Just trying to catch up on all the weeks of school!
So we got our rapport (mostly) established week 1 – sweet! The next intervention that I moved on to went like this:
America’s Got Talent: So I came into the classes and asked if anyone had they had seen the show America’s Got Talent. Some had, so we talked about it briefly. I explained how the judges have buzzers that they hit if they don’t like an act, and a red X lights up. Then I told them that they were going to be the judges that day. I passed out paper and markers for the kids to design their own “X” signs. I told them they could decorate it however they want. Some also put a check mark on the back, but I told them if they liked what I played, they could just sit back and relax. So I made a playlist on Youtube beforehand of cover songs. I tried to find ones that had a pretty different feel than the original song. I explained that I would show the video, and if more than half the class held up an X, I would stop it. After we watched the videos, I asked for feedback. What did they like about it? What didn’t they like? Etc. So my goals essentially were
a) Working on forming opinions and supporting them with evidence — A lot of times I would ask the kids what they liked/didn’t like and they would just say “everything.” I worked hard to make them think a little deeper and pinpoint specific aspects to comment on. Sometimes I would offer suggestions (was it the singing? the instruments?), which helped. Something I would suggest for others or next time I do something like this is to talk beforehand about how to be a critic. What are things we can comment on? That sort of thing.
b) Presenting constructive criticism instead of just “being mean” — This sort of goes along with the first one. I was completely fine if the students didn’t like a video I played. I did, however, process with them on how they verbalized that. Did they have appropriate reasoning? Or did they just say “it sucked” or “I hated it.” This could even tie into social skills, and I’m sitting here now thinking about ways to expand this idea into how they talk to their peers (dang, seedlings can come from anywhere!).
c) Being open to something new — I couldn’t tell you how many times I heard “Can you just play the real song?” Yeah, I understand, but I wanted them to look at songs from a different perspective. That’s why I tried to choose covers that were in a different style than the original. I’ll talk a little more about this when I list the playlist below.
So I know those goals aren’t written perfectly, but those were the general ideas that I wanted to address and process with the students. As I’m sure you can imagine, each class had a different take on the songs and different opinions.
My AGT Playlist (and general responses from the kiddos):
1. Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake – Boyce Avenue Cover
– Common complaint was that it was “too slow” or it “got boring” (I personally love slowed down versions of songs like this, haha).
2. Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots – Tanner Patrick & Garrett Perales Cover
– Similar to the above one, sometimes it was too slow.
3. Sorry – Justin Bieber – Against the Current, Alex Goot, Kurt Hugo Schneider Cover
– This one was GREAT for discussing being open. A lot of the kids have a negative association with Justin Bieber, so as soon as they heard the opening riff, they immediately put up their X’s. This oftentimes got us into a conversation about giving it a chance. It’s not Justin Bieber singing, so it might be good to keep an open mind and listen for more than two seconds. I did have some kids say they liked this one better than the original.
4. One Call Away – Charlie Puth – Henry Gallagher Cover
– I picked this one because it was a kid singing. Some students commented on how he was so young and talented, while others said they weren’t fond of his voice.
5.Hello – Adele – Walk Off The Earth, Myles & Isaac Cover
– Um, so, Stephenie and I totally spent an entire afternoon one time just watching Walk Off The Earth covers. If you haven’t checked them out, I highly, highly recommend it. Some kids thought this one was boring. It was also a little bit quiet when played just from my laptop speakers, so that turned them off a bit. Usually I could keep their attention when I told him that the one guy on the side KICKS A CYMBAL UP BY HIS HEAD. No big deal.
6. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars – Miranda Sings
– I had to. I just had to. Miranda sings is hilarious. I had mixed reactions from this one. My youngest class was watching it so seriously, and I was just sitting there like… what… Most of my middle classes would yell “UGH. TURN IT OFF. SHE’S SO BAD. WHY DOESN’T SHE KNOW HOW TO PUT LIPSTICK ON. EWWWW. SHE’S UGLY.” So then we got to talk about how looks can influence our opinions. And some classes had seen her before so they laughed along with me and wanted to watch the whole thing.
7. Happy – Pharrell Williams – Pentatonix Cover
– I don’t even really like the song Happy, personally, but this Pentatonix cover is pretty sweet. It got generally positive reviews from the kids, especially the ones who knew of Pentatonix already.
8. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Max Schneider and Kurt Hugo Schneider Cover
– The kids really liked this one. It’s super upbeat (and very similar to the original), and the video is really engaging.
9. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons – Vintage Jazz & Blake Lewis Cover
– Again, different style from the original. Kids weren’t too fond of it.
10. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift – Vintage Motown & Von Smith Cover
– Similar to the Radioactive cover
11. Send My Love – Adele – Kurt Hugo Schneider Patty Cake Cover
– I only showed this one to one class because a teacher brought it up, but they were pretty into it.
Credit: I think Stephenie and I talked about this at some point
Bear Hunt: I used this intervention with my youngest class. I taught the song “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt” and asked the kids to pick instruments to represent the obstacles in the song (very reminiscent of Stephenie’s using-instruments-for-characters intervention!). I used tall grass, mud, and a lake. We set these up in groups around the room and walked around while we sang the song. When it came time to get through the tall grass, we played the instruments as a group briefly and then moved on. I let each kid take a turn to be the “bear” and hide behind the teacher’s desk (they obviously loved this). This activity worked on impulse control and following directions. I had one kid who had a hard time playing the right instrument, but other than that, the intervention seemed successful. This is one to be careful with because things are spread around the room and it involved a lot of moving around, so it can feel hectic.
Minute to Win It: I call this Minute to Win It, but it’s honestly just a mixture of games in one. I split the class into two teams, and I have 5 categories that I go through.
1) Alphabet – I write each letter of the alphabet on an index card. The teams are to name an artist/band that starts with that letter (or their last name can start with that letter). When the team names an artist, they get a point. Whoever has the most points after we go through all the cards, wins that round.
2) 5 in 15 – This category I actually have to give credit to my friend Ryan, who used it on his radio show in college. I give them a category, such as female pop artists or rappers, and they have to name 5 in 15 seconds. Sometimes I have both groups yelling out at once, and other times I’ll let one team start and we go back and forth until someone doesn’t name 5 in 15.
3) Unscramble – I give three scrambled up song titles to each team (same song title, to keep difficulty the same for both). Whoever unscrambles it first, wins that round.
4) Pictionary – I give them a list of song titles to choose from, and they draw it on the board for their team to guess. I set a time limit – usually about a minute and a half or so. Sometimes I’ll give each team 3 tries to see who wins the round. If no one misses one, it’s a tie.
5) Heads Up – I write song titles on about 7 index cards. Just like the game Heads Up, one person holds the cards up on their head and tries to guess the song title while the rest of the team explains (without saying what’s on the card), sings/hums, and acts out to try to help their teammate guess. Whoever gets the most in about 2-3 minutes, winssssss.
Then whoever wins the most rounds is the ultimate winner! I’ve also done it where whoever wins the round gets to pick a song that I play (usually live).
This one is great for teamwork, problem solving skills, and frustration tolerance.
Whew, that was a lot. Hopefully that’s not all super overwhelming and it makes sense!
– Arianna (: