Several bloggers have also shared their ideas, tips, and tricks for making lessons more interactive, so be sure to click through the links below and hopefully learn a few new dance steps!
Speaking of dance steps, I’m here to share with you some of the BEST educational songs to help you teach reading for grades 4-8. But before I do that, let me give a little shout out to all those K-2 teachers out there: THANK YOU for teaching the babies because I’ve done it before (WHEW!) and you are all special people! During the 3 years I taught first grade, my students’ FAVORITE song was always “I’m Silent E and You Gotta Love Me.” – Find it here. I made up hand gestures and the kids begged for it EVERY.DAY.
Back to reading in the middle grades. Anytime I can find a song to go along with the concept I’m teaching, I’m all over it! With middle schoolers, you never know what you’re going to get as far as their enthusiasm goes. But the majority of my kiddos LOVE the songs, beg for them again and again, and several come to class proudly telling me that “Public Speaking, Don’t be Freaking” is loaded onto their iPod.
The reigning favorite of mine and my kids is The Figurative Language Rap by RRR.
Go ahead and press play. You know you wanna.
There are several versions on Youtube, but I purchased the product from the RRR website. It came with printable lyrics (my students glue them into their interactive notebooks, of course) and a few different versions of the song, including a slower version, version with missing words for the kids to fill in, and instrumental only. Find all of that at the RRR website. (I’m not affiliated nor do I participate in any sort of referral program. This stuff is seriously honestly AWESOME!)
RRR also has some other songs that I use. “Public Speaking, Don’t be Freaking” is a favorite of my kids, too. Never does a song have a more suitable purpose than during my public speaking unit! I encourage my kids to try to sing along during the verse parts and to stand up and dance during the chorus parts. I tell them that if I see *everyone* dancing, I’ll dance too. Eventually, peer pressure sinks in and they’re all on their feet at least moving somewhat. There are only two things I do worse than dance – SING and DRAW – but I do it for my students. Last year, they really enjoyed teaching me the Bernie and the Sprinkler! And after all of this fun, the song has accomplished EXACTLY what I wanted it to. Everyone is looser and has done something embarrassing in front of their peers. They’ve gotten a little of that out of the way and they’re ready to give speeches! I’m telling you.. this seriously works. Go ahead and preview a few minutes of this one below. *Heads Up* Don’t save this one to show to your classes until you’ve previewed the awkward (but clean) hot tub scene at about 2:20. I don’t have to show the video since I bought the song.*
Be sure to check out the other MANY rap songs at the RRR website. These songs are REALLY well done, sound like real songs, and they’ve got them in ALL subjects.
The last reading song I’ll share with you is my personal favorite. It isn’t for sale anywhere – I stumbled upon it on Youtube last summer and I’m SO GLAD I used savetube.com to make a copy of the video because the original disappeared from Youtube for a while. BUT – it has returned! The song is Elements of Plot to the tune of Rolling in the Deep. NEVER has a knock-off song been better done. This is the best song I’m sharing with you today. I can’t get enough of it!
My middle school students visit 8 different classes in a day, and I always aim to make sure my class isn’t just another mundane 50 minutes (like unfortunately some of the others are). I use music to introduce and teach concepts, but I don’t put it away once that unit is done. I keep cycling them around whenever we have time. Most often, as soon as we start cutting and gluing things into our interactive notebooks (after instructions have been given) my students know that this is the time to put on music so they’ll start making requests. By the end of the year, all of these songs are memorized (whether they like them or not – mwahahaha!) so they have something in their minds to fall back on when they forget what exactly a metaphor is.
Do you use interactive notebooks? It’s honestly the best change I’ve *ever* made to my instruction and I can’t think of a subject I would ever teach without it! You can read my blog post here with specific ideas for using interactive notebooks for reading in grades 4-8, including point of view, tone and mood, theme, characterization, and story devices.
And, I’ve just posted The Ultimate Interactive Notebook Template Collection (Blank Editable Templates) and have it on sale for 50% off today (Thursday) only!
Here’s a preview:
You’re invited to link up your blog post about how you make your lessons interactive for your students. It can be about ANYTHING interactive – some examples include interactive whiteboards, music, manipulatives, projects, group work, interactive notebooks and lapbooks. Everyone who links up will be emailed my newest clip art product, Scallops & Chalk ~ 32 Chalkboard Accents!
Be a good dance partner and don’t forget to throw down a comment to at least one other blogger who has linked up!