The Freshman Transition Network

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PART FOUR - 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 3 posts:

Part 1Part 2, Part 3

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. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
Has there ever been a more fun upbeat song? Just a great reminder of the power we have to CHOOSE how to react to life's events.  We can be a victim and get mad - or we can CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!

2. One Day - Matisyahu
Your students will like this reggae/rap song with the positive outlook on the future.

3. Home - Phillip Phillips
This is a great song to use early in the school year to communicate that as you and your students "roll down this unfamiliar road" they should know they're not alone because you're going to make this classroom their home.

4. Get Back Up - TobyMac
The ultimate song about overcoming obstacles in life.  No victim statements allowed.  You gotta get back up again!

5. We Shall Be Free - Garth Brooks
A positive song of hope about people loving others without prejudice and judgment.

6. Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac
Our goal for kids is for them to not stop thinking about tomorrow.  Encourage them to plan for their future.

7. Gone Gone Gone - Phillip Phillips
Phillip Phillips' song Home can start your year and this song of his can end it.  Great song to play for your students at the end of the year to let them know that no matter where they go from here, you love them.

 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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