Friday, 17 May 2013

Music in the Classroom

As the year slowly comes to an end... I am starting to think about three main things:

1. The ideas and plans I did that worked really well this past year. 
2. Those 'awesome ideas I had' that definitely did not work.
3. All the ideas and plans I have for the future...some time....  

I decided I want to blog about all three of these things.  I already have blogged about what I liked that worked, however blogging about failed attempts and future ideas are not so common.  After all, it is always easier to talk and write about 'accomplishments' than failures and ideas that might not follow through.  However, I've realized by leaving those two out, a lot is missed out on.  The best way to learn is through failed attempts and hopeful wishes!

So, I will start with writing about both a failed attempt and an idea for next year:  Using music in the classroom.  

I did use music with my Grade 2's while doing quiet work or working on an art project this past year.  I also played music during my art classes quite regularly.  However, I had no real plan with it.  With my Grade 2's I usually played Christian worship music (since I work at a Christian school).  This worked well - as they would many times sing along and really enjoy it!  With my art students, I picked very random music to play.  Often I played Newsboys, Adele, Keane, some Mumford and Sons, Enya, and some Walk Off the Earth.  Many times the students would ask for requests (as I was playing from Grooveshark on my laptop) and at the beginning, being the naive teacher I was (and still am), I played whatever they asked as long as there was no swearing and I knew what the song was about.  Soon enough, I came to realize that this does not work well for classroom management.  One class, I accidentally played Mumford and Sons and forgot to take out the one song with swearing - lets just say students heard, and it wasn't the most spectacular teaching moment in my life - taught me a lesson of the importance of reviewing everything before playing it in class.  Coming to the end of the year I soon got tired of trying to pick the right music and many classes I just wouldn't play it anymore.  Or I would say absolutely no requests and simply stick with Christian worship music.  The problem with this, is that I had started off on the wrong foot with the music in my classroom and so students weren't so happy.

Next year, I want to have a plan for music in the classroom.  I want to know what I am going to play before I even set foot into the classroom.  (Seems obvious, but while planning all lessons I never took the time to do this.) So, recently I decided to search for ideas.  I found this website: Music to Manage Your Classroom, which has inspired me in many ways.  This teacher uses music for classroom management.  What a brilliant idea!  He plays a certain song when a transition is needed, certain music for when students enter the classroom and to end the day, music to introduce a new lesson, and music to set the tone.  Even his transition times are timed with the song playing.  This idea blows my mind!  Students will be able to hear a song and know what to do or know what is happening.  No longer would I as a teacher have to remind students, count from 10 to have students sitting in their seats, or urge students to hurry up.  I simply play a song, and students are aware.  Oh how I wish I had seen this idea at the beginning of this year! The teacher also gives great ideas for what songs to use in each situation. After hearing about this idea it seems so obvious to me.  Music is all around us all the time, why not use it for purpose in the classroom!

Since I have a SMARTboard in my classroom, easily enough this can be used.  Next year, I may not have a SMARTboard, but as long as you have a laptop and some speakers, you are set.

I cannot wait to use this idea next year!

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