As a public school Music teacher, I frequently infuse core academic content into my lessons. The rhythm activity above is one example of the role Math can play in the Music room. What about “What about writing a poem and creating a melody for a poem?”writing a poem and creating a melody for that poem? Or matching rhythms to different land forms? Or creating dances in small groups for each parts of the water cycle? Each possibility has been explored in my classroom, and each idea combines core content and Music curricula.
Too often, though, these exciting combinations never leave the Music room. Classroom teachers pick up their students at the end of the period and get back to business.
But what if the infusion of music and core content continued – into the regular classroom?
Need not worry, Mrs. Clarke. No musical training is necessary. Just the desire to enhance student engagement and achievement. Let’s explore three ways you can add musical ideas into your regular academic classroom.
#1 A Greeting
Positive classroom environments run like a well-oiled machine; procedures are clear and expectations are consistent. But how can these processes also enhance community? Through a song! A quick search through YouTube produces countless ‘Good Morning’ songs to start in your classroom. One of my favorites, Gilly Gilly Gilly Good Morning, is as fun as it is easy. Or, instead of a song, students could simply sit in a circle and pass a handshake down from one student to the next. While shaking, try a short call and response: “Hello” “Hello” “How are you?” “I am great!” “It is great you’re here” – and the whole class responds “Hooray!” Then, pass the handshake onto the next student!
#2 Brain Breaks
Sitting in desks all day can be exhausting for our students. Quick, movement-based brain breaks refreshes student engagement, wipes away the cobwebs in our minds, and energizes our bodies! One activity popular with my students is Baby Shark:
Here, students explore different sharks with their bodies before having a close call with a shark themselves! Music, movement, song, and fun. For another brain break, trying throwing a scarf in the air. While the scarf is floating, students laugh. When the scarf reaches the floor, students stop laughing and freeze. Instead of laughing, try crying, barking, mooing, and more!
#3 Student Choice
Too often, we provide strict parameters for student learning that hinders creativity and prevents the learning of skills necessary to thrive as a citizen of the world. One of the simplest “What if students could make a poster, write a comic strip, or create a song?”ways to bring music into your classroom is by letting the students do it on their own! Instead of the next poster project on an important person in History, give options. What if students could make a poster, write a comic strip, or create a song? The ideas are limitless! Here, creativity abounds and students become more fully invested in the project.
For each of these three ideas, always remember that the Music teacher in your school is there to help both you and your students succeed! I am humbled and honored each time a colleague asks for my input on a project, greeting, or energizing activity and is wanting to explore music in their classroom. Your students will be equally excited to sing, dance and play with you!
Do you bring music into your classroom? Share your stories below!