All students start school with a love for music, whether they know it yet or not. As educators, we can tap into this intelligence by engaging students with lyrics and movements that teach everything from establishing routines, to learning objectives, to celebrating one another. In this article there are ideas and examples for effectively educating students through music.
Songs for Establishing Routines
Music and songs support procedural memory and are beneficial in establishing routines. With a song, students can begin to easily access the schedule and begin flowing through the learning day in a fun way. There can be songs for morning routine, story time, calendar, clean up, and going home.
Songs are great for starting the morning off right. They can be used to help students transition to the rug and as part of morning meeting. One option is to sing a hello song during morning circle. A good example of this would be singing: “Hello, Hello, what’s your name? What’s your name, my name is _____.” The students go around the circle and sing the song introducing themselves to their fellow classmates.
As the school year progress, and as the teacher sees fit, more songs can be added. For example, students can sing about their likes or something special about the day. Morning circle can be a great time to teach a song that teaches students a strategy for stopping and thinking throughout the day. This might help a learning center run more smoothly by assisting students with self-regulation.
Songs can also help set the tone for story time. It can be as simple as singing, “If you are ready to read a book, clap your hands” and slowly progressing to, “If you are ready to read a book, rest your hands in your lap.” Songs can help get the wiggles out and establish story time as a quiet experience where students are ready to listen.
Calendar routine can be established with songs about the days of the week, months, and weather. A very popular song to go with the weather routine is the song: “What’s the weather like today, like today? Today it is _____.”
Clean Up and End of the Day
At the end of a very busy learning day it is time to cleanup and prepare the classroom for the next day. The whole class can sing the clean up song together. For example the class can sing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody cleanup.” This group activity builds collaboration and gets everything done without any complaints or distractions.
For the going home routine, students can sit in a circle with their backpacks and name one great thing about the day in a manner similar to the morning routine. The day can be concluded with some classic songs and the Good-Bye Song. A goodbye song can go something like this, “Goodbye now, goodbye now, the clock says we’re done, I’ll see you tomorrow for some more school fun. Who’s terrific? We are!”
Music and songs are a great way of establishing routine. Teachers should try to incorporate some songs into their daily plans. The results can be pretty amazing.
Music and Learning Objectives
Music is not only critical for establishing routines, but also for teaching learning objectives within all subject areas. In math, students can use instruments and their hands to create sound patterns. Kids love counting songs and every teacher should have a variety of counting songs for their students to practice rote counting. Otherwise, rote counting can seem more of a chore than a joy.
Utilizing music with reading can make literary texts come alive. Students often become engaged and more involved with retelling the story when music is involved. An example would be having students use instruments or sounds with their voices and bodies that retell the story “Mama Don’t Allow.” This can become part of reader’s theater as well.
In science, students are asked to use their senses to study the weather. Students can make rainsticks and use other instruments to make a soundtrack to a show or book that has different types of weather changing in its setting (i.e. light rain, hard rain, thunder). By recreating the sound, students really have to listen and observe the weather in a much more involved way.
As educators, we need to learn about our students’ cultures, how they are different, and how they are alike. We need to celebrate each and every one of them and their stories by having songs to sing on their birthdays, holidays, and promotions. We need to invite and provide opportunities for students to share and sing songs in their home language. We need to celebrate our students by having music in our classrooms, because so many of our students learn through song. Celebrate every step with your children, persevering through all tasks by learning in fun, innovative, musical ways. Music is the best way to make each day count.
How do you incorporate music in your preschool classroom? Share with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forums!