The Freshman Transition Network

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PART FIVE - 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 4 posts:

Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4

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 or digital movie. While the students listen to the song, you play the PowerPoint/movie of their pictures. Kids love seeing themselves in a presentation and it makes the message of the song hit home a little stronger.

Consider using music this way 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 Amazon.com and download an MP3 version of it. If you have any other songs to suggest, please do so as a reply to this post.

1Roar - Katy Perry
Not only do kids like this song, but you can use the lyrics to encourage your students to take a stand and to live strong autonomous lives.
2The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
Your students probably don't know this song, but the lyrics will challenge them to not waste time.  Use every moment of their living years and have no regrets.
3. Small Town - John Cougar Mellencamp
If you and your students are located in a small town, this is a great song to encourage them to appreciate their roots.
4. Invisible - Hunter Hayes
Adolescence can be a difficult and painful time.  Help your students positively deal with this time in their lives and always look to the future.
5. You've Got A Friend In Me - Randy Newman
Who doesn't love Toy Story? Use this song to tell your students you're there for them!
6. Hammer and a Nail - Indigo Girls
We were meant to DO things.  It's not enough to just think about helping others.  Get out there and do it!
7. Someday Never Comes - Creedence Clearwater Revival
This is WAY before their time, but your students could benefit from the message of "don't wait for someday."
8. Cat's in the Cradle - Harry Chapin
Get your students thinking about the impact they can have on generations to come if they give their time to others.
9. Nothing More - Alternate Routes
A beautiful modern folk song about how we treat one another.  How you treat someone defines you and can make you a hero.

 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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Comment by Scott Habeeb on May 12, 2014 at 12:45pm

Thanks, Tammy - nice suggestion

Comment by Tammy Doane on May 12, 2014 at 12:44pm

Life Is a Highway-- bu Rascal Flats--life is full of bumps but keep going-a song about Hope

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