School – Week 14

As it was still around Thanksgiving, we also had Monday off this week, so it was another short week. Only one new intervention this week, too!

Busted: This one is all over Pinterest for music education. I made popsicle sticks with different rhythm patterns on them and put them in a drum. I also wrote the word BUSTED! on 5 sticks. Then I went around the room to each student. If they pulled a stick with a rhythm and clapped it correctly, they got to keep the stick. If they pulled a stick with BUSTED! they had to surrender all their sticks and start from scratch. It’s a pretty simple game that the kids seemed to enjoy. They all got excited when another BUSTED! stick was pulled. You can kind of play it by ear as to whether you want to leave the BUSTED! sticks out after they’re pulled or put them back in. Just depends on how long you want the game to be. This one clearly is more lesson-based, but it does address coping with a loss in a small way. You could also adapt it to write whatever you want on the sticks

Another short post for ya!

– Arianna (:


School – Week 10

Guess the Halloween Song: This happened to be the week of Halloween, so I wanted to do a fun Halloween-themed game. My supervisor previously picked up a large foam die from Five Below, so I was trying to think of a way to use it. What I did was I made 6 different playlists just numbered 1 through 6 and put different Halloween-themed songs on them in order of difficulty. So all the songs on the 1 and 2 playlists were the ones I considered “easy,” and then the 5 and 6 playlists were “hard.” Each student got the chance to roll the die, and whatever number it landed on was the number playlist I would play from. I said any student could answer – it didn’t have to be the student who rolled, but you could certainly do it that way.

Statues Song: Going along with Halloween, I adapted this song and changed the words to include something Halloween-themed (I lost the lyrics somewhere), but at the end I had the students yell “Boo!” One student laid on the floor with his/her eyes closed while the students walked around and sang (although, mostly it was me singing), at the end when everyone yelled “Boo!” they had to freeze, and the person who was laying down walked around trying to make everyone laugh! When someone laughed, they could join in and help make others laugh. This was a great way to encourage some positive socialization and impulse control!

Silly Sentences: I found a set of silly sentences from this Pinterest post, and I thought it would be fun to use them to write silly song lyrics with my youngest class. I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but it was sort of spur of the moment so I just went with what I thought was best at the time. Here’s how I did it: I cut out small pieces of paper that had each of the words on them and grouped them into Who, How, Type, What, Where (paper clipped together). I wish I could’ve printed out the words with the cartoon images on them but I didn’t have the time. I made enough sets for the 6 or so students in that class. During the activity, I gave each student a piece of construction paper. Then I gave out each category one by one and let the students tape (didn’t have glue) their words in sentences on the paper. They chose one word from each category and then I collected their words again and they got to pick the next word. It was a pretty decent struggle keeping track of all those tiny squares of paper, so this is definitely where you could put your thinking cap on to make it more functional for you. After we finished our sentences, I took everyone’s and made up a melody to go along with the songs!

– Arianna (:

School – Week 9

Rhythm Ping Pong: The students LOVED this, no matter how old they were (I admit I haven’t tried it with my youngest class yet because I’m a little nervous how they’ll handle it…). I adapted the idea from this post on Pinterest. So I brought in a large tub that I had at home and conveniently had a box of ping pong balls in my room at school. I went ahead and drew different rhythms on the ping pong balls – whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, and half rests. I designated one student as the “thrower” and one as the “ball getter” (because ping pong balls are pesky and just roll all over the place). The thrower had a bag of maybe 15 or so ping pong balls and his/her goal was to toss or bounce them so that they landed in the bucket. The bucket I got was large enough so that a majority of the students were very successful at scoring ping pong balls. Once they were done throwing, the students took the ping pong balls they scored and wrote them down in any order on a sheet of paper. After everyone got an opportunity to throw, then they got to perform their rhythms on a drum. The only tricky part is that I included half notes and whole notes, which are a little tough to comprehend on an instrument that doesn’t necessarily hold out a sound. I just told them to let the drum ring out when they had rhythms with multiple beats. One adaptation I did for my younger classes was instead of focusing on the act of playing the rhythms, I focused on the note values. I had the kids spread out in a circle around the container and one by one they threw their ping pong balls in. Then I collected all the ones they scored and as a group we counted the total “points” based on the rhythmic values. Then we did it again (and even a speed round at the end because they loved the game so much) to see if we could beat our score. While this is certainly very educationally focused, it does address impulse control, following directions, and also frustration tolerance if they happen to miss a few in a row (however, as I said, I tried to set this up so that students would be successful).

Staff Word Game: I adapted this one a little bit depending on the age of the students. For my younger class, I set up 5 taped lines on the floor and labeled each line/space with the letters. I only happened to have one student in class that day, so her and I worked together to spell different words using A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. I told her the “high score” was 10 so she had something to work towards. Once we spelled a word, she had to walk over to the tape staff and mark where each of the notes would be with her hands and feet. With my older students, I put sheets of paper with a large staff on them inside sheet protectors. I also gave them little squares of paper that had the letters of the musical alphabet on them. These were supposed to be for the students to manipulate and move around to help them spell different words. They sort of just ended up being a source of confusion rather than helpful, and I just lost a lot of paper clips in the process, haha. I explained how the lines/spaces on the staff are labeled, and then let the students work on figuring out how to put the words on the staff. Each time a student got a word, he/she raised his hand for me to come over and check it. I kept a running list of the words from each class, and the highest score was 42!
Credit: I got the idea for the tape staff and marking the notes with hands/feet from my supervisor, Katie.

Magazine Articles: So, teenagers are tough to plan for. I tried thinking outside of the box to come up with something music-related but still cool that they would like. This idea came to mind and then I did a little searching on the internet to find stuff to help me. I thought it would be cool for them to use their favorite songs and write a music critic article about them. I found a list of questions to guide them in their writing somewhere online but I can’t find it right now /: It was from a project someone had about writing about bluegrass music. Anyway, I wrote the questions on the board and had the students take notes to answer the questions:

  • Name of the artist/band
  • Name of the song
  • Genre
  • Any background about the band
  • What do the lyrics mean?
  • Does the song fit with the artist’s typical sound?
  • Unique elements (instruments/sounds/etc)
  • Overall impressions – rate on a scale of 1-10 or letter grade

Those are just a few of the questions. I also asked them to reflect on the tempo, dynamics, voice, etc. Once they wrote out their notes, they got to type up their article in paragraph form on the computer. I put all the articles on my new handy dandy flash drive, and I am going to compile them into a magazine format (once I find some time…). I was nervous about this activity because I thought it might feel too much like “work” for them. Most of the students ended up completing it eventually. They didn’t go quite as in-depth as I hoped, but they did put some nice thought into it.

Song Challenge: If you Google “30 Day Song Challenge” you’ll find a list of questions that ask you to fill out different songs for different scenarios. That’s a bad explanation, but if you Google it, you’ll see what I mean. Basically I compiled a bunch of these questions and put them on a worksheet for the students to fill in their own answers. I used this mainly for my high school class because this classroom is acute, so the students are only there for a few weeks usually. This activity was a way for me to gain some rapport; we could just sit, be chill, and talk about what music they liked.

– Arianna (:

School – Week 8

Music Jeopardy: So here’s a fun little story about always being prepared with back-up strategies! A week or so ago I played a game with my classes, and whoever won got to pick what we did in music the next time. The student who won picked Jeopardy, so I spent a good chunk of time making this Jeopardy game, put it on the Google Drive because the powerpoint was too big to email, and planned to pull it up on the teacher’s computer once I got to class that day (My MacBook Pro doesn’t hook up to the SmartBoards, as far as I know). So that day I had brought a backup of mandalas that were divided into 4 quadrants. If the kids got a little too rowdy during Jeopardy and weren’t listening, I was going to switch to this activity. The plan was to have them pick 4 songs for me to play live, and then they had the opportunity to draw a picture that they thought reflected that song. So I go to log in to the Google Drive on the teacher’s computer in the morning, and lo and behold, the Google Drive is blocked on the school’s internet! Sooooooo I quickly switched to my backup. The next day I come in and spend my entire morning (I usually get to school around 45 minutes early to prep for the day) trying to figure out another file sharing website to use. I tried using DropBox but for some reason it wasn’t working. So after failing miserably to figure out a way to get this file onto another computer, I just brought another back-up to class (this day it was MadLibs songwriting). Finallllllly I went out and bought a flash drive that day so I could put the file on there and plug it into the teacher’s computer. It worked! And we got to do Jeopardy that day. Third time’s the charm, amirite? Pro Tip: Have a flash drive handy. Haha. ANYWAY. Here’s how I laid out Jeopardy:

Category 1: Emoji Lyrics (Shoutout to our intern, Allie, for helping with a lot of the emoji ones)
– These were popular song lyrics that I substituted emojis for certain words.
– Example:


Category 2: Guess The Song
– Just played clip from a popular song for the students to guess

Category 3: Fill In The Blank
– Example: Lately I’ve been, I’ve been ______ _______, dreaming about the _______ that we could be

Category 4: Genres
– Example: This genre of music became much more popular and mainstream in the 2000s and featured superstar artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Outkast, Eminem, and many others. (I got this question from a website somewhere)

Category 5: Multi-talented
– The questions here referred to musical artists that also have another talent (such as acting)
– Example: This actress and singer had the “best of both worlds” on her TV show.

I also put an additional twist on this one, because instead of having two teams where they have to ring in using an instrument or something (because that starts a lot of fights and hey sometimes I’m not perfect with who I say responded first), I made it more of a group cohesion experience. Each student got three lifelines (just written on index cards): ask the audience referred to getting help from another staff member in the room, phone a friend allowed them to ask a peer, and 50/50 gave them two options from which to choose for the correct answer. They could choose to hand in these lifelines if they didn’t know the answer, and the entire class was trying to reach a certain score (something I made up). The kids still got upset when they weren’t able to answer questions, so that definitely allowed for some processing of frustration tolerance there.

Music Class & Chill: (I didn’t call it this around my students, haha) This was another option for students to choose when they got to pick the next activity for music class. It was inspired by someone in my 8th grade class one day who exclaimed, “Can’t we just sit and listen to music?!?!” I understood where he was coming from, but obviously I can’t do that every day. So I decided to include it in the options for rewards. I was a little nervous as to how it was going to go, but the class that picked it actually did fairly well. A few of them had suggested songs to listen to, so I put those on a playlist mixed in with a few of my own selections. I really just played the songs while we all just “chilled” and chatted. Honestly, I think it was a good way to continue building rapport and just allowed the students to have some down time. I came in with a structured activity to use as backup (4-song mandalas) just in case things got too out of hand, but all was well! Naturally, I wouldn’t recommend this on a consistent basis, but it might be good for use as an incentive for following expectations.

Picture Songwriting: I really wanted to do songwriting with my little guys for some reason, but they’re not as independent with writing yet, so I tried thinking out of the box a little. Somewhere on the internet (I forget where, eek /:) I read that kids tell stories through drawing. I thought to myself that a song was like a story, so what if they drew a picture that was based on a story they made up, and then they could tell me the story. As they told me the story I would write it down and then sing it. This activity didn’t really turn out like this, but it was still neat to see the outcome. I ended up allowing the students to sing their stories that they drew/wrote. One student actually wrote about all the kids in the class, saying that they were all her friends. Although it wasn’t an original goal, that ended up being a great way to enhance group cohesion. I made sure to emphasize this and encourage interaction between her and her peers.
Credit: Stephenie helped me formulate this one! (:

Science of Sound: I found this experiment on Pinterest and thought it sounded cool! I won’t necessarily go into details here — just click the link for the directions. I’ve only done it with one class so far, and they did start to lose interest sort of quickly (they were more interested in taking the string and tying it around their waist to use as a “tail”). Ideally, I’d like to do a whole “Science of Sound Day” with multiple experiments, but I haven’t found others I’d like to include. A lot of the ones I come across seem to be messy… which is awesome, just probably not conducive to a school environment where I’m moving classroom to classroom. Really not too much therapeutic intention behind this one, but I did hope to reach some of my kids that might not directly be interested in music. I hoped this would be some what new and different for them. I also showed the class this video, because it is REALLY neat, and demonstrates a similar concept using music.

Unknown Songs: In preparation for an activity I’ll talk about in the future, I brought a list of songs that I assumed would be less familiar to my 8th graders and I had them pick ones to listen to. After we listened (recorded, not live), I asked them to share what they thought about the song — what about it did they like/not like, what would they change, etc. I was trying to get them to think critically and expand on their thoughts/explain themselves. Thinking about it now, it might’ve been better if I had a worksheet or something to accompany it. Another thing I would probably change would be to pick songs that sound more like what they listen to, like find rap/hip-hop/pop songs that they might not know, because they were pretty sick of listening to “old” songs by the end of the class period.

– Arianna (:

School – Week 4

Steady Beat Game: So I got this freebie TpT and used it with my younger classes to start talking about keeping a steady beat. I pretty much did it as is. With my older classes (4th & 5th graders) I didn’t necessarily show them the pdf, but the younger classes seemed to enjoy the visual and seeing whether they were right or wrong.

Simon Says: I also did this with my younger classes, because the steady beat game wouldn’t necessarily last an entire class period. It’s just like typical simon says, but I give everyone instruments and they have to repeat the short rhythmic phrases that I demonstrate. I also throw in random things like “stand up!” “spin around!” “put your instruments up in the air!” Then I let the kids be Simon. Younger classes generally are really big fans of this one! Great for following directions, obviously haha. And impulse control.

Chief: This is a game I played when I worked at a summer camp. One person is chosen to be the detective, whose role is to figure out who the chief is. The detective goes to stand off to the side with their back to the group. Then someone is chosen to be the chief — make sure you POINT to the kid who’s chief instead of calling their name, because then the detective will hear who it is (I’ve made this mistake tons of times). Everyone in the group follows the chief’s movements, who should change them every so often. We were using body percussion, and I prompted that they all had to keep a steady beat (since that was what we were working on) to make it harder for the detective to figure out who the chief was. The detective has 3 guesses to figure out who the chief is. Then whoever the chief was got to be the detective (if he or she wanted to) and I picked a new chief. I hope that explanation makes sense! I think this would also be cool to do if you had all of the kids with the same instruments — that would just make it a little more musical, and possibly reinforce the “steady beat” concept. Some goals here could be attention to a task/eye contact, following directions, and problem solving skills (how do you figure out who the chief is/how does the chief be as sneaky as possible?)

Find the Beat in the Song: This was the last “level” of my steady beat unit (if you want to call it a unit). I think I only did this with one class. First of all, I knew bringing instruments in would be pretty chaotic. In general, that class is pretty talkative, and just from experience I know how stimulating instruments can be. I can’t bring in 15 djembes, so we had to do some trading. I set up some rules before I handed out the instruments things like: 1) instruments must be quiet in between songs 2) we will be rotating with the instruments, so even if you don’t get what you want the first time, you will likely get it later 3) keep instruments at a reasonable volume. So, I gave them a list of songs to choose from, and I played their choices live while they played along to the song with the instruments, while continually prompting them to find the beat. This was really the main reason I did all this stuff about keeping a steady beat. I like to incorporate instruments, especially when I’m doing songs live, but I’ve noticed my kids don’t necessarily follow along to the beat of the song all the time. They like to do their own thing, which I totally support! However… it sometimes turns into kids getting aggravated at others because they’re disrupting the music. I hoped with this intervention they could improve their skills at playing along with songs. I played a few chords for an intro repeatedly until the group was on the same page, and sometimes in the middle I stopped to help them find the beat. As for the success of this intervention, I’m not too sure how well the concept sunk in. Maybe if I had worked on it longer with them, or even used live music, because I’ll admit that I can’t always keep a perfect tempo. I do hope to do a drum circle unit in the future, so maybe that will practice similar skills!

Pretty instrument-based week for ya!

– Arianna (:

School – Week 3

We are cruisin’ here!

Show & Tell: So, after I finished the AGT intervention with classes, I had the students write at least 3 songs that they would like to share with the class on their X pages that they made. I prompted them to keep it appropriate, but the reason I had them write them down was so I could go listen to them on my own and make judgment calls about whether or not they were, in fact, appropriate. At first, I was just making a playlist of the songs, bringing that in to class, and listening to them with the students, but I found a lot of the kids would just talk over the songs and not be focused. Sure, this brought up a chance to talk about being respectful, but it didn’t always work. So, I revised my plan for future classes. As I listened to each of the songs, I came up with a “challenge” for each one. Some examples are: count how many times the singer says a certain word, ask about a reference the song makes, list all the words that rhyme with something, explain what the song is about, etc. That way, when I played the songs in class, the students had something to focus on during the song, which minimized the talking. I also upped the ante by giving each challenge a certain point value. Whoever got the most points at the end of the class got to choose what we did next class (from a list that I created).

Here’s the list:
1) Have a chill day where we sit and talk while listening to music (Inspired by one of my 8th graders who, when confronted about talking to peers during the songs, said that’s how he usually listens to music – while hanging out and talking with friends. This was actually pretty enlightening, and it made total sense. I only offered this option to my oldest classes. I’m doing it next Monday with a class, so we’ll see how it goes.)
2) The Minute-to-win-it game I described in my post about week 2.
3) Jeopardy
4) Bingo
5) Guess The Song
6) Freeze Dance

I’ll talk about how each of these went in my Week 4 post. (:

Sound Songs: Found this gem on Pinterest and used it with my younger classes. I introduced it by asking them what sounds they could make with their bodies. I wrote down what they said on the whiteboard so they students had a reference point. After completing this with one class, I brought in a model that I had made for the second class to give them an idea of what their end result would be, because me explaining it in words didn’t quite do it for the first class. Make sure you make it clear that you’re going to make a key for the sounds and then write them in the boxes in different patterns. I gave them some time to draw their sound songs, and then at the end of class I let whoever wanted to perform the song for everyone. It was a great opportunity to work on goals such as self-expression, focus and attention to a task, allow for creativity, as well as respect others when they are performing.

Hip-Hop & Self-Expression: This intervention I used with my 8th graders. I created a worksheet that goes through several topics. I start with a condensed history of rap/hip-hop, and then I talk about the changes it has gone through, from being about illuminating issues of injustice, poverty, and being a way to express themselves about the hardships they face, to being about getting money, women, and fame as the influence of the music industry increased. I usually ask what the students think about rap music today and allow for them to be in a position to teach me, because I am definitely open about the fact that I do not know much rap music. I then show a few song clips to demonstrate these points. The songs I use are Not Afraid by Eminem (clean – sometimes even the clean versions are questionable, so I would consider doing this live or not using it if I didn’t think the class could handle it), The Show Goes On by Lupe Fiasco, and Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore. I also include a section on the bottom for them to write their own rap verse. I give them some things to consider (flow, lyric content, etc.) and some space to free write to get the juices flowing. I’ve never had a group actually complete this part, but I usually leave the worksheets if they want to work on it at another time. If you would like a copy of my worksheet, feel free to email us at!

For groups that are really passionate about rap and like to discuss, this is a great option. My students were very chatty that day, but not about this topic. Class ended in a large discussion about giving/getting respect.

Personal Playlists: For this intervention, I start class with a discussion about different places they hear music. Some examples include restaurants, car (radio), tv commercials, stores, video games, the gym, etc. I’ve had some classes come up with some pretty extensive lists. Then I give them a worksheet with 4 boxes on it. I tell them to pick 4 of the places we listed (or anything else they can come up with), and that they are going to make a playlist for that place/activity. A lot of times I’ll use an example like this, “Say you wanted to make the IDEAL playlist for elevator music, what would be on it?” Then, after answering any questions and clearing up confusions, I tell them I’m going to play short snippets of songs. While I’m playing the song, they should decide which playlist (of the 4 they chose) they would put it on, and then write it in that box. So I spend class going through short clips of songs of a WIDE variety of genres: classic rock, pop, hip-hop, classical (yes, classical), country, EDM, etc. Then towards the end of class I ask them if they want to share what playlists they made and what songs they included. I then ask them to go a little deeper and share what qualities in the songs prompted them to put them on certain playlists (I definitely would word that a little different when asking students, but that’s basically what I get at with that question). It turned out to be a great activity to discuss how people perceive things differently (“Oh, I put that song here and you put it there”) and really have them put some thought into their process. It overall was a hit with the classes!
Credit: So I’m pretty sure the seedlings for this idea came from this “graffiti board” concept and an interaction I overheard at Chipotle, interestingly enough. I just took the idea of using elements of music, and adapted it and made a graffiti board of different “playlists” in the classroom. The story behind Chipotle is that I was casually in line waiting to make my burrito, when the person in front of me commented on the music playing, and the guy working said, “I don’t make the playlists. If I did, it’d be a lot funkier.” So I was like, “What would my ideal Chipotle playlist sound like…?” and the idea developed from there!

– Arianna (:

School – Week 2

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.
Credit: here.

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 (: