Celebrate Black History with Music!

black-history-iStock_000003520717XSmall

As educators, we have a responsibility to address diversity every single day in the classroom and in our homes. That said, African American History Month, celebrated every February, is a reminder to us of that responsibility. Regardless of the age we are teaching, we can always relate stories of our African American heroes and culture.

Using the Black History Radio app  (geared for kids 2nd-6th grades) can also help us carry out this responsibility. This app randomly plays over 50 biographical songs about great Black Americans such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman,  Jackie Robinson, and more. These songs address African American themes of pride, history and culture!

BlackHistory450x450roundedPlay it during transitions in your classroom or as background music during classroom activities. Play it in your car or home and enjoy the great  music!

 

 

 

App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40

en_generic_rgb_wo_60

 

Why Shop At Songs for Teaching?

Reposting this article from last year as a friendly reminder.

We know you have many choices as a consumer, and we here at Songs for Teaching want to win your business. So here are our top 10 reasons to shop at www.SongsforTeaching.com for your children’s educational music.

Number 10. We’ve done the research! – We know that you want the best for your buck. We preview all the cds listed on our site for the following criteria:
a. The music must be of high quality.
b. The content must be educationally useful and appropriate.
c. The production value must be professional quality.

Number 9. We provide music in a variety of formats Hard Copy CDs, Mp3 downloads, Videos, Sheet Music, Lyrics etc. Many of our songs even have teaching materials as well.

Number 8. We are on the up and up with current trends in Children’s Music. As Corporate Sponsors of Children’s Music Network, a consortium of musicians, educators, producers, songwriters etc., we connect regularly with other like-minded folks who are committed to bringing quality music to children.

Number 7. Hard-to-Find Titles – We carry many items that never made it on to those “big dog” web sites. Some artists prefer to sell exclusively with Songs for Teaching! Looking for that folk song your grandmother used to sing? We probably have it!

Number 6. Lyrics, Lyrics, Lyrics – Nearly all of our products include lyrics. This is heaven for teachers who utilize lyrics as a teaching tool in the classroom. Lyrics matter and having a printable version saves teachers precious time and energy! Can’t get that from the big dogs!

Number 5. Recommendations – Not sure what to buy? Tired of searching among thousands of songs and cds on those “big dog” sites? We have recommendation pages for nearly every topic. Just click the next to the topic of your choice on our Home Page and it will list out song suggestions for that topic.

Number 4. I answer the phone! – Customer Service is my favorite part of the job. I enjoy talking to parents and educators helping them with their orders or offering personal recommendations. I like email too! If you leave me a voicemail or email, I try my hardest to get back to you as soon as I can. You aren’t getting the customer service department, you are getting me – an educator, a parent, a musician and the owner of Songs for Teaching.

Number 3. We take Purchase Orders. – Simply fax in your signed purchase order (866-769-8528) and I will take it from there! I am happy to jump through whatever hoops required to become a “Preferred Vendor” for your organization.

Number 2. Support Small Businesses – While “shop local” doesn’t quite describe us, the sentiment is similar. We feel like we have a little shingle hung on the Main Street of the World Wide Web. We know it might be the trend to shop at one of those “big dogs” but this Mom and Pop are committed to helping you!

Number 1. We are Artists too! – We have been writing and recording educational music for years and really believe in it’s power as an incredible medium for education. Our ultimate goal to get quality educational music in the hands of parents and teachers.

Humbly,

David & Alice Burba,
Songs for Teaching Owners

Making the Music & Reading Connection

This post is published with permission from Liz Buchanan’s excellent blog.

Many academic studies have shown a strong connection between musical activities and early literacy learning. One study that especially interests me is detailed in“Early Language Learning With and Without Music,” by Douglas Fisher, published in Reading Horizons in 2001.

The study evaluated four classrooms of students in kindergarten and first grade. The students were all English Language Learners who spoke Spanish at home. Two of the classrooms began the day with a song and added particular musical activities to reading instruction time, while the other two did not. The students in the classrooms that used music scored higher on reading assessments.

Most of the preschool and kindergarten teachers I meet understand the power of music for their students, but they often don’t know how best to use music to enhance student learning. Most early-reading curricula give some lip-service to singing (no pun intended). A song may come with each week’s lesson plans, but the song seems an afterthought and not that engaging. To put it nicely, these songs aren’t destined for the top 40.

In the Fisher study, the songs seemed more integral to the lessons, as though each lesson would lose its heart without the song. For instance, in one activity, the children had to find a mystery word in scrambled letters. For the classes using music, the mystery word was a song title, and when the students discovered the mystery, the teacher would play a recording of the song. As one teacher commented, “See how they love to find the mystery word? They know we’re going to sing a song and that the CD with the words will be available in the classroom library after we learn it. The connections they make are great. They know the words because we sang together. On their own, they get to see the words in print and hear them over and over again.”

As I’ve worked as a teaching artist in kindergarten classrooms, I’ve had teachers ask for particular songs to work on certain skills. The teachers (and their students) were tired of rote chanting of letter sounds and rhyming word families: B-Buh-Baseball and fat-cat-sat-mat. I was able to make musical connections that made the lessons more engaging for both teachers and students.

I’d love to see more teachers trying these songs in their classrooms. In my collection, Songs for Rhyming and Reading, there are songs for clapping syllables of words, emphasizing starting consonants, reciting long and short vowels, guessing rhymes and making word families. You can find this collection and many other early literacy-related songs on my page at Songs for Teaching.

For instance, in my song Animal Hand-Clapping Rap, students can learn about interesting creatures such as a cockatoo or coatimundi while clapping syllables. Teachers can change the pace by using the same song featuring food words. (For an article with more musical syllable clapping ideas click here.

The rhyme-guessing songs can turn rhyming skill learning into a game. In Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey, kids guess rhyming body parts.

In I Like My Hat, students have a chance to expand the song into a writing activity about their favorite hat color. They’re invited to make up rhyming lines such as “My hat is blue, I stick it on with glue,” or “My hat is yellow, I wear it and say hello!” There’s also a chance to be creative and color a fancy hat.

In Vowel Jamboree, students sing long and short vowel sounds, rather than simply reciting them. It adds extra fun to letter sound lessons. For starting consonant sounds, teachers can try the classic Muffin Man with many added verses for other starting consonant sounds.

For more songs about Phonological Awareness click here!