Use Music to Engage and Energize | Grade 2 Hullabaloo: Use Music to Engage and Energize

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Use Music to Engage and Energize

It's that time of year when school holidays are scarce. The weather is yucky, which prevents outside recess. How do you manage those wiggly, squiggly students who need to move? Use these suggestions and resources for using music and music videos to engage and energize your students.

Music is important in our culture. It moves us, makes us want to shake our booty, and evokes great memories. Why not take advantage of the shaking booty part with your students? There are endless options for helping students burn off those wiggles and get the oxygen surging to their brains to improve focus. Here are a few of the best ones.

Pandora -- You can search and set up your own playlists on this free site. One of my favorites is KIDZ BOP Kids on a channel called Children's Dance Radio. My second graders love it, too! 

YouTube -- There are boundless possibilities here! One that is kooky and gets kids moving is The Hamster Dance. My kiddos love the hamster voice. There's also I'm Gonna Catch You. There are cute actions to go with this one. 

**Important Note -- Pop your YouTube link into ViewPure and it will "purify" it. That is, it will take off the advertisements. No more sprinting across the room to hide ads that are not appropriate for kiddos. Follow the instructions on the ViewPure page to learn a shortcut for the process.

Go Noodle -- I'm sure you've heard of this one. It's probably my students' favorite. There are so many options -- not just for wiggling, but also focus, and academics. The site is searchable by category, duration, energy level, and favorites. One of my students' favorites is Moose Don't Allow. It's 2 minutes, 40 seconds long, which is perfect for a transitional wiggle break. There are longer movement videos that are perfect for inside recess. Moose on the Loose is an example. It's about ten minutes long.

iPad/iPhone -- I have an old iPod Touch. I use it solely for music in my classroom. I bought a speaker base for it and I downloaded songs and created playlists for transitions, wiggle breaks, calm times, and special songs for unique classroom activities. 

How I Use These in My Classroom

One unique classroom activity is when my students take their Friday Mad Minute timed test. I play the theme from Fox Sports. It's a little over one minute long, which is just long enough for that straggler to find his pencil or return from the restroom. When they hear the music, they know it's time to focus. It helps get them pumped up for this test and creates a classroom tradition that my students remember for years. They'll ask if I still do it when they pop in to visit me in later years. It's a small thing that makes a big difference with the children. 

Another example is Pachelbel's canons for calm, study time. The music is beautiful and the children are exposed to classical -- sometimes for the first time. I do this for the calming effect but also to present different genres of music to my children. I turn off most of the lights (I have lamps scattered about my room) and put it on when my students are writing or during reading block. It helps me to calm down, too! I have it on my iPod Touch, but it's also on YouTube. The linked one below is a one-hour version of Pachelbel's Canon in D -- you may recognize it from some popular movies and from weddings. It's beautiful!

Clean-up is definitely a time to have a signature clean-up song. Somehow, through all my years of teaching, I never learned the Clean-Up Song! Not to worry -- I found one that is the signal for cleaning up in my classroom. This Tidy Up Rhumba has a great beat and fun lyrics. Give it a listen. I think you'll like it! My second graders do!

In addition to the YouTube videos referenced above, I love to find music or videos to fit special themes in our classroom. For example, when we are studying animals and their habitats, I'll play this forests sounds one. It has a peaceful forest scene and sounds of nature. I use it when students are reading and researching or working in groups. I tell them, "If you can hear the music/sounds, your voice level is perfect." 

If we're doing our snow dance, I'll put on this one during read to self time. We rarely get snow here, so seeing it on the ACTIV board is the next best thing.

Finally, during December, I'll use this one when we're learning about holiday customs around the world. What's more relaxing than reading and learning with a warm and toasty fire burning in the fireplace? 

How do YOU use music to engage and energize in your classroom? Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear your ideas.

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