Saturday, May 4, 2013

How did a post about Cleaning up music TURN to rewards systems?

"Clean up, Clean up, everybody do your share...."  

   I have to confess, I use to sing that song regularly in kindergarten.  When I taught kindergarten...I am too old to remember what I did or sang in kindergarten. Now, in the intermediate grades I use music but it is on a cd. I am NOT singing. (Kindergarteners are very forgiving...4th graders not so much!)  However, I do dance in class. (For a future blog)

    A parent was impressed when I turned on a song at the end of a party last year and the kids hit the floor until the song was done.  The magic song...(drum roll in my head)..."Yakity, Yak." Now you know I am old!  Actually, I decided to google it.  It is definitively old! It came out in 1958 by The Coasters.  So, 8 years before me. But it WORKS! They hear "Take out the papers and the trash..." and they know it is time to get the room clean. (I tried linking the album cover to

   Music is used for transitions in the room as well.  Weird Al's early works are amusing for the 4th and 5th graders.  "Just Eat It" before lunch is a favorite.  Maybe it has more to do with lining up for lunch.  All kinds of TV show and cartoon themes are a hit as well.  I used Mission Impossible in kindergarten when cleaning up after math centers or Daily 5.  The para in the room at that time, LOVED it!  I chose that one because there were days that I thought the mission of cleaning up would be impossible, but they always proved me wrong by the end of the clip!

   Lately, I have been looking for great songs to simply play softly in the background that convey positive character traits or uplifting messages.  "Fireworks" is a newly acquired song.  I use many Disney movie songs:  "A Whole New World,"  "Just Around the River Bend,"  "Be Our Guest," and many others.  I just heard one by Brit Nicole about how special "you" are.  I think it is called "Gold."
Some oldies like Bobby Bear's "Daddy What If" convey a message I want them to understand, "There is someone who cares that much."  So many of our children do not hear that enough.

    My husband's sermon last weekend (4/29/13) was centered around the song by Whitney Houston, "Greatest Love of All."  Top hit of my time.  The gist of the sermon was that it is not all about you.  We have moments where we celebrate certain people like graduations and confirmations.  However, for a fulfilled life, it is not about ourselves.  When we are all about loving ourselves, life is not going to be all that it can be.  Houston's song is about loving oneself.   (Okay, I can hear the teachers now...what about have a good self esteem?)  Let me ask, where has giving every child an award for just showing up to the Y athletes gotten us? We have young adults who believe it is just "owed" to them for showing up.  No work needed.  I believe we do a disservice to our students when we do not note and award true growth and effort. Teaching students to work towards rewards who are being trained to change behaviors/social skills is another area when rewards can be used or misused. 
    ....Lets get back on track!  The point I was headed towards before the unexpected right turn is that the sermon made me think about not only instilling positive character traits but also to find songs that will plant a seed of charity to others and building relationships that build up.  I have been on the look out for family values (positive songs about parent and child relationships like Will Smith's rap "Just the Two
  of  Us.") and  music strengthening friendships.  Girls especially need help seeing how to create an atmosphere of cooperation.  The friendship ones are harder to find.  
    It takes time but is worth it. Music can play a major part of your classroom or home.  Every weekend, I woke up to hear classical music.  It soothed and smoothed the mornings. I am sure that was in my mom's plan.  Later in the day, current or 60's music played. It was more upbeat and many times dancing occurred.  I still find myself using dance music to uplift my mood.  Music touches the soul of all.  I encourage you to use it and share your finds especially ones about friendships.  Oh....JUST thought about the Disney movie Fox and Hound.  Need to go google its soundtrack.  Chat later....
PS.  I just found out that Eric Jensen has a book on Amazon all about music for the classroom. Top Tunes for Teaching  Check it out! It is in my cart as I type.