I have always wanted to use music as a teaching tool more effectively, and after reading the Choice Literacy newsletter two weeks ago, decided it was time to take action. I have successfully experimented before with children using music and headphones to block off distractions when they work, but Alice Bloch’s article on how to make meetings livelier (I need to prepare a whole staff presentation on my favourite teaching strategies soon) inspired me to try and use music during transition times – you know, those chaotic times when students are entering and exiting the classroom. Sometimes, with the number of kids from different year groups going in and out my room, I feel it is more like a train station than a classroom
The results are phenomenal. Why did I not do this sooner?
I started off with a web search for classroom music and made the mistake on Day 1 of having some music with words – exciting stuff like “The Compound Word Song” and my favourite “Iko Iko.”
Bad Bad Plan.
The kids, of course, arrived singing and bopping. I kept two of my original tunes (Forest Gump and Home by David Templeton) and after an emergency call to both my sisters (Thank you, by the way, if you are reading this) for their favourite classical tunes, I compiled the following playlist for transition times in my room:
- Schindler’s List (L’Orchestra Cinematic)
- Home (David Templeton)
- Forrest Gump (Movie Theme Songs)
- Indiana Jones Theme (London Studio Orchestra)
- Piano Concerto 21 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from Classical Chill Out Volume)
- Bolero (Maurice Ravel played byAndre Rieu)
- Piano Sonata No.8 in C Minor (Beethoven – played by Stephen Kovacevich)
- Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven from Classics for the Heart album)
- Theme from Jurassic Park (John Williams)
- Claire De Lune (Claude Debussy from Classical for the New Age Album)
- End Credits Music from E.T (John Williams)
- E.T Flying (Played by Henry Johnson – Best of Film Music)
- Theme from Star Wars (Played by 101 Strings Orchestra)
And, I promise this was not planned at all, but guess which song I played after our first Spelling Space Track Game? Number 13 of course.
The calmness that the transition music has brought with it is palpable. I know the kids love it because I have had some of the following responses:
J, who is autistic, loves track 10. He calls it his “Goodbye Song.”
L wants to know if she can buy some of the songs on Spending Day and F recognised the Star Wars tune from the first beat. He loves track 5 and wants to know its name so he can download it at home.
I know you have your own favourite classics too. I need to know them now as I am looking forward to compiling my next playlist soon.
Can’t wait to hear from you!