|In this photo we are singing "Twinkle Friends" by Dr. Jean. I love using songs that gets the kids moving around and interacting with each other! You can see the PowerPoint on the board in the background.|
Pretty cute, huh? We sing EVERY morning! Let me tell ya why! Several years ago, I went to a conference and heard over and over about how important music was for children. I decided to incorporate music into my daily routine. I reflected on my own childhood and singing songs in church. Songs were displayed on an overhead and we read the words as we sang. I think this helped me learn to read. I wanted to recreate this in my classroom. I burned a CD for each week with a variety of songs related to what we were learning. I used Dr. Jean's Money Song when we learned about money, Twin Sisters Long A Vowel song when that was our focus sound, Greg and Steve We All Live Together when we learned about communities, etc. I typed the lyrics and printed them on transparencies. Each morning, we would play the CD and sing the songs. The "Star Student" would change the transparencies for us and point to the words on the board as we sang.
Two years ago, I got a SmartBoard. I changed all my "Morning Songs" to PowerPoints. The songs are embedded in the file. This means LESS STUFF!!! No more CDs and transparencies to put away. I can also use great graphics on the PowerPoints! When we sing "The Money Song", I have images of the front and back of each coin. At first, I made the slides timed to change automatically after each song finished. This was really no more convenient and took away a fun job, so I changed it to where my star student clicks to change songs. I was also really bad about forgetting to say the pledge in the morning. Some days we did it at 2:30 when a kid finally remembered. Some days we didn't do it at all. Now, my first slide is a flag with the words to the pledge under it. We ALWAYS remember and it is another reading opportunity.
Morning Songs also buy me TIME! I can get things situated for the day while the kids are engaged and learning. I usually use this time to check their folders for notes from parents. It is nice to know that I always have about 15 minutes before I have to be "on".
Our songs are educational and are tied to our curriculum. I often refer back to the songs when I am doing a lesson. If kids know "Oh, Those Contractions", but are struggling with contractions, I can refer to the song and this helps them to grasp the concepts. There are SO many great songs out there. By using morning songs, I am FINALLY utilizing them. On the first day of school we discuss WHY do we do morning songs - it gets oxygen to our brains (getting them ready to learn), we are reading the words on the board, and we are learning from the songs. I tell them what is expected - they are singing and not playing around. This is a learning time and we are singing songs for a purpose.
Each day when songs are finished, I choose 3-4 "Star Singers" to move up on our behavior chart. I begin with only 3 songs on the first week of school. We need to keep them focused. (BORED = NAUGHTY!) The next week we have 4. We continue to build up stamina until we have about 6-8 songs a day. This takes about 15 minutes. They get really excited when we have songs they have had in the past. As soon as they see it, I hear many kids say, "Oh, I LOVE this song!" At the end of the year, all my first graders know their 50 states and can list the presidents - not because I taught this, but because they SANG it!
You literally CANNOT be in a bad mood after singing Bananaphone! Songs make everybody happy! They also help unite us as a class. This is a ritual we all participate in every morning. Morning songs just might be my FAVORITE time of day!