Sunday, October 16, 2011

Music in the Classroom...Thanks RCA!

Somehow the sound of music has been absent in my classroom since I left the high school arena.  As I think back, I am not really sure why that was one component I didn't keep in my middle school classroom.  However, I found a renewed interest after visiting the Ron Clark Academy two weeks ago.  I saw the power of music in more than one content area and the impact it played on student learning and school culture.  I became excited that I decided to get straight to work that same night on finding ways to incorporate music once again.

Prior to teaching in middle school, I used songs like "Mission Impossible" and the Jeopardy Theme song to increase a sense of urgency in completing missions or time to answer game questions.  Was it because I transitioned from teaching high school social studies to middle school science why I couldn't figure out how to make it work? I am not really sure, but not being sure isn't a good enough reason to continue to ignore the benefits of music in the classroom.

In about another week, my eighth graders will embark on the Energy Unit. So I pulled the main concept, conducted an internet search, and found some really great music resources.  However, while the lyrics would do the job, I knew my students wouldn't get into the elementary tunes.  So what did I do? I did like the folks at RCA and found a song that was on the radio (which is hard if you don't listen to the same music as your students) that students liked (thanks to my daughter).  I realized the song was a bit longer than the lyrics I found online so I had to get creative and come up with a new verse and a bridge.

Now it was time to build interest among the students on the team.  I got the buzz going around that we were going to do something cool and that Ms. Prince was going to share a rap with the team on Energy.  I had students who jumped at the opportunity to help me put it together and even wanted to put a few moves to it.  While I don't have the flexibility to take my students and do some of the great things I witnessed at the RCA, I am hoping that our music debut will open up some doors for us and show the potential of music to our administration and school community.

I hope to revisit this topic in a few weeks to share the impact music played in my classroom learning environment.

Until then, keep a song in your heart (and your classroom)!

Keeping on my journey...

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