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Music for the Classroom

Brain research teaches us that music helps make connections in the brain.




Music for the Classroom: Here are some suggestions for music to play in the elementary classroom, and some reasons to play different kinds of music.



I play music in my classroom all the time.  Sometimes I play slow, classical music to help the children focus.  Other times, I play upbeat music to get the children involved.  I also play seasonal music to help the children "feel the season".  Here are some of my favorites:


 
Music for Concentration is one of my staples.  It's magical background music for when the children are a little too chatty and a little less focused.  I turn on this CD and they settle in and get going on their work!  This series has several titles, and my goal is to own them all.  I haven't tried one that didn't keep up with its promises!  Here are a few others in the series:

    

    
     
I have these except the Music for Thinking, which is on my wishlist.

Other great background music:

   
   
I also play a good deal of upbeat music, particularly when the children arrive in the morning. It gives them the feel that the classroom is a happy place. This is some of the music I play:
        

Of course, kids aren't limited to music designed for kids.  They get a kick out of some of this timeless music: 

    
Then of course, here are a couple of my personal favorites:  



     
And to think I haven't even mentioned showtunes! (My very favorite music!)

Here are some previous posts with suggestions for certain holidays:


St. Patrick's Day

Cinco de Mayo
Any Patriotic Holiday

I'm always looking for new resources. What music do you listen to in your classroom?

Music for the Classroom: Here are some suggestions for music to play in the elementary classroom, and some reasons to play different kinds of music.



Hooray for the USA!

We have three patriotic holidays coming up! Yep, that's 3!  We have Memorial Day at the end of May.



We have Flag Day on June 14th. We have Independence Day on July 4th.


I know there are some teachers out there who will be out of school by Memorial Day. My district gets out just a short week before Independence Day. (We've never gone that late! These kids are done NOW!)


But it's a great opportunity to teach our kids something about our country!


I find literature, the arts, and music are a great way for children to learn any subject, especially social studies!  Here are some of the books I use. (Click any image for a link to Amazon!)


Coming to America by Betsy Maestro is a great book to show how most Americans came from other countries.  (I often read this one around St. Patrick's Day, as this holiday celebrates Irish-Americans, and gets conversations started about our ancestry.)
How Many Days to America by Eve Bunting tells the story of people escaping a harsh life and coming to America for freedom.  It's done with Even Bunting's child friendly language, but also touches their hearts, as many of Eve Bunting's stories do.  Although it's subtitled "A Thanksgiving Story,"  it's very appropriate for any day you want to show the children the risks people take to live in America.  It's a great conversation starter to remind children (and ourselves) of the freedoms we have in our country, that people don't have in others.
Speaking of Eve Bunting, The Wall is one of my very favorite books for children. Although I do have trouble getting through this story without tears, it's a nice book to read around Memorial Day or Veterans Day, when we are thinking about those who fight for our freedom, and those that don't come home. (I think this one really gets to me because of the time period... I was "coming of age" during the Vietnam War. Yes, I went to demonstrations and everything, I'm THAT old!)

Here are some informational books that are helpful:

















     
  I always want to remind my students about how beautiful our country is.  Picture books are great to help with that concept!  Here are a couple to help:
     

Here are a couple more books that have loads of fun activities to share and celebrate our country!
     
     
No USA celebration is complete without patriotic music!
This CD has a huge collection of historical USA songs and patriotic songs.  Plus, it has the split track for opportunities for the kids to sing with accompaniment!  
Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and a freebie to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!    
Here's another collection of classic patriotic songs!  This is nice to have if you want to play a patriotic song in the morning to follow the Pledge of Allegiance.  

Here's a nice You tube video to America the Beautiful.

Of course, after all that learning about America, the children will need to do some writing.  Check out this freebie! Click the image or click here: USA Themed Writing Paper.



Here's a reading activity that can be used for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or any patriotic holiday: Freedom Isn't Free - About the USA for Active Learners!

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and a freebie to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!

Still looking for ideas to celebrate the USA?  Check out this blog post from Memorial Day last year: Memorial Day: A Day to Remember! (There are some freebies in there!)

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and a freebie to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!

Want a resource with plenty of ideas for patriotic holidays? Try this bundle with 8 different resources PLUS 8 different freebies: Learning About the USA!

Hooray for the USA! This post has ideas, book suggestions, videos, and a freebie to help you celebrate patriotic holidays in the classroom!



Team Building Activities

I use a whole lot of games in my classroom to practice skills. In order for game playing to be successful in the classroom, children need to be able to stay focused on an activity, take turns, and play fairly. In a second grade classroom, this isn't always the case.

Team Building Activities - This post has several ideas to help children (or adults) work together as a team.


I often start the year with some team building activities, then come back to team building activities at the end of the year. I'm thinking I really need to sprinkle these activities throughout the school year.


Maybe it's because my dad was a football coach, or maybe it's simply because it's important, but I'm often looking for excuses to build teamwork. (My classroom theme this year has been sports!)

I've been looking around the internet for ideas for team building activities, and came up with a few!

HERE is a long list of team building exercises from a place in the UK called Venture Team Building.  I've tried the "Human Knot" and "Minefield". It's fun to watch the "aha" look in the eyes of the kids when they realize the whole team has to go back if someone steps on a minefield. That's when they realize it's not just about them personally!

HERE is another link I found. From this link, there are several more links to specific team building activities such as "Easy Team Building Activities for Kids", "Team Building Activities for Kids That Are Selfish", and "Team Building Activities for Kids to Build Self Esteem".  This one is definitely worth a peek! Most of these are simple things that can be done in the classroom, and fun for the kids.

As with any lesson, it's important to spend time at the end of the lesson "debriefing" and discussing what was learned. 

Still looking for more Team Building? Try these: 60 Team Building Games and Activities for Classrooms.

Do you know any other Team Building activities?



Team Building Activities - This post has several ideas to help children (or adults) work together as a team.


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