements came on.  During the rest of the day I would play various cd's and I called it "working music." Super original, I know.  The rules were: the kiddos can talk while the music is on, provided that they're working.  If they get too noisy, and I can't, or they can't hear the music anymore, then they get a "noise level" warning.  This is when I would ding the hotel bell and say "noise level."  again, super original.  If they got to three warnings, the music went off and so would their voices.  I also liked playing a short song for transitions, some variation of "by the time this song is over I need you cleaned up and ready for lunch."  Another fave during the working music time was "you have two more songs to finish."

Now as for cd's that I highly reccomend, here's a list with links (they're in no particular order, but my faves are Dan Zanes, TMBG, Elizabeth Mitchell, and any Putumayo Kids, as well as a homemade kid-friendly Beatles mix):
Barenaked Ladies' Snacktime
any Dan Zanes
Elizabeth Mitchell (a former Pre-K teacher with a beautiful voice)
any Putumayo Kids
They Might Be Giants' Here Come the 123s

Now here are two super cute stories from last year and the year before:
last year's story: one of my moms was all "my husband about died when he heard Edwin singing Bob Marley in the shower.  Do you know anything about that?"  I had to giggle and told her that almost every CD I have has a cover of "three little birds" on it.  I followed this up with filling her in on the fact that her son has a giant gift for music, and can not only remember ALL of the words, but the tunes as well, and can sing them back on his own, beat for beat, something she hadn't yet noticed.

second story:  the year that I made the kid-friendly Beatles mix, I was all about it.  My kiddos were, too, as I realized when I heard (echoing out of the bathroom to an otherwise silent and empty hallway) "we all live in a YELLOW SUBMARINE!!"  I about died laughing, with a HUGE grin on my face.  I was glad that the hall was empty!

and a website to check out.  Have you heard of Scholastic's "StudyJams!" (  It's similar to BrainPop, but it has karaoke!  (My 3rd graders LOVED the rock cycle jam).


1 comment:

vickia said...

Thanks for sharing your music ideas! I had trouble with Ms. Mitchell's link - it took me to Amazon Dan Zanes music.

I teach 1st grade and I know my kids would enjoy the karoke on scholastic. Thanks again!