Have you ever considered how often we are surrounded by music? In an elevator, walking through a grocery store, riding in our cars… these are just a few places we hear rocking tunes or soothing notes. Children are especially accustomed to music. Consider the children’s shows that fill our television screens. How often do you hear music playing of some kind? It could be to accent a character walking, build suspense or encourage excitement!
Music has an incredible way of catching attention and keeping the attention it receives. Toddlers, with their short attention spans, can be transfixed and spellbound by cartoons simply by bright colors and music. There have been many studies on the positive effects of music when placed in stressful situations. This effect can even be seen in a classroom! Many educational professionals have expounded on the great asset music can be when used correctly.
So, what are some ways that we can practically integrate music into our classrooms without ending up with a classroom filled with drumming pencils and bouncing children? This could have its place, of course, but not necessarily during times of concentration. Here are a few ways that I integrated music into my first grade classroom.
“Good morning, Good morning to you
Good morning, Good morning to you
I’m happy you’re here, and I hope you are, too!
Good morning, Good morning to you…”
This was a song I made up one morning after our morning routine. As we would sing the song, we would all shake hands and then walk back to our seats. This encouraged student interaction and brought a sense of excitement to the morning.
Important information like math facts or English rules can be added to a simple melody, even a nursery rhyme, and it will increase the student’s ability to retain the knowledge. How did we learn our ABC’s?? We learned with a song! Adults still sing the song to this day should they need a reminder. I learned all of the states of the United States in alphabetical order with a song! I can still sing it today! Many can still remember the old SchoolHouse Rocks songs that would teach everything from verbs to the government system. There is no doubt that music can enable knowledge retention where simple drills can fail. Just consider this: a student may struggle with learning their multiplication facts but they can sing every lyric to the latest CD on the market. Coincidence? Yeah, I don’t think so either.
Some have told me that they can’t carry a tune in a bucket but I say, “Don’t let that stop you!” There are many CD’s available at the library with great songs or raps that teach important information. Many singers and songwriters have made a living creating fun and informative songs. I have seen students from Pre-K to 5th grade enjoy them and learn in the process without even realizing it!
Times of concentration are also a great time to integrate music. Many might think it is distracting but, if chosen carefully, music can add a sense of peace in the classroom and actually increase concentration! In my classroom, I would use piano music to play during seatwork time or even while students were taking their test. You could sense a quietness in the room while it played and if students had a question, they would speak in a whisper just to maintain the atmosphere. Awesome!
So, don’t be afraid to experiment with music in your classroom! You might be surprised by its power to add excitement, promote retention and promote a calm atmosphere. This makes for a peaceful room which naturally creates a peaceful teacher. J
Do you have a favorite music CD that you can share with everyone? Share with us in the comments to let us know! I hope you are all having a fantastic day!
Leah is a public school teacher turned home educator. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. After working in a first grade classroom for four years, Leah decided to use her passion for education to teach her own children. So began a journey that has entered its fourth year!
When she is not teaching her three girls (11, 8, and 3), you will find her reading a book or creating music. She assists her husband in leading a growing church in Tallahassee and feels passionately about connecting with others. She also loves creating teacher resources for educators both in the schools and at dining room tables around the world! Thus, she added blogger to her resume.
To sum it up: God and family is life, reading is a love, music is a passion, and coffee is a necessity! :)
Thanks again Leah for being my guest today :)
Thanks again Leah for being my guest today :)