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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

M is for Music

I hope you've all had a happy start to your new year. I don't start back until January 7. It's a teacher work day so I can't complain. During my break, I've had the chance to catch up on my blog reading and am excited that I've found some new ones.

I was also excited when a new one found me!

Dan from The Classroom DJ sent me an email asking me to check out a site he created for his wife. She teaches 2nd grade (she must be awesome!) and loves to use music in her classroom. He wanted to help her simplify that. Lucky for us, we get the help, too!

The Classroom DJ uses Spotify to create playlists based on songs teachers can incorporate into their days.

He challenges us to make some music resolutions for the new year:
1) Have music playing for your students as they enter the classroom each morning. Love this!

2) Play a 60 second clip of a song each time you are ready to change subjects. Could do this!

3) End each day with tunes. Would have to break this one in...

4) Reward them with music. Already do this!

5) Download Spotify. Done! It's easy so peasy. Click {here} to go to his tutorial on Spotify.
If you can use iTunes, you can use Spotify. In my opinion, it's easier. Did I mention it's free?! You don't need to sign up for the subscriptions (unless you want to!) to use it.

I love the idea of playing music in the morning. We open our classroom doors at 8:30, but the first bell doesn't ring until 8:40 and tardy bell at 8:50. I can hear myself saying things like, "Darling! You need to get here before Michael Jackson comes on" or "Good job always coming in and being unpacked before Justin Beiber comes on." That is if I let Justin in my playlist...

I also like the idea of using song clips for transitions. Right now, I use a timer for transitions in the morning, but I KNOW one of my little darlings would like me to use music instead. I think I will work on a "Transitions" playlist on Spotify. The Classroom DJ suggests "She Blinded Me with Science" and also has a playlist for clean-up songs. Awesome.

I love the end of the day suggestion of the theme song from Mission Impossible...I just think that one may be a little "too fun" for some of my darling boys. The concept is smart though.

My darlings beg me to play I'm a Smarty and I Know It and Jannah Bolin Sings The 7 Habits. I love playing these, but I have to go through the blockers to get to YouTube. I can start to reward them with some songs they love. Ugh...Justin Beiber! I think the easiest way to do that is to request a playlist from The Classroom DJ. Don't all good DJs take requests? Saves me some time!

I will also try to use the "Piano Songs" playlist he's created for Writing time.

The are so many possibilities! Click on the green links throughout this post for ideas.

I encourage you to try out The Classroom DJ and get Spotify on your computers and smart phones if you don't have it already. Make sure to "Follow" The Classroom DJ so you can get updates straight to your email. Think of some requests for him so we can all benefit! 

Good luck to those of you going back to school this week. May 2013 be your best year yet!

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  1. I started using music as students come in first thing. They know this is their time to get unpacked and begin their work. I simply used cd's I had and put them on Itunes and then made a playlist. Every month I've changed it, so that during Oct. we had Halloween songs and Dec. we had Christmas songs. They really seem to like it. My last song is called "Hi Ho Helpers" which is their cue to clean up and come to the carpet. It really seems to help my morning go smoother. I wish I could use songs more for transitions but I'm not very good at that. I did try cleaning up songs at the end of the day but it seemed too chaotic with my kids getting ready, so I bagged it for now. Maybe try I can try it again for the new year! Thanks for the post and ideas!

  2. What a great post, Emily! My day in first grade always had a lot of singing in it (with much of it unfortunately being sung as a solo by me :) - eventually they'd all join in and overpower me!). I think music has great potential to improve focus, and to either calm or energize, depending of course on the music you choose! One of my favorite uses of music was during the first ten minutes or so of Writing Workshop. We'd have soothing classical music playing - I got lots of funny looks from my little guys the first few days, but after a while they'd beg me to put it on again. The principal walked in on us once during that time - he gave me a funny look, too. :) Oh, well!

    I also love Tiggeriffic's idea above about a monthly morning playlist.

    I'll be recommending Classroom DJ and Spotify to friends!