Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Minute Songs

I have made an AMAZING discovery this week! I went to a great workshop last week that I will share more about when I have time on the weekend, but one strategy that she shared with us was for calling students to the carpet, their desks, to the line, etc. She advocated using music (classical for younger, upbeat for older) and having the song give the time limit. She was sharing for those anxiety ridden students who do not fare well with an instant response calling device like a bell or chimes. They need more time warning to come back from their activity. 

At the beginning of the school year when I was launching my Daily 5, I used to use a timer with my students, having them aim to get back to the carpet in less than one minute, putting away their supplies, sitting and ready for me before the timer went off. This was only successful about one in ten times. I decided to give the music things a shot, since I am a music fan myself.

I went into my ITunes and sorted the music by time (click on the time tab). I then scanned down to the songs that were just under or just over one minute (I have songs from 0:43 to 1:32). I chose a variety of songs that might appeal to the students or motivate them to move quickly. Some are slow, some are quick. I burned 22 songs onto a cd and brought it to class. I explained that the students needed to listen for the music to come on. If they were back at the carpet, ready and waiting for me before the song was over, they would earn two class marbles (they work towards class rewards).

Since starting this method last Friday (I just couldn't wait until Monday!) I have used the songs about 25 times and I think they have only missed the end about 4 times! They LOVE it! They watch me and know when I am walking towards the CD player and start whispering "She's turning on the song!" They are also quieter, listening for the end of the song to make sure they make it.

Here are a few of my favourite songs on the CD:
-The Tigger song (0:43)
-Flight of the Tuba Bee (a brass version of flight of the bumblebee-1:26)
-Techno O Canada (My kids LOVE this one. They ask for it all the time! -1:07)
-The Russian Dance from the Nutcracker (0:56)
-The Chinese Dance from the Nutcracker (1:03)
-A variety of songs from the Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack (fabulous instrumental music! The kids like the country dance songs and the marches)
-many more sing-a-long type kids songs.

So, it is time to "face the music" and put away those chimes and bells (I have a great electronic one that I might still use for some things!)