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Showing posts with label classical music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classical music. Show all posts

Music: a Key to the Brain!

Brain research tells us that listening to music actually helps the brain. 

Music: a Key to the Brain! This post lists some of the advantages to using music in the classroom, and a couple of great sources of free music!

There are many ways to use music in the classroom, and here are a few to get you going!

Music: a Key to the Brain! This post lists some of the advantages to using music in the classroom, and a couple of great sources of free music!
   
Did you know that music boosts brain organization? It affects our moods and emotions. Playing music in the classroom really makes a difference. Different kinds of music work at different times. Playing slow, classical music helps kids focus and concentrate. Fun, upbeat music helps them find energy during those sleepy times of day (after lunch?) or just plain makes the kids feel good. Putting important information to a familiar tune helps them remember things. There is no end to the possibilities of music in the classroom.

Music: a Key to the Brain! This post lists some of the advantages to using music in the classroom, and a couple of great sources of free music!
Although I have a huge collection of music for the classroom that I've downloaded or bought in CD form, (See THIS link, and THIS link.) there are other sources for music that are much more appropriate for a teacher's salary!

1. Free downloads! I found THIS link, 10 places to go to get free music downloads, including Free Music Archive and Amazon! It's worth exploring!😉)

2.  You-Tube! Just search You-Tube for the kind of music you want, and you'll see several options pop up! As long as I don't need my classroom projection system for something else, I'll find a long video and let it go on in the background to help the kiddos focus. Here's one I found when I searched "Calming Music for Kids"


Then I searched "Happy Music for Kids" and got this. This is great music for kids to hear when they're entering the class in the morning, because it makes them feel good!


Here's one I played often at the end of the school year, especially when we had our "seacoast week." I searched "Ocean Sounds with music." (This one is 8 hours long!)
 
 

I searched this one for Cinco de Mayo. ("Mexican music")



and, of course for St. Patrick's Day I might play this one! ("Irish Music")


Honestly, you can find just about anything on You-Tube, but be careful to check it ahead of time. As you know, there are things you DON'T want to share with the children! (For example, the Irish music category has plenty of Irish drinking songs!)

Music: a Key to the Brain! This post lists some of the advantages to using music in the classroom, and a couple of great sources of free music!
 

Where do you find music for the classroom?


Music: a Key to the Brain! This post lists some of the advantages to using music in the classroom, and a couple of great sources of free music!


A Batty Art Project

Do you know some children that are fascinated by bats?

 
A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

After reading a great information book by one of my favorite non-fiction authors, I wanted to do a fun art project to help the children remember what they learned!
 


A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

I'm not a fan of "cookie cutter" art projects that all look alike. I like to give the children an opportunity to be creative and make something unique. 

We started by making a night scene with crayons.

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

Then we added a watercolor wash.

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

The kids loved how the crayons came through the watercolor!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!
It's amazing the effect paint has on a class of kids.  Suddenly all chatting stops and they are totally engrossed in what they're doing.

Of course, some classical music in the background inspires the creativity!

Now, please tell me why aren't I bring out the paints more often?

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

I was tempted to give them a pattern to follow for the bats, but when I looked at photos of bats in the night sky, you really couldn't make out a specific shape. I gave each child a piece of black construction paper and they developed their own technique for making the bats.

The results were spectacular!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

Each child wrote a fact they remembered from the book, 
and these are displayed with the pictures. 
These kids are amazing!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!

Here is a freebie informational book about bats the kiddos might enjoy: Bats Informational Text Mini-book

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bats-Informational-Text-Mini-book-2092614?utm_source=bats%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=bats%20freebie

I'm thinking I'll be reading this book real soon! 
I love comparing fiction books to non-fiction!
 
 

Here are a couple more informational books about bats that might interest your students.

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it! 


A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it! 

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it! 

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it! 

A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!



A Batty Art Project: Here are step by step direction a fun bat art project to integrate literacy with the arts. Plus, the kids love it!



Illustrating to Build Reading Skills

Illustrating is a great way to build reading skills!


Illustrating to Build Reading Skills: Visualization is an important skill for reading and illustrating is one of the best ways I know to encourage visualization. This post has several suggestions for connecting reading skills with illustrating.

I often have my students do some illustrating when I want to make sure they really "get" a concept.  

It forces them to visualize what they're learning.  
Brain research tells us that visualizing helps the memory and deepens understanding. 
Brain research also tells us that adding an element of fun helps them remember as well... and don't kids love to draw? 

Add some classical music in the background, and the brain is more activated! 
Want to add a little more assurance that the kids are learning?  
Let them talk about what they're drawing and why!



I have several resources I use with my students that get the kiddos illustrating.

Figurative Language can be very tricky for little ones to learn! It takes a lot of conversation before they are ready to illustrate, but it's important that they "get" these confusing phrases. Once the instruction happens, the illustration really helps them to GET it!



There's this Mini-book about Healthy Habits.  
This resource is the result of much research on health and children. It has 10 pages written in child friendly language.

My own students have been working on this one this week, and have come up with some incredible ideas!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Healthy-Habits-Informational-Text-for-Students-to-Visualize-and-Illustrate-434931?utm_source=blog%20post%20illustrating%20to%20build%20reading&utm_campaign=Healthy%20habits
I also have a set of homophones for the children to illustrate.  These can be tricky for most kids, but in order to draw the different meanings, they have to deeply understand the different meanings.  

That involves a lot of conversation as well as thinking, but once they've got it, they've GOT it!  

As children are "social animals", they tend to remember not only their own pair of homophones, but the homophones their friends did as well!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homophones-for-Visualization-and-Illustration-173878?utm_source=illustrate%20reading%20skills%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=homophones


I've got another set of word pairs for illustrating as well... these are homographs!  Just like the homophones, these are tricky, but once they've got them, they've GOT them!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homographs-for-Visualization-and-Illustration-222689?utm_source=illustrate%20reading%20skills%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=homographs


Another advantage to these individual sheets that the children illustrate... they make great visual displays for bulletin boards!  I've had many compliments on the work of my students on these!

They also make awesome class books!


Another advantage?  These are great for the sub tub!  Just run off the set and leave it in the emergency sub folder!  Plus, they work for a variety of ages and levels.  (Fifth graders are NOT too old to draw, they love it!)


Of course, any illustrating is enhanced by music. May I suggest this one?  (Click image for a link to Amazon!)


 

Illustrating to Build Reading Skills: Visualization is an important skill for reading and illustrating is one of the best ways I know to encourage visualization. This post has several suggestions for connecting reading skills with illustrating.

My Favorite Holiday Activity

Ever have one of those activities that's a win-win?  It's something that works so well, you keep bringing it back year after year. 




That's how I feel about this Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.  I've done this activity with secondgraders for about 15 years now. 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Nutcracker-Story-for-Visualization-Summarizing-and-Illustration-170834?utm_source=blog%20post%20my%20favorite%20holiday%20activity&utm_campaign=Nutcracker

I've always loved the music from The Nutcracker. When my daughter was 5, I figured she was old enough to go into Boston to see the Boston Ballet perform the classic. We read a few versions of the story so she'd know what to expect, put on our very best holiday dresses, and drove into the city.



Since I knew the story so well, I brought the CD into school, and shared the story with my students. I wrote this summary of the classic story, and played the music while the children visualized what it must look like, then illustrated the different parts of the story.



Every year, the children loved the activity, and it practiced some valuable skills: visualizing, summarizing, and sequencing. Plus, it gives them some exposure to classic holiday literature and classical music. Of course, you can't miss when the setting is called, The Kingdom of Sweets!



A couple of years after seeing the production in Boston, my daughter had the opportunity to audition for a production of The Nutcracker. She was in the youngest group, and the little ones had a very small part, but it was priceless. She went on to perform in the Nutcracker 3 years in a row before life just got too busy with other performances.  However, the story of The Nutcracker will always be near and dear to my heart.



Enjoy this freebie: The Nutcracker story for Visualizing, Summarizing, and Illustration! It's one of my favorites!


My Favorite Holiday Activity: Ever have one of those activities that are a "win-win"? It's fun, it's easy, and it's also educational? This is my favorite freebie

Ten Brain Based Learning Strategies

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I'm absolutely fascinated by the brain, and am particularly fascinated by the research that's been done to prove the best learning strategies. 
Research on the brain helps us know what helps children remember, and what doesn't. Here are 10 successful strategies for the classroom.


There's some great stuff out there! I read about the brain and learning daily, and just can't get enough. I've taught a few workshops about it, too. Even though I'm a second grade teacher, this stuff applies to all learners, from newborn babies to adult learners.

1.  Talking!  Research has taught us that learners don't learn much from sitting and listening. Sure, they need to listen a bit, but they need the opportunity to talk! The talking internalizes what they've learned. In my classroom, I'll give the children a few tidbits of information, then they have "turn and talk" time, where they discuss what they've learned. They love this, and it works!

2.  Emotions rule!  If you think about the strong memories you have from your past, I'll bet they are closely related to strong emotional experiences, both positive or negative: your wedding, your child being born, a death... strong emotions. This works with children, too! Hopefully, your teaching won't bring out too many negative emotions, but there are ways to get to the positive ones! Kids love games. Some children are very competitive, and thrive on that stuff! Getting up in front of their classmates brings out plenty of emotions. Of course, different kids feel different things, so just be careful about playing with the emotions of children.  What works for one might traumatize another. (Yikes, don't want to go there!)



3.  Visuals!  Vision is the strongest of the senses. Talking alone isn't enough. Make sure the children have plenty to look at in addition to what you say. Use posters, drawings, videos, pictures, and even some guided imagery with the children to help them learn. 



4.  Chunking! The typical attention span is the child's age plus or minus a couple of minutes. That means that many of my second graders can't attend past 5 minutes. Again, proof that typical "lecture" type teaching just doesn't work. That means they need a chunk of information, then an opportunity to process that in some way. Here's where "turn and talk" works, as well as an opportunity to write, draw, or even move. 



5.  Movement! Combining movement with the learning almost guarantees stronger learning. Here are some ideas: Counting by tens while doing jumping jacks, touch three desks while naming the three states of matter, and this one, from a blog post I wrote in the fall.



6.  Shake it up!  If you do exactly the same thing, exactly the same way, it becomes boring and the brain tunes out. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about sticking with a routine, but once in a while you need to shake it up! Have a backwards day, turning the whole schedule around (within reason, of course!)  change the seating arrangement, do one part of the day completely different. We need this in our own lives, too, don't we?



7.  The brain needs oxygen! They say 20% of all the oxygen used in the body is used by the brain. That means we need to get the kids up out of their seats regularly and moving!  I particularly enjoy the Brain Gym exercises. I recommend the book, but there are also plenty of Youtube videos on brain gym that will model the exercises for you and tell how they help learning! Of course, there's nothing better than old fashioned jumping jacks or running in place. And the kids love it!



8.  Make connections! We talk about connections in books a lot, but connections are important for the brain. It can't hold random information, it needs to connect to something else that's already there. Did you ever hear a kid say, "I remember that because I know...." You can make connections through your own experience and stories. I often talk about my daughter, my cat, or some other thing they know of to make something else come true. 


9. Feedback is essential! Practice doesn't make anything better unless the practice is accurate. Students need to hear they are on the right track. I use a color code to let the children know if they are on track, which I described in this blog post from September. It works pretty well for motivation, as well.



10.  Music is magical! Tell the truth, how many of you know all the words to a television commercial?  People my age know all the words to the Gilligan's Island Theme Song and the Brady Bunch Theme Song.  Did we work hard to learn those?  Nope, never even tried!  Because they were put to music, we learned them.  There are many studies on music and learning. One way I use music is that I often play "happy music" first thing in the morning. That way the children enter feeling good. Now this brings us back to #2 emotions!


These are some books I recommend if you're interested in Brain Based Learning:   


                        

       

      

Research on the brain helps us know what helps children remember, and what doesn't. Here are 10 successful strategies for the classroom.

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