Good times! I really love using music in the classroom. I like to make up songs to help students remember concepts (especially those tricky science ones...) and we always have quiet music playing in the background during independent work time. Usually I play classical music, as it's supposed to help you retain information you've learned, but every morning we dance around to something a little louder before school starts. Lately we've been enjoying my Pure Disco cd, which I re-discovered while visiting my parents over winter break (thank goodness, right?! I thought I lost that disc back in the '80s!) My students clearly have excellent musical taste, as they always request the disco hits.
These dance parties have brought back some musical memories for me. My third year teaching, I had this student who I just couldn't figure out how to motivate. Let's call him Benny. Benny was really smart, but he was failing my class and I didn't know how to get him excited about learning and doing well in school. He followed my directions grudgingly, if at all, and would often fall asleep while working on assignments. I just could not figure out how to reach him. Because he wasn't doing too hot in school, Benny always had to stay after for tutorials, and would eat snack in my room before the extra sessions began. One day while the kids were eating snack, I was playing a mixed cd a friend had given me. (Remember those?...'cuz my current students have never heard of them. Scary.) Suddenly, the jam "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came on (actually, it wasn't that sudden, but I couldn't think of how else to say it). Benny got so excited and began talking about how much he loved the song because he and his cousins always sang karaoke to it. I was pretty surprised, but asked if he wanted to "karaoke" before tutorials (a.k.a. sing along to the song while reading the lyrics off my computer screen). He really wanted to, and thus began our daily tradition of karaoke-ing to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." I thought he might want to sing some other songs after the 86th time we sang GJWHF, but no, he always wanted to sing that one. Even though we never really talked about it, I noticed a big change in his attitude toward me and in my class from that point on. And in true after-school special fashion, he turned his grades around and missed only one question to get "commended" on his state science test later that year. Tear! But seriously, it just reminded me that even that student who doesn't seem to care does have something that motivates her. It might seem weird, and it might not turn up at a time when you're specifically trying to reach her, but if we can take the time to find that thing that gets her excited, it can make a HUGE difference.
Anyway, enough rambling. I've got a beach to hit up!
Have a great weekend, everyone! I know what will be going through my mind: "It's such a good vibration/It's such a sweet sensation..."
Image found here.