The Power Music Has In Education

When it comes to using arts in our core curriculums, music may be one of the easiest and fastest incorporations. For almost any given topic in math, language arts, science, and reading, there is a song that already exists somewhere online for your students to learn. You don’t even have to be creative and make it up yourself, someone has already done the work for you!

Music has a way of creating a memory and keeping it safe in a child’s brain, something I’ve been able to witness with my own daughter. 

As she got older and played outside more often I started worrying about the street in front of our house. While we went on walks around our neighborhood I so badly wanted to trust that she wouldn’t bolt into the middle of the road, but I could not at just under two years old. Cue: the music. This particular tune I learned back in high school while volunteering in a daycare, and it worked wonders to teach to her. 

Look both ways, listen close my friends. 
Look left, look right, look left and right again. 
When you’re running here and there remember what they say! 
Be smart, be safe, and look both ways. 

With some instruction and repeating the song at every single opportunity, she seemed to have grasped the concept. The true test came the day more pressure was on her and the temptation to bolt across the road without looking was strong. 

Her good friend was across the busy street playing when my daughter spotted her and her only thought was, “I need to be over there.” She started sprinting down the driveway with me close on her heels yelling for her to stop. The second she saw the edge of the sidewalk she came to a halt and started singing, 

Look both ways, listen close my friends. 
Look left, look right, look left and right again. 
When you’re running here and there remember what they say! 
Be smart, be safe, and look both ways.

Her little head moved left and right, then left and right again as she stood there. She saw cars coming down the road and waited patiently for them to pass. By this time, I was standing close enough to grab her if needed, but far enough to observe. Once the road was completely clear and safe to cross, she looked back at me for approval, then crossed the street. 

I was in awe at my fiercely independent two-year-old and what she was capable of. I was astounded that simply singing a song stuck in her little mind so well that when in an unsafe situation, she was able to recall what she had learned previously. 

Music is moving. Music is incredible. Music is powerful. In this particular situation, music was life-saving.

How have you seen music play a role in education?

Cover photo: my daughter at 18 months old playing the piano

Teacher Resources During COVID-19 School Shutdowns

Dear teachers, 

I know you’re stressed, we’re all walking in uncharted territory right now. Schools shutting down left and right, or if your school is still open, very few students showing up each day. How do we help our kids? How do we help them not regress during this stressful time? How do we calm their nerves as well as our own? 

It’s hard to be in the situation we are all in. It’s hard not to see your student’s faces every day, and have to worry about if they have enough food or if their behavior will regress (again) once they are back. So many variables for so many different situations. 

Luckily, we’re all going through this together and there are resources out there for us! Our community is banding together and helping where we can. Here is a quick list of the fun things you can send home to your parents for your students to do during their time away from school. 

Mo Willems is doing lunch doodles every day with kids. His first episode was 22 minutes long, his most recent episode was 27 minutes long. They are at 1 pm Eastern Time every day on YouTube, or they can watch them whenever they like later. 

On Instagram, @macbarnett is doing a live read-aloud of his books every day at noon PST. 

Cincinnati Zoo is doing a live video on their Facebook page each weekday at 3 pm Eastern Time. They will be highlighting their favorite animals and sending kids off to do an activity from home. 

Welcome back for our second Home Safari! Today we will be learning more about Rico the Brazilian porcupine! After the video check out this page on our website for a fun activity to work on at home – http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/ Join us each day at 3pm EDT as we highlight different animals that call the Cincinnati Zoo home.

Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

At nps.gov kids can download special interest books. 

Our local library here in Utah is live-streaming their storytime on Instagram live every weekday at 11 am MST and a boredom buster for kids at 4 pm. You can follow them at @provolibrary 

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is doing a Facebook and Instagram live every day at 11:30 am MST featuring their fun animals and educating them on each one. 

Search around on every social media platform and you are certain to find a variety of posts and live videos geared towards educating kids because everyone can see the need right now. Also, a simple post to help parents make it through as well.

Other resources you most likely know as a teacher, but maybe haven’t mentioned to parents yet: 

GoNoodle, Khan Academy, Newsela, National Geographic Kids, PBS kids, Starfall ABC app and Starfall.com, VOOKS, Virtual Field Trips,  and Lucid Charts. Also, remind students they can still collaborate with peers via Google Drive. 


Guys, we can do this. It’s going to be hard and uncomfortable for most, but we can band together amidst the chaos and confusion. 

What other tips and resources do you have for parents and teachers? Let’s start a list together, we can go further with collaboration! 

When Science And Art Meet: Soil Painting With Ms. Heiner

Today’s post I want to feature a teacher who was an excellent representation of integrating arts into her core curriculum. Andrea Heiner teaches third grade in Utah, and during her science curriculum of soil layers, she used watercolors as their medium for creating a diagram. A little science, a little art, a lot of fun! Check out their great project here: 

The students started with the bottom layer, bedrock. The next day once this layer was dry, they worked on the second layer, subsoil.

Each layer shows components of what this layer of soil contains, such as rocks, roots, and even worms!

Once their paintings were finished, they added labels and descriptions for each section.

What a great example of arts integration! Great job, Ms. Heiner!

What’s The Deal With Puppets In The Classroom?

Puppets have a special place in the classroom of littles. Using a puppet in teaching may feel like another item to worry about or check off your ever-growing to-do list, however, when used correctly, they can be powerful to students. It’s as if you have a second teacher in the classroom, a separate being with separate ideas is what they see it as. Puppets to students are magical, even when they are old enough to know better of what they are and how they work, their little brains work in the way that they look at that inanimate object as an animate object with its own thoughts and feelings, even if they are all indirectly coming from you as the puppeteer. 

Tips for using a puppet in the classroom: 

  • Use him as an example of good behaviors you want students to model.
  • Use him as an example of common problems in the classroom such as trouble with a math problem. Later, when students run into the same problem, a great reminder for them would be how the puppet solved the problem. 
  • Use him as a new storyteller in the classroom. 
  • Let the puppet introduce new topics such as persuasive writing or reading non-fiction. 
  • Let the students use the puppet as a writing audience. 
  • Turn it into an art project and allow the students to create their own puppets. 

Puppets have a big place in the classroom, whether he or she becomes a part of the classroom, or they are simply used in dramatic play for storytelling. The best part of puppets is that they can be as complicated and expensive as your limits allow, but also as simple as a sock with buttons glued on. They don’t care about the complexity of it, they just care about the magic behind it.

Do you use puppets in the classroom? What benefits do you see? 

Reader’s Theaters: The Golden Nugget Of Arts In Core Curriculum

Reader’s theaters. A tale as old as time. Teachers have been using reader’s theaters in the classroom for years and years now because they are the golden nugget of adding in arts to our reading and language arts curriculum. 

Students can work on reading, reading out loud, reading with emotion, drama/acting, and more while practicing and performing a reader’s theater. 

Ways to make an RT successful: 

  • Give it an authentic purpose and audience.  
  • Model, model, model the proper way to read for an RT. 
  • Pick an interesting topic to the students. 
  • Choose a good RT based on the reading level of your students. 
  • Utilize gyms, theaters, and stages in the school to practice reading.
  • Film the students practicing for them to go back and watch so that they can see what they look like reading out loud.  

A few websites full of good (and mostly free) reader’s theaters: 

http://www.teachingheart.net/readerstheater.htm

https://www.readinga-z.com/fluency/readers-theater-scripts/

http://www.thebestclass.org/rtscripts.html

Beyond these, a simple Google, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers search can also lead you to great reader’s theaters, whether free or paid. 

In my own experience, I saw reluctant readers shine through as they performed an RT on space for a younger grade learning about planets. Their confidence came through as they watched themselves get better and better in the spotlight with practice. Reading wasn’t a chore, it became fun and exciting to them. 

What are some great experiences you’ve seen while doing reader’s theaters in your classroom? 

A Little Math, A Little Art, A Lot Of Fun

When math overrides the majority of the time throughout the day, how do we incorporate the arts? We make art mathematical! Here is a fun activity to learn about the color wheel, as well as apply fraction skills in the process of creating the color wheel. 

You’ll need a print out of a blank or semi-filled in color wheel, and modeling clay.

I used Crayola Model Magic clay for this activity. It’s soft, squishy, and will change colors when mixed! Normal clay can work just fine too. You can either let it dry and let them glue it to the page when it’s finished, or toss it back all together and store it in an airtight container for future use. 

Start with three equal pieces of clay in red, yellow, and blue. 

Leave a small reference piece behind, then with remaining clay, split into two equal pieces, creating two halves.  

Mix the colors! Write out the fractions on the paper as well. 

Orange= ½ R ½ Y 

Purple= ½ B ½ R 

Green ½ Y ½ B 

For a shorter activity, find a smaller color wheel cut into sixths and stop here. For a longer activity, continue on. For the sake of a shorter blog post, I will only model one part of the next step.

On the blue and green side- split the blue and green pieces in ½. (For reference, I pulled a new piece of blue clay for this.)

Mix the blue and green pieces to make green-blue. Green-blue is equal to ½ G, ½ B. Or it is also equal to ¼ Y ¾ B. 

The other half of the green that was split before will be used to mix with a half piece of the yellow. 

Continue the same with yellow-green, red-orange, etc. 

Common core standards: 
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.NF.A.3
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.NF.A.2

featured image: hosmerart.blogspot.com