Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest Post: Using Music to Make Learning Sing

Today’s guest post is from Mr. A, Mr. C and Mr. D, 3 teachers from North Tyneside in England. Their website is Mr A, Mr C and Mr D Present KS2 SongsKS2 Songs and Primary School Curriculum Music to support teaching and learning in maths, literacy and science.

A brief bio from their website:
We are three Key Stage 2 teachers obsessed with teaching the best we can, often using music as a tool for learning. Not in any way being professional musicians, we still have a passion to create, share and support children's learning however we can.

I love their creativity and enthusiasm, as you are sure to catch…

Using Music to Make Learning Sing

As three English Junior School teachers (ages 7-11), we have always used music and singing as a tool to engage children. I like to see what my children know and try to learn it on guitar to sing as a class or whole school (we've done Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and Amy Winehouse in the last year).

We found that classroom warm-ups and silly games could help re-focus children's attention or give them a break if they suddenly became fidgety. Clapping and playground games work well.

We realised there wasn't much in the way of child-friendly classroom songs which help teach maths, literacy or science so we decided to write our own. They are not patronising and we wanted them to be musically interesting too. Enough for them to make their way to children's ipods!

GarageBand, Audacity or SongSmith  all have loops built in, so if you can't play an instrument, you can still create songs. Kids love to make up lyrics, so we've done our own WWII 'Dig for victory' songs, e-safety songs or even an Eco-song. They love the process and we have a performance at the end, giving children opportunities to play percussion, rap, harmonise or just clap along. We love it!

Tips for the classroom and creative parents:
  • Try using mnemonics or spelling rhymes to come up with short, simple songs to help memory.
  • Try turning a simple story into a song with actions representing keywords.
  • Use percussion or clapping to aid the understanding of syllables and to promote rhythm in poetry.
  • Use music or soundscapes to help children write atmospheric stories.
  • When making children complete a sustained piece of writing, play classical or repetitive, relaxing music to create a peaceful, safe environment. Using a candle in the middle of the room also adds to the mood.
Mr A, Mr C and Mr D

Thanks so much to Mr A, Mr C and Mr D for inspiring us to add more music to classrooms and homes :)

How do you add music to your lives to promote learning and smiles? Write your ideas in the Comments Box!

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