Sunday, August 5, 2012

Learning through song

Learning through song and music  is a wonderful way to engrain material you have taught in your students' brains. I have found that students truly love music. As a class we have created our own songs to explain lessons, and have also listened to and recited songs from around the internet. If you are having your own class create a song, it might get a bit loud..but typically they are going be on task and will truly enjoy making their songs. Set ground rules (location, how loud, content that needs to be included, length, type of genre). I have heard some wonderful raps, country tunes, and playful kid songs come from my own students. Having students create their own songs makes them responsible for their learning in a fun manner, and they are likely to remember their song and classmates' songs.

I have a few links for free songs that may go well with a lesson you are teaching. They are fun and cute. Think about your audience when you are choosing songs. I find that a 5th grade class will not appreciate cutesy "itsy-bitsy spider" style songs as much as younger students. Try to understand the type of music your students listen to. As a teacher, they will especially appreciate you if you come up with your own original song for the class.

1. Have Fun Teaching Songs - a large amount of songs for various subjects (writing, phonics, science, math, ELA, counting, etc...) and grade levels. The songs have lyrics, are free, catchy, and the students will love them! Other wonderful resources are available on this site as well.

2. YouTube - You will want to be very picky and careful when using YouTube. Some of the seemingly educational music may end up being inappropriate. In addition the ads or comments that go with the song or beside the song may be inappropriate. However, if you heed my warnings about this site, and your school does not have it filtered, then it can be a wonderful resource for education and music for all age levels and subjects.
Water Cycle rap from YouTube by zoolooalex

3. Songs For Teaching - This site has a ton of educational songs for all ages and subjects. The catch? You typically can only listen to 30 second clips and then have to buy them. However, I would still suggest checking the songs out for inspiration or to see if the songs are something you'd be interested in buying. At least you are able to preview them.

4. Free Songs for Kids- This site has a decent selection of songs and topics,  and the songs are free. They seem to be mostly geared toward the younger grade levels (k-2), but definitely worth browsing the site.

5. educationalrap - Many students enjoy raps, so this site is great because it has lots of raps for all sorts of subjects. A huge selection for all grade levels, subjects, and it includes lyrics. Once again, the songs on this site are not  free...but you do not have to download an entire album at least. The site allows you to download one song if that is what you'd like to do (about $4). There are also free previews. I think this is one of the better sites for the upper grades especially, because the songs are not too "cutesy" and they have a lot of upper grade content songs.  Check them out!

Music can also be used as a pacer, a behavior management tool (students can not talk above the music for example), a reward, a stress reliever, classroom clean-up, and so much more. 

In short, incorporate music in the classroom to  reinforce your lessons; it's fun for everyone involved!

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