Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Random Resources, Part 1:
Music as Mnemonic

Part one in a series of blog posts bringing you the newest and best in cross-curricular resources available from the world of the web!

Wired magazine reports on the growing phenomenon of teachers not just using songs to help their students learn and remember basic class concepts, from glycolosis to the law of averages...but recording and sharing these songs online so that all teachers can use them.

The article, which cites Science Songwriters Association president Lynda Jones' assertion that "song is a very effective way to teach," also reminds us that humor has long been a staple of our daily attempts to help students become engaged with material. (Having learned the quadratic equation to the tune of "We All Live In A Yellow Submarine", I can attest personally to the efficacy of song as a method for material retention.)

Although the article focuses on science and technology songs, such as the more than 2000 songs posted at MASSIVE, a developing database of science-themed songs, a quick browse of Google reveals both free and pay-per-song online resources for every curricular subject imaginable.

For example, Songs For Teaching references and organizes songs in every curricular category, from grammar to geography...and, for US History teachers, has free sheet music and lyrics for state songs from all 50 states!

If you'd like assistance finding free or fee-based music or lyrics for your particular curricular area, email Joshua Farber for a targeted tour of Google's advanced search functions -- if it's out there, we'll find it!

You're welcome to sing to your students, of course -- many of the freely-downloadable songs on the abovementioned sites have been released into the public domain, so performing them on your own can be perfectly legitimate according to fair use and copyright restrictions. (This is not always true, however, and different restrictions apply to songs available for purchase; see Joshua Farber or Mary Ellen Bergeron if you have questions about performance rights for a given song or site.)

In addition, why not consider taking advantage of the growing phenomenon of student iPods by making pre-recorded materials available as they dovetail with classroom curriculum?

To send freely downloadable songs along to students, merely surf to the relevant site, right click on a link to a song, select "copy shortcut", and then paste that link in any public webspace, such as SchoolNotes. From there, just direct students to that site, and they'll be able to listen at home, for homework...or even load the songs onto their personal music devices for the long busride into school each morning!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:52 AM  

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