Hello and happy Saturday. I have talked about how I love playing music in class while my students work because I think that puts everyone in a good mood. That post was written when I was teaching younger students and the technological status was different.
When I started teaching high school, I didn’t really see the music thing as an option the way it used to be, which I think did affect the general mood, but it was a situation that had to do with the lack of resources in the classroom, and I couldn’t do much about it. I couldn’t play music on an everyday basis, but what I could do was include songs as part of the lesson.
One of the things I remember most about one of my school teachers was that he gave us the lyrics to songs, and had us complete them as we listened. Then, he included a writing prompt at the end for us to work individually, and that was it. That was the lesson. I worked with my babies using songs, but it was a much more simple approach than what my teacher used to do, so that was one of the things I took advantage of when given the chance to work with high school.
With ninth grade, the topic was Social and Environmental Issues, so when we were still working on the environment, I played for them Bloom by Troye Sivan. I copied the lyrics of the song and took out words related to nature and the environment, like garden, waters, and fountains. The first thing they had to do was try and complete the lyrics with what they thought was correct, before listening to the song. I wrote their predictions on the board and then played the song.
A suggestion for when you’re creating materials is to number the gaps, so that students know which is which. After that, we heard the song once, the students got the chance to correct or confirm their guesses and then we socialized them. We played the song again, but that time I had the students sing, and they loved it. They actually asked me to play it over and over again.
After that, we did an exquisite corpse in small groups. This is the activity in which one person writes a word, a sentence, or a paragraph, and passes the story to the next person, who can only read the last part of what was written, and so on. My students wrote very short stories, but the condition was that they had to include the vocabulary words from the song, so the words that were missing and that they had to write.
With tenth grade, we were working on health and wellness, so of course I picked The Cure by Lady Gaga. The song work itself was the same as with ninth grade. First they tried to guess, then they heard the song and corrected or confirmed their guesses, and finally we all sang. Now, I had more time with this class than I did with ninth grade, so I had them get into groups and write a response to this song. And then perform. A group of girls actually made a choreography, and they were so into it.
A suggestion that I would give you, especially if, like me, you work with English Language Learners, is to show students the lyric video so they can follow along even if they don’t understand everything that is being sung. What other adaptations do you suggest to work with songs in the classroom? Let me know in the comments.
Love, Miss Camila