Are you ready to rock in your classroom, but scared, nervous, or hesitant to try this? Trust me, I get it. When I saw the teachers at RCA implementing this in their room, I thought, "this is amazing, but how can I do this?" I thought about what would work in my classroom and then decided to jump in head first. If you are feeling this way about incorporating songs into your room, check out these tips to help you get started!
Before starting this in my classroom, I tuned in on songs that were popular in today's culture. What are the kids listening to? What would be catchy and engaging for them? Choose a song that they will enjoy and WANT to participate in. When I wrote the analyzing text structure song, I even gave them a choice! One day during class, I told them that I had two songs that my lyrics could fit with and then we took a vote. (of course they voted on the one that I wasn't leaning towards, but it turned out GREAT!) This gives them a sense of involvement in their own learning! Not only will they be excited to learn a skill in a new way, but with it being a song they enjoy, it will stick with them. I had so many students tell me that this helped them learn and they referred back to it often! #success
This is the biggest part of making this work in your room. We had to discuss clear expectations for when it was time to learn and sing. I would give you these tips for setting expectations:
1. This is a time to LEARN in a FUN way.
2. The students must sing YOUR lyrics, not the original song. The purpose of this is to learn a skill, so they need to focus on that.
3. Are you going to let them get up and dance, stand on chairs, move around the room? This is a personal preference depending on your class. During some of my songs, the students would start a conga line. Fun? For sure! However, it started to take away from the purpose. We had to make a rule that there was only "breaking it down" during the chorus. Students were NOT expected to sing, but they did need to participate in some way. I had one student who would just clap! That's OK! Figure out what works best for your class.
4. What will it look like when the song is over? We practiced this a few times! As soon as the music ended, my students IMMEDIATELY sat at their seats and got ready for the next lesson. There was no wiggle room for misbehavior or goofiness. Set this expectation and practice, practice, practice. When we are done, we are done. If that doesn't happen, we don't do it.
5. Model what you WANT it to look like vs. what is SHOULDN'T look like. Be clear and consistent.
1. I had a student who tapped the SmartBoard when it was time move slides, so I could monitor the room. (oh and dance... duh!)
2. I had another student stand by the door in case anyone needed to come in. We always had the door closed to not interrupt other rooms with our loud music.
3. Let them help you with the lyrics! I had a few girls that LOVED knowing our standard and then writing it! In fact, one of the songs, they wrote almost the whole thing! They love it!
4. The students love to video themselves. Sometimes, I would give my phone to a responsible student to video our performance/learning!
This. Is. A. Long. Process.
Honestly, give yourself time to get the ball rolling. If you have the scope and sequence of your year, I would give yourself a month to 3 weeks to write the song. This is such a valuable way to learn that you don't want to rush through it. Take your time to make it the best it can be.
You'll be singing it your sleep, in the car, in the shower, etc. However, it's WORTH it!
I love kicking off my units with the song, so make sure you have it ready and engage your learners!
I hope that these tips have helped you! If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Click on the image below to grab the songs!