February 27, 2019 | #EarlyLang

Music in the Early Language Classroom
from February 27, 2019

On February 27, language teachers from grades K-8, and beyond, met for the biweekly EarlyLang chat. Participants discussed music in the classroom–its benefits, how it supports comprehensible input, and where to find both authentic and learner focused music. They also shared how music helps to support learning in their classrooms.

Q1: What benefits does music offer the #earlylang classroom?

Participants agreed that music is the “total package.” It provides authentic language in context as it provides opportunities for both listening and producing language. It is a way to learn grammar without memorizing charts or forms. Music is engaging, fun, and tied to emotion; it provides a joyful learning environment. Finally, students remember songs long after the lesson ended. Several teachers mentioned hearing students singing songs several months after they learned them. Parents also like hearing their children sing in another language, they can clearly see the learning then. Music is also an easy way to share the learning, children can teach their sibling and family members the songs they learned in class.

Q2: Where do you find music sources?

There are a lot of sources for music as long as teachers are willing to search a little. YouTube has many songs, teachers seach by subject + children (in TL) or by song title. Spotify, Amazon Music, Facebook groups, and teacher blog are other places teachers have found songs. Several participants also mentioned @bashoandfriends, @CalicoSpanish, and @rockalingua.

Q3: What are the advantages of authentic and learner focused music respectively?

Several participants noted that music can be both authentic and learner focused. Traditional songs are tied to the culture; lessons on the history of the music style and the instruments used build interest and authenticity. Another benefit of tradition songs is that students are excited to think that children in other parts of the world are singing the same song. Using a song connected to the theme of the unit, whether the song is “authentic” or “learner centered” gives the student something to take home and enjoy.

Q4:What strategies do you use to make music support comprehensible input?

Participants mentioned that songs whose videos tell a story or demonstrate what the lyrics mean are extremely helpful. Repetitive lyrics or focusing on a specific portion of the lyrics to make them repetitive also makes the song comprehensible. TPR and visuals can be beneficial to use with songs, along with sequence cards for students to determine the story the song tells.

Q5:In what other ways does music support your #earlylang class?

@MllesrtaUrso “Music has a powerful connection with our memories. I was a child of the late 80s, early 90s, for instance. I hear a song from that era–BOOM. Right back to middle or high school.”

@MbiraAbby “I also use instrumental music for brain breaks and also to set the mood for readers theater. TONS of background audio on Youtube! Got this last idea from @senorwooly.”

@MoyerWorldLang “Music supports me mentally as a teacher too… Sometimes I am having a bad day and am singing along to vivir mi vida or soy yo with all the feels.”

@reyesjessica6 “Music is a way for students to connect with other cultures. It’s the soul of a language. Both the artists and songs have a story/perspective to share like “Soy Yo” by Bomba Estéreo. So it’s an easy way to introduce and discuss sensitive topics.”

@SamaraSpielberg “For us, a song is usually the hook to build up their vocabulary (& self confidence)- then we often build stories around it. Older students love visiting younger ones to sing their old songs. Builds community!”

@SECottrell “Routines, routines! If they KNOW the song means “time to get ready to go” or “time to clean” we 1) are more organized and 2) don’t descend into English so much.”

It’s reflaction (reflection + action) time! How will you incorporate music in your #earlylang classroom?

Several participants mentioned inviting colleagues to join them in using music and to create lessons that would also include parents. Referring back to the resources mentioned in the chat was another reflaction.

Thank you to all who participated in this #EarlyLang chat! Thank you to our lead moderator, Valerie Shull (@windycitysenora), and our co-moderator, Mundo de Pepita (@MundodePepita), for helping to guide the conversation. Thanks also to EMC School (@EMCSCHOOL) for sponsoring tonight’s chat and to M Cristina Rdz-Villa (@MaCristinaRV) for making the visuals.

Want to vote for our upcoming #Earlylang topics? https://t.co/l1VbHqzLU1

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EMC School

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