As teachers, we are always looking for ways to reach our students–especially that one student in the corner who daydreams or falls asleep. It is our job to incorporate as many techniques as possible to reach our students.
In a world of social media, teachers are constantly competing with short (and entertaining) videos, 140-character messages, instant feedback/gratification, humorous internet memes, and more.
But what we know as teachers is that sometimes reading passages are longer than 140 characters, sometimes you can’t instantly grade or give feedback on an assignment, and sometimes there is no humorous video to help you show students how they can give an informal derivation of the relationship between the circumference and area of a circle.
So how do we attract the attention of our students and compete with this social media-driven world? We have to start somewhere. In addition to being a big advocate of educational technology, I love the use of music in the classroom. I originally started my college career in Music Therapy, and I learned that there are so many uses for music in rehabilitation, socialization, and even education.
I recently came across a great website, called Rhyme ‘N Learn, where Joe Ocando creates catchy, educational rap songs for math and science topics. There have been many studies that show how music can aid with learning and memorization, and let’s face it…sometimes even in the most concept-based classroom, we still need our students to memorize things like the Quadratic Formula. It’s ok to admit!
We never know just *when* our students are going to make that connection between what they do in the classroom and how they can apply it to everyday life.
With my 4th grade language arts students, we used the dictionary everyday when I “didn’t know” how to spell words during whole-group writing time. I thought, “Maybe if I show them how I use the dictionary, they will start seeing that they can use it, too, whenever they are unsure of spelling.” It took much longer than I thought…but when I made a jingle about how I use the dictionary to help me find word definitions and spellings, it at least got stuck in their heads. For some students, it was like the lightbulb went off. “Ohhhh…I can use the dictionary to do that??!” Even if it helps that ONE student make a connection, I am happy to sing my little teacher head off.
One of my personal favorites of Joe’s is the Scientific Notation Rap. I’ve found many adults that haven’t mastered this concept, but Joe shows a great video that not only demonstrates the concept “live” on paper, but he also sings a catchy tune that will get stuck in your head all day long, helping you remember your scientific notation.