Music in the ClassroomSaturday, June 20, 2015
The sound tracks of our lives! I have one. Do you? Mine is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. I even have carefully selected songs as ringtones so I will always know who is calling without looking. My husband's is Seger "...Before you leave there's somethin' you should know. Yeah...sumpin you should know Babe..." There is always something that he has forgotten to tell me, and he loves to call me from his car! My default ring is "Thunder Road" "Roll down the windows and let the wind blow through your hair.." But I digress. Classroom. Music in the Classroom.
If you teach next to me, you too might be calling and asking me to turn it down! (Or you might just join in!) Here's hoping you'll join in and that some of these tips will prove helpful to you! I've always loved to incorporate music in my classroom, using different songs that my students and I loved for transition times, lining up, cleaning up, and even during quiet working time. (Just a little classical music or piano solo playing in the background.) Music soothes our brains, brings back sweet memories, and energizes us. Carefully chosen, it can also be a game-changer in our classrooms.
A magical, game-changing moment came for me when I discovered "I Am Bullyproof Music" on Teachers Pay Teachers. I bought a few songs and began adding them into my daily practice, at first just during transition times. I soon noticed that the kids were not only singing along, but requesting that these songs be played again and again during working times. We started looking at the lyrics and discussing the ways that they were related to real-life issues that tweens and teens face all the time. We used the magic inside the songs to help us to become stronger and more resilient from the inside out. The behavior issue graph headed down a steep decline when we started incorporating these bullyproof songs into our lesson plans.
My students and I found so many ways for the music to support us every day as we addressed the standards we needed to learn, prepared for testing, and grew closer and closer as a learning community. I wrote to Lessia a few times, telling about the magic her songs were weaving for real kids in a real classroom every day. She wrote back. We became online friends, and the rest is Bullyproof Rainbow history!
We now collaborate on the creation of units to accompany Lessia's songs, I take these units into classrooms at our local elementary school, and also work with a club group at the Upper Elementary/Middle School level to interpret the units and songs for their peers. Our shared mission now (Lessia, my friend Cindy, our kids, and me!) is to bullyproof kids one classroom at a time! We know we'll never get rid of bullies. The bullies will always be there. The music does help to build character and strength so that our kids can deal with the bullying around them.
Bullyproof Music is the soundtrack of our lives that my students and I have chosen. We have found literature connections, learned about theme, added to our reading and writing strategy toolboxes, and become stronger yet nicer people, all to a Bullyproof beat.
For a post on more specific ideas for using music to smooth transition times, click here.
For a peek at the Bullyproof Rainbow units, each one including an mp3 file and lyrics pages along with lessons, posters, writing prompts, activities and more, click here.
To find out more about the after-school club curriculum, we're working on now, follow my blog. I'll announce it here when it's ready in August! So proud to be sharing this post with a group of caring bloggers. We believe that sharing is caring. Sharing these ideas makes the classroom a better place for all!