Friday, June 15, 2012

I like to move it, move it!: Using music for transitions

My husband took my girls to see Madagascar 3 last weekend and they have been singing "I like to move it, move it!" ever since!  
Smiling stick-people dancing to music 

One of the hardest parts of being a bilingual/dual-language teacher is keeping the schedule moving because there is just not a minute to waste.  Am I the only one who ever considered other purposes for the cafeteria spork when hearing a monolingual teacher complain in the teachers' lounge that there is just not enough time? :)

A classroom video from Debbie Miller (Reading with Meaning) gave me the idea to use music to cue my students about transitions throughout our day.  Here are some of the songs that I had on my classroom transitions CD:
  • "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong - Put morning work away and come to the floor by Calendar
  • "Put Your Happy Face On" by The Coles - Leave Calendar board and get pencils and problem solving journals out
  • "Zip a dee doo dah" - Clean up math games, get dry erase board, marker, and sock and go sit in front of Word Walls
  • "Do the Moo Shoo" by The Veggie Tales - Arrive back to class from PE with just 10 minutes before we had to leave again for lunch.  We usually worked on handwriting at this time so this silly song was just long enough to get to our seats and get supplies out.
  • "New World Coming" by Mama Cass Elliot - Back to class from lunch and recess, this song was the cue to sit at the rug with buddy for reading mini-lesson.
  • "Up, Up, Up!" by 2Play - Get reading dialogue journal and books from book box and find a place to read independently or with a partner.
  • "Hey Now You're a Rockstar" by Smash Mouth (Shrek version) - Put journals and books away and come to reading circle before beginning Writing Workshop.
  • "I Can Be Your Friend" by The Veggie Tales - Come back to circle to debrief from Writing Workshop.
  • "This Land is Your Land" by Woodie Guthrie - Get ready for Science or Social Studies.
There was one more song on a different CD that was our end-of-day song to get backpacks ready to go home, put chairs up, pick up trash, and get in line.  I can't remember what it was but it was my students' least favorite song.  Maybe because they were just so sad to leave! Ha! 

This is such a random and old list of songs that I am NOT recommending you use these specific ones BUT you may want to spend the summer finding some songs you and your kids would enjoy hearing every day.  I found that the predictability of the songs really helped my severely ADHD student.  Before, I would nag him to follow directions and get where he was supposed to be.  With the songs, he knew exactly how much time he had and he would roll in right at the last second...which was just fine with me!  

The songs are also helpful for newcomers and kids with limited language on either Spanish or English days.  They can use the music as their cue for what to do instead of just relying on the teacher's instructions.

More than anything, it just made our classroom a more fun place to be.  It's hard to be grumpy when there is music playing!  Have you found a way to incorporate music into your daily routine?


  1. funny! I def. have contemplated the use of the "spork" when i hear complaints about time restrictions! Imagine trying to teach two languages in the measly time frame we have!

    The Second Grade Superkids

  2. I SOOOOOO can relate to you guys!!!!! I've wanted to "spork" a few people at one point or another!
    Love your blog!


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