How a class song can unify your classroom
Do you have a class song? You might want to consider getting one after reading an article I found on Twitter. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.
Have you ever considered having a class song? I found an article that We Are Teachers posted on their Twitter account that discussed one teacher's experience with having a class song. Elizabeth Mulvahill, the author of the article, starts with a story about one of her previous elementary classes. After the class's teacher left for maternity leave, Mulvahill took over and continued the previous teacher's practice of having a class song. The song was mainly used when transitioning from one thing to another and occasionally played via YouTube so students could read the lyrics. Mulvahill noticed how the song encouraged peace and unification among the students and that they all looked forward to hearing it. She continued her tradition in other elementary classes. While it didn't always work out perfectly, having a class song usually seemed to encourage a healthy environment among the students, as she essentially used it as a behavior management technique.
On the surface, this might seem like a silly idea. Can something as simple as playing an uplifting song really change student behavior? In every case, probably not. What it can do is help improve overall classroom behavior though. If you consider how other people use music, it actually starts looking less strange. For example, why do you think TV shows and movies pay royalties to use songs during certain scenes? Part of it is a marketing scheme, yes, but songs are also used to evoke emotions. They pay to use those songs to help the audience feel the way they want them to during the scene. It's the same reason people work out to songs or write to them. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who can honestly say they've never been emotionally influenced by a song, whether it's making them cry or get ready to work out (and if you did find someone like that, please introduce them to some new music).
So why not apply the same principles to your classroom? If a song can get someone ready to work out, why can't it also encourage students to behave? The answer is simple: it can.
That's not the only purpose behind a class song though. Songs can promote unification of a group, else countries wouldn't have national anthems. Many college teams have their own fight songs too. Symbols, flags, mottoes, and the like… people connect to symbols. Countries, sports teams, companies, fandom franchises… they all utilize symbols and music to make everyone involved feel like they are part of a group. People like feeling like part of a team or a group. It gives them a sense of belonging. If sports and companies can use it to promote certain behaviors, then you can apply the same concept to your class.
Having a class song won't be the magic solution to cure all behavior management ills, and it'll probably go over better with younger students. But it can't hurt to try. Even if it only makes a little bit of a difference, that's still a difference, right?
Here's a list of suggested class songs:
1. Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles
2. Imagine, John Lennon
3. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
4. Feels Like Today, Rascal Flatts
But don't stop with those suggestions; they're just that, suggestions. Get your own juices a flowin'!
Have you ever used a classroom song? What songs would you advise using?
Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.