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What's With All the Singing Anyways?

by Kelly Mikesell

We sing all day. We sing at calendar, we sing in reading, we sing for math, we sing in science, we sing to line up, we sing to sit down, we sing when we're excited, and we sing just for fun.

Most people when they walk by my room probably think, "Is that the music class?"

I feel so strongly about singing because it works. Plain and simple. If you use a song to teach a concept, the kids tend to remember it.

Dr. Jean states that, "...there are some activities that you can do to make their brains more alert and to help improve learning." Who wouldn't want that? She also talks about how there are several quick and easy ways to jump start your students brains. Some examples are tapping elbow, crossing the midline and touching toes.

An article by Hap Palmer states, "Why not work with children's natural desire to move and be actively involved..." I couldn't agree more. Kids love to wiggle, jump, flop, sway, clap, sing. Why not use that to help them learn?

He also states to, "Make music and movement sessions a collaboration with the children." In my classroom I get to choose two songs and they get to choose two songs every day. In doing this, I get to focus on the skills and songs I know need to be focused on for the day and they get to take ownership and choose songs they love.

Another musician I use frequently in my classroom is Jack Hartmann. Hartmann's music is skill based and down-right fun. His site states that, "These nursery rhyme activity songs are curriculum research based and enhance the important skills children are required to learn in order to succeed in school." Yep, sing to succeed! That's powerful.

Hartmann's songs are also a huge hit because there is a large variety of styles from "cool kid-friendly, reggae, hip-hop, Latin, rap, pop, country, or rock". This is great for learning about tempo and style. We use the different styles of music to create a large "describing word" vocabulary.

Many teachers complain that calendar is long, boring and they don't want to do it any more. I agree, if it is long and boring, why do it?

My calendar time is fast, fun, easy to follow, and filled with music! I also use a lot of silly little songs to keep them on track. For example, when they are hanging the link of the day, they sing "I have a chain, what color is it?" or when they put the straw up for ones, tens, hundreds, they sing, "I have a straw, where should I put it?" They are just little tunes to get the kids that spaced out back on track.

I hope that you choose to put a little music into your day. I think you will see that you and your students will have fun, the children will retain skills and that behavior problems will lesson - all with singing!

For more articles on using music in your classroom visit Research on How Music Promotes Learning.

About the Author:
Kelly is a Kindergarten Teacher in Tampa, Florida with 10 years experience and the creator of www.elementary-teacher-resources.com, where Kindergarten Teachers can find great ideas that are fun, fast and fabulous! She was born and raised north of Chicago, and went to Illinois State University for a B.S. in Elementary Education and has taught K - 8 Technology, Kindergarten, First Grade, Pre-K, and VE K - 3.



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