Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Using Music in the Classroom, Part 2

Quick tip: Use an iPod and plug directly into classroom speakers to that you always have music ready to go quickly.  I was using my laptop and I was always had to move from my desk over to where the speaker hookup was located.  That time wasted without music is a missed opportunity.  I created playlists for each type of activity: feel-good music (for when the students come into class), work time music (instrumental music for reading or group work) and transition music (upbeat songs with faster beats per minute to help speed up transitions).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Using Music In The Classroom

I've been finding some pretty cool stuff online on the subject of using music in the classroom.  While using music allows you to use your creativity, there are a few guidelines that help maximize the experience.

First of all, while students are working, it is best to use instrumental music.  This doesn't necessarily have to mean classical music.  I've been using jazz quite a bit and it creates a cool, coffee shop kind of working environment.  I also suggest checking out Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.  Very cool instrumental stuff that doesn't sound old and stuffy.

I'll start posting some of my sample playlists shortly.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

20% Project Pitch

For my 20% project, I would like to explore integrating music into my classroom.  I have already begun incorporating music into my To Kill A Mockingbird unit with some success.  Last week, I provided students with the lyrics to "Strange Fruit," by Billie Holiday.  The song is about prejudice against African Americans in the South and, more specifically, the lynchings that were common at the time it was recorded in the 1930s.  I played the song as students made annotations and/or drawings in the margins of the lyrics I had provided them with.  They then answered a series of questions about their interpretations of the meaning of the song and how it connected to To Kill A Mockingbird.  It was a great way to connect some of the themes we were discussing.

I will also be integrating music into the curriculum when we move on to the Romeo & Juliet unit.  Students will be asked to create a soundtrack for various scenes and write liner notes describing how the song they chose for each scene is appropriate and relates to the themes.

These are just a couple of examples of how I can incorporate music in the classroom more.  I am also researching more interesting ways to use music to deepen their understanding of certain concepts as well as simply making the classroom environment more enjoyable and engaging.