The Freshman Transition Network

Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!

PART THREE - Using Music to Inspire and Motivate Students in the Classroom

There are several blog posts on this site related to using music in the classroom to inspire and motivate kids.  Each has included a list of specific songs that can be used. Here are links to the previous 2 posts:

Part 1Part 2

This post is a follow up to those earlier posts. The first part of this post before the list of songs is copied verbatim from the original post.

Kids respond to music. Use it to teach them lessons about life and to express your hopes for them. Use it to let them know you love them. Don't just wait for teachable moments to come along. Instead use music to create teachable moments.

Here are 2 ideas for how you can use these songs:

1. Use the song as a Do Now/Bell Ringer activity in your classroom. Make a PowerPoint with the words to the song. Then play the song and have the students read the words while they listen. After they listen to the song have them write a short reflection about how the song might apply to their lives, or about why they think you chose the song, or about what they can learn from the song. Give them a moment to share what they wrote. Then take a moment to share with them your feelings and thoughts.

2. The 2nd idea is very similar to the first. The only difference is that you first take digital pictures of your students and put them into a PowerPoint. While the students listen to the song, you play the PowerPoint of their pictures. Kids love seeing themselves in a presentation and it makes the message of the song hit home a little stronger.

With both of these ideas I would recommend trying to do it at least once a month - maybe even more often. The kids will begin to look forward to the times when you bring music into the classroom. Even more, they will appreciate the fact that you take the time to open up and share with them about more than just content.

With each of the songs listed below, I have included a short idea about how you can use it to teach your students. By clicking on the song title you can go to and download an MP3 version of it. If you have any other songs to suggest, please do so as a reply to this post.

1. Firework - Katy Perry
Our students have value.  They each have something special just waiting to explode!

2. What Doesn't Kill You - Kelly Clarkson
Our students will face adversity in life - but by not being victims and overcoming, they will become stronger.

3. You've Got Stand for Something - Aaron Tippin
Do you stand for something or just go with the flow?  Challenge kids to find their core.

4. My Own Little World - Matthew West
It's so easy to get wrapped up on ourselves and forget that part of our purpose is to serve others.

5. This is God - Phil Vassar
Take a moment to think about the world around you.  Could you add some love to it?

6. Heal the World - Michael Jackson
We have a responsibility to others.  Can we actually make a difference?  Yes.

7. Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
Good old MJ again.  Self-reflection is essential for building a better story.  What needs to change?
8. We are the World - USA for Africa
Many of our students here in America forget about the fact that the rest of the world is also our ressponsibility.
9. When You Believe - Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
Use this song to start a conversation about the power of believing.

 So, does anyone have any songs to add to the list?  And for tons more ideas like these, visit GOBEYONDTHECONTENT.COM!

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