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Using Music to Teach Middle School!

July 20, 2010

When I think of my favorite year in school, I think about Mrs. Brady. There were a million reasons to love my 3rd grade teacher, but 1 of them was music. Mrs. Brady used music almost daily to teach us. And sometimes just for fun. (I  have no idea why we sang My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean but I remember it with smiles.)

My first two years of teaching I used music all the time. We made up songs for virtually EVERYTHING. I taught 4th and 5th graders. They LOVED it. When I transitioned to middle school, I let go of it. I think I was afraid they’d laugh at me. 🙂 (My trick is to put facts in nursery rhymes!)  I threw a few raps and chants in my lessons around Test Prep (No one minds being crazy during Test Prep.) but it certainly wasn’t the norm.  They were 6th graders, and far to cool for songs, right?

Wrong. Just this Spring, a dear colleague proved me wrong and reminded me of the power of MUSIC in MIDDLE SCHOOL. And she teaches EIGHTH graders!

She took the strategies we teach to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and put them to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Listen and Enjoy! (And notice how the students revised the rhythm!)

What is the word?

Have I heard it before?

Is there a word within the word?

What’s happening in the story? Is it negative or pos? (positive)

Substitute! I think this word means ____________ because. . .

Adapted by Courtney Summer, a hero and friend.

(Click below to hear the song. Forgive the hosting page- it was my only chance of uploading the file. )

Strategies for Figuring Out Words

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