More Than Just Music to Their Ears

5146079703_24f8fea201_m“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
Rudyard Kipling, The Collected Works

I read a fantastic post about how teachers are using Hamilton the Musical in their history classes and it made me think about how I learned. My mother would say she taught me everything I know while singing to me in the bathtub and during potty training. While I may beg to differ on ‘everything’, I do believe that I learned a lot through music: the ABCs, how to spell my full name, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Ok, the last was not while in the bath, but it was learned on Saturday mornings when Schoolhouse Rock came on in between cartoons.

There are many ways to use music to help boost memory so I thought I would share some sites you can use in your class to help improve your student’s memory for facts, concepts, and details. You can read here and here for more about tips on how to engage your students and improve memory.

  1. Teaching the American Revolution and Founding Fathers? Here is Hamilton, the Musical soundtrack on YouTube
  2. Teaching grammar, history, math? The complete Schoolhouse Rock on YouTube
  3. Flocabulary has a great channel with videos for digital citizenship, Social Studies, English, Math, and more
  4. History for Music Lovers has 53 videos on many historical topics and figures
  5. Harry Kindergarten Music is for the K-2 crowd

There are so many more to find, but why not have your students create songs to help themselves and others learn the way our 4th graders did?!

photo credit: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds via photopin (license)

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Five Minute Activities, PhotoMath, and Musical Shares!

Photo on 2-17-15 at 2.07 PMIt might be snowy and cold, but that does not stop me from getting the Shipley PLN Lower School Edition to you. Like the postal motto: neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail will prevent me from delivering your mail (something along those lines); Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough . . . You get the picture 🙂

Singapore Math has a Facebook page where it posts daily questions that you can share with your students. Depending on the type and your age group, it might be a fun way to open your math lesson or even your day one day a week.

Speaking of math . . . This just might be one of the coolest apps I’ve seen after Wolfram Alpha! With PhotoMath you use your phone’s camera to scan a math problem from a text book or homework page, then PhotoApp solves the problem AND shows you step-by-step HOW to solve the problem. If you have or know middle or high school students, or upper elementary students, this might be something to share with them for when they need a little extra help with a problem.

If you can believe that I have another Pin to share you would be right! This pin board is all about critical thinking, but 2 of the pins stuck out for me because they are quick to implement: the first is about things you can do when you have 5 minutes- the 2nd is the invention box. I love the 5 minute activities for movement and brainteasers as they are great ways to energize and refocus your students. I love the invention box idea because we all have things lying around our house that students can repurpose when/if we give them innovation/genius hour time.

If you are having your students create written documents in Google Drive, and you want them to see which words they (or their peers if they are peer editing) use frequently, then try using the word cloud ad-on. See this post from Richard Byrne for more on how you can use this in your class.

Many of you are blogging or tweeting or are thinking about it. This from Vicki Davis and Linda Yollis talks about ways to build an authentic audience for your students. If you are on the fence about getting started, just ask the students who are receiving comments on their blogs or who have skyped with other schools how it feels when they see these comments or make these connections. They LOVE it! And by the way, our student bloggers are writing and commenting beautifully. Check them out and please leave a comment. 

Grab your chairs, some post-its, and turn on the music for this next idea. I came across this fun idea from Lisa Nielsen, the Innovative Educator. Though it seems to be geared towards adults for a post professional development reflection activity, I can see it working really nicely in the classroom as either a reflection at the end of a unit, or as a fun way to review for a test. It’s called Musical Shares and it’s a take off of the old birthday party game Musical Chairs (you know, the one where there are actually people who get out and someone who wins?). The kids move to the music, stop when it stops, sit in a chair and answer the question that is prompted on their chair.

Staying with the Music for a moment, this is a really cool video that visualizes rhythms and beats. Our music teachers and any musicphiles will find this informative and a may want to show the kids.

Finally, in many social studies classrooms, it’s mapping time. Well, here are some ideas to build map skills in the PK-8  (actually PK-6; I misread. We’ll blame it on 45) classroom.

Folks, I love sharing these with you each week. If you love getting them, and if you have found them useful, if you actually open them and maybe read them, drop me a line. Let me know that this tree is not falling in the woods with no one to hear it.