The Freshman Transition Network

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PART SIX - 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 4Part 5

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

1When You're Young - 3 Doors Down
Use this song to start a conversation with your students about where they're headed in the future and the insecurities they face in their lives currently.
2Hands - Jewel
Encourage to students to think about the impact they can have on the world around them.  Their hands may be small, but they are their own, and they control what those hands do.  They have power in their lives.
3. I Lived - One Republic
Inspire young people to take chances and to make the most of life.  Don't be afraid to fail, to feel pain, to take a risk, to experience life!
4. Fight Song - Rachel Platten
Life is a game of CHOICES not a game of chance.  Teach students to be fighters, to overcome, and to make choices that lead to success.

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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