Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daily Assignment #79: Using Music in the Classroom

Using classical music in the classroom has many benefits for students. There is a phenomenon called the "Mozart Effect" where college students had "enhanced spatial task performance" after listing to Mozart's music.  On the other side, there are  studies that say listening to Mozart makes not difference in student performance.  For me, I found using music in the classroom helped to motivate students to complete their work.  I also used music during transitions, clean-up and any other times as it felt appropriate.  Using music in the classroom can make learning more enjoyable.

If you decide to use music in your classroom classical music is best.  Now having said that, you need to consider the age group of your students and match the music.  Whatever the music is that you select it should be an instrumental, otherwise the students will focus on the lyrics, and it should not be any faster than a heartbeat.  If you play fast music you will find that the students become hyped up, instead of calmer.  Also, you will find that the students will need a variety of instrumental music to keep them engaged.  Playing music from different genres is a great way for students to learn about various types of music, not to mention, culture and history. 

My class had a theme song it was Kermit the Frog's song "Rainbow Connection," as sung by Sarah McLachlan.  I also taught with a middle school math teacher who played "Hit the Road Jack", by Ray Charles, at the end of every class.  In fact, the 8th graders sang this song to him, in honor of his retirement, at their graduation ceremony.  It was fantastic!

Suggested music:

Music for visualization and imagery:    Beethoven    Symphony No. 6 (Pastorale)
                                                                     Debussy        The Sea; Nocturnes
                                                                     Listz              Hungarian Rhapsodies
                                                                     Mozart          Piano Concerto No. 21
                                                                    Tchaikovsky  Romeo and Juliet Overture
                                                                     Vivaldi           The Four Seasons

Music for focusing:                                  J.S. Bach         Brandenburg Concertos; The Well-        
                                                                                             Tempered Clavier
                                                                    Brahms            Violin Concertos
                                                                    Handel             Water Music
                                                                    Telemann        Concerto for 3 Violins and Orchestra

Music for calming:                                   Bruch               Scottish Fantasy
                                                                    Copland           Quiet City; Appalachian Spring
                                                                    Debussy           Clair de lune
                                                                    Kreisler            Humoresque
                                                                    Lee                    Parkening Plays Bach
                                                                    Wagner            Evening Star

Music to relieve tension:                       J.S. Bach           Air on a G String
                                                                   Debussy            Images
                                                                   Faure                Piano music
                                                                   Giuliani            Guitar Concertos
                                                                   Pachelbel         Canon in D

Music for celebration:                           Beethoven        Chorale Fantasy for Piano, Chorus &    
                                                                  Verdi                 Grand March

Music for clean-up                                 Brahms             Symphony No. 3
                                                                  Berlin                Any selection
                                                                  Dvorak             Cello Concert

From:Accelerated Learning With Music:  A /Trainer's Manual, Terry Wyler Webb with Douglas Webb

I was going to do a video of me humming all of these but I thought a list would be better. 

One more tidbit---when you are ready to turn the music off, do not just turn the music off, slowly lower the volume until it is off.  

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Best Effort,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daily Assignment #78: Homework

So, have you given homework yet?  Have you established a policy about homework? Is there a district or school mandate on homework?

This is such a controversial topic.  Parents want more and more homework for their children. Teachers  spend a lot of time preparing and then grading homework.  Is it necessary?  I have read so many articles which support the need for homework and then other articles which have said homework makes no difference in students' performances.

I would like to share with you my belief and practice in regard to homework.  I believe, and please know that this is my belief based on 34 years of teaching experience and readings, that homework in the grades K-3 does not make a difference in a student's performance in the classroom.  For students at these grade levels, I believe it is more important for them to read each night or to be read to.  If you do decide to give homework at K-3 level, keep in mind that it should not take the child more than 10 minutes to do it.  In grade 4, students should have no more than 15 minutes of math work and then 15-20 minutes of reading each night.  In grades 5-6, students should have 50-60 minutes of homework.  Harris M. Cooper, professor of education at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers and Parents," says that 1 hour to 90 minutes of homework for middle school students and 2 hours for high school students can be associated with greater academic achievement.

Homework should be purposeful, not busy work.  This is going to take time and effort from the teacher.  Also, grading of the homework should have meaning and help the student to move forward in their learning.  Again, this will take time and effort from the teacher.  Students know when they have been given busy work and when it is not going to make a difference in their final grade.

I hope this has given you something to think about as you plan that next homework assignment or think through your homework policy.

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Best Effort,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daily Assignment #77: Open House Update

I would like to share with you some suggestions for designing Open House/Back to School Night.
  • Consider sending student made invitations to parents.
  • Plan your presentation and what you will be saying to parents beforehand. Be sure you share something about yourself (where you grew up, your education, your family, your educational philosophy) as well as some of your goals for the year. (Make it brief)                                                                                   
  • Dress professionally.  I can't stress this enough. 
  •  Prepare your room. Hang a “Welcome” sign outside the door, and be sure your name and the room number are prominently displayed. Have a sign-in sheet for parents as well as a handout listing the activities and presentations for the evening. Freshen up your bulletin boards, and display a daily schedule. Set out sample textbooks, and be sure all desks and tables are clean. Be sure each child's desk has a folder with samples of the student's work. Post additional student work (be sure to have at least three samples for each student) on bulletin boards. Post photographs of students and activities throughout the room. 
  • Greet each parent at the door with a handshake and a smile. Be sure every parent has a name tag (remember that the last name of a student and the last name of her or his parents may be different.
Possible topics to cover:
Elementary: daily schedule, homework, grading, classroom rules, units of study.
             Middle/High School:  discipline policy, homework, grading, field trips, extracurricular activities 

Please share this link with colleagues and friends.
Best Effort,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daily Assignment #76: Number Scrolls

As promised, I would like to describe a math strategy called "scrolls".  Scrolls are an amazing tool for grades 1-3.  Having said that, if students begin a scroll in first or second grade, continuing to work on the scrolls in the upper grades should be considered for the reasons I describe in the video.

Please share this link with colleagues and friends.  If you haven't already, consider becoming a "Follower".
Best Effort,


Monday, September 5, 2011

Daily Assignment: Notice

Dear Friends,
I have not disappeared, just got lost in a time warp.

Access to the internet is very limited right now. Therefore, I won't be adding to this blog: Daily Assignment, until Sept. 16th. So please remember to check in then. Sorry about this. You can certainly go through previous blogs for strategies.

In the meantime, Best Effort and see you on the 16th.