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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What's Your Jam?

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I just finished a week-long institute and was struck by the way music figured into our last day together.  We used two songs: "I Believe" by Yolanda Adams (http://youtu.be/J8IilJRdtcw) and "Life Is Better With You"by Michael Franti (http://youtu.be/1XEOVl875d0) and both made such a difference in the way we ended our time together.  It made me wonder- what are your favorite songs for hard mornings, tricky afternoons, dance parties in class, long bus trips...? How do you use music to change the mood in your classroom, in  your school, in your own world? Let's make an Edutopia playlist!


This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Comments (15)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Samer...that's awesome! We have a 3rd grade teacher that shares his love of music (and instruments) with his students. He even offers free ukulele lessons after school for students interested. Not sure the number he had last year - but the year before he had 8 third graders coming once a week after school.

(1)
Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

At the moment it's still an aspiration. The two of us need to learn the instrument first. ;-)

(1)
Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Laura...Love this! Music can really impact our moods and energy. My daughter has had teachers that give their classes "brain breaks", putting on Just Dance for the kids for a song or two. Some of the kids' faves (clean versions always): Tick Tock (Kesha), Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen), Gangnam Style (Psy), Wild Wild West (Will Smith), S.O.S. (Rhianna), Toxic (Britney Spears), Monster Mash, Hey Ya (Outkast).

(1)
Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

The teachers at Creative City Charter (where I was working last week) said they either used Pharrell's "Happy" or the soundtrack from Frozen- two timeless favorites of the k-2 set.

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

We start school every day with a live TV broadcast of student anchors delivering the news. To get everyone's attention and start the day on a positive note, we play music before the show. My partner in the studio picks a couple songs from his playlist, and the staff and students jam along. We never know: will it be classic rock? today's pop? hip-hop? Disney? Miley? the Beatles? Beyonce? Elvis? Imagine how fun it would be to walk into your junior high classes every day to the tune of cool music! Bonus: watching your teachers rock out.

(1)
Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

I've been using music in the classroom for a long time. Live guitar, radio, iPod, etc... I've created a workshop for teachers called "Rock the Write" that uses music to inspire and create writing with kids. I'm always looking for safe music to use in the classroom. I usually just use instrumental music unless the lyrics are specifically used for a lesson.

My latest find is a kid band called The Not-Its. The singer, Sarah Shannon, was the former singer of a pretty popular band in the 90s called Velocity Girl. I've seen VG a few times in Philly. SO, this is like VG coming back to life for me in kid format. Check em out.

http://wearethenot-its.com/bios/

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Wendy Rice's picture

My psych-up/positive vibe song that I play prior to a (dreaded) standardized test is an old one from the Pointer Sisters called "Yes We Can Can." Important message with an infectious beat!

(1)
Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

I think using music to help kids focus (and gain confidence) before testing can really help. Great idea!

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

I've been using music in the classroom for a long time. Live guitar, radio, iPod, etc... I've created a workshop for teachers called "Rock the Write" that uses music to inspire and create writing with kids. I'm always looking for safe music to use in the classroom. I usually just use instrumental music unless the lyrics are specifically used for a lesson.

My latest find is a kid band called The Not-Its. The singer, Sarah Shannon, was the former singer of a pretty popular band in the 90s called Velocity Girl. I've seen VG a few times in Philly. SO, this is like VG coming back to life for me in kid format. Check em out.

http://wearethenot-its.com/bios/

(1)
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

We start school every day with a live TV broadcast of student anchors delivering the news. To get everyone's attention and start the day on a positive note, we play music before the show. My partner in the studio picks a couple songs from his playlist, and the staff and students jam along. We never know: will it be classic rock? today's pop? hip-hop? Disney? Miley? the Beatles? Beyonce? Elvis? Imagine how fun it would be to walk into your junior high classes every day to the tune of cool music! Bonus: watching your teachers rock out.

(1)
Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Laura...Love this! Music can really impact our moods and energy. My daughter has had teachers that give their classes "brain breaks", putting on Just Dance for the kids for a song or two. Some of the kids' faves (clean versions always): Tick Tock (Kesha), Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen), Gangnam Style (Psy), Wild Wild West (Will Smith), S.O.S. (Rhianna), Toxic (Britney Spears), Monster Mash, Hey Ya (Outkast).

(1)
Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

At the moment it's still an aspiration. The two of us need to learn the instrument first. ;-)

(1)
Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Samer...that's awesome! We have a 3rd grade teacher that shares his love of music (and instruments) with his students. He even offers free ukulele lessons after school for students interested. Not sure the number he had last year - but the year before he had 8 third graders coming once a week after school.

(1)
Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

She's in the same position. She's a Waldorf teacher, so it's often her singing the transition or leading the class in song. Often they're established pieces that she's had to modify to be more appropriate for her setting.

Speaking of music, last year she taught the recorder to her first graders. She's hoping to introduce the ukulele to the class this year. (As they move to second grade.)

(1)
Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

My wife uses songs and music to transition her students from one activity to the next. Every activity has its own song or verse, so the kids know it's time to move and what's coming next. It really works for her.

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Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Such a great yet complicated question ... so many responses ... for me, the jam is a function of the situation.

I'll share my theme song(s) for Summer 2014 ... the soundtrack to Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6Lq4aWmY9A

This movie spoke to me on so many levels ... and with all the traveling & photography I've done and am doing this summer, it just fits.

:)

-kj-

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