Classroom background music is an absolute game changer. And, there are COUNTLESS ways to use it in our daily routines. In addition to singing our hearts out to all those standards-based tunes, music can also be used as a highly effective classroom management tool. It’s not your typical system or behavior chart, but rather a strategy to elicit particular behaviors and encourage YOUR desired outcomes. All you have to do is align the right music track with the classroom task at hand and watch the magic unfold.
Below are a few ideas to help you seamlessly slip background music into the daily mix. You also will find many of my go-to songs/playlists outlined below. If you are looking for a few suggestions when it comes to setting up a playlist and choosing the correct tunes for your crew, watch for a follow up post to surface soon.
Do you play music for yourself in the morning? Before the classroom door is opened for the day, I always start my day with music. It sets the mood FOR ME. My current state of mind determines my tune choices. I have found that music helps me start my day off on the right foot.
As parents and students come in before the bell, I often begin a new playlist. Tunes that are familiar always seem to help set the stage for the day. What is my reasoning behind this strategy? Students often have issues in the morning. Whether it be a situation that started at the breakfast table or an issue that arose during that initial pre-school recess, music tends to ease tension and elicit positive emotions.
Have you ever thought about having your speakers pumping when your students return from specials? Great to have on when your students are settling back into the classroom after PE, music, recess, computer lab, etc. The content that follows the special determines the tune choice. I typically go with familiar instrumentals. Think movie soundtracks 😉 Here are a handful of my favorite songs for that welcome back window.
DURING CORE CONTENT
If you like it quiet as you and your kiddos begin the day, try music in your Morning Meeting or Calendar Time. In addition to standards-based songs within this window, a well placed familiar tune can help get those wiggles out, while generating gigantic smiles and contagious giggles. I had a dance party song hiding in my calendar time when I taught K. It was strategically placed right in the middle of this busy morning block. The VIP for the day got to lead the dance moves. (Yes, I taught them all of my favorites up front — sprinkler, cabbage patch, running man, the swim, etc.)
Looking for a little calmer classroom background music idea? Your writing block is an especially WONDERFUL time to roll with a playlist in your classroom. Selecting the correct music helps focus and calm students. Songs without words are best as we don’t want to distract those auditory learners. Everything from classical and new age to wordless deep house music works wonders. Soundtracks make for pretty amazing background playlists. I suggest going with movies that you really enjoy. Here are some songs that always fall on my writing playlist.
THE SET UP
When setting up an activity or game, you can slip in a related song to add some silly to the situation. What am I getting at here? Think a play on words. If you are tossing a spinner game at them, pop on the song You Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive. Maybe you are running with a card game. Why not pump Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton? The possibilities with this one are endless once you start making silly connections. Here are a few other ideas . . .
Calming tunes during free time have proven to be a clutch classroom management strategy. Play an instrumental playlist quietly with the stipulation that you must be able to hear the music as the class is playing. Simply adjust the volume on your stereo/computer to match your desired classroom chatter level. It’s amazing how this tactic works well with most classes.
Using music when your students are moving from group to group is another stellar strategy. Again, your desired outcome will dictate your song choice. In the morning, calming and or down-tempo tunes tunes are usually best. However, if your students are struggling in the excessive wiggle department, a fun song they can groove to is always fun. Although any tune set will do, I use Ron Brown’s amazing Transitions Collection (KEEP IT MOVIN’) with my kids. It has a wonderful variety of music genres that seem to fit every situation. The best part is that the kids eat them up as they are new to them. Novel often helps get your kiddos to focus more as their brains are trying to process the newness of a situation. #winning
Alright, so there you have it. A post dedicated to incorporating classroom background music into your daily schedule. Wether you slip it into core content, transitions, or a warm welcome, tunes work to set the tone, create a mood, and increase focus. Music truly is a magical classroom tool. For more about using music to directly teach and support core content lessons, hop on over to my blog post >>> Tune Into Classroom Music.